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San Francisco

Old Aug 6th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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San Francisco

Hi, we will be in SF on Aug 27 to 30th. We are in our early 30s. Need ideas on what to do, where to go and where to eat(not too pricy but good). Both of us haven't been to SF since we were in our early teens. We will have a car so driving is not an issue. Thanks again...
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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A day in wine country. We love Oakville - go to the Oakville Grocery for picnic food then visit Cakebread, Silver Oak, PlumpJack and Mondavi. Take the tour at Mondavi. You can also stop by Opus One but the tastes are pricey!!
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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the following message started at the end of July and with frequent additions may be helpful
"What to do in three days in San Francisco??" http://tinyurl.com/2d9vvg
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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Speaking of "3 perfect days" - I always enjoy this feature n the United airlines Hemisphere magazine:

San Francisco
Onthe evening of April 17, 1906, Enrico Caruso sang to a capacity crowd of ladies in white gloves and gentlemen in top hats at the opulent San Francisco Opera House. San Francisco reveled in its post–Gold Rush heyday.

The next morning, “The Champagne Days” were over. At 5:14 a.m., San Francisco was jolted by a massive earthquake. “The Big One” ignited fires across the city that burned for three days, destroying 500 city blocks and 25,000 buildings and leaving more than a quarter-million people homeless.

In short order, the city was rebuilt and the glory days returned. But 100 years later, a bittersweet nostalgia over San Francisco’s most defining moment lives on. With events planned for the centennial of the earthquake of 1906, there’s no better time to explore the City by the Bay.

A metropolis of icons that include the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge, clanking cable cars, and roller-coaster streets, San Francisco is the birthplace of blue jeans, Chinese fortune cookies, mountain bikes, and California cuisine. Sparked by its inimitable blend of youthful exuberance and Old World sophistication, the city boasts dazzling new museums and world-class restaurants, packing a cultural and culinary punch that’s tough to match. Factor in the myriad after-dinner diversions, including local theaters, an opera, a ballet company, and a vibrant music scene, and there are more reasons than ever to leave your heart in San Francisco.

DAY ONE / On your first perfect morning, wake up at the Fairmont Hotel, the grand dame of San Francisco’s Nob Hill. In April 1906, just days before its scheduled grand opening, this gleaming white hotel was completely gutted by an earthquake fire. One year later, the Fairmont finally opened, celebrating with a huge party. Historic black and white photographs in the lobby commemorate these early days.

After breakfast in the Fairmont’s airy Laurel Court, head west for a look at the city’s prevailing architectural style: the San Francisco Victorian. San Francisco was born in the Victorian era, and throughout the city you’ll catch glimpses of jewels such as the Painted Ladies, a block of picture-perfect Victorians along Alamo Square Park. After a gander at these brightly painted homes with a backdrop of San Francisco’s skyline, proceed to the meticulously preserved Victorian house museum Haas-Lilienthal House. This Queen Anne–style Victorian with Italianate details was built in 1886 and provides a good look at how San Franciscans lived at the turn of the century. Inside you’ll discover period furnishings, paintings, and Chinese ceramics. Since you called ahead, you’ve timed your visit to catch one of the San Francisco Heritage Society’s architectural tours.

Still pondering pre-earthquake San Francisco? Head down to the Old Mint at Fifth and Mission streets in the city’s South of Market area. This is the starting point of the Barbary Coast Trail, a 3.8-mile self-guided walking tour that leads past key historical sites. Celebrating the city’s past from the days of the Gold Rush, the tour winds through Union Square, Chinatown, Russian Hill, and North Beach (a colorful Italian neighborhood).

Fortify yourself with lunch before traveling too far back in time. East meets West (and caters to San Francisco’s burgeoning Asian-American population) at the E&O Trading Co., a pan-Asian eatery where the food is as interesting as the wall décor. The Indonesian corn fritters with chile-soy dipping sauce are a sure hit.

