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Hey, the wife and I will be coming out to SF in a couple of weeks for a long weekend. Neither of us have ever been and I'd appreciate any recommendations on what to see and do. Figured we'd visit the Wharf, and standard stuff, but anyone familiar with the area we'd appreciate any local insights.

Also we were thinking of staying at one of these places. I know these aren't in SF but we wanted to do some site seeing up north of the city anyway. Just wanted to know if these are OK areas?

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/sfonv-courtyard-novato-marin-sonoma/

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/sfoll-courtyard-san-francisco-larkspur-landing-marin-county/
 

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Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair... sorry I couldn't resist :gr_jest:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Funny...maybe the wife will.


Seriously though, anybody familiar with these areas?
 

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Its gonna be cold thats for sure. I was there back in 2008. Do the alcatraz tour if you can. The rest of my time I was spent drunkenly walking about the streets. Oh and check out the cities steepest road, that crap is ridiculous, the sidewalk isn't a sidewalk, its stairs.
 

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I don't know the specific areas for the hotels you mentioned. There are a whole bunch of great roads to drive in the Bay Area. Napa is awesome if you like wine and is only a short drive north. Alcatraz is a very cool place to visit, and there are all sorts of places around SF to check-out. There are some great views (weather pending) of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge from the north side of the bridge (37.834386,-122.476795 and 37.82739,-122.499067). Depending if you want to get out of SF, there are other nice places along the coast like Half Moon Bay and Monterrey.

-Todd...
 

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Hey, the wife and I will be coming out to SF in a couple of weeks for a long weekend. Neither of us have ever been and I'd appreciate any recommendations on what to see and do. Figured we'd visit the Wharf, and standard stuff, but anyone familiar with the area we'd appreciate any local insights.

Also we were thinking of staying at one of these places. I know these aren't in SF but we wanted to do some site seeing up north of the city anyway. Just wanted to know if these are OK areas?

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/sfonv-courtyard-novato-marin-sonoma/

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/sfoll-courtyard-san-francisco-larkspur-landing-marin-county/


I used to work near that Marriot at Larkspur landing. It nice and just a hop over the Golden Gate Bridge from SF.

It would be easier to recommend stuff to do if I knew what you guys were interested in.

If you end up staying in larkspur make sure you stop in Sausalito. Beautiful sights, shops, and food. In the City I would check out Pier 39, and also Ghirardelli Square. From there maybe check out Coit Tower. After Coit Tower I'd hit up market street for some more shopping and what not, then head over to the Metreon. Lastly I would good to golden gate park, check out the buffalo there, visit the chinese garden, and peep the rain forest exhibit in the newly renovated academy of sciences. After that I would say check out the palace of fine arts. Lastly before you leave SF do yourself a favor and have dinner at Espetus Churrascaria. It is a Brazilian steakhouse on market st.

You can thank me by voting for me as G8 of the month lol.
 

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G8 GT - Sports and Pre Pg
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Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair... sorry I couldn't resist :gr_jest:
Some sort of hippy reference? That only slightly less dated than a comment about jumping over the hills a la "Streets of San Francisco". :)
 

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G8 GT - Sports and Pre Pg
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How many days?

Hey, the wife and I will be coming out to SF in a couple of weeks for a long weekend. Neither of us have ever been and I'd appreciate any recommendations on what to see and do. Figured we'd visit the Wharf, and standard stuff, but anyone familiar with the area we'd appreciate any local insights.

Also we were thinking of staying at one of these places. I know these aren't in SF but we wanted to do some site seeing up north of the city anyway. Just wanted to know if these are OK areas?

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/sfonv-courtyard-novato-marin-sonoma/

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/sfoll-courtyard-san-francisco-larkspur-landing-marin-county/
Those locations are OK, but both are over The Bridge with a drive. It depends on how much time you are going to spend in The City. San Francisco has a lot of tourism for the daytime, but also a lot of evening and night activities.

