48 hrs in SFO

Discussion in 'California' started by Mikus33, Aug 22, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    In about a month my wife and I will be taking a very quick weekend trip to SFO, and I'm looking for advice on things to do and see and places to eat. I lived there for a couple of months during an internship in the summer of 2004 and loved it, but I'm sure there are plenty of you guys who live there or have spent a lot more time exploring the city than I have. I've done a lot of the basic touristy things like Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, etc, but I'm sure I'll repeat one or two of those depending on what my wife wants to do.

    The plan is no rental car with all public transportation via BART or buses. We're good with long walks in the city too. We haven't picked a place to stay yet, but we may use a free night certificate from Marriott for the first night out by the airport (unless we can figure out another use for it before it expires in November), but for Saturday night we'll most likely priceline a hotel near Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf depending on our plans for the weekend.

    What are your favorite things to see/do and places to eat in the city?
     
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  2. myskyconnections

    myskyconnections Active Member

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    well, i live in san jose - not much going on here. and using public transportation in the bay area is no fun. but, you could check to see if there is some whale watching this time of year. or take a ferry from sf across the bay to sausalito.
     
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  3. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    I'll definitely check into the whale watching thing. That'd be great if it's the right season.

    No fun using the public transportation in SF? BART was part of the reason I loved SF so much, but I did grow up near ICT with no real form of public transportation. I loved not having a car for that summer. I do wish BART went to more parts of the city though. I used the bus system sparingly, and walked a ton. SF is a large city, but at the time I felt like I could walk across the entirety of it if I wanted (not sure if I'd feel the same way today though).
     
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  4. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    48 hrs in SFO... I love the airport, but that's a loooong time :)

    Oh, you want to visit The City? Great!

    Lots of nice museums. Not sure if they have any special exhibits.

    I enjoyed touring the Jeremiah O'Brien. Just walking along the water front is always something I enjoy (not so much Fisherman's Wharf proper).

    If you want to go to Alcatraz, be sure to start looking for tickets soon. For a different experience, consider going to Angel Island if the weather is nice. Some historic sites (think Ellis Island of the west) and lots of awesome views if you hike or bike around the island.

    AT&T Park?

    Boat trip to the Farallons (only if you're not getting sea sick)

    Bonita Point Lighthouse? Would probably need a car to get there; there's a thread here on this site about it). http://www.nps.gov/goga/pobo.htm

    Muir Woods and Marin Headlands
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    My favorite restaurant is Lulu near Moscone, easily accessible by public transit plus a short walk -- it's about halfway between Bart and Caltrain/Muni.
     
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  7. myskyconnections

    myskyconnections Active Member

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    there was just now a report on the news about whale watching - looks like we have more whales closer to the coast than ever before. not sure if that is good or bad (for the whales) - but maybe try that. and then let me know how it went...
     
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  8. myskyconnections

    myskyconnections Active Member

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    marin county is always worth a visit - great place to spend a day!
     
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  9. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I consider SF to be fairly compact and walkable if using buses and light rail strategically. I would not get a car for sightseeing in San Francisco. Could perhaps get one for a day or half a day for some day trip to one of the sites I listed above. Not sure if car share services (eg zipcar) would be an economical option. Could also rent bikes.
     
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  11. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    If you are both in shape and the weather (and wind) permit, rent a bike near Ghiardelli Square then ride to Sausalito over the Bridge. There you can take the Ferry to Pier 39. If you can, spend a little time in Golden Gate Park in the fortifications overlooking the Bridge. It's about a 10 mile ride and takes less than a morning or an afternoon.
     
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  12. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Excellent to have a bunch of solid recommendations. I'm a huge ice cream fan (actually, who isn't?), so hopefully we'll be near the Swensens.

    I'm a mechanical engineer and I actually worked on the California Academy of Sciences Building during that internship in 2004 (by 'worked on it' I mean drew up a few mechanical rooms in CAD). I was able to visit it on a work trip in 2010, and it was very cool to see something that I had a tiny piece in producing. We probably won't make it out there this trip though.

