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Seattle/San Francisco --- Early December

Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:57 PM
  #1  
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Seattle/San Francisco --- Early December

Hello,
Many of you have offered good advice for some of my previous trips and I'm sure you won't fail me now

Due to a much needed vacation, I have planned a trip to Seattle and San Francisco in December. I would appreciate any input to the itinerary and recommendations for good dinner locations/hotels. Here's the itinerary --- Day One: Flight arrives in Seattle from Chicago in the afternoon. Staying one night at the downtown Renaissance. Can you provide recommendations on good (seafood or Italian) restaurants in this area? If there was one place you would visit, what would it be? Day Two -- Leave Seattle via Amtrak to San Fran. Yes, I realize that train travel is not the preferred mode of transportation but I've been told this is one of the most scenic routes and its been almost 20 years since I've traveled by train. I plan to use the time as a chance to catch up on some reading. My goal is to plan an extended Seattle trip in the summer. Day Three --- Arrive in San Fran in the morning. Staying at the Grand Hyatt near Union Square. I doubt that I'll be able to check in early but perhaps I can drop off the bags and do a quick tour of Union Square and do some shopping. I would also like to visit Chinatown on this day. Day Four -- Grayline tour of the city (either Hop On/Hop Off or the Deluxe Tour) Do you recommend visiting Alcatrez or will it be too cold to enjoy this tour? --- I may be from the Midwest but I don't want to get sick in CA. If we don't visit Alcatrez, I plan to go to Fisherman's Wharf and the Ghiradelli (sp?) Square on this day too. Day Five --- Wine Country tour Day Six -- Fly home in the afternoon (I don't think I could phatom a train ride back to Chicago). I've been told that I need to visit Lombard street, Muir Woods, Sausilito, and Monterrey. I may be able to sneak in Lombard Street but I don't know on which day. The other activities will have to wait for my return trip. My traveling partner is unable to do alot of walking so do you think this is an agressive itinerary? I would appreciate any recommendations on good restaurants for less than $30 per person for an entree that are in the areas that we will visit. We won't have a car but we plan to take advantage of taxi's or the cable car. Thank you for all of your help in advance.
grouptravel is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 10:29 PM
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chowhound.com for restaurant recommendations!
welch is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:43 AM
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Seattle restaurants: Etta's Seafood Assaggio's or La Fontana for Italian.

Be aware that the Amtrak Coast Starlight line is sometimes very behind schedule. It shouldn't be so bad from Seattle heading south (but a few hours late is typical). On the route coming north from LA terminating Seattle it is often extremely behind schedule. I took it recently and everyone seemed to know this but me!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Be careful with your Monterrey arrangements. This town is in Mexico.

You probably meant Monterey (with 1 r) near San Francisco.

Do you have plane/train tickets already? If not, do Amtrak Seattle-San Francisco (going south), the scenic part will be during daytime.

Alcatraz is mostly the prison, you'll be inside of the building. Taking the boat - you can stay inside too. I wouldn't skip Alcatraz.

Lombard street is on a steep hill, so I'd skip it, too difficult for your partner, unless you drive.

Get MUNI passes (they have 1-, 3- and 5-days passes, it may include cable car rides). How is your partner with stairs? To get on/off that cable car may be difficult. Buses are easier.

Get a MUNI map of the city which has all bus lines in color, easy to use. This will be your best investment for this trip.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:17 PM
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Thank you for the current replies. I will reconsider the Alcatraz tour based on your feedback. Yes, we have already booked the air/train portions of our trip and we are traveling south to San Fran. I read other posts that indicated the west coast trains are notoriously late because cargo shipments have priority over the rail lines. Are there any comments on using Grayline as the company for the Wine Country and city tours? Has anyone used their services? Should I consider other options. I plan to make reservations by the end of the week. I'll do more research for restaurants on chowhound.com.

Thank you.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:41 PM
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I can't see spending an entire day at Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiaradelli--an hour or two at most--maybe before taking an Alcatraz tour since the borats leave from Fisherman's Wharf.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Yes that's true about the train, the delays and the reason for (they don't own the tracks is my understanding).
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Old Nov 25th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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For Italian in Seattle, Tulio is very close to your hotel and was raved about in today's paper:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...9_leson25.html

If you like regional northern Italian, Osteria La Spiga, which offers terrific food from the Emilia-Romanga region, is a short cab ride away.

For seafood, if you want a very "Seattle" spot, I'd make a reservation for Matt's in the Market (since your partner has trouble walking, you'd take a cab to the Pike Place Market). There is also McCormick's Fish House very near your hotel-this is a chain but they do a nice job and have a large menu.

If I could see one Seattle sight, it would be the Pike Place Market, though in winter it is somewhat less vibrant that during other times of year (smaller crowds, though!). This might be your best bet with someone who has difficulty walking, as it is relatively compact and there are lots of opportunities to sit (I traveled to Europe with my elderly mother in law this summer and understand the challenges of planning an itinerary with someone who has trouble getting around). Pioneer Square is nice for its bookstores, galleries and cafes, but they are spread out over a number of blocks. Your hotel is near the new library which is worth a look.
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