San Francisco Journals

A Couple in the City by the Bay

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A July 2000 trip to San Francisco by barbara

Sheraton Fishermans Wharf Hotel Photo, San Francisco, California More Photos
Quote: San Francisco is the perfect place to discover without a lot of planning. My husband and I had a great time just walking the streets, holding hands, and doing things that seemed interesting on the spur of the moment.

A Couple in the City by the Bay

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Overview

Quote:
The Costonoa Lodge and Camp in nearby Pescadero (55 miles south of the city) is a resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean that is well worth a weekend get away. Start a vacation here to experience the California Coastline, then work your way north, stopping in the Muir Woods for a hike before driving into San Francisco. Climb the Coit Tower to get the lay of the land. Ride a trolley. Go to Dalla Torre to find an intimate setting for romance and Italian food. If you visit the Cliff House, have lunch at Narai, an authentic Thai restaurant on the West Side where I tried an exotic Thai dessert found in few American restaurants. Go to Fisherman's Wharf and play air hockey in an arcade on Pier 39. Take ...Read More

Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel

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Hotel | "Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf"

Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf was located in a great spot. It was nice to be able to walk to a lot of the different tourist attractions such as Fisherman's Wharf that I had not been to since I was a little girl. Bus stops for different bus lines were nearby as well. The hotel looked a little run down from the outside but was very well-maintained within. Everything was decorated in a tasteful nautical theme, a giant model sailboat near the concierge's desk. The service we got was always first-rate. I would expect this, however, because the room rate was astronomical. After room taxes, parking garage fees, etc..., our bill was pushing $340/night. For that money I would have expected the room...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel
2500 Mason Street
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 362-5500

Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp

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Hotel

Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp Photo, Pescadero, California
Quote:
The Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp is actually 55 miles south of San Francisco off Highway 1. It is well worth the drive. Located on the coastal lands of the old Cascade Ranch, the Costanoa is private property nestled among some of the most pristine public parks the Golden State has to offer. With everything from camping facilities to luxury rooms available, travelers of ALL budgets may take advantage of this beautiful retreat’s superb setting by the sea. Whether you pitch a tent on the beach ($30) or get a room over the spa (Premium King $240), this is the perfect place to forget about cell phones and become reacquainted with Mother Nature. Costanoa’s main facilities a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 20, 2002

Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp
2001 Rossi Road At Hwy 1
Pescadero, California 94060
(650) 879-1100

Savoy Hotel

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Hotel

Savoy Hotel Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The Savoy Hotel is located in the theater district of the city. Built in 1913, it is a charming, intimate retreat from home. After a ride up the old-fashioned elevator to the seventh floor, I stepped into my small but provincially decorated room. I sat on the red and gold comforter. The bed was filled with goose down pillows; the mattress was made softer by a plush, goose down cover under the fitted sheet. Two fluffy, white robes hung on the bathroom door. The armoire revealed a mini-bar and television. I noted that all of the regular amenities such as laundry services were provided for in the hotel along with a few extra luxuries such as a complimentary wine and cheese hour daily. A key ca...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2002

Savoy Hotel
580 Geary Street.
San Francisco, California 94102
415-441-2700

Narai

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Restaurant | "Narai Restaurant (Thai Food)"

Quote:
If you like authentic Thai this is a great restaurant. My cousin has lived in San Francisco for over twenty years, and this place is at the top of her list when dining in the West end of town. So, after a pleasant visit to the arcade at the Cliff House, we made our way to Narai for lunch. At a table within the simply decorated dining room, we ordered a variety of different Thai dishes to share including noodles with shrimp, salmon in a coconut milk sauce, curry, Papaya salad, cold Thai tea, bbq chicken for the kids and more. To be honest, I am typically not a huge fan of this type of cuisine, so I had low expectations. Yet I really enjoyed everything I tried. Well, almost e...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 4, 2002

