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Help/Suggestions on San Francisco anniversary trip

Help/Suggestions on San Francisco anniversary trip

Oct 8th, 2006, 08:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Help/Suggestions on San Francisco anniversary trip

My husband and I will be travelling to San Francisco for the first time October 18-22 to celebrate our three year anniversary. This board has been a huge help with my research so far and I have narrowed down the sights that we would like to try and see if possible.

Based on advice from some of the posts here we are staying at the Nob Hill Lambourne. We are flying into Oakland around 10:30 and hope to be able to get out and sightsee that afternoon.

I'm looking for advice/suggestions on which of the following things would be best to do on the same day and if it's feasible to see all this during the time we will be there. Also would appreciate input on what we can walk to/from and what it would be best to try and get to with public transportation or a cab. We will be without a car for most of the trip. We are in our late twenties/early thirties and in good shape but live in Florida so it's been a while since our bodies have had to handle hills!

Here's a rough itinerary - I'm trying to keep things flexible so we can adjust as needed depending on weather, fog, pure exhaustion, etc.

Day 1 - afternoon/evening: Walk around Chinatown and have a light lunch. Head over to North Beach (planning on doing both the Chinatown and North Beach walks in the Fodors guidebook). See Washington Square and either take the Muni or walk up to Coit Tower. We are hoping to time Coit Tower close to sunset if possible. Walk back to North Beach for drinks/dinner.

Day 2 - Morning: explore Pacific Heights and have an early lunch somewhere in this area.
Afternoon/early evening: Palace of Legion of Honor then StuDudleys suggested walk down El Camino del Mar and Seacliff. Would also like to see the Presidio after.
**This day is my big question mark regarding public transportation. Any advice here is welcome!**

Day 3 - Renting a car for the day and driving down the coast to Monterey and Carmel. Possibly doing the 17 mile drive if time allows. We realize this is a lot for one day but feel that it's worth the drive down just to see the coast even if we don't get much time to linger in Monterey/Carmel area. We definitely want to drive down along the coastal route but any recommendations for an alternate route back to SF that might be quicker? Also I know this is a Friday and traffic will be crazy. We are planning to wait to head back until approximate 7 or 8 in the evening. Will this be late enough to miss rush hour traffic? Suggestions on time to leave in the morning?

Day 4- Morning: Get up early and take the cable car from Union Square down to Fishermans Wharf and explore briefly. Head over to Ferry building for farmers market and lunch.
In the afternoon see Alamo Square and Golden Gate Park. We may possibly take one of the city tours if our legs just can't take any more and we want to let someone else do the driving.

I can't say enough about how helpful these boards have been so far so I'm looking forward to any and all replies!
hetre is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,385
You have worked out a nice itinerary! You'll get more input from this board, but I have a couple of things. I agree that it is worth the effort to drive to Carmel for a day since it doesn't seem that you will be back soon. Driving back to SF at 7pm should be just fine. I doubt that you will experience significant traffic until you get right into SF, still on the freeway - it is just always that way on a Friday night, and just expect it and don't worry because sooner or later all the cars do get where they are going! You can't avoid that.

There are a few options for the route back. I usually take whatever route from Monterey to 101 and just stay on 101 all the way. Other people may suggest getting to 280...and it is a smoother ride...but for newbies I don't think you need the hassle. 101 goes where you want to go.

Yes. do not miss the Ferry Building. Boulette's Larder for breakfast.

I am racing off to work so I look forward to seeing other suggestions when I return!

I cannot wish you anything better than to hope the weather is as good as it is today!
cabovacation is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,051
SF Gate has some maps of the SaN ran Bay area..might help you...

Day 2 you may need a car...

Saturday..that is the day to go to the Ferry Ternminal as tehy will have the outside Farmers MArket..crepe make and french yoghurt stand..you can have breakfast just sampling all the treats. IF it is warm enough you can eat outside on the benches whil looking at BAy Bridge, Alcatraz etc...
Inside one of my favorite places is the French Patiserri..fabulous french merange (sp) cookies just like in France..my favorite is pastacio, chocolate is great too.

