San Fransisco Itinerary

Aug 24th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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San Fransisco Itinerary

Hi! We are headed to California in two weeks and I could use some help confirming/refining the San Fransisco portion of our trip. I have read many of the San Francisco posts but I'm having a hard time grouping activities by geography since I'm not familiar with the geography. Any thoughts on this itinerary? (P.S. We are staying on Sutter St. near Union Square and won't have a car)

Noon: arrival
Afternoon: ChinaTown (Moon Festival)
Visit Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (hints on how to find it from Grant St.?)
Evening: Dinner? (low key since we will be tired from a long east coast flight.)

Late Morning: Bike the Bridge over to Sausalito
Lunch: Sausalito
Afternoon: Depart via ferry (Blue & Gold or Golden Gate?)
Dinner at Fisherman's Wharf
Night Alcatraz Tour (tickets purchased)

11 am Anchor Brewing Tour
7:05 pm Giants Game

Morning: Pick up rental car and head to Muir Woods (printed Stu Dudley's directions)

Also, yes, I know it's touristy, but we would like to see the crooked section of Lombard St. Any ideas on when to fit this in? (Perhaps after ChinaTown festival or before bike ride?) What about suggestions for Tuesday afternoon activity? I'm also very confused about the MUNI system (will do some more research in these threads...) but if anyone has suggestions, please share!

As always, thanks!
leeni8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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P.S. My apologies to all of San FranCisco for the misspelling in my thread title! I'm too reliant on spell check, I suppose
leeni8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 01:22 PM
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No apologies necessary leeni8, you didn't type "Frisco"!

I am not sure where the Anchor Brewing Co. is and how long the tour will take but a thought I have is you might enjoy going to North Beach afterwards, have lunch at one of the restaurants and walk around. You could even go up to Coit Tour if time allows.

Or you could check out Union Square and the SF Centre which is right down Powell St., and across the street from Market if that is of interest to you.

You will not be lacking for things to do in SF. Have a fun visit!
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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Go to a local bookstore such as Borders and buy a map of San Francisco. This will enable you to become familiar with the geography of San Francisco before you arrive there and will be helpful during your stay in SF. I like plastic-coated maps that are more durable than plain paper ones.
takemealong is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 02:28 PM
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Anchor Brewing is a fun tour and is only done one day a week and you must have reservations; I assume you do. I thought we went on Wednesday, but perhaps it has changed. They give you a lot to sample, so be prepared.

We did not have a car in SF and took the bus to Anchor. It was a long ride and even then, we had to walk a long distance. It is pretty far removed from SF proper. I used the muni website to figure out what bus to take. We did have to get the bus in a somewhat sketchy part of town and had to walk through a bit of tenderloin area after we got off the bus to get back to Union Sq.

Do yourselves a favor and find a different place to eat after your Alcatraz tour. Food at Fisherman's Wharf is overpriced and pretty poor. Have a grand meal in Sausalito and then perhaps to Ferry Building for a bite after the tour to Alcatraz.

DebitNM is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Take the cable car between Union Square, and where you depart for the Alcatraz tour. Get of at Lombard & walk down & back on the crooked part. Also, while traveling along Hyde on the cable car, look for Frascti restaurant at Hyde & Green (1901 Hyde). Dine there before or after the tour (reserve ahead) - it's much more "real San Francisco" than the tacky/touristy Wharf.

You're really not seeing much of San Francisco. Looks like much of your time will be spent in Sausalito, Alcatraz, at a Giant's game, and at a brewery, at a cookie factory, Muir Woods, and the Wharf (many of us don't consider the Wharf to be SF). How about some North Beach at night (dinner), Union/Chestnut St, Crissy Field (you may bike past there on the way to Sausalito), Golden Gate Park, Ferry Building, Haight/Ashbury, Noe Valley, Coit Tower, view from Twin Peaks, Fort Point, City Guides walking tours, etc.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 24th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Forgot to specify something. When you catch the cable car from Union Sq area (actually, foot of Powell make sure you get on the Hyde St line - not the Taylor line. Hyde St CC is the only one that goes past the crooked section of Lombard. Sit on the east side of the car for the best views.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 24th, 2008, 04:55 PM
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Thanks all so far! To clarify or address a few questions in the posts:

1. Yes, we have reservations at Anchor Brewing. However, it sounds like it's quite out of the way - should we scrap this idea? Also, it sounds kinda hard to get to without a car - am I correct?

2. I'd be happy not to dine at the Wharf! I just figured that since we only have about 2 hours from the time we get off the Ferry to the time we leave for Alcatraz that it was our best choice. We arrive back from Sausalito around 4 pm - tour departs at 6:50 pm. Will we have time to head to Frascati? (and will we be dressed appropriately froma day of bike riding?)

