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San Francisco Anniversary Trip

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May 15th, 2013, 12:20 PM
  #1
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San Francisco Anniversary Trip

My wife are looking into visiting San Francisco, for the first time, for our 19th anniversary in March, 2014. We're fairly well traveled (I know, how have we not been to San Fran??) and in our late 30s. We like to blend into a neighborhood, as we've done in Rome, New York, etc., and thus like apartment rentals over hotels. We usually use vrbo.com or homeaway.com for rentals. We're both fit and enjoy walking whenever possible. A couple of specific questions:

1. What neighborhood(s) would you recommend? We love good food, wine, art, history, etc. Touristy is not really our thing.

2. What are the can't miss attractions, restaurants?

Thanks for any help Fodorites!
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May 15th, 2013, 01:09 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Whereever you stay, you're going to have to travel around the city (where public transportation is very good) to see the sights. There are a few (but very few) bad neighborhoods, where you wouldn't want to stay - the Tenderloin in particular. Practically anywhere else would be great - I'm partial to Noe Valley and Duboce Triangle myself, although I live elsewhere (closer to downtown).

where are you coming from? Do you like "urban grit", "upscale residential", "yuppie", "street scene"??
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May 15th, 2013, 05:12 PM
  #3
 
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sf7307 - you moved when I wasn't looking???

I am also a fan of the Noe Valley.

Here are my ideas of things to do

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
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May 15th, 2013, 05:19 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: May 2003
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we stayed at this great condo in Duboce Triangle:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23636

I highly recommend this great place to stay!

Make sure to take advantage of the FREE walking tours, sponsored by SF Public Library -

They are great and really let you see things you might otherwise miss. A $5 donation per person is nice, but not required.

http://www.sfcityguides.org/
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May 15th, 2013, 05:33 PM
  #5
 
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@Stu, I did! We're renting near the ballpark now, looking for a condo to buy.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:30 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Noe valley has some nice rentals on VRBO and it is a great area. While you are here, You might look into the Victoria House tour which meets in Union Square. very low key and very interesting. YOu actually take a public bus to a group of Victorians and tour one of them and talk about the architecture and design of the others from a knowledgeable docent. It is a nice walk from there down to Union Street where there are some nice restuarants and shops. Chinatown Walking tour is also very interesting. I live here and have done both. Day trip to Sausalito on the Ferry is great and a must see is the Alcatraz tour. Absoutely the best....Muir woods, Sonoma wineries and if you are lucky to be here in baseball season, the Giants!.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:30 PM
  #7
 
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Noe valley has some nice rentals on VRBO and it is a great area. While you are here, You might look into the Victoria House tour which meets in Union Square. very low key and very interesting. YOu actually take a public bus to a group of Victorians and tour one of them and talk about the architecture and design of the others from a knowledgeable docent. It is a nice walk from there down to Union Street where there are some nice restuarants and shops. Chinatown Walking tour is also very interesting. I live here and have done both. Day trip to Sausalito on the Ferry is great and a must see is the Alcatraz tour. Absoutely the best....Muir woods, Sonoma wineries and if you are lucky to be here in baseball season, the Giants!.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:51 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Maybe Hayes Valley which is near the Symphony, Opera House, and the Asian Art Museum? The area near the Ferry Building is also very nice and central. North Beach? Pacific Heights? The Fillmore? The Marina?

Not: The Tenderloin, The Sunset (too sedate), Presidio (too far), Hunter's Point or Bayview.

Not to miss: any great art museum exhibits that might be going on, walking along the bay near the Ferry Building & Ballpark. Explore North Beach & Chinatown. Explore Golden Gate Park and the new Exploratorium. (I haven't been yet but I want to go).

Explore the museums near Yerba Buena. Eat a lot in the Mission. Go to some weird alternative theater. (one example) http://thrillpeddlers.com/

See what's playing at the Castro: http://www.castrotheatre.com/

I just saw that you're not coming until March 2014, so you have a lot of time to plan.

San Francisco is small enough that you can explore it all, and (in my opinion) most of the touristy things are a lot of fun too. (Sea Chanty Sing http://www.nps.gov/safr/historyculture/chantey-sing.htm and the Maritime Museum which is near Fisherman's Wharf, and even Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundaes, and Buena Vista Irish Coffees make that area fun. I like Green's vegetarian, and the weird wave organ http://www.exploratorium.edu/visit/wave-organ and improv theater at Fort Mason. http://www.improv.org/Home.aspx

Goldstar is a good resource for Bay Area theater, and it's free to join. http://www.goldstar.com/san-francisco/events

City Lights Bookstore, http://www.citylights.com/
Spec's Twelve Adler Museum Café http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/articl...er-2827944.php
Vesuvio Café http://www.vesuvio.com/
Walking up Grant Street and exploring North Beach.