I recommend visiting China Town during the day and Little Italy at night to get a local experience. If you have time, you may wish to check out Japantown too, but put that on the backburner if are on a tight schedule. Avoid the San Francisco Zoo and Treasure Island completely.

Golden Gate Park has a lot of sight seeing stuff spread out, like the Academy of Science, Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, and Palace of Fine Arts. These offer a lot of photographic opportunities and aren't over run by tourist.

Coit Tower is a great way to see The City, if you have A LOT of time to stand in line or want to spend a pretty penny for the view.

Be open to exploring all of the Embarcadero, not just the Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf). On the weekends, there are often small Farmer's Market type fairs and other attractions.

There are a lot of world class restaurants in SF. So many so, it's not worth making recommendations. Just search online for the types of foods you like or want to try, and you'll have plenty of info.

I only recommend the north bay and beyond (Napa Valley, for example) if you have more than a week here.

It takes up a lot of time, but a trip to Alcatraz is interesting.

Visit Golden Gate Bridge itself. It doesn't take too long unless you wish to walk the length of it.

If you want to check out the local wild life, drive down Folsom around 11pm or 12am. :) Of course, if you want to join the wild life in their nightly rituals in the clubs, be careful where you park your car.

Another place of interest is Jack London Square in Oakland, just across The Bay.

If you want to see the laid back coastal communities and beautiful coast line, drive north on Highway 1 along the coast up to Stinson Beach. There's a couple of great small beaches on the way there where you can catch some great access to tide pools during low tide to see all the strange critters.
 

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We've been there a few times. We did the touristy things and the out of the way things.


Muir Woods: Very cool place. Just over the GG Bridge. Redwood forest is amazing. Bus tours available from the Wharf area rather reasonably.

Sausalito: Pretty cool little town literally just over the GG Bridge. We biked over the bridge and visited. Took ferry back to Wharf area.

Monterey/Carmel: Great for golfers. Amazingly beautiful area. Nice day trip by car/bus/small van tour.

Nappa/Sonoma: Great for wine. I suggest a bus trip as you can indulge a bit more with the wine!

Yosemite NP: It can be done as a day trip (we took a 15pass van tour), and saw a LOT, but it's a HUGE area that is not to be missed. Probably not accessible this time of year (heavy snow), but sure is a nice long day trip!


These bus trips are what I considered fairly reasonable. They know the area and take you to the "hot spots" that would be hard to find in a normal unguided car trip. Don't be afraid to take a sight seeing trip around the city as well. The tour guides are a wealth of knowledge and are usually very personable.

This time of year is a mixed bag with climate. We did the Yosemite trip mid November and it went from 45 degrees in the city yet was over 100 heading east towards Yosemite!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know the specific areas for the hotels you mentioned. There are a whole bunch of great roads to drive in the Bay Area. Napa is awesome if you like wine and is only a short drive north. Alcatraz is a very cool place to visit, and there are all sorts of places around SF to check-out. There are some great views (weather pending) of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge from the north side of the bridge (37.834386,-122.476795 and 37.82739,-122.499067). Depending if you want to get out of SF, there are other nice places along the coast like Half Moon Bay and Monterrey.

-Todd...
Thanks Todd. We'll have the GPS with us so I can plug those coordinates in. I think the places I had in mind are fairly close to Napa as well.

I used to work near that Marriot at Larkspur landing. It nice and just a hop over the Golden Gate Bridge from SF.

It would be easier to recommend stuff to do if I knew what you guys were interested in.

If you end up staying in larkspur make sure you stop in Sausalito. Beautiful sights, shops, and food. In the City I would check out Pier 39, and also Ghirardelli Square. From there maybe check out Coit Tower. After Coit Tower I'd hit up market street for some more shopping and what not, then head over to the Metreon. Lastly I would good to golden gate park, check out the buffalo there, visit the chinese garden, and peep the rain forest exhibit in the newly renovated academy of sciences. After that I would say check out the palace of fine arts. Lastly before you leave SF do yourself a favor and have dinner at Espetus Churrascaria. It is a Brazilian steakhouse on market st.

