San Franciso area guidebook?
Can anyone recommend a good guidebook for SF? We hope to go next March. Any suggestions on what to do or where to visit would be welcome, too.
AAA Has a good San Francisco section in their N. California tour book
Frommers might be an option, I don't know I generally just use the internet
I love the AAA travel books. As for things to do, I would say Pier 39 is a must, if you want to do Alcatraz you WILL need reservations. Also, obviously, walk over the Golden Gate (bikes are available to rent if you like that sort of thing). Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury are very popular. If you like nature absolutely take the time to visit Muir Woods. It can be hard to find good directions but so totally worth it! You can experience the Redwoods without having to drive 5 hours north. Also, Muir Beach is close, but if you like Northern California beaches (coldy, windy, rocky and gorgeous), which I do since the area is home to me, I suggest Point Reyes or Bodega Bay. MythBusters is based in the SF area, Novato I believe, so you could visit there if you like the show. Napa and the surrounding winery areas are very close to SF and worth the drive just for the scenery alone. And if you go far enough into wine country you will get to the hot springs in Calistoga. If you drive a little south of SF you will encounter many awesome destinations, depending on how much driving you want to do. Monterey and the aquarium are great and so is Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Also, Big Sur has awesome beaches. Besides the boardwalk there are two amusement parks in the area, Six Flags in Vallejo (which was Marine World when I was growing up... ahh nostalgia), and Great America in Santa Clara. I could go on and on, all depends on your interests. Enjoy! I love SF and enjoy every trip there! :)
Golden Gate park has a few museums that are REALLY COOOOL! There is a new science museum(has an aquarium, observatory, laser light shows, dinosaur exhibits and TONS MORE) that is a totally green building with a living roof. In the same area, Exploratorium (a bunch of experiments that are hands on and interactive and just plain FUN!) & Palace of Fine arts are neighbors.
If you do Alcatraz, do the night tour. It's the longest and most complete tour, runs about $33 per adult, and WORTH EVERY PENNY! Ride a cable car, Walt Disney Family museum is in San Francisco as well. You will see things there that are NOWHERE else. You can also see a play at one of the theaters. San Francisco is a major stop for touring musicals and plays. I live in Napa Valley and it is about an hour drive from San Francisco to Napa. Very easy to come for a day, see a couple wineries and have dinner. If you do come to Napa, make a reservation for a winery tour in ADVANCE. I highly recommend Shramsburg Winery. It is the champagne of choice for the White House. They have served it at every presidential dinner since Nixon. For dinner, Rutherford Grill or Mustards.
AAA has the best guide books and they are free. If you are not a AAA member, Tripadvisor.Com is an AMAZING travel resource web site. Everything from hotel reviews done only by members who have stayed at them and places to go.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I am an AAA member so I will be calling tomorrow. I'm going to order the visitors bureau info as soon as the book for Spring becomes available. Any suggestions on what to do/where to eat with a group ranging in age from 14 (DS), 17 (DD) to my BIL who is over 60? Any budget-minded suggestions are greatly appreciated! Any suggestions on clothing for late March?
In the Marina/Cow Hollow area we love to eat at:
Barneys Gourmet Burgers - yuummmmeeeee!
Bay Watch Restaurant - GREAT Breakfast, also very reasonably priced
In ChinaTown, this is hands down our favorite place to eat in the city. Its excellent, fresh and inexpensive. We usually eat here a few times over the course of several days, that is how much we love it.
Things to do:
Check out City Guides. They are free walking tours. We have taken the Chinatown tour and the one of the Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoyed them both
Order up the tour books - the main attractions won't be dependent on the seasons. This way you can start planning and then refine hours etc. when the spring edition becomes available.
What to wear:
Layers. Layers and more Layers
We were in the City a year ago March and wore capri's and tanks, the weather was glorious and warm. Then we were there in July (last summer)and wore sweatshirts and jeans. This past January we wore jeans and t-shirts during the day and hooded sweatshirts at night. Summer tends to be foggy and damp, spring and fall tend to be beautiful.
A good wind breaker and a hoodie with jeans and t-shirts will pretty much have you covered for all weather that you may encounter.
I second the night tour of Alcatraz, it is really an experience but if its not in the budget or the itinerary then the day tour is also worth doing.
Buy CityPasses - they will pay for themselves and include unlimited Muni (bus/trolley) and unlimited cable car rides. BART is not included but we rarely use BART once in the city. We use Muni, cable cars and taxi cabs.
Things we love to see/do in the City:
Ride Cable Cars
Wander through the assorted markets in China Town
Take a couple of CityGuide Tours
The DeYoung Museum is a favorite for DD and I
We all love love love the Exploratorium. It really is fun for all ages
Walk over the Golden Gate Bridge
Ft. Point - it's free, full of history and even has free parking. It is located under the bridge.
The California Academy of Sciences is really neat, but its spendy (unless you have City Pass) and if given a choice my family would chose the Exploratorium every time.
We try to avoid the wharf, its cheesy, touristy and full of expensive shops. I prefer the museums etc. that the city has to offer. We will sometimes go see the sea lions but usually only if in the area for Alcatraz or a bay cruise.
Coit Tower has amazing views and amazing murals.
A walk up Lombard St. is fun (Crookedest Street)
The zoo is nice and Golden Gate park is full of little treasures to explore.
The beach near the zoo is a great place to fly a kite.
Go N. over the Bridge and head towards Rodeo Beach. You can drive around Pt. Bonita an old armory base and enjoy a nice walk on the beach. If you chose to go further north, there are more nice beaches as well as Redwoods.
Walk from China Town to the Wharf via Columbus Ave - its a great walk
It's been a few years, but I used to visit this restaurant annually. They had really good biscuits. :thumbsup2
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