Please review San Francisco itinerary

Mar 4th, 2007, 04:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 61
Please review San Francisco itinerary

My husband and I (late 20s) are headed to San Francisco next week. He is on a business trip and I am tagging along. We will be staying near Union Square and we will not have a car. This is my first trip to San Francisco and my husband has been numerous times before. His only request was to go to Alcatraz as heís never been. We are active, spend lots of time exploring cities by foot, and enjoy biking. We live in Manhattan, so I am less interested in museums and shopping and more interested in the activities unique to San Francisco. Iíve trolled the board for help in putting together the following itinerary.

(1) Wed-
- Arrive in Oakland- Take BART to hotel
-2:15 Gray Line Deluxe City Tour
-Meet husband for dinner at Burma Superstar (look in shops on Clement St while we wait)

(2) Thur-
-Chinatown Wok Wiz Tour
-Grab lunch- where?
-Financial District (Wells Fargo Museum, Transamerica building, Yerba Buena Gardens, etc)
-Nob Hill
-Meet husband at Plouf (Belden Place ) for dinner- he loves mussels.
-Walk to Top of the Mark for drinks and music

(3) Friday-
-Walk North Beach in the Morning
-Cable Car Museum
-Go to Swan Oyster Depot for a late Lunch
-Meet up with husband around 2 Ė Ride cable car to Ghirardelli Square and Cannery
-Walk over to Pier 39 to see Sea Lions and catch Night Tour to Alcatraz
-Gary Danko for Dinner

(4) Saturday-
-Ferry Terminal Farmerís Market (Breakfast)
-Walk along the Embarcadero (walk out on the fishing pier #7) to In and Out for Lunch
-Rent bikes from Blazing Saddles. Bike Ride along Marina, Golden Gate Bridge, Lincoln Park, Golden Gate Park, Presidio.
-Dinner at Pacific Catch
-Drinks? ĖBuena Vista or San Francisco Brewing Company

(5) Sunday-
- Dottieís for Breakfast
- Whatever strikes our fancy- Walking Telegraph Hill and the Filbert St Steps or a City Guide tour (Haight Ashbury, Gold Rush City, or Victorian San Francisco)
-Spend whatever time is left at Union Square Shops (not a big priority)
-Kuletoís for Dinner
-BART to San Francisco Airport for red eye home (ugh!)

Gray Line Tour- I usually like doing these tours as an intro to the city but the itinerary available on the internet is very vague. Does anyone know if it is worth it or will I basically see these sights throughout the week?

Chinatown Wok Wiz Tour- I plan on skipping the lunch. Iíve had dim sum before and the research Iíve done suggests that there are better places to eat in the area than where the tour takes you. Any recommendations? It doesnít have to be Chinese.

Gary Danko- We have 9:30 reservations. Is this ridiculously late for San Francisco dining?

Biking- Blazing Saddles recommends riding along the marina, down Lincoln Blvd, up El Camino del Mar, down Point Lobos to Seal Rock, into Golden Gate Park, and down and up arguello Blvd. I know this isnít easy terrain but is it relatively doable or would it be better to do it in reverse. Stu Dudley recommended a similar route (albeit shorter route) and said it was good for biking. Advice?

Transit- I was planning on purchasing a MUNI passport. Advice?

Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
HCart is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,139
We took the Grey Line Tour and were very happy with it. (and it appeared that others on the tour enjoyed it also). It went places we probably wouldn't have gone on our first visit, but enjoyed. Our guide was great, which is a big part of it, but probably most of them are good. It isn't a hop on and off tour, but you stop at about 4 places where you can use the bathrooms, buy snacks etc. The history, etc. they give you is very interesting.

Our first stop was Mission Delores, second was Twin Peaks (they may not stop there if the weather isn't great), third was at the Japanese Tea House in Golden Gate Park, and last was on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Although they do drive through North Beach, Chinatown and the Financial District, it is a quick trip through those areas and won't ruin your walking tours, etc.