Narai
2229 Clement St
San Francisco, California 94121
+1 415 751 6363

Akikios Restaurant and Sushi Bar Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
If you’re in the mood for Japanese, Akikos offers reasonable and fresh sushi in a casual atmosphere. The service is quick and friendly. The seaweed salad is especially delicious, and the hand rolls are also good. A great place to grab lunch near the theater district, Akikos is a short walk from Union Square and Japantown.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 28, 2002

Akikios Restaurant and Sushi Bar
431 Bush Street
San Francisco, California
415-397-3218

Azie

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Restaurant

Quote:
You push through curtains at the front door to enter a chic restaurant with low lighting and a young, trendy feel. Like the cuisine, the décor at Azie could be described as Asian fusion. A broad cedar staircase is the centerpiece of the first floor. Long branches of pussy willows are tastefully arranged in a vase behind the hostess station. The curving bar to the left has modern silver accents, square mirrors—one colored red--covering the wall behind it; rectangular Japanese lanterns hang from the ceiling. To the right, seating is available in comfortable booths with high backs that ensure the privacy of diners. Food is served family style, in the center of the table, so that everyone may...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2002

Azie
826 Folsom St
San Francisco, California 94107
+1 415 538 0918

CyBelle's Pizza

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Restaurant | "Dalla Torre"

Quote:
I loved this restaurant. It was located on Telegraph Hill, and there are two floors on which you can eat. While you make reservations for dinner, they do not take reservations for the second floor. It fills up on a first-come, first-serve basis. Make sure you come first. You will be rewarded with a beautful view of the Bay Bridge in a small, and intimate room where the atmosphere could only be called romantic. Plan on buying a nice bottle of wine and enjoying a wonderful Italian/American meal. I had a delectable crab and pasta dish, and my husband enjoyed giant stuffed prawns. The service was first rate, and I could not recommend this place any higher if you are looking for a place to enjoy a ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

CyBelle's Pizza
719 14th St
San Francisco, California 94114
(415) 431-1722

Cafe Marimba

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Restaurant

Cafe Marimba Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We walked into Cafe Marimba off the sidewalk. We chose to eat there because of its brightly colored decor and festive looking dining area. We were not disappointed. We came to learn that Cafe Marimba is rated as one of the Bay Area's top 100 restaurants. The food is authentic Mexican with a wide variety of choices. Everything looked so good on the menu that I chose a Marimba Sampler Platter which included a Huilaoche Enchilada, a Mole Rojo Chicken Enchilada, a Spicy Chorizo Empnanda, and a Mole Amarillo Chicken Tamale. The meal and service were excellent and very reasonably priced. Best of all, Cafe Marimba uses pre-Hispanic cooking methods which tend to be much healthier than those traditional...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Cafe Marimba
2317 Chestnut St (between Scott And Divisadero Streets)
San Francisco, California 94123
+1 415 776 1506

Pier 39

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Attraction

Quote:
Pier 39 is full of arcades, stores, a carousel and fun activity. It was my favorite part of Fisherman's Wharf. There are sea lions hanging out on the docks, and these are fun (and free) to see. My husband and I also stopped in an arcade to play a couple games of air hockey. The atmosphere definitely brought the kid out in both of us, and I would suggest you at least walk-through to see if anything is of interest to you.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Pier 39
Beach Street & The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 981 7437

Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39

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Attraction | "Underwater World/Pier 39"

Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Underwater World is an Aquarium that is set up to look like dive tunnels. You walk through tunnels as sea life swims all around you. My husband and I saw great schools of silver anchovies teaming above our heads, and we marveled at the size of a giant red octopus in the tanks. There were many sharks swimming about as well, though I understand they are well fed and rarely prey upon their aquarium mates. Admission into the aquarium was $12.95/person. Kids under 3 were free. There was also a family package available that gave a little price break for those traveling with children. The admission was a little pricey for the length of time one could spend in the aquarium, but I would still recommend ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39
The Embarcadero at Beach Street
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 623-5300

