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San Francisco - Happy Sweet 16, dining, shopping, Alcatraz and more!

San Francisco - Happy Sweet 16, dining, shopping, Alcatraz and more!

Aug 30th, 2009, 09:43 PM
  #1  
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San Francisco - Happy Sweet 16, dining, shopping, Alcatraz and more!

Who? Myself, 41 year old woman and my soon to be 16 year old stepdaughter -

We had a great time! We headed out from Orange County on a short flight to San Francisco on Friday - taking Virgin America - my new favorite airline. Cool hip vibe (whatever that is! HA), really nice flight attendants & personal TVS . Nice.

Arrived in SFO with no issues. Carried on bags so we head right over to take the BART into the city. Following YK's directions (and on the Virgin Flight they had a 5 minute little video about how to take the BART - cool!) - It was 8.10 for one way to Powell street - (so it appears the price might have gone up since some have been there) - I purchased enough for us to go r/t.

No issues on the BART - we got off on Powell Street - sort of turned around a bit but figured out where we were and headed up the hill to check into the St. Francis.. it is HOT out... yuck. We were hoping to get away from the 110 heat ... bleck. We arrive around 2:40 at the St. Francis - no line in the check in - a rather grumpy woman checks us in - but when we get to room 333 I forget grump face - and am thrilled with the room. VERY spacious.... I had read some feedback that the rooms were small. Not so here - it was one of the largest "regular" rooms I had been in. It was overlooking Union Square - Nice!

A quick drop of the bags and we head out - to check out the shopping for a few hours.

There is a meca of shopping right in Union Square - very high end stores that we window shop by but I have a place in mind... the MAC counter at Macy's. My Stepdaughter does not really wear much make up but wanted a few things - She glows as I plop her down and tell the counter guy to show her the ropes - she was giddy. A simple thing but a ton of fun for a 16 year old girl.

We shopped and walked around a little more - those with teen girls might be fimilar with the store "Forever 21" - there is a great one on the corner of Powell and Market I think? Right across from the Weisfield plaza mall - she was in heaven. We walked around for a little longer but have 5:30 dinner reservations at Yoshi's for Sushi - so soon head back to the hotel to get freshened up and head out for a cab...
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 30th, 2009, 10:32 PM
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Waiting for more, what a great step mom you will be, sounds like a great relationship. Will be there for the 1st time on Thurs. You say HOT, how hot is that? It says 70 high for Thurs., so already unpacked clothes for warm weather and threw in jeans and long sleeve T's. Coming from Vegas and am a real woosy when it comes to chilly weather.
LVAMY is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 01:05 AM
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Ah, so ready for this trip report! It already sounds like the trip was a blast. Can't wait to read more... especially the Wicked part
starrs is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 05:09 AM
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A beautiful start - can't wait to read more! We're flying VA for the first time next week - sounds good!
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 06:41 AM
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It sounds like a memorable trip for both of you! I am envious!!
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Aug 31st, 2009, 07:45 AM
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"I am envious!!"

Me too! Great start, Dawn!
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Aug 31st, 2009, 08:03 AM
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Thanks everyone!!

LvAmy - it was unusually hot in SF - I think it got up to almost 100?? But have no fear - it was cool by Sat later at night and by Sunday back to the fogged in morning and cool weather. Unfortunately Weather.com did lead us astray - we had checked the weather several times and it had said highs of 70-74. Oppsss... I would just layer your clothing. Jeans will be fine - t-shirts and a layer over it and you may want a real jacket. It can be chilly.

Okay... onto our first evening.

I had posted on my facebook page we were leaving and a dear friend told me her brother in law is the general manager of Yoshi's on Fillmore Street. So she called him and we were set to go at 5:30. We took a cab over - it is too far to walk and I was unsure about other public transportation. The cab was about 8.00 one way. We were greeted and treated very special. The g.m. was great - gave us a wonderful booth and the sushi was some of the best I have had in my life. We had over 8 orders (I know! I know!) and a wonderful dessert. They have a jazz club that looked like it was going to be big fun!
I highly recommend Yoshi's if you like good sushi.

I had purchased tickets to Wicked as a surprise for my stepdaughter. She was anxious to know where we were headed - as I only said we had some place to be at 8:00 pm. They called us a cab and we headed over to the theater about 7:00 - 7:15 - the cab ride was short and she was THRILLED when she saw the signs in front of the theater. What a treat for us both.

