San Francisco Journals

Fun in the sun in San Francisco

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A July 2006 trip to San Francisco by gatorgirl1977

Street Vendor at the Wharf Photo, San Francisco, California More Photos
Quote: I left my heart in...well you know the rest. Here is a look at the week-long trip I took to San Francisco.

Fun in the sun in San Francisco

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Overview

Street Vendor at the Wharf Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
San Francisco, what a neat city! This city has everything from cable cars (don't call them trolleys) to prisons. I visited to San Francisco July 14-21 with my sister and some friends. We took in all the major sights and locations! Needless to say it was a whirlwind trip with as much crammed in as we could manage. We went from Coit Tower to Ghirradelli Square to Alcatrez to Muir Woods...well you get the idea.Here are some of my destinations not to miss. If you can get the tickets, take the Alcatrez After Dark tour. They cost about , but you get the chance to take part in some special activities not offered during the day. It was awesome, we took the earliest evening tour and didn't leave...Read More
Quote:
When I started the process of selecting where to stay in San Francisco, I read all the descriptions of the area. I was told how touristy the Wharf was and decided that I wanted to stay in the Union Square area; however, when I went to book a room, none were available. I had to "settle" for the Wharf area, and I am so thankful that I did.The Holiday Inn Express is located from the Wharf by about a 5-minute walk and from Ghiradelli by a 10-minute walk, and is only 1 block from a cable car turn around. The area also was frequented by taxis, which made it easy to go to other sections of the city.In addition to the ease of the location, the Holiday Inn Express offers a phenomenal staff. They ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 15, 2006

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Fisherman's Wharf
550 North Point Street
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 409-4600

Absinthe

Restaurant

Quote:
On our last evening in San Francisco, we decided we would love to have a great dinner. We selected Absinthe from one of my travel journals and called for reservations. The staff worked us into the book and we headed out.When we arrived we were quickly seated at our table. The furnishings here are done in deep colors and are very plush. We were presented with menus and left to ponder our choices.It felt like the waitstaff was hovering over our every breathe. I have been to numerous nice restaurants before and never felt so over observed. When we had questions, our waiter was unable to answer them. He just kind of guessed at them. Everytime someone moved a piece of the table setting ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 24, 2006

Absinthe
398 Hayes St
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 551-1590

Cha Cha Cha

Restaurant

Quote:
After finishing our Haight-Ashbury tour we were famished. We asked our guide for a recommendation in the area and she sent us to Cha Cha Cha. When we arrived outside the bright purple building, we didn't quite know what to expect. We saw that the area was pretty crowded and seemed to be alive with lunch even on a Tuesday around 11.We stepped inside and were quickly seated at a table. The menus were handed out and consisted of different types of Spanish appetizers or tapas.My group quickly picked about 4 different tapas and decided we would share. I ordered the Dijon Chicken. This turned out to be a chicken breast sauteed in a dijon mustard and cream sauce with mushrooms. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2006

Cha Cha Cha
1801 Haight St
San Francisco, California 94117
(415) 386-5758

Fior d'Italia

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Restaurant

Quote:
We saw an ad for Fior d'Italia. This is one of the oldest restaurants in San Francisco. We decided we had to check it out.We wandered in right after the restaurant opened for lunch. It was completely deserted. The waitstaff was very friendly and took us straight to a table. This restaurant is done elegantly but isn't stuffy in the least. We each asked the waiter for suggestions. He recommended the meatballs, the lasagna, and the risotto (which is prepared when ordered so it takes 20-30 minutes). I ordered the risotto, while my friends ordered the other suggestions. We also ordered calamari for our appetizer. I'm usually not a big fan of calamari, but this was excellent. It was cris...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 25, 2006

Fior d'Italia
601 Union St
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 986-1886

Golden Gate Park

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Attraction

Golden Gate Park Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Golden Gate Park is full of beautiful sites and things to do. There is the Japanese Tea Gardens, the Rose Garden, the Windmill, and the Botanical Gardens. The Park is free to visit. The Japanese Tea Garden has an additional charge, but it is under $10 per person. Everywhere you look there is something new to look at. In the botanical gardens you will discover different areas dedicated to different regions and countries around the world. One of our tour guides mentioned that there is not a single plant in the entire park that is a native Northern Californian variety, not just in the botanical gardens. This makes every tree something to be viewed.Another nice feature of the park is that the bus ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 14, 2006

Golden Gate Park
501 Stanyan Street
San Francisco, California 94118
(415) 831-2700

Gray Line San Francisco Bus Tours

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Attraction | "Grayline Tours - Combo Muir Woods and Deluxe City Tour - City Tour Portion"

Gray Line San Francisco Bus Tours Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
I chose to write up the combo tour as two separate tours because they can be purchased that way and because the experience on each leg of the tour was completely different. For the combo tour that includes both the city of San Francisco and Muir Woods/Sausolito, it costs $81 per person. For the city tour alone it cost $44. These tours can be purchased at www.graylinesanfrancisco.com.When I read the description of the Deluxe City part of tour, I got really excited. It sounded like it would be a great way to see the city and take in all of the major sights. My reality was something completely different. We climbed aboard a small bus around 9:45 in the morning. Unlike the larger buses used by ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 14, 2006

