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Old 19th May 2011, 21:10   #1
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Default San Francisco - What to see / do there?

Hi,

We will be visiting san francisco next month and wondering what are the areas not to be missed. Please keep in mind that we will have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.

I will probably keep a day for 1 mile drive, anything en-route that can be included?

I love beaches but the water on the west coast is much colder, is it worth it? any scenic beach resorts I should consider?

Oh, this is my first trip west of texas, and will be probably last until another few years. So I am only interested in must-see items :-). I have already included the canyons and such.

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Old 19th May 2011, 21:54   #2
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

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Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
Hi,

We will be visiting san francisco next month and wondering what are the areas not to be missed. Please keep in mind that we will have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.

I will probably keep a day for 1 mile drive, anything en-route that can be included?

I love beaches but the water on the west coast is much colder, is it worth it? any scenic beach resorts I should consider?

Oh, this is my first trip west of texas, and will be probably last until another few years. So I am only interested in must-see items :-). I have already included the canyons and such.
If you are looking for places to see withing SFO, then obviously below are must see and should not be missed.

1) Golden Gate Bridge
2) Crooked Street aka Lombard street
3) Pier 39/Fishermans wharf
4) Downtown Tour

All can be covered in 1 day easily.

-Ravi
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Old 19th May 2011, 22:23   #3
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

I think you mean "17 mile drive".
As for beaches, do try the Carmel beach. Its the starting point of Big Sur.

Also remember, parking is a big problem, esp on weekends. Also, some roads have toll. So plan accordingly.

That said, how many days vacation? Water is definitely colder, but getting a dip in june is nice as inland it gets hot.
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Old 19th May 2011, 22:43   #4
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

Thanks TSK, I meant 17.

I have 2-2.5 days in SFO depending upon travel (and start) time from lake tahoe. I am reaching SFO on friday and flying back on Sunday night. So traffic is going to be a problem I guess.
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Old 19th May 2011, 23:05   #5
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Driving on the steeply inclined streets of San Fransisco in a rented Mitsubishi eclipse itself was a great experience for me during my first time in california.

Regarding places in and around, I would rate pier 39, muir woods, 17 mile drive etc..

If you are visiting muir woods, steenson beach is also nearby. The drive to reach there is so picturesque. I would rate it as the best road I have ever driven on. But a little tight to include all these in 2 days.
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Old 20th May 2011, 00:05   #6
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

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Thanks TSK, I meant 17.

I have 2-2.5 days in SFO depending upon travel (and start) time from lake tahoe. I am reaching SFO on friday and flying back on Sunday night. So traffic is going to be a problem I guess.
Keep saturday for the coast road. Drive south of carmel all the way till the hearst castle(forgot exact name). This day trip has 4 easily accessible coastal national parks, and redwood forests.

BTW, give me some time. I will send you google earth markers for free parking lots in SFO. I discovered them after doing a good amount of driving around. They are few, they are hidden, but thankfully, you can catch the bus/tram.

Ideally, I would suggest, you take your free parking by 10am, then just see the markets etc., by foot or tram.
After lunch head to twin peaks, then to golden gate, and for sunset go to the beach SW of golden gate. The sand is clean, and the views are great.

SFO has a lot to offer in terms of beaches, monuments, gardens, art galleries, so it depends a lot on you what you want to see!
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Old 20th May 2011, 00:23   #7
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

Wow, that sounds like a plan. I avoid galleries because I don't find any difference between experience in those and the one in my cintinnati downtown . No gardens either. I think I will spend most of my time in rocky coastline.

I am inclined to include muir woods/mount tam in my third day now.
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Old 20th May 2011, 00:54   #8
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

You should hit to the Baker beach, I felt it gives a better view of the Golden Gate bridge. Yes the water is colder here, like tsk said a dip on a nice sunny day will be well worth it

