San Francisco April 2009


San Francisco, as seen from Alcatraz

Four Fabulous Days in San Franscico

April 2009

San Francisco Google Map

Day 1-April 4th
Day 2-April 5th
Day 3-April 6th
Day 4-April 7th

Note; this trip was created in a different version (older) of this blog, so the links above will take you to those pages. If you’d like to leave a comment about this trip, you can do so at the bottom of this page.

Introduction, Planning and “Tidbits”:

First, I have to say, I really, really, really wanted to title this trip “Four Fabulous Days in ‘Frisco” but even more than I wanted that, I didn’t want to deal with the comments I’d get about using the term “Frisco”. Yeah, I know, nobody but tourists use “Frisco”, but the alliteration would have been so much better, don’t you think?

Here’s a quick summary of the trip. Details on the following linked pages, Days 1-4.

Who we are:
We’re a couple, both 40, who love to travel and we do at least one “big” trip a year. In July we’re going to Vietnam so we decided to make Spring Break (my husband is a teacher) a shorter, smaller trip. For the second half of this trip we were joined by two close friends with whom we went to Rome on our last Spring Break.

Hotel: Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf.

Restaurants and Food:
We had four dinners; Aux Delices, SPQR, A16 and Delfina. We visited the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building and returned there on another day to have “happy hour” at the Hog Island Oyster Company. We had 2 museum lunches; the Moss Room at the CA Academy of Science and the Cafe at the De Young. We also had lunch at a very touristy Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant (not great).

Ferry Building and Farmer’s Market, Fisherman’s Wharf, Flower Conservatory in Golden Gate Park, California Academy of Sciences Museum, De Young Museum, Legion of Honor Museum, and Alcatraz. Quick walk through Chinatown and Little Italy.

Southwest Airlines, Burbank to Oakland. BART into City. Bought a 7 day MUNI “Passport” for $24 a person which allowed us to ride cable cars, trams and buses all over the city all we wanted. We also took a few taxis and walked a lot too.

I bought the Streetwise San Francisco first but I wasn’t happy with the level of detail or the fact that I could not easily put it in my pocket. Next, I bought the Pocket Pilot San Francisco map which, while laminated, folds up much smaller than the Streetwise map. Even though it doesn’t cover as much of the city as Streetwise, it does have the street-level detail I like. Finally, I bought a $3 paper MUNI map which turned out to be the most useful map of the bunch.

We were there the second week of April. We were blessed with gorgeous, sunny, warm weather for the first three days and didn’t even need the coats we’d brought during the day (but did wear them at night). On the last day it dumped rain for most of the morning and then we were treated to a stunning rainbow over the Bay Bridge.

Fodor’s message board for the US. I also heavily relied on Chowhound for restaurant research and searched Yelp for reviews as well. I did not buy a guidebook.

Below are links to interesting things I found while researching for this trip. I sent out this information in a email called “San Francisco Tidbits” to our friends who will will be meeting us for a couple of the days we will be there. Items below in bold are links.

San Francisco Tidbit #1-Google Map

The Google Map for San Francisco has been started.

San Francisco Tidbit #2- Free Walking Tours

“San Francisco City Guides” offers free walking tours in just about every neighborhood in the city. They are run by the public library and volunteer guides.
Interesting ones include North Beach Victorian San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, Castro: Tales of the Village, Bawdy & Naughty, Theater in SF, 1906 Earthquake, and many more…

San Francisco Tidbit #3- The Ferry Building Marketplace

The old Ferry building has been turned into a fantastic food marketplace with food stalls, restaurants and a farmer’s market on Saturday and Tuesday mornings.
Cool places there include:
The Slanted Door-upscale Vietnamese restaurant
Cow Girl Creamery shop- some of the best cheese out there.
Hog Island Oyster Bar-excellent oysters, freshly shucked, need I say more? Oh, ok…they have “happy hour” on Mondays and Thursdays from 5-7pm.
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker-mmmmmmm

San Francisco Tidbit #4- Alcatraz

This is the government park website for Alcatraz:

Alcatraz is free, but you have to pay for the ferry to get out there. The ticket comes with an audio guide.
Tickets are limited and they say during “high season” (not sure when that is, summer?) they can sell out a week in advance.

San Francisco Tidbit #5- MUNI Passports

San Francisco has some good transportation passes which cover 1, 3, or 7 days and all busses and cable cars. They do not cover BART, but if you plan on taking the BART from SFO into the city, you can buy the MUNI passes at the airport and then use them to get to your hotel from the BART station.
This is a great route/trip planner for using ANY public transportation in San Francisco.

San Francisco Tidbit #6- Museums

There are tons of museums in SF, no time to see them all of course.

Two of the best are the Fine arts museums, the De Young and the Legion of Honor.
Both are FREE on the first Tuesday of each month, otherwise $10 admission covers both (same day only). Special exhibits are $10 more. They are closed on Mondays.

There is also a Museum of Modern Art which looks super interesting.
Free the first Tuesday of the month. Closed Wednesdays.

Then there is the Exploratorium which is fun, especially for kids.
Free the first Wednesday of the month. Closed Mondays.

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