3. I did look into the City Guides tours - they are awesome but don't match up with our schedule (drat!). I am looking into the night North Beach tour on Sunday night if we aren't too tired as that's our arrival day. As for Stu's other suggestions (Union/Chestnut St, Crissy Field (you may bike past there on the way to Sausalito), Golden Gate Park, Ferry Building, Haight/Ashbury, Noe Valley, Coit Tower, view from Twin Peaks, Fort Point), I'll have to look into those on the map. Which are closest to the Anchor Brewing/AT&T Park area?

I know that our itinerary isn't all authentic San Francisco, but it covers the things we are most interested in seeing (my husband is a big baseball and beer fan and I like being outdoors, hence the biking). However, like I said, we do have a free afternoon and are open to Stu's suggestions, if I can find them on a map!!!

Please keep the thoughts coming - thanks!
leeni8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 05:35 PM
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I'll add some notes tomorrow - it's dinnertime now!!!!

What time is your Alcatraz tour over??? Dinnertime around here is 8PM or so - and many of the "younger" crowd eats later than that.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 24th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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Thanks Stu! Per the Alcatraz Cruises website, the return time is 9:25 pm and we don't mind eating late.
leeni8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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The ferry building near fisherman's wharf (a refurbished italian streetcar away)has cute shops and eateries and a nice view. We take our lunch outside on the benches..
alexxt is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 05:27 AM
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Monday -- sounds like a great day, but I'd leave some flexibility as far as time goes. Personally I'd start earlier than late morning. You go through Chrissy Field, Fort Point, viewpoint from the northern side of the bridge and other areas on the way and may want to stop at them. Also, I have read that sometimes people have had to wait for the ferry at Sausalito because they only take so many bikes on at a time. I don't know how much of a problem that really is, but I wouldn't be on too much of a time schedule (as far as dinner reservations) before Alcatraz.

Hamburgers is a great place (they only have sandwiches) for a quick bite in Sausalito. We got ours and went to the park across the street to eat them.

Doesn't the ferry land near the Ferry Building? We didn't take it so I don't know, but it probably would be easy to eat around there if you didn't eat in Sausalito. And then have dinner after your return from Alcatraz if you want. You may have enough time, but I wouldn't plan too tightly since you already have a definite time you have to be at Fisherman's Wharf.

Since you have a free afternoon you may want to consider a tour. We aren't really "tour" people, but it was nice to have someone take you to areas you want to see, and they did it faster than we could have done with public transportation on our own -- also with some history of the area. We took Gray line at the last minute, but Mr. Toad tours appear to be very popular -- probably would have to book that one ASAP. Your hotel could help you with a tour if you wait until you get there.

Have a great time!
maj is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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Here are some ideas:

First, I’ll make some comments about your planned activities, and then I’ll suggest a slightly different itinerary.

Your Itinerary:
There are two main streets that run through Chinatown – the somewhat tacky/touristy Grant Street between Calif St & Columbus, which might be highlighted in most tour books. Then there’s Stockton between Sacramento & Columbus where you find lots of Chinese people doing their shopping – roast ducks hanging in windows, live fish in tanks, lots of smelly dried fish, dim sum carry-outs, and a huge buzz of activity. IMO, this section is the real Chinatown. It’s bustling with activity till around 5PM or so (I think – someone correct me if I’m wrong). However, I don’t know how active it will be Sunday afternoon – which I think is when you plan to visit. Also, for such a short trip that you have, I don’t think I would put visiting a cookie factory in my “top 10” list of things to see in San Francisco. Personally, I would visit Chinatown on some other day – perhaps between 10am & noon on a week-day.

Bike trip to Sausalito & back.
There are knock-out views of SF from the Golden Gate Bridge, from the lookout just past the bridge, from Sausalito, and from the ferry on the way back. Unfortunately, if you cross the bridge anytime before noon, the sun will be in your face when you try to look at these fantastic views of downtown SF, and all you’ll see of SF is a silhouette. Lan your trip so you cross the bridge after around 12:30 or 1.

Anchor Brewing Company
Just like the cookie factory, I would not put this in my top 10 list. Anchor Steam Beer is my favorite – have some at ATT park.

Giants Game
I went to a Giants game last Thurs. The stands were only about 1/3 to ½ full. I went to a day game, and I suspect that the night games will be less full – unless they’re playing the Dodgers. I sat between home & first base – and the views of the Bay from there were excellent. Move around & try to sit someplace that gives you the best views of the field & Bay.

