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San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

Montreal, Quebec
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San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

Hello, I will be attending a conference in San Francisco from April 30th to May 3rd. So me and my wife will get there on April the 29th (arrival time: noon) and leave on May 7th (departure time: 8 am). So I need your help to plan my trip.

During the conference, I will be staying at the Nikko Hotel, so that my wife can enjoy the pool while I'm at the conference.

I was planning on doing a walking Tour of Union Square and Marina District on April 29th, probably the MP3 guided tours (are there any french MP3 guided tour?).

On Sunday, the conference starts. I plan on doing the Evening Alcatraz Tour that day. Is it worth the extra money over the day tour? Then, I will visit Fisherman's Wharf.

From Monday to Wednesday, conference continues. I plan on trying a couple of different restaurants, and maybe visit a museum or two during the evening (which one would you recommend). Also, what else would you recommend doing? Any places or unsafe streets to avoid? Can I visit Telegraph Hill during evening?

Then comes Thursday. I have the option of staying at the Nikko one more night or moving outside of town to get a cheaper hotel and rent a car (I know downtown parking is expensive, so that's why I would move outside of the city). If I stay at the Nikko, what else would you recommend doing during the day?

Here are the activities that I would like to do during the 3 last days (Thursday to Saturday). Yosemite Park (or maybe you would recommend Muir Woods since it's closer and I don't have much time), San Francisco Scenic Drive, Napa and Sonoma (I love wine, and would love to visit the Fetzer winery - which other wineries do you recommend visiting?), a drive from San Francisco to Santa Cruz (or the other way around) on Highway 1. There are probably more activities to do, so if you have any idea, feel free to tell me.

On Saturday night, I plan on staying in Millbrae because the plane on Sunday is at 8 am.

So what itinerary would you do? What activites must be done? Where to stay from Thursday to Saturday?

Any help would be very appreciated. Also, the sooner the better, especially for the hotel choice on Thursday (either staying in SF or leaving).

Thank you very much and sorry if my message is very long!

San Francisco
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1. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

For the Alcatraz night tour, I do think it's worth the exta money. It is not much more and you do get extras and you have more time to explore the island, not to mention it is more interactive. Just a word of advice, make sure that you dress warmly! Nights are chilly and if you are not dressed appropriately, you may be pretty miserable.

As for the museums, I am an art person and I really enjoy SF MOMA. Whether you'll be able to visit this in the evening will depend on what time your conference ends. The hours are as follows.

Monday and Tuesday 11:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday CLOSED

Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 8:45 p.m.

Friday - Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.

They currently have an exhibit of the 1906 earthquake called, "A Disaster In Pictures" which is quite interesting, especially if you want to get a bit of history.

There are other exhibits as well. For more information, you can check out their website at http://www.sfmoma.org/

Another museum to consider would be the Cable Car Museum. http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/ It is facinating and many visitors really seem to enjoy it.

As far as switching hotels, I personally think you would be doing yourself a disservice, especially if what you wish to see is in San Francisco.

I too would recommend Muir Woods rather than trying to fit Yosemite into a day trip (which is what it sounds like you're trying to do, correct me if I am incorrect). Yosemite is about a 400 mile trip. While I do think it is lovely and that you would enjoy it, I think it is quite a bit to try to do in only one day. There has been a lot of talk about Yosemite recently which you may wish to search for to see what others have said.

I definitely recommend doing Napa or Sonoma. It can easily be done in a day trip.

I would definitely do Coit Tower/Telegraph Hill during the day. The views are stunning. Also I would check out Ghirardelli Square.

I am sure I missed a few things, but I have to go and I hope this at least helps for now! Enjoy your trip!

San Diego
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2. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

Saks always has great ideas! I would add the Aisan Art Museum see asianart.org It is open Tues.-Sun. and on Thursday it is open until 9PM. We also enjoy the Japanese garden and tea house in golden Gate Park.

Sunnyvale...
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3. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

I don't know about Alcatraz night tour, but if you want a day tour, the tickets are often sold out. You'll want to expect to get tickets the previous day or so.

While you're stuck in the conference, your wife might be interested in the Rosenblum winery in Oakland/Alameda across the bay. They're famous for distinctive zinfandels.

If you want a nice meal, I recommend that people try the California Culinary Academy in downtown SF which is only open Tuesdays through Fridays.

San Mateo...
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4. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

Since you have 3 full days (Thurs - Sat), you could fit in a trip to Yosemite. It's about a 4 hour drive from SF, and you could spend 2 nights in the park before driving to Millbrae on Saturday afternoon/evening.

Alternatively, since you really enjoy wine tasting, you could spend Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday in Napa/Sonoma. You could easily visit Muir Woods on Thursday morning on your way up to Napa.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

DarthAnonymous suggested dining at the California Culinary Academy. I would not accept that suggestion. Neither the food nor service is bad but they're not good enough to justify the price. There are many better places near your hotel, some of the best ones are very inexpensive.

Your best source of advice on where to eat here is the UseNet Group ba.food. There's a link to it at the first URL below.

Your idea of changing hotels is not a good one.

Yosemite is a 500-mile trip. If you go to Santa Cruz, a 200-mile trip, there's no need to go to Muir Woods as you can visit Big Basin on the way or go through the forest from the Cabrillo Highway via Bonny Doon where there's a winery.

