San Francisco HELP!


Jul 21st, 2007, 01:38 PM
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San Francisco HELP!

OK... here's the situation. My birthday is on August and my mom and my dad (both age 60 and phisically fit), my brother (23) and I (26) are planning a trip. We live in the Philadelphia area and we are planning to go down to Las Vegas and the San Francisco area. This has been kind of hard to plan because my mom is a Vegas super and extremely fan. I have never been there before but my mom wants to take me there. She didn't want to go out of Vegas (did I mention she was a real Vegas fan?!?) but since it is my birthday I told her I have some rights to at least take a decision regarding where I want to go. I wanted to go to LA but since I DO NOT want to drive on my vacation I decided to switch to SF instead.

Now that you know the story behind the trip. I need some REAL HELP... We are first-timers in California and I Really need some ideas on where to go, where to eat and what to do...I'm a HUGE fan of wine so any Wine County tours recommendations will be greatly apreciated!!! Or, my mom will REMIND ME FOREVER what a bad idea was to get out of Vegas...

Please remmeber that we will not rent a car. We will be there for 5 whole days at the end of August... I know is not a long time but that was the most I could get out of my mom and her Vegas-fatal attraction...

We will stay at the Fisherman's Wharf area.

ALSO, since my brother will go too, any recommendations on WHERE TO PARTY will be awesome!

I will be checking often so PLEASE let me know if you have any questions that I could answer.


ggcoralysp is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2007, 02:15 PM
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Hey Coral,
my husband and I are headed to SF the first week of August. I went to SF as a teenager and LOVED it. So, we are headed back for our vacation.

We are staying at The Tuscan Inn in Fisherman's Wharf. We have a night time tour of Alcatraz scheduled. Plan on doing lunch in Chinatown one day. Will go Sat morning to The Ferry Building for breakfast/farmers market. We are planning on biking/walking the golden gate bridge one day and ferrying back from Sausalito. We are then driving down to Monterey for the aquarium and further on down to Cambria to see Hearst Castle.

We can't wait for our trip...I am sure ya'll will have a great time too!
bebalm is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2007, 03:41 PM
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What made you choose Fisherman's Wharf as a place to stay??? It's pretty touristy & tacky, IMO. It you enjoy T-shirt shops, Wax Museums, Fast food places, Ripleys, ice cream. cheap souveniers - then it's OK. But if you want to discover why this is such a great place to live - try someplace else like Union Square, Embarcadero, or if you're brother wants to party - the Marina close to Chestnut & Union Streets (lots & lots of restaurants and wine & sports bars.

Do a search on "Stu Dudley" on the US forum & you'll fine lots of ideas about places to visit, things to see, free walking tours, a discussion of specifics regarding hotel locations, scenic spots in the City, etc.

BTW, we have Indian gaming places here - with Vegas type shows. I don't like gambling (took too many math courses in College), but Cash Creek is advertised a lot. I'm sure there are gambling buses to get you there.

Stu Dudley
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Jul 21st, 2007, 05:17 PM
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The casino Stu Dudley mentioned is Cache Creek (not Cash Creek - in more ways then one )

You will not need a car in SF at all - I agree w/ Stu re Fisherman's Wharf. W/ the exception of one or two properties it is maybe not the best area to stay. Not horrible (not nearly as horrible as some SF residents preach on here) and if you are booked into a nice place you will probably enjoy it. But other parts of town are better.

Now - about that no driving thing. You say you want to go to the wine country - and there are 4 of you. There are guided day trips of the wine country from SF - but they are very expensive and you'd need to pay for 4 tickets. It would be better and MUCH cheaper if you rented a car for one day and drove up to Napa/Sonoma on your own.
janisj is online now  
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Jul 21st, 2007, 09:27 PM
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Hi ggcoralysp, here is the website for Cache Creek.

It is a good two hour drive from SF. You would need a car, no busses except I think from Sacramento.

You will probably want to check out the SF Chronicle's for all kinds of ideas about restaurants, clubs, wine country etc.

Best wishes..and have a beautiful birthday!
LoveItaly is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2007, 10:04 PM
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Hmmm, well here it is again ggcoralysp.
LoveItaly is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2007, 05:47 AM
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The hotel is already booked. I did wanted to stay downtown, specially since I read somewhere this

"All San Franciscans love to hate Fisherman's Wharf. Content never to visit the area, they complain of the tacky shops selling cheap souvenirs, the "novelty" museums whose novelty has long worn off and busloads of tourists blocking the view to Alcatraz."

