So, what can we do in San Francisco?

Jul 3rd, 2003, 05:24 AM
  #1  
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So, what can we do in San Francisco?

Help! We will be heading to San Fran next week and I havent had a chance to really plan so that my children wont ask me that question. Do we head to Yosemite, Monterey, Muir woods, all the above? What are the must sees? What are the best values? Thanks
budsita is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 06:04 AM
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Although you can do a day trip to Yosemite, I think it's probably too much of a drive, and who wants to be sitting in a car most of the day anyway. I think it'll end up giving your kids a lot to complain about. At this point, so close to your vacation, it would be hard to spend the night, but if you can get a tent cabin on line, consider it.
San Fran -- well it's a great town for kids. They'll enjoy the cable cars, Alcatraz (depending on their age), Fisherman's wharf and Pier 39. A baseball game would be fun if one of the teams are in town.
Monterey is wonderful for kids. The aquarium, of course, fisherman's wharf, boat tours, bike rentals. If they're really young, Dennis the Menace Park. Over there, you can also rent little paddle boats for the lake.
Surfergirl is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 07:01 AM
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We took our grand kids to SF last year and did all the things in the previous message. We also went hiking in Muir Woods and the kids like that. They wants to see big red wood trees and we didn't have time to drive up to the north. They also like riding the BART.
judya is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 07:14 AM
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Take the kids to the Exploratorium science museum. Muir Woods was nice and very close by. Fisherman's Warf will be fun for the kids. There's a lot to do in Golden Gate Park, the aquarium is good, and be sure to check out the field of bison. If they are of the age where you're comfortable explaining the 60's peace movement, Haight St. would be fun, stop at the Ben & Jerry's at Haight/Ashbury. Do be ware that there will be lots of vagrants and stoners there but that's probably not much different from the rest of the city. There is some decent shopping along Haight although it has its share of head shops.
Loki is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 07:51 AM
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For a side trip out of the city, you could go down to Santa Cruz, either for the day or spend the night. Santa Cruz is on the way to Monterey so you could combine the 2.

Your kids would probably really like the Boardwalk and watching the surfers out at Steamer's Lane. For redwoods, Big Basin and Henry Cowell would be my pick - both are in the Santa Cruz mountains. Roaring Camp is a fun place - there is a narrow guage railway that you can ride through the trees.

J_Correa is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 08:03 AM
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A good day trip - you can catch the ferry at the Wharf and head to Angel Island - full of history and a nice hike - and not as touristy as Alcatraz. Head up to the top of Twin Peaks for views of both bridges and the city - awesome to see the fog rolling in from the ocean. Head to Fort Funston - an old army fort on the ocean just south of the zoo - gorgeous hills, views, beaches, hang gliders and happy dogs abound. These are some of the local things to do here in SF that are free or cheap.
CleverJet is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 06:52 PM
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just got back from S.F. don't take kids to Haight Ashbury. It's the dirtiest neighborhood we visited. The Ben & Jerry's there is also the dirtiest Ben & Jerry's I've ever been to. Kids would not appreciate it.

We didn't take our kids but the places you should not miss with kids:

Golden Gate Bridge
Exploratorium and Palace of Fine Arts
Cable Car Ride
Muir Woods
Chinatown
Alcatraz

If we go back we would try Yosemite and maybe Monterrey.

Science Museum in Golden Gate Park is somewhat of a drag and dated.
MikeB is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Elkin - I have to disagree with your assesment that SF does not have a lot of kid friendly attractions. Off the top of my head I can think of quite a few:

*Riding the Cable cars
*Walking around Chinatown
*Eating Dim Sum
*Riding the historic F Line streetcars
*Watching street performers around Fisherman's Wharf
*Eating chowder in a bread bowl
*Taking a ride on the Red and White Fleet under the GG Bridge
*Alcatraz
*Angel Island
*Walking on the GG Bridge
*GG Park

When I was a kid, we used to go to SF pretty frequently and always had a good time.
J_Correa is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 12:51 PM
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Dan
 
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I always enjoyed the Bay Area as a kid. My dad went to UC-Berkeley and we often visited San Francisco for our summer vacation. We loved it. Alcatraz, the cable cars, the hills (big deal if you live in a flat area) were cool to me when I was a teenager.
Dan is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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Well sonee, I guess that's a difference between you and me. SF might not be at the top of your list to take children, but it would be at the top of mine. My cousins, friends and I always had a blast going to SF.

Although you will get no arguement from me that kids would love the Boardwalk, Great America, and so on (I recommended the Boardwalk in a previous post in this thread), I believe in presenting a variety of activities to kids. Kids can have a great time doing things that aren't specifically "kids'" activities. To me, part of taking kids on vacation is to give them a chance to experience different things.

This is not an either or issue anyway - spending a couple days wandering around SF does not preclude the family from venturing south.

J_Correa is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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San Francisco has enough to do that you have to choose what interests you.

Some people like beautiful views. If so, the Golden Gate Bridge, Treasure Island, Coit Tower, and others must be seen.

Some like art. The modern art musuem on Third St. is a nice museum.

Others like to eat Chinese food.

Still others like things outside San Francisco like Carmel/Monterey, UC Berkeley campus, Muir Woods, Yosemite.

A few people like aviation. There are 3 museums but I've only been to one. One is in the international terminal of the airport. There is a Hiller Helicopter Museum and a Pacific Aviation Musuem in San Rafael (or is it Santa Rosa).

Others like to wine taste in Napa Valley/wine country.

Some visit Stanford then the Stanford Shopping Center.

Children may like the ferries to Marin County or the BART subway system.

Fisherman's Wharf is popular. Some eat crab during the winter and other seafood during the summer. Others like the Ghiradelli chocolate factory (now just a store, the real factory is outside of town).

