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frenchtoile Apr 10th, 2013 12:14 PM

HELP San Fran trip in less than a week and nothing planned!!!
My husband and I are getting away for a weekend. We think we want to stay in the Union Square area. It seems like everything is great for walking to. However, we are not really sure what we are going to do that weekend at all. We don't even have a hotel booked. I've heard Hotel Monaco.

We think we will do Alcatraz tour.

We otherwise just want to walk around, eat a good meal (each meal if possible.) Go to the spa at our hotel.

Please help. This is a new city for us both and we have not had anytime to research. I just don't want to waste a day figuring it out once there. I'd love to know what you all suggest.

frenchtoile Apr 10th, 2013 12:18 PM

Also, how far is Chinatown? Is it worth the visit? Where to eat?

vjpblovesitaly Apr 10th, 2013 12:25 PM

You can look at a map to see how far Chinatown is. I went to SF's Chinatown and enjoyed it.

sf7307 Apr 10th, 2013 12:25 PM

Chinatown is easy walking distance from Union Square (15 minute walk), and yes, it is worth the visit. R&G Lounge is an excellent restaurant, at the corner of Kearny and Clay Streets in Chinatown.

Hotel Monaco is great.

Alcatraz is a very good tour, but it does take quite a bit of time. You might want to check for advance reservations - it does sell out. The only boat that goes to Alcatraz is the official one, so don't bother with an Alcatraz "tour".

Don't miss the new art installation/light project on the Bay Bridge at night. You can get a great view from the Embarcadero just south of the Ferry Building, or have a drink at either Epic Roasthouse or Waterbar (same location).

If you just want to take a nice long walk along with many many locals, head out to the Marina Green/Crissy Field area (walk from Fort Mason to the Warming Hut). You can also access the Golden Gate Bridge from there, if you're inclined to walk across.

A really nice day would be Alcatraz in the morning, followed by a walk (incorporating some of San Francisco's iconic stairways) to Upper Grant Avenue, then through North Beach, then Chinatown (all of these are "in a row").

It's gorgeous out today -- I hope it lasts for you!

sf7307 Apr 10th, 2013 12:27 PM

If you do go to Marina Green/Crissy Field, you can head over to Chestnut Street for lunch - many choices and a nice strolling/shopping/eating/people-watching street.

nlg Apr 10th, 2013 12:31 PM

While we were in San Francisco we went on the Dylan's city and Muir Woods tour. We started at 10am and finished about 3:30pm. It was one of our favorite days-we got to see a lot of the city that we would have never seen on our own and we just loved Muir Woods-the redwood trees are just beautiful.

We stayed in the Union Square area and walked just about everywhere. We did buy the 7 day Muni pass(I think you can also get a 3 day pass). This saves a lot of money, especially if you want to ride the cable cars more than once(price is $6 each ride if purchased one ride at a time) Muni pass was $28 for a week. We walked to Chinatown and enjoyed walking around and looking in the shops-we did not eat there. You will not need to spend much time there-we only looked around about an hour.

We also went on the Red and White Fleet Bay cruise-think it lasted a little over an hour. It was very informative.

sf7307 Apr 10th, 2013 12:47 PM

I'm not much for city bus tours, but I just took a look at the Dylan's tour nlg mentioned, and they do go (or at least pass by) a lot of places it would be fun to see.

tenthumbs Apr 10th, 2013 12:49 PM

Search the forums for San Fransisco. There are many threads with tons of good information. Stu Dudley is our resident SF guru~you can also search his name. A recent thread mentioned some of the city's walking tours that the poster really liked.

What kind of restaurants are you looking for? Steakhouses? Italian? Thai? San Francisco has many different ethnic cuisines from which to choose.

If you have the chance, go see Beach Blanket Babylon. It's a classic!

frenchtoile Apr 10th, 2013 12:58 PM

So many great responses already!

Any other hotels anyone has a rave about?

We love Italian, farm to table restaurants, great cocktails. I don't necessarily want to do steakhouse type b/c we have tons of places like that where we live.

I went on Opentable and was trying to see who the new and popular places are......I so far have not gotten a handle on that at all.

It sounds like the Wharf is just a tourist spot now. So I think I'll skip that. Am I right in that thinking?

tenthumbs Apr 10th, 2013 02:17 PM

Yes. :)

If you like Italian, try Brindisi Cucina di Mare

It was recommended by a friend, and we really enjoyed it. The entrance is in a small alley, so it's a bit difficult to find, but the cab driver was able to tell us how to get there after he dropped us off.

Florida1 Apr 10th, 2013 02:23 PM

City View restaurant in Chinatown has good dim sum at lunch.

We like Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building and Plouf for mussels. Plouf is on Belden Place.

SF City Guides has good walking tours. We have done two and really learned a lot. Their website is

frenchtoile Apr 10th, 2013 02:50 PM

Has anyone been to La Folie? Is it worth it?

Brenkjtravel Apr 10th, 2013 03:11 PM

When my husband and I visited SF, we did the Alcatraz tour, loved that! We walked around and ate at the Wharf,(small street fish and chips for lunch and Boudin Sourdough company for dinner) We did the Alcatraz tour between lunch and dinner. We spent some time on Haight Ashbury (had an ice cream at the first Ben and Jerry's, bought some old records from Amoeba), then visited Golden Gate Park and the Japanese Garden there (the Park starts right at the end of the Haight Ashbury area). Had brunch at Neiman Marcus-The Rotunda (best to get reservations), drove to Muir Woods (beautiful! and worth the time) went to Ghirardelli had a sundae and bought some chocolate, of course rode the trolly's. We had dinner at The Crab House on Pier 39, know for their crab. We stayed at the Sir Frances Drake in Union Square, a great central location. It was a wonderful weekend and we were only there Fri - Sun.

sf7307 Apr 10th, 2013 03:15 PM

<<<had an ice cream at the first Ben and Jerry's>>>

Who told you that? Ben and Jerry's was started in Burlington, VT.

frenchtoile Apr 10th, 2013 08:26 PM

Which hotel?

tenthumbs Apr 10th, 2013 08:35 PM

What is your budget for a hotel?

frenchtoile Apr 10th, 2013 08:59 PM

We are between the Ritz or Hotel MOnaco?

MichelleY Apr 10th, 2013 09:23 PM

Ritz. Take a look at Hotel Vitale.

monroviamike Apr 10th, 2013 10:29 PM

Parking in San Francisco is very difficult and frustrating. The public transportation is great if you have a sense of adventure. You can go pretty much anywhere, rub shoulders with San Franciscans of all classes (and smells), and avoid traffic and parking frustrations. The cable cars are, of course, entertaining, but there is much more to "The Muni" as it is called. ( Take the L or N streetcar (subway on Market Street) to the end of the line and enjoy the wind-swept beach on the Pacific (don't forget your sweater). Take the 5-Fulton or 7-Haight to Golden Gate Park. Ride the F-Market Historic Streetcars down Market to Castro Street. Take the 14-Mission (Mission is one block south of Market) to the Mission District for some great food around 22nd to 24th Street.

Rastaguytoday Apr 11th, 2013 12:11 AM

sf307 - regarding Ben & Jerry's, Bud's was originally in one location in Noe Valley, back in the 70s.

If the line looked like less than 30 minutes, you got in line.

However, Bud's had been sold many times and has no relation to its original shop.

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