Anyway, it was my big sister's husband idea of booking there. And after his recommendation, there was nothing else to say. So, at least, if it is not good I can blame it to somebody else!!!!

Anyway, since I have not much time and I want to get to know the city and it beauties, should I book one of those "San Francisco tours" or should I just walk to the different areas? If so, which areas should I take first?

Like I said, I have 5 days... One of those days will be to visit the wine country... which I think I will still take a bus tour since no one in my family will want to be the "designated driver"...

I don't know... I'm kind of lost! I found a SF Neighboorhood list in SF Gate but there are so many...
will all take a day to explore???? If so, then 5 days will kinda suck! Which ones are the better???

ggcoralysp is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2007, 06:58 AM
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ggcoralysp, on our first day there, we did one of the bus tours that leaves from the Wharf, and it was a fantastic one. The guide was great, he gave you plenty of time for photos, and we felt we got a good overview of the place. We only had three days, and needed to see a lot in a short time. Our tour was two to three hours, I believe. Worth every cent!

The Italian neighborhood is wonderful; be sure to have a dinner or lunch there. Union Square is very cool, and I would stay there or the Embarcadero next time. Our hotel was about three blocks from Fisherman's Wharf; it is fine for a first visit. There is a lot of tacky, but there's much fun stuff, as well, and it is a very convenient area to catch tours, the cable cars, etc. from. Be sure to eat the clam chowder in the sourdough bread bowl on the Wharf, and I ate wonderful fried seafood outside there. Have a great trip!
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Jul 22nd, 2007, 07:37 AM
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I have visited san Francisco several times, and have pretty much stayed in most of the "hotel" areas, and unlike the locals, I really haven't found a bad area to stay in, including Fisherman's Wharf. Is it highly tourist oriented? Definitely! With all the shirt shopss and the such it is much like a beach town. But it does have it's attributes too. It is very convenient for the bus tours and boat tours, which all leave from there. I enjoy walking the area in the morning before everything opens and all the people get there, just enjoying the view of the bay and watching all the seafood vendors set up. Alcatraz is a great attraction. And you might want to take the ferry over to Sausilito, spending a couple of hours to shop around or maybe have lunch. I have never stayed in any section of SF and not had a really good time. Did I tell you that it is my favorite city to visit? As far as visiting the wine country, we have traveld through several times by car and really enjoyed it. Since you only want to go for the day, I would reccomend the Napa Vally Wine Train. We did it the last time we were in SF and really enjoyed it. A bus will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the terminal, where you get on the bus that takes you to Napa. Along the way it stops at a wine tasting place, where you can taste and buy wine. From there you go to Napa, where you board the train. It takes you on a three hour ride through the vineyard, offering a very good lunch as you go. the train also has a winecar, where the have someone there talking about the wine and where they have wine tasting also. After you get off the train there is a store there that offers souveniers and the bottles of wines that were offered on the train. From there, you are transported back to SF, going across the Golden Gate Bridge this time. Along the way, it makes a stop at a vineyard, where again, you can taste and purchase wine. We really enjoed it! if you are more into actually touring a winery, then the regular bustrip may be more to your liking. As far as restaurants go, what type of restaurants are you looking for? It is hard to suggest places when I don't know what you are interested in. As far as suggesting other things to do, what kind of things are you looking for? Shopping? Museums? Attractions? Neighborhoods?
don512 is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2007, 09:28 AM
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You (and your brother) might like to rent bikes and ride across the bridge to either Sausalito or Tiburon. If you get an early start, you can go to Tiburon and then go out to Angel Island. You can take the ferry back from either of those towns.

Don't worry about your hotel. It will be fine. Check out the bars and pubs on Chestnut Street in the Marina District. It's a popular spot for local young people.
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Jul 22nd, 2007, 04:05 PM
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Fisherman's Wharf is fine - not to worry. It isn't ideal, IMO, but not terrible. It is touristy, but you are tourists And with public transporation in SF, it is relatively quick to get downtown and to other parts of SF to see other things. I do think it is funny though that your brother-in-law got to pick the accomodations even though he isn't going on the trip But then your mom doesn't even want to explore anything outside Las Vegas, so the hotel thing does sort of make sense in that context - LOL.

J_Correa is offline  
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Jul 22nd, 2007, 04:26 PM
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Here's a great tour of the wine country with a ride on the ferry included. We used them one time and were very pleased.

My daughters enjoy Club Six in the SOMA & Milk in the Haight district for "where to party".

Try this site to help plan your trip -
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