After lunch, continue on the Barbary Coast Trail to the financial district and the Wells Fargo History Museum to discover how the stagecoach settled the West. Then you’re ready to climb Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, the city’s art-deco treasure. Even more breathtaking than the climb are the panoramic views of the bay and the enormous murals painted by dozens of artists, many of whom studied under world-renowned Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

If time is too short to finish your tour of the Barbary Coast Trail, cut over to Mason Street, stopping off at the Cable Car Museum at Mason and Washington streets. At this free museum, replete with clanking cars and groaning cables, visitors can see the machinery that operates the city’s cable cars.

Here, you are just a few blocks from the hotel. Stop in for a mai tai at the Fairmont’s Tonga Room before heading out for a San Francisco treat: dinner at Michael Mina. Hop the cable car down to Union Square and the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Inside, Michael Mina beckons diners with its blend of understated sophistication and talk-of-the-town seafood. After a starter of the signature ahi tuna tartare, launch into the potato crusted John Dory with crème fraîche and truffle salsify while Union Square views and piano-bar music soothe your soul.

After a sumptuous dinner, hail a cab for the waterfront. At the foot of the sparkling Bay Bridge, inhale the atmosphere of La Suite, one of San Francisco’s hottest French bistros. Enjoy dessert and espresso outdoors under a beautiful night sky.

DAY TWO / Set off for the Ferry Plaza, an indoor/outdoor market dedicated to the culinary arts. In the city where California cuisine was born, the Ferry Plaza is a veritable food museum showcasing the best Bay Area products. Culinary cognoscenti shop here for the finest artisinal ingredients, and diners pray for a table within the super-chic walls of the award-winning Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door. Ferries arrive at the docks behind the Ferry Building, one of San Francisco’s first high-rises, but the myriad purveyors selling olive oil, caviar, kitchen gadgets, and organic beef are the main course here. On Saturdays, crowds gather for the popular farmers’ market.

Just about any day, breakfast at Boulette’s Larder is a huge draw with in-the-know locals. This sophisticated Euro-style kitchen serves up homemade morsels. On Sundays, the hot beignets with yogurt and rosemary-scented raspberry sauce are not to be missed.

Energized by the wholesome creations at Boulette’s, set off on a power walk along the Embarcadero. You’ll share it with in-line skaters, runners, and bicyclists who enjoy the wide esplanade of San Francisco’s accessible waterfront.

At Battery Street, you’ll walk by the corporate headquarters of Levi Strauss & Co., the family-owned blue jeans company founded in 1853. Today they’re still churning out the same riveted jeans made famous by Gold Rush miners. Step inside the main entrance by the fountain for an exhibit on the jeans’ history.

Now you’re ready for lunch at Piperade, a Basque restaurant created by award-winning chef Gerald Hirigoyen to celebrate the cuisine of his French Basque homeland. Rustic and soulful, this is some of the most exciting food in the city. If the unforgettable Basque chicken is being served, try it.

Now hop on the vintage trams, changing at Market Street, and glide along the Embarcadero to AT&T Park, arguably the most attractive ballpark in the country. Located on the waterfront with kayaks and sailboats circling on game days, the handsome brick stadium is a stunning example of urban design and a wonderful place to visit even when the Giants are on the road. Inside, the park sports batting boxes and a giant Coke-bottle slide that will entertain kids of all ages. The baseball season opens April 3.

If there’s no ball game, spend the afternoon at the ultra-hip W Hotel, home of London-based Bliss. Peppy turquoise products and clever treatments like “Blissage” make pampering more fun than ever.

Next, head for the Mission District, the Hispanic quarter south of Market and Van Ness. At 16th and Dolores, the ornate, colonial Mission Dolores Church recalls the time when California was a Spanish possession. Built in 1776 by the Franciscan fathers, the Mission Dolores survived the earthquake of 1906 and is one of 21 California missions along the El Camino Real.

Follow the day’s dose of history with an urban myth— Myth restaurant, that is. This Jackson Square spot offers such tasty temptations as mushroom-dusted scallops with chanterelles and grilled chicken with caramelized onions and rosemary.

After dinner, saunter over to North Beach for the late show at Beach Blanket Babylon, the nation’s longest-running musical revue, complete with political humor,
singing and dancing, and the most towering hats in town.