Gray Line San Francisco Bus Tours
Pier 43 1/2 Embarcadero
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 434-8687

Flower Power Haight-Ashbury Walking Tour

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Attraction

Flower Power Haight-Ashbury Walking Tour Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
I reserved the Flower Power Haight-Ashbury Walking Tour through Zerve.com. It cost $18 per person; however, if you call the organization directly, it will save you a couple of dollars. I preferred to book through Zerve, though, so that you had immediate confirmation and didn't have to deal with leaving messages on answering machines. For people who don't know much about the Haight-Ashbury area, it was the center for the Flower Children during the Summer of Love. Today this area is filled with cool, funky shops and neat little restaurants.I booked the tour with mild expectations and was not at all disappointed. Our tour guide, Izu, was friendly and knowledgeable. She told about her perso...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 15, 2006

Flower Power Haight-Ashbury Walking Tour
Contact is by phone only
San Francisco, California 94117
(415) 863-1621

Beach Blanket Babylon

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Attraction

Quote:
Before coming to San Francisco, a friend of mine suggested we go to see Beach Blanket Babylon. I was a little unsure, but looked at it on the Web. Once I saw the pictures, I knew my group would absolutely love it. You can check it out for yourself at www.beachblanketbabylon.com.We reserved our tickets online and chose the Front Cabaret section for about $45 per person. This was a great section to sit in and we had awesome views. I don't think the Back Cabaret would have been as good. The rules were that the doors opened 1 hour before showtime, and there were no reserved seats, just guaranteed seats in the section you purchased. I would suggest that you get there early like we did. The pl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2006

Beach Blanket Babylon
678 Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard
San Francisco, California
415-421-4222

Gray Line San Francisco Bus Tours

Attraction | "Grayline Tours- Combo Muir Woods and Deluxe City T"

Gray Line San Francisco Bus Tours Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
This portion of my Grayline tour could not have been more different than my City portion. This tour can be purchased both as the combo as a stand alone tour. When purchasing as a combo tour, it costs $81. When purchasing as a separate tour it cost $47. These tours can be purchased at www.graylinesanfrancisco.com.My tour departed around 2:15 in the afternoon, and we traveled over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County. The scenery was beautiful and visible on both sides of the bus. We made a stop at Vista Point for photos and then continued on to Muir Woods. Muir Woods is a patch of Giant Sequoias located on Mt. Tam. These sequoias are not the largest, but they are the t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 15, 2006

Gray Line San Francisco Bus Tours
Pier 43 1/2 Embarcadero
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 434-8687

Alcatraz Island/The Rock

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Attraction | "Alcatraz"

Alcatraz Island/The Rock Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
If you go to San Francisco, you have got to go to Alcatraz. If you are there in the summer, get your tickets early and go to Alcatraz After Dark. For about $25 per person, you can get a truly unique experience.During the summer months, the Blue and Gold Fleet offer evening tours of Alcatraz. You can buy both day tour and evening tour tickets at www.blueandgoldfleet.com. My group went out on the first evening tour and returned on the last boat of the evening. If you choose to do this activity I would suggest that you do the same. By going on the early evening tour you can listen to your audio tour and then have time to participate in some of the specially scheduled evening ac...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2006

Alcatraz Island/The Rock
San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco 94133
(415) 705-5555

Japanese Tea Garden

Attraction | "Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park"

Japanese Tea Garden Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
After hanging around in Haight-Ashbury, I decided that I needed a nature break. I caught a cab and headed for The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.The Japanese Tea Garden is a really interesting place. It is filled with small zen-like gardens and huge, red pagodas. It was a definite change of pace from the shops I had just left. Entrance to the garden costs about $5-$6. It is open during the summer until around 6:00 pm. It took us about 1 1/2 hours to tour the gardens, but we could have spent longer. The garden is set up around a large winding loop. By following the loop it leads you around to each of the small garden areas. By following the path you will discove...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 16, 2006

Japanese Tea Garden
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 668-0909

Yosemite National Park

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Story/Tip

Half Dome Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Never in my life have I visited a more beautiful spot than Yosemite National Park. My group and I took the Grayline tour to Yosemite. The tour cost $125 per person, but it was worth that and more. I booked the tour over the Internet at www.graylinesanfrancisco.com. Grayline was great because they picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel.The tour began at 7am and we were picked up around 6:45am. We stopped at several places along our way to Yosemite. The tour drives you over the Bay Bridge and through the Central Valley, where you can view the wind generators and the California Aqueduct. The total time on the tour was between 12 and 14 hours. Do not let this deter you from taking this to...Read More

Chinatown

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Attraction

Chinatown Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
One of the not to miss experiences in San Francisco is Chinatown. San Francisco has one of the largest Chinatown areas in the United States of America. The main street in Chinatown is Grant Street.We took the cable line to the Chinatown stop and walked into the area. It was like stepping into another world. There were Asian groceries on several corners. I personally would have no need to purchase some of their wares like dried seahorses, but they were really neat to see. We strolled through numerous stores and shops.Some stores were basically just touristy spots, but if you look closely you can find some really neat places. One store that we stopped in sold vases with bamboo han...Read More

Chinatown
Grant Avenue
San Francisco, California