I love the theater - and have been blessed to see many different plays and musicals. Wicked has to be my all time favorite. It is such an amazing story and so heartwarming. I am sure my love of the Wizard of Oz doesn't hurt in my love for this show. I had seen it once before and loved it even more the second time.... We had good seats - about 23 rows up center stage. Perfect. I found the Orpheum more spacious than the Pangates where we usually go and very lovely old building.

Stepdaughter got a sweatshirt (See $$$$$ over priced but she was thrilled) and we headed out - the concierge had said that it is hard to get a cab on the way back from the theater and that it was not the best neighborhood - to not dwaddle and head back with the theater crowd. I have to say he was correct. It was about 11:00 pm on a Friday night and I honestly did not feel safe... I know there has been a few things said about this neighborhood but walking back to Powell for a few blocks was VERY dicey and I would not recommend it. Jmo of course. I think part of the problem was that Marilyn Mason was playing at a place that was on our walk back..not good... but is well that ends well and we had a FABULOUS first day!!!

The room was very quiet in spite of being only on the 3rd floor on Union Square. We were sound a sleep by midnight and had a busy day planned for Sat...
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 08:28 AM
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Glad you had such a great trip!

Yes, this was unusually hot weather for SF. It gets this hot about 3 times a year for 3 days each time. Not to worry, it's over for now.

Yoshi's - isn't it great?

The neighborhood walking back from the Orpheum - YUCK! I would have waited until I could get a taxi! When we park there, usually right around the corner, it's a yuck even walking around the block. Glad you got back safely. Honestly, I think it's the "regulars" that make it seem/be unsafe, not the Marilyn Manson (I assume that's who you meant) fans.

And, last, I did the same thing to my DD on HER 16th birthday. In our case it was "Hairspray" and in Manhattan. She didn't know where we were going until she saw the sign on the marquee. Great surprise.
sf7307 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Okay..so it *is unsafe. I was not sure. We tagged along with two other women - staying in a group. I think I would take a number to a cab company next time and call them if someone is reading this and is in the same situation.

Oh Hairspray! I took my 12 year old to see it last Oct and it was BIG fun! I love a show that makes you feel great and Hairspray sure did. What a cool thing to do for a 16th

Yoshi's IS great - I really loved it. Even if the gm was not making sure we were doing great it would have been wonderful. The sushi was top of the line.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 08:40 AM
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Keep the info coming, momma! Sounds great! You know I love SF!

Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:01 AM
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Sat morning...

We were up early - 7:30 am or so - got ready and headed out to grab something to eat. I generally stay away from over-priced hotel breakfasts - I asked a good place local to eat and they recommended Sears http://www.searsfinefood.com/ right up the street. We walked up towards it but the line was very long and we had 10:00 am Alcatraz tour tickets so we went across the street to Starbucks - they now serve more warm food items and had coffee, bagel, egg sandwhich and a frapaccino for 12.00 - that is my kind of breakfast

Took a cab (It was about 8.00 again) down to Pier 33 - it was already blazing HOT. Yikes. It was only around 9:00 am so we walked to Pier 39 - I wanted to show my stepdaughter all the seals. I just love those silly seals. It was fairly quiet without crowds due to how early it was and we did some photo ops - watched the funny creatures fighting and pushing and bitching at each other and headed back towards Pier 33...got in line and were soon boarded on our way to Alcatraz!

It was hot but cooled off nicely on the water. The Ferry ride over is one of my favorite parts of going to Alcatraz. Got to see the Bay Bridge and than the glorious Golden Gate. A few notes - no food really on the Island so plan your eating accordingly - you may bring water. And that we did due to how hot it was. It is a huge hike up hill but there is a tram if you are unable to make the climb.

The audio tour is included in your ticket and really a rather well done on - my stepdaughter also really enjoyed the tour. We did not meander too much after the tour - as I wanted to get to the Ferry Building before it closed at 2:00 pm.

So back to S.F. by about noon. The entire tour took us about 2 hours round trip and as I said we did not hang around so I think that is a fair amount of time to plan in your day.