You can thank me by voting for me as G8 of the month lol.
Thanks for the suggestions! Looks like we'll definitely do GG Park then along with the wharf, etc. Might try Sausalito and the steakhouse too. Not interested in paying for the view though, so think we'll probably skip the tower. If we end up staying in one of these two places I think we'll spend about half our time in an around SF and half traveling up the coast for the scenery. Would like to visit the giant redwoods too.

And yes, I'll go vote for you now :thumbsup:

Those locations are OK, but both are over The Bridge with a drive. It depends on how much time you are going to spend in The City. San Francisco has a lot of tourism for the daytime, but also a lot of evening and night activities.

I recommend visiting China Town during the day and Little Italy at night to get a local experience. If you have time, you may wish to check out Japantown too, but put that on the backburner if are on a tight schedule. Avoid the San Francisco Zoo and Treasure Island completely.

Be open to exploring all of the Embarcadero, not just the Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf). On the weekends, there are often small Farmer's Market type fairs and other attractions.

If you want to see the laid back coastal communities and beautiful coast line, drive north on Highway 1 along the coast up to Stinson Beach. There's a couple of great small beaches on the way there where you can catch some great access to tide pools during low tide to see all the strange critters.
Thanks! Sounds like Stinson and surrounding area would be good for us.

We've been there a few times. We did the touristy things and the out of the way things.

Muir Woods: Very cool place. Just over the GG Bridge. Redwood forest is amazing. Bus tours available from the Wharf area rather reasonably.

Sausalito: Pretty cool little town literally just over the GG Bridge. We biked over the bridge and visited. Took ferry back to Wharf area.

Monterey/Carmel: Great for golfers. Amazingly beautiful area. Nice day trip by car/bus/small van tour.

Nappa/Sonoma: Great for wine. I suggest a bus trip as you can indulge a bit more with the wine!
Thanks! Looks like multiple recommendations for Sausalito, GG Park, Bridge, etc. Good idea about the bus tours even though we'll have a rental would be nice not to have to worry about it when seeing some of the sites.

One thing that surprises me is so many recommendations to visit Alcatraz. Thought it would be cruddy and old. What's the attraction? Just curious, as we are not there for very long (2 1/2 days) and need to be careful with what we use the time on. We both like beautiful scenery so I think a trip up the coast will be a definite. I have a lot of time traveling the PCH from LAX to Oxnard, but she's never been to CA except for a couple of hours in LAX on the way back from Kauai last year. So far based on all of your recommendations I am thinking something like this:

1. Half day or so driving up the coast and visiting points North. Maybe a full day including the Muir Forest, etc.

2. Full day visiting GG Park, Bridge, Sausalito, Wharf, Restaurants, etc. in SF.

3. Half day or so bus tour of the wine country area.

Any other ideas also welcome. Thanks!
 

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Given that you are in the City, I'd recommend spending a day in Napa with the wineries...it will be worth your while.

Tiburon and Sausalito have some good restaurants on the water.

In the City, North Beach is great for Italian food and ambiance. Chinatown is interesting and has great food. In the downtown area, Tadich's is great. SOMA (south of Market Street) has lots of nightclub activitiy. And I would certainly go through Golden Gate Park and have drinks or dinner at the Cliff House overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy...
 

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2.5 days ain't a lot of time. Skip Alcatraz. Do that when you have more time. It's a 3 hour commitment. The funniest tour of the Rock that I've seen is actually in that movie So I Married and Axe Murder. The second best tour I've seen is in the movie The Rock. The Park Rangers don't actually do those kind of walking tours, per se. :)

Driving around can take a lot longer than you might think, especially with traffic. Make sure you use Yahoo or Google Maps to plan out a hypothetical trip to see how long it will take to drive north and back, and then plan out the driving trip.

(A game some people might have is to see if you can find Bolinas. Residents of Bolinas take down the sign that points to their little town on highway 1. The turn-off is just north of Stinson, some where. :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You can thank me by voting for me as G8 of the month lol.
Hey, went to vote and looks like its already over. Sorry, will give it a shot next time.