> There are probably more activities

The "Don't-miss sights in San Francisco" page geocities.com/iconoc/Articles/Sights.html has enough to keep you busy for nine twelve-hour days.

The best on-line map of San Francisco is an inter-active PDF: geocities.com/iconoc/Grafix/MuniMap.gif. Click on it to get the *.PDF. I recommend 200-400% magnification. A creation of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, it includes all of its routes.

The frequently-updated SPECIAL EVENTS page has irregularly-scheduled music and dances as well as links to seven calendars of regularly-scheduled dances, a composite of five of them, and one of dance cruises and events around the world: geocities.com/dancefest/Specials.html#t

Montreal, Quebec
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6. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

UPDATE!!! Finally, the 8-day trip will be a 7-day trip! So sadly, I won't be able to visit the Yosemite National Park. Here is my new schedule. I'd like to know if this is a good trip plan or if I won't be able to do everything listed. Also, if you have any other suggestions, feel free to tell me :)

April 29th

Arrival at noon

North Beach and Chinatown MP3 walking tour (2-4 hours)

Financial District and Jackson Square visit (2 hours)

Union Square (1 hour)

April 30th

Conference from 9am to 3pm

Alcatraz Night Tour

Pier 39

May 1st

Conference

May 2nd

Conference

SF MOMA night visit (special event with conference)

May 3rd

Conference

May 4th

SF 49-Mile Drive with many stops (Telegraph Hill, Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason, Ghirardelli Square, Palace of Fine Arts, Marina MP3 walking tour)

Drive on PCH 1 to Half Moon Bay for a short visit to the beach

Sleep at Quality Suites in Millbrae (that way, I can rent a car and have room for $50 less than at the Nikko).

May 5th

Visit Muir Woods

Do the Marin County Drive (described by someone in another thread)

Wine Country

May 6th

Leaving SF

So what do you think? Any other suggestions? Eating suggestions as well.

Thanks

Los Altos...
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7. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

I'm concerned about the latter part of your trip when you check out of the Nikko.

I think you need to spend one night up in Marin or Napa area to maximize your enjoyment of the time there, then come down to Millbrae for your early morning flight. There's too much driving in your latter plans by staying in Millbrae both nights.

Also, I think you need to eliminte one element. It looks a bit ambitious and you have not taken into account distance and traffic. When I have a chance, I'll post a specific itinerary suggestion, but perhaps you can consider this on your own for now, knowing the things you most would like to see.

I think you can eliminate either the Half Moon Bay portion of your trip or perhaps the 49-mile drive (and just try to incorporate some of those sights as you drive out of the city or during your conference days (at night).

Los Altos...
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8. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

I'm concerned about the latter part of your trip when you check out of the Nikko.

I think you need to spend one night up in Marin or Napa area to maximize your enjoyment of the time there, then come down to Millbrae for your early morning flight. There's too much driving in your latter plans by staying in Millbrae both nights.

Also, I think you need to eliminte one element. It looks a bit ambitious and you have not taken into account distance and traffic. When I have a chance, I'll post a specific itinerary suggestion, but perhaps you can consider this on your own for now, knowing the things you most would like to see.

I think you can eliminate either the Half Moon Bay portion of your trip or perhaps the 49-mile drive (and just try to incorporate some of those sights as you drive out of the city or during your conference days (at night).

San Francisco...
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9. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

skalibaba said: "Jackson Square"

Take a magnet to amuse youself with the metal façades

"Alcatraz Night Tour - Pier 39"

A good time to dine at Swiss Louis, when on Broadway one of our best Italian restaurants; still a good one.

"49-Mile [Scenic] Drive . . . Eating suggestions as well."

Plan nothing else for the day. Figure out where you'll be around dinner time to ask the UseNet Group ba.food where to dine. There's a link to it at the first URL below.

"Drive on PCH 1 to Half Moon Bay"

The Pacific Coast Highway [PCH] is farther than three hundred miles from here. The highway along The Coast is the Cabrillo. Each bears the numerical designation 1.

"Any other suggestions?"

Yes. Many. The "Don't-miss sights in San Francisco" page geocities.com/iconoc/Articles/Sights.html has enough to keep you busy for nine twelve-hour days.

The best on-line map of San Francisco is an inter-active PDF: geocities.com/iconoc/Grafix/MuniMap.gif. Click on it to get the *.PDF. I recommend 200-400% magnification. A creation of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, it includes all of its routes.

The frequently-updated SPECIAL EVENTS page has irregularly-scheduled music and dances as well as links to seven calendars of regularly-scheduled dances, a composite of five of them, and one of dance cruises and events around the world: geocities.com/dancefest/Specials.html#t

Montreal, Quebec
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10. Re: San Francisco Area 8-day trip advices

Thanks BetterThanBings and SwingCha for your input. Like you said, I think the drive to Half Moon Bay is superfluous. Also, I didn't think about the traffic when saying that I would sleep at Millbrae on May 4th and then go back on SF North Shore. So I searched for a some hotel between San Francisco and Sonoma/Napa and I found out the Best Western Novato Oaks Inn. Is this a good place to stay?

Another activity I was thinking about is having a massage at Tru Spa on May 1st or May 3rd evening. Is it a good place for massage?