If you are fond of Sea Food, don miss on the Clam Chowder in fisherman's wharf from the local street side eateries.
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Old 20th May 2011, 01:53   #9
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
We will be visiting san francisco next month and wondering what are the areas not to be missed. Please keep in mind that we will have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.
Other than the obvious touristy places in SFO, if you decide to head down - The 5 yr old will love the Monterey bay aquarium. If you get there on a week day, it would be less crowded and more fun. The Santa Cruz beach boardwalk can also be fun for the kids and adults.
If you like scenic ocean view drives - head down the 17 mile drive, if you are like me, you may look at the big houses and fancy cars more than the scenic ocean view. You can drive down , over Bixby bridge, all the way to San Simeon/Hearst castle and then to Paso Robles. There are award winning vinyards and really good wine tasting packages. The ocean is cooler, but never seems to bother my kids, its never too cold for a dip (in June). One could rent a wet suit and do all sorts of water sports. Check out road conditions on hwy one.
If you like the forests and fresh water - you should head inland to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. The cabins, and campsites (for weekends) are booked a year in advance. If you want to relax in the national forests, you can try the lodges. If you are going to be on the move most of the time, then the motels would do. Try to avoid doing too much on any given day, these places seem closeby, but with windy scenic coastal roads are slow, and depending on the traffic and road conditions it could take time.

If you end up driving all the way down to Pismo beach, this is one beach where you can drive your car. Or rent the dune buggies, they have ones that can seat upto 8 people, they are awesome. Your kids may be too young to enjoy this, but if you are going there with other adutlts, you can plan this while kids and adults who want to skip the adventure do something else.
Welcome to the hotel California - You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.

Last edited by prasadee : 20th May 2011 at 02:06.
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Old 20th May 2011, 09:31   #10
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Keep saturday for the coast road. Drive south of carmel all the way till the hearst castle(forgot exact name). This day trip has 4 easily accessible coastal national parks, and redwood forests.

BTW, give me some time. I will send you google earth markers for free parking lots in SFO. I discovered them after doing a good amount of driving around. They are few, they are hidden, but thankfully, you can catch the bus/tram.

Ideally, I would suggest, you take your free parking by 10am, then just see the markets etc., by foot or tram.
After lunch head to twin peaks, then to golden gate, and for sunset go to the beach SW of golden gate. The sand is clean, and the views are great.

SFO has a lot to offer in terms of beaches, monuments, gardens, art galleries, so it depends a lot on you what you want to see!

I am not too sure he will want to go all the way down almost upto San Louis Obispo to do the Hearst castle in such a short time and and with two small kids on board. I think it will be a strain to do that. It will be a 4 hour one way drive atleast. Also too early and too late around this region will be hard to drive due to fog etc.

I would recommend go past the Golden Gate and then take CA1 North towards Point Reyes. You can drive down till the light house. Excellent Drive on the hills with ocean on one side.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...747&z=11&via=1

Last edited by bandlimitedlife : 20th May 2011 at 09:36. Reason: Changed to provide link instead
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Old 20th May 2011, 09:48   #11
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

Check out my thread on San Francisco (San Francisco: The bad boy chronicles. EDIT: Point Reyes, Pics added.). Lots of videos in it.

17 mile drive is highly overrated.
Try and do the Monterey Aquarium. Everyone in my office was recommending it. As a great spot to go with kids. But since I was travelling alone. I gave it a pass.
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Old 20th May 2011, 11:29   #12
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Default re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

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17 mile drive is highly overrated.
I agree that 17 mile drive is a bit over rated and you may be unable to do much on weekends as it could be too crowded.
Apart from the basic things to do (Golden Gate bridge/ Pier 39/ Fishermans wharf etc) have you thought of taking the cruise to Alcatraz or driving to Half Moon Bay?
Considering your kids, I would say that the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk would be a fun idea if you are headed in that direction. The beach was nice (admittedly years ago!) and there are enough fun things for the kids to do.
I liked the wooden rollercoaster a lot, its got a nice rickety sound/ feel to it!
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Old 20th May 2011, 18:15   #13
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Default Re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

I feel so too (overrated), now that I looked at other coastal routes. Add to that the crowd and congestion.

Time to go thru bblost's thread again!
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Old 20th May 2011, 19:04   #14
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Default Re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

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Try and do the Monterey Aquarium. Everyone in my office was recommending it. As a great spot to go with kids.
Absolutely. This should not be missed especially for the large Kelp Forest Aquarium, which is two storeys high.

The Deep Sea aquarium at Monterey is host to some the largest Tuna one would have ever seen.

It is indeed an awesome sight and the kids will refuse to come away from there

Last edited by Kairalee : 20th May 2011 at 19:05.
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Old 21st May 2011, 00:11   #15
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Default Re: San Francisco - What to see / do there?

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Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
I feel so too (overrated), now that I looked at other coastal routes. Add to that the crowd and congestion.

Time to go thru bblost's thread again!
If you do not want to drive too much, you can start from carmel beach, and do big sur till the hurricane point, or Julia burns state park(near a lighthouse)
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