A few people like a movie and visit the place where it was filmed. "The Rock" was filmed on Alcatraz and the Palace of Fine Arts. You can see City Hall where James Bond 007 escaped when it was on fire.
Hiroshi is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 03:32 PM
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Budsita,

It's way to late to try to go to Yosemite.

However, if the weather is nice I can heartily recommend Point Reyes National Seashore, which is also a national park, which is a great value, since it's free, unlike many of the other suggestions that have been made.

The Monterey Aquarium is a must do, however, it's quite expensive.

I think Alcatraz is a must do, and it's worth it to book ahead, as they have limited tickets that often sell out. I would start investigating that NOW.

San Francisco also has street fairs during the summer. There is sure to be one while you are here. These are also free. They are often quite fun to walk through, lots to see, plus live music and lots of snacky foods are available.

The Museum at the Palace of the Legion of Honor is FREE every Tuesday, and the SF Asian Art Museum and the SF Modern Art Museum have reduced rates on Thursday evenings. Both have cafes that serve tasty food at reasonable prices.

BayArea is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 07:58 PM
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Goldenstatesman - I think those sculptures are long gone. I can remember Snoopy as his WWI persona on his dog house. I think that was a great art movement of the late '70s. Sadly, all gone now.
SFImporter is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 08:08 AM
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I remember the driftwood scuptures too - those were great.
J_Correa is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 08:15 AM
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RE: Driftwood Sculptures

I have a book about those sculptures, kind of a photo essay. It's called Driftwood Whimsy, if you're interested. I htink Snoopy was farther north though, between University and Gilman I think, and yeah, I really miss it.

Gardnerson, don't be pathetic. Hundreds of California school kids from all over the Bay Area go to Monterey as a daytrip every year. It's completely feasible to do as a daytrip. I will agree with you on Yosemite though, that's too far for anyone except a road warrior.
BayArea is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:01 AM
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Can't you guys be civil on the San Francisco boards? Please take your personal problems elswhere, for gosh sakes. This board is for fun & travel, not your own personal food fights.
Budman is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 12:05 PM
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In all these replies about San Francisco,.... as a native Califorian you will love the city. Many good suggestions already give.
HOWEVER don't try to do Yosemite in the same week UNLESS you have reservations in the valley floor for at least a night ( cabin or lodge).forget the tent sites..booked a year in advance except backpacker camps which are only for overnight with a verified permit showing your hiking elsewhere in Yosemite.So the problem is Yosemite is booked MONTHS in advance. But if your visiting California and have the time..Yosemite can be a destination in ITSELF. Before your life ends no matter where you live. YOU MUST GO THERE !!! But plan for it months in advance. It is a LONG
WAY from San Francisco. It is absolutly awe inspiring and is only a few hours from me so I have been there
numerous times. It has scenery you will not see anywhere else IN THE WORLD ! But enjoy San Francisco and its sites. And if you want to see the Big redwoods..by all means drive north over the San Francisco bridge and you
can see them right up against the ocean.A easy day trip out of San Francisco.
ramfan7 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 12:45 PM
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Good God people! This is really getting out of hand.
J_Correa is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 01:09 PM
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I took 4 - 16, 17 years olds to SF a couple of weeks ago on a mystery trip. They enjoyed :

China town, gawking at the shops, going to the fortune cookie factory (ask for directions at the information booth on Grant - 56 Ross Alley), and I even took them in a monistary right there in China town. If you get one street off of Grant, it looks like you are really in China - Waverly between Sacramento and Clay. They were very fascinated. Be sure to tell your kids to look up because all the Bhudist temples are on the top floors of the buildings. There is one on ground level on the right side of Waverly (going North) that they are welcome to peek into.

Cable Cars: Get a pass. We rode them all day long and they loved hanging on.

Nobb Hill: I had told them we were going to Paris (mystery trip remember) and so took them to Grace Cathedral which looks like Notre Dame and the doors are replicas of the doors of the Basicilla on Florence. Docent led tours start at 1 p.m. but are spotty. No one there the day we were there but used the self guided phamplet and they found it interesting nonetheless. Said they were tired but loved walking the labrynth both inside and outside the Cathedral.

Fairmont: They enjoyed going into the lobby and sitting for a few minutes as it is very beautiful. They all wanted to walk up the marble staircase and also have their pictures taken.

Ghiradelli Square: Wanted to see the chocolate factory but were very disappointed to find out that it is now just shops with a ice cream parlor. Enjoyed ordering sundaes though.

Lombard Street - we drove down Lombard street which they really liked. At the bottom of Lomard take a right and look for a very steep one way street (one way coming down). Go to the next block and go around the block and come down the steepest street in San Francisco. They REALLY like this. Had to do it twice.

My daughter loves the Stinking Rose for Italian food in North Beech. The waiters are usually pretty funny and the food excellent. She likes the banya caluda (sp?) dip which is brought to your table in a fondue type pot.

Ronda is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 05:15 PM
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In our experience we've found more to do for the kids outside of SF. For great redwoods, Big Basin is a lot nicer than Muir Woods. There's a steam train in Felton at Roaring Camp that goes through the redwoods down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Our kids loved the train ride and the time we spent at the Baordwalk.

Also, I highly recommend a visit to the San Jose/Silicon Valley area to check out the Tech and Rosicrucian Museums as well as the Winchester Mystery House. If you have younger children (less than 7 or 8 yrs.) they also would like the Childrens Discovery Museum, the Happy Hollow Petting Zoo, and feeding the koi fish in the nearby Jaopanese Gardens in Kelley Park.

http://bigbasin.org/index.html

http://www.beachboardwalk.com/

http://roaringcamp.com/

http://sanjose.org/index.cfm

Tobson is offline  

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