I know I'm being kind of random, but San Francisco is a wonderful city and it is easy to touch it's essence. I've lived 30 minutes outside the city for a long time, and it is always beautiful and surprising. I'm a bit of a local & a bit of a tourist.
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May 15th, 2013, 10:11 PM
  #9
DAX
 
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I absolutely love Pacific Heights or Marina for their nice neighborhood restaurants and people, young and old, hardly any tourist, mostly nice local residents.

Our current favorite neighborhood restaurants:
Standard French: Chez Maman on Hayes, RN74 in South Beach, Fringale in SoMa, Chouquet on Fillmore (we used to love the last two till we got sick of their same menu).
Italian: Perbacco for good Italian in the Financial District, Ristobar for good Italian in the Marina, Della Rossa for cheap italian in the Marina younger crowd. Incanto for good offal dishes, La Ciccia for inexpensive Sardinian seafood appetizers, Sociale for cozy Italian in Pacific Heights, SPQR on Fillmore for fun crowded italian small dishes (eat at the food/wine bar instead of at the little tables), it has a sister restaurant A16 in the Marina which we don't care for. Simple neighborhood seafood: Woodhouse right across the street from SPQR. Tony Napolitana Pizza for special pizze in North Beach.
German/Austrian: Suppenkuche for german fare on Hayes (beer garden), Leopold for austrian country atmosphere on Polk.
Breakfast: Stacey's on Hayes or at any of "The Grove" branches.
Thai: OSHA at the Embarcadero or Union St for well presented Thai food, plenty of other 'hole in the wall' serving good Thai dishes.
Burmese: Burma Superstar on Clement street in Richmond.
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May 16th, 2013, 05:47 AM
  #10
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Thanks so much for all the fantastic and varied info! We're coming from the Mississippi Delta, which is about as different as it gets from San Francisco!
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May 16th, 2013, 05:59 AM
  #11
 
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(Be careful about renting in Noe Valley, there are some killer hills that after along day of walking around will be tough).

Make sure you buy a SF Muni Visitor Pass; great way to see the city and get around-
http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passports.htm
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May 16th, 2013, 07:49 AM
  #12
 
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If you do take a walk along the Embarcadero, try Coqueta for lunch -- it's brand new, a Michael Chiarello restaurant, and it's very good and a very pleasant spot, mostly small plates to share. We sat at the bar and watched the world go by outside while we ate.
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May 16th, 2013, 02:34 PM
  #13
 
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How long does it take to get from Noe Valley to downtown SF via public transportation? thanks
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May 16th, 2013, 02:44 PM
  #14
 
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Too many mommies and strollers for my taste. The vibe in The Castro/Duboce Triangle is so much better and easy ride in.
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May 16th, 2013, 03:13 PM
  #15
 
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Noe Valley = Too many mommies and strollers for my taste.Sorry.
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May 16th, 2013, 07:38 PM
  #16
 
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About 40 minutes depending on where you start.
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May 16th, 2013, 09:39 PM
  #17
 
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Thanks, sf. What do you think of the location of the apt DebitNM mentioned above
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23636
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May 16th, 2013, 10:08 PM
  #18
 
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Great location. Close to all the Market street transportation options. Lost of restaurants close by. When DebitNM was considering this place, my wife & I "checked it out" for her. Nice place, even a backyard where her husband could store their motorcycle or have a Bar-B-Que. It is at the "doorstep" of the Castro.

Noe Valley at 30th street is about 40 mins on the J-Church from the Embarcadero Muni Metro station. 24th St in the Noe Valley is about 30 mins from the Embarcadero. The J-Church is now mostly a fast underground ride. When sf7307 & I lived in the Noe Valley in the 70s, it was above ground - and a longer ride.

Stu Dudley
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May 16th, 2013, 10:26 PM
  #19
 
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Love Duboce Triangle - it's one of the areas where we're looking for a condo. Actually much closer to downtown than much of Noe Valley.
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May 17th, 2013, 05:55 AM
  #20
 
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Thanks, StuD & sf
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