We arrived back and walked from Pier 33 to the Ferry Building. It was very hot outside and it is a good walk. Not impossible but would have been more pleasant out of the blistering heat.

We arrived and what a meca of food! How I would love to have something like that in Orange County! WOW is all I can say.

We walked around and sampled foods - spring rolls, and pot stickers, crepes & gelato all called our name .. oh my! It hit the spot as we were hungry and honestly getting a little worn out... we plopped down on the ground with many others and enjoyed our goodies and needed to just rest a bit (Okay *I needed to rest a bit - I do not think my stepdaughter did)

About 1:30 or so we headed over to the BART to catch it up to Powell Street from the Hyatt Embaradaro . Short walk and I was done with all the hiking about. It let us off right at the Weisfield plaza which is where I wanted to be. Nice. I noted to myself that I had only purchased enough on the BART ticket for r/t to the airport so I was going to need to put a little more on before our return trip to SFO.

We walked around the mall a little - my feet were a aching... my stepdaughter did not know that we had 3:00 pm appointments for facials at Nordstrom Spa.

About 2:30 or so I headed up to the 5th floor and she was once again surprised and so excited.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:06 AM
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You are very good at keeping secrets!

BTW, the fare to the airport just went up in July, from something like $5.50 to the current $8+

(For anyone googling, it's "Westfield San Francisco Centre", not "Weisfield").


Did you get a macaron at Miette?
sf7307 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:08 AM
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ahhhhhhh - SF - keep on top of my spelling because it is BAD even when I *know what I am writing about

Yes! I did forget to include of course I got a macaron at Miette! SD was in line at the Gelato place and it was right next door calling my name. It was our lunch meal of the day (all the goodies there)...and I really enjoyed it. I will say again it would have been more pleasant if it was slightly cooler outside.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:10 AM
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Did you buy a Muni pass and ride the Cable Cars or the Market St. {F line} trolley?

I meant to remind you to keep your BART tickets, not to toss them after going in to train as you need them to get out! Seems that you remembered!

Deb
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Aug 31st, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Deb - I really had planned on tackling the F line trolley and the Cable cars with the Muni pass as we talked about - having said that with everything that was going on the weeks prior to the trip I let the ball drop and was not clear on how to do what. I believe I have shared before pretty openly I am a rather nervous traveler - I suffer from a little PTSD and think that plays into it. If I do not have a fairly good handle on things I am not great about stepping out (see: it took Doug Stallings and EllenM and a few others sharing EXACTLY how to take the subway in NYC I would not have - I printed out exact directions and carried them with me!)

So - no, I did not. I stuck to the BART which I had used and learned about when my ds was going to attend Art school in SF and we went up twice. I took cabs & we WALKED.

Next time I will.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:22 AM
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Nordstrom Spa

Abranz I believe recommended the Nordstrom spa - and it was great. I was not going to get a facial only have sd get one but on the phone the woman informed me that I needed to be present so I booked one for myself (I had thought I would just go to the cafe or something while she got her treatment).

The spa was very nice - not my favorite Burke Williams at all but nice. We were taken back at 3:00 pm and changed into our robes - sd was so cute! They then have you wait in a small "quiet room" and you get to soak your feet in a large basin of warm water. Let me tell you what - my tooties were a achin' so this felt WONDERFUL.

The treatments were very nice - only one complaint - it is the most someone has tried to sell me on products. It was a little annoying. I am not sure if they get a stronger commission because it is Nordstrom but she was pretty aggressive. It could have simply been the person who did my treatment - but over all a thumbs up! It was great to just relax for the hour.

We changed and headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up - we had 6:00 pm reservations at A16 that I was pretty excited about.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Dawn, it sounds like you and your stepdaughter had such a wonderful time!
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Aug 31st, 2009, 11:46 AM
  #18  
yk
 
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Hi MomDD, sounds like a great trip! I'm glad the BART & Westin St Francis both worked out well (and you got a great deal at the Westin IIRC).
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Aug 31st, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Great report and sorry you hit the heat wave! Sunday was freezing here.

I am reading your report like a fairy tale
Dayenu is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 02:19 PM
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Waiting to hear what you thought about A16 - we liked the food ok, but it was so noisy!

A facial, ahhhhhhhhhhh. Too bad about the hard sell, I hate that anywhere.

More, please!
Deb
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