San Francisco Trip Report/ 3/26-4/1

Old Apr 1st, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 13,279
San Francisco Trip Report/ 3/26-4/1

Hi Folks, We are back from our great trip to San Francisco!!! Thanks to all who gave great tips and advice and of course recommendations! LoveItaly, we loved the Mona Lisa and wound up eating dinner there twice!
3/26-Arrived to SF and checked into the Stanford Court Renassaince Hotel. I highly recommend this hotel. It is a Marriott chain, but it definitely had an older hotel feel. The beds were very comfortable and the staff very helpful. We enjoyed our stay here and the location couldn't be beat. We were located on SNob Hill!
Our first night we had an early dinner at McCormicks and Kuletos down on the wharf. The food was good and the atmosphere nice, but it is pricey.
3/27-Had morning walking tour with Wok Wiz and had Dorothy as our tour guide. I highly recommend this as this was our favorite thing in SF. The history of the chinese was fascinating. My girls loved Chinatown the most and we spent a few afternoons wandering around purchasing all kinds of souveniers. We had an afternoon show of Beach Blanket Babylon and even the kids laughed out loud. It is a fun show. We had our first dinner at Mona Lisa. Dinner was excellent and staff attentive. This was one of our least expensive and since it was so good and reasonable, we went back our last night (Thurs).
3/28-We took the boat to Alcatraz. This is an interesting place. The boat ride started out raining, but the weather cleared. We walked all over the Wharf and Pier 39. The kids enjoyed this and we lunched at the Rain Forest Cafe. An overpriced hamburger place if you ask me.
3/29 We rented a car from Alamo on Bush st. This is the most unorganized establishment and it took an hour and a half to get the car. Of course, it was not the right car and I am still not sure what we actually paid for it since the computers were down when we returned it the next day. Parking at the hotel was over 40 dollars for one night. We took the car to Monterey/Carmel. The drive was very spectacular, but I would not recommend this drive for families. It is long and boring for kids. My kids were very good, but they would have liked to spend more time in Chinatown! The drive is better for couples trips.
3/30-More Chinatown in the morning! The afternoon we spent in Sausalito. We had a late lunch at a place called Horizons-I do not recommend it. It was about 3:30 when we arrived at Sausalito. We went directly to this restaurant and it took almost 2 hours to eat. It wasn't anything to write home about either. The service was awful!!!!! On our way home we stopped in the Tonga Room across from our hotel to check it out and it was a funny place. We had a couple of daquaris and shirley temples and dessert and enjoyed the rain storm that came every 15-30 minutes.
3/31 We hired a driver to take us on a tour of things we missed. He drove us to Muir Woods and we did the mile walk. He drove us around the city and he was an excellent tour guide. We felt this was worth the money since there were many places that we could not access by cable cars and just walking. His name is Roland Velasquez at RV Limousine Service. His phone number is 415-601-7116.
Let me also say that the cable car system was so inefficient!! They would take forever to load a car, collect tickets while on the car and then take twenty people up the hill. Then, after about twenty minutes, they would turn around another car. We wound up taking cabs home rather than freezing on line!!! I belive out of the 6 times we rode the cars, they checked my ticket twice. They also broke down on the way up and we walked the last two blocks up!!!! They were fun for the kids, but they have to improve their timing. Anyway, we had lunch at the Cliff House. Very touristy, another place where we had awful service. The food was okay. That was another reason why we wound up back at the Mona Lisas for a guaranteed good meal for our final night! We even bumped into our tour guide from the Wok Wiz Dorothy. She was on her way home when we were entering Chinatown for a stroll. We chatted like old friends and she was just full of stories of her childhood in Chinatown and her ancestors that came.
I must say that we truly enjoyed our trip to SF and would definitely return. If I were to go back, I would just spend the time in the city enjoying the good food and many cultures that live there. Chinatown fascinated the whole family. The best food was in North Beach. The Wharf is fun for kids and we liked taking the ferries for the ride and the incredible view. And we did enjoy taking the cable cars. This is a great city and there is so much to see and do I wish we had more time!! Thank you all of you for your tips, they came in very handy!!
girlonthego is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2005, 11:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Sounds like you had a great time. SF is a great city and I can't believe how much I took it for granted growing up in Marin. The cable cars have been "shakey" for years and there has been talk off and on over the years about getting rid of them. I would die if they ever do that, they are such a symbol of the city. They might as well take down the GG Bridge as to getting rid of the cable cars. The Stanford Court has been there for years. Nob Hill is such a great old SF area with the Fairmont and the Mark Hopkins. Thanks for the report. I always enjoy reading them.
crefloors is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Great report! My husband and I were in SF during some of the same times as you. We rode a cable car once and that was enough. I think we saw at least 4 cable cars broken down over a 2 day period. We ate lunch at the Cliff House and had a better expereince than yours. The food was wonderful and service was ok. I've had better but I've also had much worse. I thought the views were spectacular. I wish we would have driven the Muir Woods like y'all!
Lee4 is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hi girlonthego. I so enjoyed reading about your visit to SF.

And I am extremely happy that the MonaLisa pleased you and your family. One always hopes that a recommendation is a good one and that the restaurant is not having a bad night. Although I have never known them to have that problem. I have thought of you and so was happy to see your report.

If I take someone on a cablecar I always walk back or take a taxi too, so completely understand. But as creefloors said, it would not be SF without them.

I have not been to the CliftHouse since they opened but have heard the food is not very good. I was interested in your experience.

And obviously under age 21 can go into the Tonga Room. I have been meaning to check on that as want to take my 14 year old grandson there. So you gave me some good needed information. BTW, he loves ChinaTown too. I should have us do the WokWiz Tour next time. It sounds wonderful.

Hurry back to SF when you can!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Hi LoveItaly: I was hoping you would see my trip report so I am topping it.
Lee4:I am glad you had a better meal at the Cliff House.(or a better waiter at least!) We definitely enjoyed our trip although it seems I complained about some things. I was just warning others about the touristy things being... touristy!And San Francisco definitely would not be the same without the cable cars. My kids loved swinging from them!!!
girlonthego is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Hi again, girlonthego! I had to laugh when you mentioned your kids hanging off the cable cars! Everytime we saw a cable car, there were kids doing just that. Lots of fun for them, I'm sure. I also know what you mean about warning people about things that went wrong. For us, we were disappointed with the maps for the muni system--we never found a map that covered all the bus routes or gave us info on the underground system. Oh, I also meant to tell you that I agree about North Beach having great food! YUM! Actually, I don't think we had a bad meal in the city the whole time we were there. I must admit that we went to Cliff House on the recommendation of a local person we met, and we didn't realize that it might be a "tourist" type of place. Of course, once we saw where it was, we kind of figured that out. It's in such a neat location. Maybe we were there on a good day? And, I agree that good service always makes things better.
Lee4 is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hi girlonthego!!

Maybe what would be a good thing to do is to go to the Clift House for a cocktail or some kind of drink and watch the sunset.

I have done that many times (before they remodeled) and it was very beautiful. Nice relaxing and special time before going somewhere else for dinner.
LoveItaly is offline  
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