    We'll definitely walk some waterfront, probably in front of Fisherman's Wharf, although it is quite touristy. Thanks for the tip about Jeremiah O'Brien. Had no idea that was there.

    I had heard Alcatraz tickets need to be bought in advance. I'm a last minute kind of guy, but I'm trying to get the options together for the wife so she can decide what she wants to do. I've done Alcatraz and really enjoyed it, but I don't really need to see it again unless she wants to.

    Originally, a Giants game was definitely in the plans, but there are so many other things to see/do that this may get bumped. Again, I've been there, and it's a great park. Tickets are kinda pricey compared to my hometown team of the Royals and my favorite team the Tampa Bay Rays.

    I had never even heard of them until now. I'll have to look into those a bit more.

    I think we'll try to avoid renting a car for such a short time there.

    That might be part of the plan if we do the bike ride 8MiHi suggests.

    I like that they put the menu and prices on the website. If the prices aren't listed, it's too expensive for me.

    I think whale watching and renting bikes may be at the top of my list. We'll see what the wife thinks. If we can make that 10 mile bike ride, I think that would be an incredible way to enjoy the city. I guess we'll see how we feel and what the weather is like when the trip comes around. Thanks for all of the great suggestions.
     
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  13. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I notice many here are recommending things/place that the OP says he has alreadydone/visited:)

    If there on weekend a visit to the Sat morning Market at the SF Ferry Building is a must... great food, art, people watching and perhaps lunch at the Slanted Door. Since you seem to have done most the basic touristy things I bet you havent been to the very interesting Cable Car museum.

    For the best pizza on the west coast Delfinas Pizza or a great dinner try a SF favorrite of mine the parent restaurant Delfina (Italian/California cusine) an after dinner walk around the funky Mission district is recommended. (note although they have the same owners these two are not located very close to each other)

    Other restaurant recommendations RN74, Salt House and Yank Sing (for good .. but not cheap dim sum)
     
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  14. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I think Delfinas Pizza is overrated to the extreme. But maybe that's just me.

    For Dim Sum; I'd recommend HK Lounge. They have the best Cha Sui buns that are baked not steamed... and they're white in color not the usual bread color. Simply amazing.
     
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I have only been to Delfinas Pizza a few times, but I do like the restaurant and you get pizza there anyway.
    As far as dim sum lots of of friends swear that Koi Palace is the best in the Bay area but it is too far and would be difficult for the OP without a car.
     
  16. ACMM
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    ACMM Gold Member

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    If you want a change of pace - and some fun and different drinks - drop by the Tonga Room in the Fairmont :)



     
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  17. rharrigill
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    rharrigill Silver Member

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    +1 on the cable car museum. Very interesting, won't take a whole lot of time (we spent ~1 hour there), and, it's free!
     
  18. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Koi Palace is good ... just not that good compared to the $$$$ up charge they put on you to sit in a fancier looking place
     
  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I would have suggested Sam Wo, but sadly it's closed.

    http://samwo-restaurant.com/
     
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  20. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    yeah that made me cry a little bit.
     
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  21. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    RIP Ti Couz. :(
     
  22. free67spirit

    free67spirit Silver Member

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    I too am going to SFO and want some advice on where to stay. Celebrating 22 wedding anniversary! I have 182000 hilton point and 200000 carlson points. Any help would be appreciated?
     
  23. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I'd go w/Hilton. CC doesnt have that many great places in SF imo.

    Saying that you have 3 choices
    • Hilton San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf <-- The Bay.
    • Hilton San Francisco Financial District <-- chinatown
    • Hilton San Francisco Union Square <-- shopping
    I'd pick Union Sq.
     
  24. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Union Square for a slightly closer location to where you might want to be spending time ( just dont wander too far west on O'Farrell) I believe their quite sparse executive lounge may be still open??

    Personally I prefer the Financial District property (but their lounge is closed) marginally nicer property.
    Fishermans Wharf is a dump.
     
  25. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    For Fisherman's Wharf, I'd go with the Kimpton Argonaut, but then I generally like Kimpton (though they aren't one of my programs, I do stay there occasionally).

    I like the Financial District location, but haven't stayed there.
     

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