Given that you are in the City, I'd recommend spending a day in Napa with the wineries...it will be worth your while.

Tiburon and Sausalito have some good restaurants on the water.

In the City, North Beach is great for Italian food and ambiance. Chinatown is interesting and has great food. In the downtown area, Tadich's is great. SOMA (south of Market Street) has lots of nightclub activitiy. And I would certainly go through Golden Gate Park and have drinks or dinner at the Cliff House overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy...
Thanks for the suggestions. Wife had already found out about the Cliff House it seems. Definitely plan to spend at least 1/2 day up in the Napa area.

2.5 days ain't a lot of time. Skip Alcatraz. Do that when you have more time. It's a 3 hour commitment.

Driving around can take a lot longer than you might think, especially with traffic.

(A game some people might have is to see if you can find Bolinas. Residents of Bolinas take down the sign that points to their little town on highway 1. The turn-off is just north of Stinson, some where. :) )
Thanks, yeah I think we'll skip Alcatraz. Not to worry about the routes. Got a new Nuvi that does great with that stuff and the traffic. Also have Google maps on the phone so we should be good there.

Oh, you mean this place :D Bolinas

Now, if I could jut convince Enterprise that they need to rent G8's lol! Maybe I can manage a free or cheap upgrade to a G37 or something fun to drive.
 

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I just sold my house moved out of the silicon valley area after living there for over 10 years. I loved the area, but it was time that I moved on.

2.5 days ain't a lot of time. Skip Alcatraz. Do that when you have more time. It's a 3 hour commitment. The funniest tour of the Rock that I've seen is actually in that movie So I Married and Axe Murder. The second best tour I've seen is in the movie The Rock. The Park Rangers don't actually do those kind of walking tours, per se. :)
Not necessarily true. There is a night tour that is run from spring until fall. This one is semi-guided. The park rangers walk you up to the cell house and stop along the way to talk. You then go on the standard audio tour. Afterwards, they have several side tours that are fully guided that take you up into places the normal tours don't. I've done the normal one a bunch of times and the night tour three times. The night tour is definitely the way to go.

Driving around can take a lot longer than you might think, especially with traffic. Make sure you use Yahoo or Google Maps to plan out a hypothetical trip to see how long it will take to drive north and back, and then plan out the driving trip.
Ditto. Especially during commute times.

As far as San Francisco goes, my personal favorite place to eat is Pacific Catch in the marina:

http://www.pacificcatch.com/

My personal favorite hotel is the Clift hotel:

http://www.clifthotel.com/en-us/

I've had a bunch of business functions there. It's right in Union Square if you or your SO likes shopping.

Note that the Pier area in SF gets really crowded. I'm not a huge fan of it, but you may want to see it once. If you're up for walking, it's not a bad hike at all from the Pier 34 area to Coit tower and you can see a lot of the city that way. You can see most of the city on foot if you're used to walking, since it's only 11 miles across. Using foot/cabs/busses/cable cars/trolleys is the best bet in the city itself, since parking can be bad during the week. A car is necessary for going most places outside of the city.

One of my other favorite things to do was to tour the decommissioned USS Hornet aircraft carrier (really cool if you're into ships or military) across the bridge over in Alameda. Alameda is also where they film Mythbusters, so if you're lucky, you may see them doing something crazy outside their hangar.

Also, a note about Napa: it's further from the city than you think and the stuff out there is more spread out. It would be difficult to do anything in a half a day. If you really want to go, I would recommend budgeting a whole day for it. Also, if you want to go to any of the more known restaurants up there, be prepared to make reservations well in advance - even for lunch. I've been to a couple of the tours and I'd have to say that the Mondavi Winery has the best tour for beginners or people with limited time. They have a nice overview of the area and winemaking in general. I'm not really a wine/food person, so I really didn't spend much time up there - only when friends/relatives came to town. While you're up there, you may want to check out Muir woods.

Hope this helps.
 
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