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Our family has just a day in San Fran

San Antonio, Texas
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Our family has just a day in San Fran

We are stopping here on a cruise....one full day 7 am to midnight....what is a must see? We would like to include a tour of Alcatraz, but how long does it take? Will we have time for other sites too?

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1. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

what's a must see? Check out the san francisco visitors and convention bureau-- they have a great website with lots of stuff about what to do/see/tours/etc. It will give you a taste of what you can do to fill your day. You can also request brochures and information.

Here's some info from our trip (8 days this past sept.) It might be easier to have a SF map to reference when reading this post--they you can tell what i am talking about. The wharf area is generally flat--so walking is not a problem.

Assuming you are being dropped off right at the piers by the Embarcadaro --which is the piers that all the cruise ships (celebrity, etc) seemed to be at---you are going to want to take the F line (an electric public transport car) towards fisherman's wharf --it will continue in the other direction to union station.

I do not know what the charge to ride this is- i obtained a multiday pass that included museum addmissions and public transport and could ride as much public transport as i wanted/needed upon showing pass.

There is also just a transportation pass--If you are interested in the pass--look at the SF convention bureau page- they have info, a phone numbers you can call for help. it might be something you could obtain in advance so you would not need to buy it.

Once at the wharf you can go to pier 39- it has the sea lions (cute, but what a smell!!), shops, restaurants. My experience with restaurants in here are bad service and overpriced...but that is another story. Fun to walk around and look at things.

right there is the piers for the boat tours. I did not do the alcatraz tour, but I did do the blue and gold fleet's harbor tour. It takes you around the bay, gives a nice little narrated tour, goes under and around golden gate bridge, gives you a nice skyline of the city, and takes you around alcatraz but you do not physically get off or tour alcatraz itself.

Continue down the fisherman's wharf area (away from pier 39 and boat tours and cruise ship area) and you will find some restaurants. There is one very large one (franciscian i think) its huge, right by the gray line tours, closest to water. It has a great price fix lunch (salad, large entree, dessert) and wonderful window views. The food and service was amazing. We ended up there twice. You really cannot miss this thing! its surrounded by the parking lots, closest thing to the water in that area.

After that there are a bunch of little stalls which have steamed crabs, more restaurants, etc. Continue walking and you will get to the Trolly stop--it is $3.00 to ride the trolley car (but my pass permitted me to ride without paying additional fee).

There are two trolley lines...you will need to check a map to see where this one takes you and drops you off. I cannot recall that. But know that the lines to ride the trolley can get long so you might have to wait.

if you didn't take the trolley then you can continue and hit Ghiradelli square. its actually set back from the water a bit--check one of the maps as to exact location. They have the chocolate shop and a restaurant. (I would go there...but just so you know there is a Cost Plus World Market next to the Barnes and Noble a couple of streets inland from the wharf area which also sells this chocolate and is much cheaper. if you have one of those stores at home--you can also buy it there.

Walk back to the edge of the wharf and you can hop on the F line and it will take you back down to where you got off the cruise ship or continue past there and go to union station--malls, businesses, more commercial and less tourist. But you can find more fast food, drug stores, etc. There is also a trolley stop down there which will take you back towards the wharf area.

Chinatown is kinda a hike--you can access it from one of the trolley lines--its a couple of blocks down from where you ask to get off..but i'd need a map to get you more info on that. Chinatown's fresh produce was amazing. But it tends to be very crowded. Walking over the golden gate bridge was amazing--but you might not be able to fit that into just one day.

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2. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

ooops! I said union station, but meant union SQUARE!

Annapolis, Maryland
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3. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

The words "trolleys" and "frisco" makes most San Franciscans cringe. There are a number of older methods of transport, including the CABLE CARS. There are 3 Cable Car lines, the Powell/Hyde, the Powell/Mason and the California...an antique Street Car line, the "F"; and 5 modern Street Car lines.

Cruises are still berthing at Pier 35 I believe. No need for public transport from the terminal...you are just a few blocks from Pier 39 and quite close to the Powell/Mason Cable Car.

With a 7 am arrival, that gets you started before the masses...exit the terminal and turn right...Pier 37 is next, then Pier 39...Head in and grab a table at The Eagle Cafe for a bountiful breakfast overlooking the GG Bridge. The first Alcatraz tour is 9:30a.m. and leaves from...you guessed it...Pier 39....The tour takes about 2.5 hours. You can combine this with tours to Muir Woods and/or Sausalito...that would take up the afternnon.

If just Alcatraz, you'll be back in the City around noon...stroll the Wharf...grab a crab cocktail from a sidewalk vendor...and buy your SF travel trinket here...Ghirardelli Square will soon appear...Aquatic Park is nice...and the walk out the Municipal Pier gives a wonderful view. This is the Cable Car line to take...the Powell/Hyde. It climbs steeper hills and makes more turns.

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4. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

traveln'prankster,

Well SF can "cringe" all it wants if people use the term trolley rather than cable car--but for a city that DEPENDS on the almighty tourist dollar, if they (RESIDENTS of SF...not just people from other places posting on SF) feel as strongly as you they better get over themselves. In order to have tourists come to your city--you better make it welcoming and be willing to be understanding about such a simple difference in language.

Oakland, California
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for Yosemite National Park
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5. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

Hey, Prankster and Vegas- you're both giving some good advice. As an area resident, let me just chime in- San Franciscans often use the term trolley to refer to the electric streetcars that run up and down Market Street (and beyond). Cable cars, are,of course, a unique San Franciscan institution, and are pulled by underground cables.

We are happy to have you here, and to answer your questions, no matter what you call us!

The Embarcadero is now a lovely place, with it's own streetcar (or trolley) that runs along the waterfront to Fisherman's Wharf. Any time you spend along that thouroghfare will be well spent, although I would recommend stops at the Ferry Bldg. (good eats), and Ghirardelli Square (good dessert at the Chocolate Factory) and Pier 39 (good views of sea lions). A trip to Alcatraz seems a requirement, but I'll be honest- most people find it a bit of a disappointment.

One more thing- there are bike rentals along the Embarcadero, and a bike will get you to more places much faster, and with some great views!

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Annapolis, Maryland
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6. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

Thank you macjack...

New2vegas,

I'm sorry, but I consider language more of a precise instrument. Wrong is wrong, not a difference in language. The Cable Cars are specific and unique, hence the semantic concern. It is precisely the fact of their drive mechanism that makes them an historic consideration. Yes, the Street Cars are often called trolleys or trams as is the custom world wide. They run on overhead wires.

Regardless of how San Franciscans feel about these terms, they will, and always have, welcome travelers to their beautiful city. Most will still cringe when the Cable Cars are referred to as "trolleys"...and gladly take your money. I was a resident for 10 years...and drove a taxi for 7...I have some knowledge of the place.

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7. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

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8. Re: Our family has just a day in San Fran

macjack has given you the best insight....as a native "city" born person you can get alot done in one day just around the Wharf....especially the sourdough bread and fish!!! Hey, macjack where did you get that name?? My whole family lives in the Bay Area somewhere and the name is one that my brother would use....John Mc.................

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