Did you think about the Blazing Saddles tour that goes over the GGB into Sausalito and back by ferry?

maj is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,346
After dinner on day 2, I would go over to California Street and take the Cable car up to the Mark Hopkins. This is a killer hike.

MichelleY is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Posts: 61
MY-Thanks for the heads up on taking the cable car.

maj- Thanks for the info about Gray Line. I feel better about it now because I know those are places I wouldn't get to otherwise.

We did consider the ride across the Bridge and down to Sausalito but my husband has been there before. He was more interested in going along the coast and up to the GG Park where he hasn't been before. Too bad, because I get the feeling it would be an easier ride! But I am up for the other trip too.
HCart is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
I have never figured out why people want to go to Alcatraz.

Ferry rides are great on a nice day, but I would be tempted to take the bike on the ferry to Tiburon or Sausalito and ride from there.

Allow plenty of time for Swan Oyster Depot. There is always a line.

Consider going to Sears Fine Foods in Union Square for breakfast.

Your bike rides sound great if the weather is good. What will you do if it is terrible?
Ackislander is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
I'm not a big fan of San Francisco Brewing's a bit grungy and the beers are mediocre at best.

The Rogue Ales Public House is about the same distance from Pacific Catch and has much better beer. However, if you're more interested in a micro brew, I would opt for Thirsty Bear over San Francisco Brewing Company.

In the area, my favorite locally made beers are at Magnolia. But my favorite spot for a beer - hands down - is Toronado.
beanweb24 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
To each his or her own, but I think Alcatraz is cool. It has a very interesting history, has housed a lot of imfamous people, and affords some great views.
J_Correa is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,627
HCart - Hello, just located your thread and we are visiting San Francisco in July.

Would you do the Gray Line Tour again? Any other thoughts/recommendations/tips on the places you ate, visited etc.


SandyBrit is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 185
Definitely have Irish Coffees at the Buena Vista!! Watching the pros make it is fun in itself!
We also enjoy hitting the Tonga Room in the Fairmont is sooo kitschy, but it's good fun. You're probably too young to remember Trader Vic's in Manhattan, but it's got a similar theme, and it seems sooo misplaced in the elegant, stately Fairmont! Enjoy!!
LittleSalty is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
I often join my husband in San Francisco when he's there on business.

Our favorite tour (on wheels) is the motorized cable car tour. Goes over the Golden Gate bridge (with some free time to look around and take photos) and back. (Vehicles are "open", as opposed to the huge tour buses.)

The boat tours (especially at sunset) are nice.

All the walking tours are terrific. Especially enjoyed the "Victorian Walk", which you might want to do on your own (when he's working).

We did the Wok Wiz tour with lunch - food was plentiful and very good. In the alternative, you could head over to the Ferry Building for lunch.

Definitely purchase MUNI passports.

Even if you're not planning to shop, the escalators at the San Francisco Shopping Center on Market Street are well worth a look (take the elevators to the top and ride down). There's a literature desk within that's even better than the Visitor's Center. And, there's a coffee cart right across the way that's a lovely spot to rest/relax.

The Rotunda in Neiman Marcus is a fabulous place to take yourself for lunch.

djkbooks is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 13
There's a great book store to browse while you wait for dinner on your first night, Green Apple Books, at 506 Clement St.

In case you want to experience some of San Francisco's history:

Thursday lunch:
Jeanty at Jacks combines S.F. history with excellent food -- it's about 3 blocks from the TransAmerica building

Saturday a.m --check out the old post office and fountain in Rincon Center, at 101 Spear,not too far south of the Ferry Building, and the Folger's Coffee Building, at 101 Howard, which is on the National Register

You can take an old, restored street car along the Embarcadero.
Marinette is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
I wouldn't skip Alkatraz. It's for history and movie lovers.

While buying a MUNI pass, also buy a MUNI map - it's the best map of the city with all bus lines in color, the easiest one to use.
FainaAgain is offline  

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