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What to do in and around San Francisco for a short 2 days?

What to do in and around San Francisco for a short 2 days?

Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 04:22 PM
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What to do in and around San Francisco for a short 2 days?

We arrive early morning in San Francisco from 1.45am flight from Anchorage. We leave at 1.30pm two days later, so not a lot of time. How should we fill our time? I do not want to wander the streets and waste time shopping. (Hate shopping!)
Are there any MUST SEE things we should book?
Any ideas also for accommodation and areas to stay in that would be handy for tour pickups?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:15 PM
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I would stay in either the Union Square area or the Embarcadero area. They're not even too far away from each other, and both are easily accessible to transportation and tours.

You might like one of the hop on hop off tours (I've never done it in SF) but it might give you an easy overview of the charms of the city.

The neighborhoods of San Francisco are charming, and two of the most popular are North Beach and Chinatown. They are colorful, quirky, full of history. In North Beach I like City Lights Bookstore, several beat generation type coffee shops, and family style Italian dinners.

Most people love the Ferry Building, with its great views and restaurants, and walking along the bay is lovely.

Golden Gate Park is also great to visit, with several museums, gardens, other unusual sites (bison and windmills) and people watching in general.

I love the SF museums, especially the Museum of Modern Art, which is across from Yerba Buena Center, with other museums and people watching. Also the California Legion of Honor is in a beautiful location.

People also really like the tour of Alcatraz, and it is so popular that you should buy tickets in advance.

There are many recent threads with great ideas for San Francisco.
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 08:13 AM
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Here are some of my suggestions

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35129049

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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We were in San Francisco a few days ago and had a wonderful brunch at the Hotel [email protected] the Grand Cafe. This is a beautiful hotel and is right in Union Square. Have a nice time in this beautiuful city! ***kim***
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Avoid Fisherman's Wharf, it's a tourist trap.
For non-touristy neighborhoods Noe Valley is nice. I also find the Haight interesting, it's still stuck in a time warp from the 60s.
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 09:01 AM
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>>

Don't tell that to easytraveler
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Agree with kailani's recommendations. Could also do a duck tour to see the city. I love the tour of Alcatraz and feel its a must-see (just my opinion). San Francisco is a great city and a lot of fun. Make sure to go on the Cable Cars.
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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I would make time to visit Muir Woods. Confirm opening time, usually 9 AM. Be there when it opens and have an hour or two as the light enters the red woods horizontally. Always stunning. If you are out and about early, the Dipsey Diner, just off the 101 at the Muir Woods exit is what breakfast before a hike in the redwoods should be.

You can combine with your visit to the GG Bridge. Stop to walk across on your return.

If you intend to visit Alcatraz, you often must book in advance.

Ride the cable cars.

Drive down Lombard Street.

StuDudley (above) is Fodor's Mr. San Francisco. You can take his list as gospel (or an epistle).
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Or half-way across, otherwise, how will they get back to their car?
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 12:29 PM
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Two days does not leave much time as you said.........
skip Alcatraz: Will take up at least 1/2 of a day!
Stay Union square or Fishermans wharf (Touristy.....but you are a tourist! I think it is fun!)

Walk,
take a ride on the Powel Avenue Cablecar.
Walk thru Chinatown.....eat Dim Sum!
Golden Gate Bridge 1/2 way and back is an idea!

Visit North end for Pizza!!

You will then be ready to sleep on that next plane flight
-john
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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If the OP hates shopping, I wouldn't stay near Union Square - which is ground zero for shopping. I'de stay in the Embarcadero area at the foot of Market St near the Ferry Bldg.

I agree with bmw about skipping Alcatraz if you only have 2 days - unless you are interested in prisons.

Here are a few clarifications to bmw's suggestions:
If you take the cable car from Powell Street, make sure that you board the Powell/Hyde line & not the Powell/Mason line. The former is much more scenic. Sit on the right (east) side for the best views. "North end" is really called North Beach. It's our Little Italy.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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Thanks for all your replies.... I think I'll aim for the Embarcadero area. It sound a good location. Searching through all the hotels in the area I'm leaning towards Harbor Court. Any strong opinions out there on this hotel?
I think I could do a short tour from the area and we could catch the market on the Saturday.
Still wondering if I should cancel the next leg of our journey (Tokyo 4 days) and spend the extra time in San Francisco and then fly back to Australia from there??
Decisions decisions!
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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Thanks Stu! I get my Boston North Ends confused with SF North Beach! Both are good eats!
-john
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 06:55 PM
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I haven't been in the rooms at the Harbor Court (I'm local, so don't often stay in hotels here!), but it's in a great location, and has a very good Japanese restaurant on the ground floor (Ozumo). Boulevard (outstanding) is on the same block, as are a few other good restaurants.
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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If you take the cable car, I suggest not waiting at the end of the line turn around if there is a long line of people, rather walk up the line a few blocks, or get on where everyone else is getting off. Just watch out for cars as you get on and off, because it isn't Disneyland.

I like some of the great old murals in SF, like those at the old post office building lobby (near embarcadero on Mission) and inside the upper part of Coit Tower. Lots of great walking in parts of the City, too, especially around North Beach and China Town, if you like hills.
If you are out near the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field is a nice walk, although they may be starting construction at Doyle Drive soon, so not sure how that area is right now. Anyone know?
Walking along the Embarcadero can be nice during the day. The Farmers Market on Saturday and the not-cheap but great Ferry building is a lot of fun. You can take a Ferry out and back to somewhere just to enjoy the view from the water. Check the schedules to see if it works for you. Be somewhere pretty with a view to the north (of the Bay) west (of the golden gate bridge or the ocean) at sunset if the weather is nice.
If you do find yourself in Marin COunty, a favorite view of the city is from the hill immediately west of the north tower of the golden gate bridge.
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Old Nov 4th, 2009, 11:50 PM
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I'd say-stay here in SF. So much will be revealed and your jet lag may well be reduced as well.
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Old Nov 5th, 2009, 01:37 AM
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Maybe we wil PamSF. I was planning to break up the trip back from UK to Australia several times, coming back clockwise....London, Vancouver, Alaska, San Francisco, Tokyo then home. Thinking though that the travelling time San Francisco to Sydney is not much more than from Tokyo and by the end of our trip I might just have had enough. We could always do Tokyo next time.
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