Top 5 Things to do in San Francisco?

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by Cheshirecatty, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    Really big. Seemed like a warehouse, which most of the old piers really are. Lots of exposed ceiling space, although it wasn't as high as the old Palace of Fine Arts building (I have been to the old Exploratorium in years). Seems a lot more polished than I remember the old Exploratorium, which had the appearance of a work in progress, which it perpetually was. The nicest thing were the sofas and chairs almost everywhere. Sometimes I just sat down and watched my kid play. There was also a line of rocking chairs.

    I was able to apply my admission to a membership. My kid is under 5, so I got the one adult and one guest membership - for $95. I figure I can usually make my wife the "guest" and maybe take other people there from out of town. The single admission prices seem really high though. $25 for adults and $19 for kids/seniors. There's the Bay Area discount if you live in one of the nine Bay Area counties - $20 for adults and $15 for kids/seniors. They're also going to have some free days starting this fall.

    There isn't that much to eat around there. They've got the two overpriced restaurants on site. Other than that, most of the options are going to be starting at the Ferry Building or around Fishermans Wharf. The only other place nearby is the TCHO Chocolates factory and cafe on Pier 17. They don't really have much to eat other than chocolate, but they have coffee and also coffee/chocolate mixed drinks. I think the coffee they serve is from Blue Bottle. Their drip coffee was individually ground and then prepared in a single cone.

    I think admission can be included in the San Francisco CityPASS. It's either the Exploratorium or the de Young Museum + Palace of the Legion of Honor.

    As for the Exploratorium, my kid is going to want to go back over and over.
     
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  3. MMCD

    MMCD Mouseketeer

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    Chiming in so I can get great tips.
     
  4. ncc1701

    ncc1701 Scotty I need Warp 10 to WDW

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    Irish coffee at the Buena Vista and lunch at Gott's in the Ferry Building. Plus you should go to Alcatraz.
     
  5. Christen99

    Christen99 Wet behind the ears

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    Can you still use the library passes for free admission? We've done that for tons of attractions in the city.
     
  6. AquamarineSteph

    AquamarineSteph Mouseketeer

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    When we visited San Francisco, we did it completely without driving our own car. We took public transport the entire time, and we never had any problems with it. In fact, taking public transport added to the adventure factor for us, as our city doesn't have the same level of public transportation available.

    I saw that someone mentioned the fortune cookie factory. We splurged and did a guided walking tour of Chinatown which not only included fortune cookies, but also lunch and lots of sights/history that we would have missed otherwise. Alcatraz was also a lot of fun.

    And I second the suggestion to take a jacket and be prepared to layer your clothing. We were there in June, and I thought it was chilly.
     
  7. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I think so. It's on my county library's list of free museum passes for county residents. However, those are usually limited per day. I was looking for free passes this weekend for Aquarium of the Bay. I got one for Sunday but not Saturday (my preferred day). I didn't see any Exploratorium passes available. I believe they're limited and are probably snapped up quickly. As a member, I can go any time, even if they're sold out for regular admission.

    Addendum: I checked again, and I can't find any Exploratorium passes available from my county's library. There is a survey that asks how one's previous visit was, and the Exploratorium is listed as a possible attraction served by the museum pass program. I'm not 100% sure how these work but I think there are limits. They might not be available depending on whether or not a particular museum releases passes to each library. A particular museum might restrict the release to a certain window before the visit (e.g. not more than a week in advance) and perhaps check to see how many advance tickets they've sold before deciding whether to release library free passes and how many to release. I don't think they're too keen on having too many people visit with these passes. I think participation with libraries might be free as a courtesy. They'd be giving up locals admission of $20 per adult and $15 per child. For a family of 5 that would be $85.

    Here's their FAQ:

     
  8. cuteinnocent

    cuteinnocent Mouseketeer

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    I agree!! The food is the best part. Love having sundaes at Ghirardelli square (do the main restaurant by the water fountain, the other small stores only give you to go cups that don't seem as big).

    Look up other restaurants on yelp, I go by the reviews and anything I've tried from there is amazing. Amazing brunch/breakfast places and any other types of restaurants in all price ranges. For fresh oysters/seafood Swan Oyster Depot is great, but be prepared for a line.

    Other super fun things I've done there is Go Car rental and Segway tours. The Go Car (in Fisherman's wharf area) was so fun since you get a great tour through some of the city and fun going down Lombard street in it.

    Don't miss Alcatraz (might need advanced reservation). Other boat tours are also fun, like Rocket Boat.

    At Pier 39 don't miss the sea lions.
     