My suggested itinerary:
I would arrive at the hotel, and take the Hyde St Cable Car (make sure you get on that one – not the Taylor line) towards the Wharf. Sit on the east side. Get off on Lombard St & walk down & then back up the crooked section. Then walk south on Hyde to Union St. I love this section of Hyde – lots of restaurants, and the street is lined with big leafy trees. Stop at Hyde & Union & have a Swenson’s ice cream cone. Walk one block further south on Hyde to Green & check out Frascati restaurant. Return to Union, then walk west (all downhill) on Union St to Gough St. This is the start of the Union St shopping district. This area and its neighbors (Fillmore & Chestnut) are quite active on weekends in Sept & Oct. There are lots of people having lunch at cafes, shopping, people watching, etc. If you arrive in this area before 1:30, I would have lunch at Betelnut. Reserve ahead for an outside table. This is a very popular restaurant serving Pan-Asian food – it’s one of our favorites. Walk on the south side of the Union Street (so the sun won’t be in your face) to Steiner, cross Union to the north side & walk east on Union to Fillmore. Turn north (left) on Fillmore & walk to Chestnut St – passing the “Burmuda Triangle” at Fillmore & Greenwich (lots of outdoor restaurants & cafes). Turn left on Chestnut & walk on the south side down to Baker St. Cross Chestnut & walk back Chestnut on the north side, then south on Fillmore, left (east) on Union all the way to Van Ness. This route (without lunch) on Union/Fillmore/Chestnut should take 1 ½ hrs if you do minimal poking into shops. Walk north on Van Ness to North Point (downhill), turn right on North Point 1 block, then north on Polk to Beach St. You’re near Fisherman’s Wharf now – but in an area that has some interesting stuff. Walk around Aquatic Park, out on Hyde St Pier, visit the Nickelodeon museum (I don’t know where it’s moved to while they redo the Maritime Museum). Then get on the cable car back to your Union Square hotel. Sit on the east side again.

Freshen up at your hotel, rest appropriately, then head to North Beach (little Italy) for a City Guides tour of “North Beach at Night” at 7:00, and for a casual dinner at an outside restaurant on Columbus (you choose – there are dozens – my favorite is Rose Pistola, but it’s more “upscale” than the others). Depending on how “awake” you are, you may choose to eat before or after the City Guides tour. The North Beach area is active every day. You can take the Taylor Cable Car line to/from North Beach – or you can walk.

Do your bike thing as planned. Spend most of the morning at Crissy field and at Fort Point. If the surf is “up”, watch the surfers next to Fort Point. Explore the fort at Fort Point – especially the lovely views of the Golden Gate (entrance to the bay). The views towards downtown will have the sun in your face thing. For lunch, I would pack a picnic and have it at Crissy Field (on the beach) or at Fort Point. This is a lovely area. Cross the GG Bridge after 1:30 so you will have something to see towards downtown (where the best views are).

Return to SF on the Ferry. If the ferry docks at the Ferry Building, by all means – have dinner there. Slanted Door (Vietnamese food) is one of the best & most popular restaurants in The City – reserve ahead.

Alcatraz tour – walk to the Wharf if you have time – it’s a pretty walk.

Take the Cable Car (any line) to the Cable Car Museum & visit that. Then visit Chinatown. Walk back (on Grant) to the Union Sq area.

Walk to Market Street, and enter the underground BART/Muni station and take ther J-Church Muni line outbound. Sit on the east side (opposite side as you enter from) to get some good views of downtown as you pass Dolores Park. Take the J-Church to 24th St and explore what is (IMO) the best “neighborhood” in San Francisco – the Noe Valley. I posted a “walk in the Noe Valley” awhile back – see if you can find it. There are lots & lots of restaurant possibilities on 24th St.

After visiting the Noe Valley, hop on the J-Church (many stops along Church St) and head downtown. Once you go underground, get off the J-Church at any station past Civic Center station (first two stations are a little seedy) and get off the J-Church and then get on the next Muni train that goes to ATT Park for your game (I’m unsure about the line – I have a very old Muni map).

Do your Muir Woods thing – but remember, the views from the GGNRA on the Marin side (best views in SF, IMO) will not be good in the morning. You can follow the route to Muir Woods that you found from one of my past posts. Under no circumstances should you miss the views from the GGNRA – do them on your return to The City.

Have dinner at Frascati tonight.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Aug 25th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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DinPa is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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HOLY MOLEY STU! I feel like we just got our own customized tour of the city (complete with directions about what side of the street to walk on based on the path of the sun)! Thank you so much!!! Many, many, many thanks to you and all who chimed in. WOW!
leeni8 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Leeni8, when I finally had the pleasure of meeting Stu Dudley and his lovely wife at a SF GTG I teased them but I was also serious. I always think of him as our "Mr. San Francisco". His posts are a wealth of information and he is so generous in posting them so people can truly enjoy San Francisco.
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 06:27 AM
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Small correction on my prior post

When you get on the J-Church at Powell & Market, sit on the same side of the car as you enter from - not the opposite side. That will allow you to see the views downtown as you leave Dolores Park. The views are slightly back of you, so it's OK to take a seat that has your back to the direction of travel.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 10:30 AM
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I found this information so good, if I had read it first, I wouldn't have had to post a question myself! Thanks all
Sherick is offline  
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