When you go south, you might se some pumpkin picking farms: I always like that part of the Fall
1JAR is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 10:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,485
For public transportation, go to www.sfmuni.com and use their 511 link to plan your trip. We found it very helpful.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 12:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 38
it sounds like your days are planned out pretty well- considering the number of days you're planning on being there, if you want some ideas for a San Francisco tour try http://www.tripcart.com/usa-regions/...zed-Tours.html
it might give you some ideas
have a great time!
Noa26 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2
Sounds great -- but you might want to consider having a car for another day and going to Muir Woods in the morning and out to Napa in the afternoon in time for dinner...
Astorix is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,139
I think you should have plenty of time to see Carmel and Monteray -- know quite a few people who have made it a day trip from San Francisco. We've only been there once, so I'm not an expert, but can tell you our experience there. We started in Carmel (Hwy 1 to Ocean which goes right through the middle of town to the beach). On the way to the beach (about 1 or 2 blocks before you get there, you will see a sign that says to turn right to Pebble Beach). We took that road to one of the entrances to the 17 mile drive instead of going back out to 1. You can spend as much or as little time on the 17 mile drive as you want. I think we were there less than an hour and a half, but spent some time at the stop by the ocean. At the Pebble Beach Golf Course (which was close by where we entered) there is a sign to turn left towards Pacific Grove. We went out that exit and turned left toward the ocean, past Asilomar Beach. It was a very scenic route along the ocean following the pedestrian/bicycle path into the part of Monteray where you want to be (by the aquarium, cannery row, etc.) We didn't think that the 17 mile drive was that impressive, but are glad we did it since we had heard so much about it.

If you are interested in the Presidio, I would suggest you try to make it to the Marin Headlands (on the left side of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County). Stu Dudley gave directions to get there -- it was one of my favorite places. Great views and another former army installation with bunkers,etc. In fact, you can see them in the hillside as you are crossing the bridge. If you use a car for Day 2 you could also add that and a stop at Baker Beach for some great views of the GGB which is on your way to the Presidio from Seacliff.
maj is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 949
Sounds like a good plan to me except I think you could combine Pacific Heights with Alamo Square and GG Park day. We did the StuDudley driving tour (from July 2005 post) that takes you from downtown through all of those places and it worked great. We had planned to do the Marin Headlands (my favorite SF stop) but there was too much fog.

You might want to consider doing what we did. We rented a car for one day. Returned in the evening to avoid car parking fees. Picked up another car the next day for the rest of our trip.

You might want to consider having lunch at the Cliff House on the day you do Marin/GG Park. We stopped there for the rest rooms and it's quite nice now.

Perfect spot for an anniversary trip!
ccrosner is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 63
hetre: Day 2 looks a bit industrious unless you rent a car and that might be a no-no depending on how comfortable you feel driving in the City. The Pacific Heights part is fine and depending upon where you are, you can get a bus out to the Palace of Fine Arts and the walk to Sea Cliff is a "moderate walk" back. If you are in really good shape, then the Presidio is not that much farther. I have done that walk as a City Dweller and it is pretty tough and takes all day. So, I would try to get a bus tour of PH, The Palace of Fine Arts, Presidio and simply enojoy yourself. If you tour some of the more famous architecture in PH, this alone will take you a morning and a nice walk... Hope this helps!
Perigrinator is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,963
DH and I are both 50 something and we handled the city hills pretty well last weekend. We are from mostly flat San Jose/ Silicon Valley.
trippinkpj is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Thank you to everyone who replied w/ all the suggestions and input! Based on the advice here we are going to rent a car for two days instead of one as originally planned.
We will do the sights that are farther away like the GG Park and Presidio and hopefully also get over to see Sausalito w/ the car one day and then head down to Monterey and do the coast drive on the second.
We leave tomorrow morning and I'm just sitting here staring at the clock at work waiting for the weekend to begin! Thanks again for all the help with planning this trip. I'll post a report when we return!
hetre is offline  
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