One Day SanFran Tips??

Jul 24th, 2005, 06:47 AM
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One Day SanFran Tips??

Hola! On our way from Disney to South Lake Tahoe, the thought just occurred to drive to SF on 12/29 to be there by 9a.m.. With our nearly 7 y/o in tow, what to do from 9AM-9PM in San Francisco (excluding Alcatraz and any Gardens/Museums)?

First, en route before arriving in SF (doing the fast drive express highway), any towns worth a drive-thru?

I've though of that winding road (name escapes me), Fisherman's Wharf (Irish Coffee...?), Chinatown. Good choices?

Is driving accross the Golden Gate to Sausalito worth the time?

Gpaul is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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I've found it hard to find much of anything open before 10 a.m. in San Francisco, and since I found myself in SF fairly early, I decided to go on a Wok Wiz tour of Chinatown ( which I really enjoyed. You have to reserve in advance, and be at the office near the Transamerica building at 9:45 or so. We saw a lot of Chinatown with a tour guide who grew up there, and lunch was great. The crooked street you are thinking of is probably Lombard, and while Sausalito is nice, the traffic might be a problem depending on what part of the day you chose. Fisherman's Wharf is near North Beach, and you should have no problem finding Irish Coffee there; in addition, you and your son might like the ships at Pier 45 (liberty ship Jeremiah O'Brien and submarine Pampanito) as well as the ships at the Hyde Street Pier nearby. For more touristy stuff, Pier 39 is close and you can see the sea lions at that time of year, I think. Have fun!
likeswords is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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You did exclude garden/museums in your post, but you may want to consider a visit to the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum. It has many fun activities and experiments for kids and adults to try. It's an experience; not a museum. I think it's better than Boston's Science Museum (though I like BSM, too). You can spend a few hours or the entire day there. It's adjacent to the Palace of Fine Arts. The Palace rotunda is a beautiful building in a park setting. See:
MIWinnie is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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likeswords/Mlwinnie, TKS! Piers are now on the list, and I'll look into the Palace gardens (in the Connery movie of Alcatraz???).

Haight Ashbury, worthwhile for a drive-thru? Any towns on the way worth a drop-in?

Besides that Irish Coffee, any other Food or Beverage MUST HAVE in SF?
Gpaul is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 03:48 AM
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I'd suggest Fisherman's Wharf and the Maritime Museum there. It's free and a wonderful place for people who like ships. Then try Lori's Diner in Ghirardelli Square - funky burger place for families with kids.

If you find yourself near Union Square, there are a couple of other Lori's Diners there. One of them has a 50s car, believe it's a Buick, dangling from the ceiling.

Ride a cable car. Visit the cable car museum which is near Chinatown.

If you are driving the "fast drive express highway" it's probably Interstate 5. There's nothing to stop for along 5, just get it over with as quickly as possible. Cut over on Highway 152 to Highway 101. Then from 101, take Interstate 280 north to San Francisco. I280 is a very scenic route.

I'm kind of curious: are you driving through the night to San Francisco? And what happens at 9pm? Are you setting out for Tahoe at that hour? 12/29 means snow and therefore chains for the Tahoe drive. December is also the rainy season, it may not be worthwhile to come up to SF for one day in the rain. Just a few additional thoughts! Have a great trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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Great advice easytraveler! We leave LA at 4AM, hoping to arrive in SF by 9AM. Will definitely take the Routes you suggest, and most probably buy all-day passes to Cable Cars. Where to park the car and forget about it until 9PM (mind you, using Cable cars and walking all day)? Or, should we do the drive-to's (Lombard, Pier 39, Palaca gardens, Pier 45) first thing?

If weather permits we drive straight to Reno or S. Lake Tahoe that night; otherwise we sleep in Sacramento and on to S. Lake Tahoe on 12/30 @ 5AM to rent ski equipment and get to Squaw (or Alpine or Sugarbowl) before they open!

Gpaul is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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A word to the wise, although hwy 5 will be easy at that hour, you'll hit some bad traffic as you reach the bay area. That week will be better than most, but there will still be commuters out and I would expect a solid wait at the bay bridge. This could add an hour to your trip (usually 6 hours from Orange County, 5 from LA, without traffic).

I would identify which places (if any) you want to visit outside of the central Union Square/Chinatown/North Beach/Wharf area; drive there to check them out; then find a central place to park for the rest of your day. There are plenty of options for parking, with Union Square and the Wharf having the most/easiest options.
Mel is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Gpaul - I second the "word to the wise". I would plan on 7 1/2 hrs to SF if you get near the Bay Area between about 6:30am and 9:00, even on a light workday like Dec 29th. Longer if it's raining.