DAY THREE / This morning you’ll explore San Francisco by car. Head west to the copper tower hovering above Golden Gate Park—the widely acclaimed de Young Museum. Feast on a breakfast of local products in the café while planning your museum visit.

San Francisco is known more for Victorian charm than for contemporary architecture, but since the de Young reopened last fall, pundits have hailed the copper-embossed building as a masterpiece. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows invite the natural beauty of the park inside, illuminating galleries of American art as well as haunting collections of African and Oceanic works. Head to the observation tower for spectacular views. Outside, a commissioned installation by famed British environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy recalls a fissure in the earth, an obvious reference to San Francisco’s tectonic activity.

After the museum, explore the vast, emerald-green canvas of Golden Gate Park, a sprawling landscape of waterfalls and windmills, lotus ponds, and furry bison. Ready to roll on an adventure? Rent a pair of in-line skates or a bike at Golden Gate Park Skate & Bike. Stretching a third of the way across the San Francisco peninsula from the Pacific, Golden Gate Park features an exotic palette of flora. The center of the garden is surely the newly renovated Conservatory of Flowers, a white glass-domed building enclosing rainforest beauty.

Now it’s time for lunch at the Cliff House, the only oceanfront restaurant in San Francisco. The views of Point Lobos and the surging Pacific are exhilarating.

At the casual New Bistro, sample the Ben Butler, a Dungeness crab sandwich topped with cheddar cheese. With the sea in your head, begin your journey through the Presidio, a former military base now popular with golfers and bicyclists.

Continue eastward to the Palace of Fine Arts, a classical sandstone rotunda created in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibit. It’s a pretty place to sit and reflect on a sunny day.

From here, ramble over to the Marina Green for Golden Gate views so commanding they deserve a bow. On a spit of land past the St. Francis Yacht Club, explore the musical eccentricities of the Wave Organ, a wave-activated acoustic sculpture.

If time allows, visit Fort Mason Center, the waterfront home of five museums, six theaters, City College of San Francisco’s Art Campus, and Greens Restaurant.

Scoot back to the Fairmont to change for a romantic dinner at Quince. The hushed tones of this understated Pacific Heights restaurant are interrupted only by the “ahhhhs” of lucky diners savoring the sophisticated Italian cuisine of chef-owner Michael Tusk. Try the wild nettle sformato, followed by chitarra, square spaghetti tossed with anchovies, olive oil, and black truffles. End a sumptuous dinner with roasted California sea bass over puntarelle, a type of chicory.

After Quince, step out for live jazz and wine at Bacar, a restaurant and wine salon with the hip, industrial edge you expect in today’s San Francisco. As you savor the sultry sounds of yesteryear and the tantalizing tastes of today, remember your three perfect days, the myths and the motion, the flavors and the fantasy, making a heartfelt promise to return soon.

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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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Rent bicycles from Fisherman's Wharf and ride over to Sausalito.

Also, you can have dinner at the House of Prime Rib. Oh, how I miss the House of Prime Rib. Surprisingly affordable and excellent quality of food (assuming you are a carnivore). Make reservations now.
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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Oh and if you do decide to visit wine country and Mondavi/Opus One, join the wine club. Tastings at Mondavi for you and your significant other will be covered as will a glass at Opus One. You can cancel wine club membership at any time.

However, I prefer Cakebread over the Mondavi winery by far. If you have to choose, that is.
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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The car issue. Do you really need one? Have you checked hotel parking rates? San Francisco is a compact city and can be easily managed with its excellent public transportation system. A car is a liability. EXCEPT, if you plan to drive out of the city to the wine country, for example, for a day. Then rent the car for that day only.

We visit the City 8 or 9 times a year...we have season theater tickets and need to stay overnight. I always look for "parking packages" for hotels because most of them are charging up to $40/night for parking.
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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There is a car rental place at the Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf. They allow you to return at any time day or night through the hotel valet.

We actually stayed at the Sheraton (kind of yucky but we got it very cheap through Priceline)

You don't have to stay there to rent a car from them. If I am remembering correctly I believe it was through Dollar.

Also it was cheaper to rent the car each day and return it each night that it was to keep the car for 3 or 4 days....(which I found weird). You also saved the hotel parking fees on to of that.
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