  9. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I read a lot of complaints that people waited too long there and received sundaes that were melted, with service that's indifferent at best. It's an absolute zoo there during the tourist season. The saving grace is that their prices are reasonable. Maybe I'll try it some day when we do the local tourist thing.

    There's one place that's really loved by locals but isn't in a tourist area per se. It's Bi-Rite Creamery, which is affiliated with Bi-Rite Market - a local independent grocery store. They have a handmade ice cream made from really good ingredients. The signature flavor they have is salted caramel. I guess some people love it, but I thought it was merely OK and kind of strange. It tasted like burnt sugar to me. The flavor that rocks my world is roasted banana. The main creamery site is on 18th St and there's often a line out the door across the corner.

    [​IMG]

    The market has a new store on Divisadero, and I understand they have an ice cream section serving scoops and sundaes.

    Now the place I grew up with ice cream is Fentons Creamery in Oakland. If you're not to scared to venture into big bad Oakland (actually this neighborhood is quite upscale) and have a vehicle, it's worth a trip. That place is just awesome. There's some argument over whether Rocky Road ice cream originated here or at Dreyer's.

    http://www.fentonscreamery.com

    [​IMG]

    This is the Banana Special. When I was a kid I could have sworn it was much larger, but maybe it was because I was much smaller.
     
  10. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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  11. carnival kid

    carnival kid Mouseketeer

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    Could you please post or PM me the details of the walking tour?? It sounds interesting :)
     
  12. AquamarineSteph

    AquamarineSteph Mouseketeer

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    When we were in San Francisco, we used this tour group for our walking tour

    http://allaboutchinatown.com/

    (If it's not alright to post a link to a non-Disney site, I do apologize and will remove it immediately if informed to do so.)

    Anyway, I read about the tour in that year's Unofficial Guide to San Francisco. I contacted the tour company for more information, had prompt responses from them, and was totally delighted with the walking tour and luncheon.
     
  13. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    Why would posting to a non-Disney site be an issue? This is a private board and not affiliated with Disney in any way. All sorts of stuff gets linked here, and it's up to the board mods to determine if something was linked as information, and can remove something if they feel it's spam. Now if a website owner was obviously and shamelessly promoting a website, that would be another matter.
     
  14. carnival kid

    carnival kid Mouseketeer

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    Thanks heaps Aquamarinesteph will definitely look into that one sounds great:)
     
  15. AquamarineSteph

    AquamarineSteph Mouseketeer

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    Hope it helps, and hope you enjoy your trip!
     
  16. 2littleprincesses

    2littleprincesses DIS Veteran

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    My dds will be 13 and 10 when we go to CA. Is that too old for the Exploratorium?
     
  17. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I won't say how old I am, but I'm certainly not too old for the Exploratorium. It's not a children's museum per se. They've got things that appeal to all age groups.
     
  18. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I just visited again today (I'm putting the annual membership to good use) and there were pretty much "kids" of all ages from 0 to 70. I would think that age might be rather perfect, especially if they've started taking an interest in science.
     
  19. tianna26

    tianna26 Mouseketeer

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    Pier 39, union square,exploratorium, academy of science, golden gate bridge
     
  20. DaeHyFoog

    DaeHyFoog Let's all sing like the birdies sing...

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    Fenton's looks great! Have you done the tour? I'm wondering if that would worth it for our family, DD 13, DS 10, DD 6. Thanks. :thumbsup2
     
  21. DSNY4ever

    DSNY4ever <font color=darkorchid>I am going to keep hunting

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    Oh San Francisco- so beautiful.

    Hmm...

    I LOVE Golden Gate Park. I love the Japanese Tea Garden, walking to the windmills, the botanical gardens, conservatory, definitely the Academy of sciences, and the Shakespeare rose garden. Just such a beautiful spot to explore and have a picnic lunch or enjoy lunch at Chow (one of my favorites!).

    The Wharf and Pier 39 is also very fun for tourists.

    The Ferry building and Coit Tower are also very pretty. There is often a market going on outside the ferry with wonderful treats and fruits and veggies.

    The hike on the Pacific Crest trail from the Cliff house to the bridge/presidio area is LOVELY on a clear day.

    The Exploratorium is great (although I haven't been to the new location yet, I am sure it is still great, especially for kids).

    China town is fun to explore.

    Going across the bridge to Sausalito is fun. The Spinnaker restaurant there is very good and has nice views.

    Oh I always forget about Alcatraz. Tourists love that and it is a nice ride on the ferry. Angel Island is a beautiful ferry ride too and you can ride bikes, hike or do a segway tour! But I think the only way to ride to Angel Island is from Tiburon (?) at least that is where I ride it from.

    Hmm, I could go on and on. And GrandBob is right, there are so many wonderful places to eat!
     

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