I will mark on my calendar the evening of the 30th - I don't want to be on the road anywhere near you that day. That's a Friday before a 3 day holiday weekend, and it's "getaway day" for people going to Tahoe. Have you really thought out spending all day at Disneyland, getting up at 2AM, driving all night at 75MPH, spending all day in SF (with no opportunity to snooze), and then driving all night to Tahoe, probably putting on tire chains, or even backed up for a 3+ hr stop because the roads might be closed !!!! That sounds dangerous to me!!! The Tahoe trip could be 8 hours.

Think about skipping SF and driving to Tahoe during the daytime.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Gpaul: I understand. I really do!

In my younger days, I've done crazier things. Once I stayed up an entire week without a wink of sleep - took finals and wrote papers and studied for the next finals. Then my roommate and I slept for a week - LOL!

Your 7 year old must be a real trooper to keep up with you! Meanwhile, you gotta live at a time when you think you're Superman and Wonder Woman rolled up into one!

If it's raining, take Stu's advice and go directly to Tahoe.

Otherwise, to be in SF by 9am you will have to start out no later than 3am from Los Angeles. Hope you have a partner to share the driving!

Leaving SF at 9pm will not be too bad, leaving at 10pm or even midnight would be better traffic-wise. Weather-wise, I'd suggest that you seriously consider stopping in Sacramento/before Sacto and then getting on the road VERY early Friday morning to get to Tahoe.

If it's snowing, you could spend a lot of time stuck on closed roads.

Perhaps it would be better to have a Plan B - like spending all your time in Southern California and enjoying all that it has to offer. Otherwise, you may be spending the better part of your "vacation" in the car.

Well, road warrior, happy travels!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 02:45 PM
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Hi Gpaul, I have to second Stu Dudley's comments. This itinerary of your's is a terrible idea IMO. This is the sort of trip that causes so many accidents on I-80, and believe me when I say there are many accidents.
I can only assume that this is your first trip to California and you have no idea of the road/weather conditions and the traffic congestion especially at the end of the week when the long NY Day weekend starts. I hope you reconsider this especially since your little one will be with you. Going without the proper amount of sleep is a big factor in death and serious related auto accidents. Besides your child please think about the safety of all the others that will be on the road with you. Please.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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First off (and to calm some fears here), I'm not 19 (actually more like 51 by December), and would never think of harming my or any one else's family, so don't worry about us barreling thru the day/night; we'll sleep as needed!

Next, THANKS for such candid and enlightening advice on SF/Tahoe driving; it won't be a first LA-SF, did that in summer of'85 with my first wife, sans children. But winter, that's another story, moreso if it's anything like 2004!

I was actually leaving SF for another ski trip when the kid is 10-11 so he can enjoy SF more, and now may actually revert back to that plan.

I guess Mother Nature will nudge me in some direction, maybe the following (Plan B): one more day (ay ay ay) at Disney, leave LA on 12/29 at 2pm, arrive @ 8 Sacramento, enjoy the wonderful(?) sights in that fair Capital, then at @ 5AM 12/30 on to South Lake Tahoe. What say to this?
Gpaul is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Gpaul, as much as I love SF, I think your Plan B sounds much more enjoyable. Everyone has their own pace, but your original plan was ambitious by all standards. Plan B will be good in that you'll miss rush hours for all the metro areas. But, you keep saying you'll leave LA, when I think you mean Anaheim. If you leave Anaheim at 2, you'll be through LA at 3, right as rush hours is beginning. A little earlier would make it the drive easier on you.

You might also consider a Plan C, if you're not trying to dance around pre-arranged cabin reservations. I always, always leave early in the morning (5ish) for the north/south drive on the 5 - it gets you out of the way of the trucks and most of the holiday traffic. If you stuck with your plan to leave early on 12/29, you could be in Tahoe by early afternoon (assuming no snow delays) and in good position to hit the slopes the next morning.
Mel is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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Gpaul: I applaud your sensible decision! ><

The Bay Area and Calfiornia in general in 2005 are nowhere like they were in 1985!

Last week, at least three days in a row there was an overturned/jack-knifed truck on I-80, your planned route from SF to Tahoe. The drive to Tahoe can be a nightmare even in good weather.

You got advice from some of the best: loveitaly and Stu among them. Good choice!

And, as Mel has pointed out, you can get from Southern California to Tahoe in one day, if you start out early enough.

If you postpone SF until your son is older, California will still be here. We're not due to slide into the ocean for another couple of hundred million years or so, so you've got time!

Have a safe trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Mel, Plan C (yours) sounds like a winner assuming I can tire our son of Disney with 2 full days (8AM-10PM); if we need more time, we will heed your advice to leave Anaheim by 1:30PM latest!

easytraveler, don't you dare advance the ocean slide at least until 2010!

OK, on I-5 to S. Lake Tahoe, absolutely no sights, worthwhile detours, anything????
Gpaul is offline  
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