Coit Tower

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Attraction

Coit Tower Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Coit Tower is a 210 foot high tower built with money contributed to the city of San Francisco by Lillie Hitchcock Coit in the early 1900s. Lillie was rescued as a young child from one of the fires that plagued San Francisco in the 1800s, and came to be a self-appointed mascot of the fire department. The tower itself actually looks like the nozzle of a fire hose. This tower is a must-see for any San Francisco visitor. It opens everyday at 10 AM. If you drive your car up Telegraph hill, there is limited parking available. Get there early before the tower opens to assure you will get a spot, and hike around the grounds to amuse yourself before Coit Tower opens. People often just walk up Telegraph Hill to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Coit Tower
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 362-0808

Ghirardelli Square

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Attraction | "Ghiradelli Square"

Ghirardelli Square Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Ghiradelli Square is full of 19th century red brick and used to be the location of a famous chocolate factory until the 1960's. If you are taking a self-guided walking tour throughout San Francisco, you will find many historical placards displayed in the Square explaining the contributions of the Ghiraradelli Family to the Bay Area economy. There are several interesting and nice shops in Ghirardelli Square that suited my tastes more than the cheaper souvenier shops found on Fisherman's Wharf, but I would still suggest checking out the stores on Union Street before doing any major shopping. There are funky boutiques and more reasonably priced goods outside of the major tourist spots. Union Squar...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point St
San Francisco, California 94109
(415) 775-5500

The Cannery at Del Monte Square

Attraction | "The Cannery"

The Cannery at Del Monte Square Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The Cannery on Leavenworth is an interesting building to walk by. It used to be a Del Monte Fruit canning factory and is now a collection of shops and eateries. A Comedy Club is located in the Cannery, and I understand a lot of up-and-coming comics perform there nightly. This is a nice place to do a little souvenier shopping or grab a snack to eat.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

The Cannery at Del Monte Square
2801 Leavenworth St (at The Corner Of Jefferson Street)
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 771-3112

De Young Museum

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Attraction

Quote:
The de Young Museum is in the Golden Gate Park. It had an entrance fee to its main halls for $6/person. There was a surcharge to see another exhibit that was being temporarily housed at the museum. We opted to stick with the permanent collection of American Art. When we entered the museum, there was a guided tour available for free. A very lovely lady named Gerda took us from room to room to see some of the old American furniture in the de Young art exhibit. She gave us a wonderful historical overview of several pieces, and she was very charming in every way. I would not, however, suggest a tour that concentrates on something as specific as the furniture in the museum unless you have a real int...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

De Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park.
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 750-3600

Golden Gate Park

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Attraction

Golden Gate Park Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
When we went to Golden Gate Park, we at first could not figure out how to get in! We soon discovered, however, that most of the access roads were closed off because the annual Aids Walk 2000 was going on the day we chose to visit the park. Thousands of people pledged their time to walk a course to raise money for Aids research, and we ended up walking with them for a while after we finally found a parking space on the street outside of the park and used footpaths to get inside. This park is an ideal place to take children visiting San Francisco to run out some energy. I would love to run there on my next visit. It is a huge area with lots of interesting flora and fauna decorating the landscape. The sm...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

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

Saulsalito

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Attraction

Saulsalito Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We stopped in Saulsalito on our way to Muir Woods. Apparently it is a popular city for tourists to go get tours of the bay, rent sailboats, or shop. We did none of these things. We walked down Bridgeway, the main drag on the water, and ate at a Chinese restaurant. I had actually heard that the food was better in the restaurants one street over on Caldonia, but we did not have the chance to find out. We were hungry at 3 in the afternoon, and most of the restaurants on Caledonia were closed until 5. Our meal was okay, and we had a nice view of the sailboats in the water. It was interesting to see the homes in Sausalito as compared to those in San Francisco though. They were much larger (some had YARDS!)...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Saulsalito
Saulsalito
San Francisco, California

Muir Woods

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Attraction

Muir Woods Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Muir Woods is beautiful. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to get there, and were so happy that we did not let the opportunity to see this national monument go by. Established as a nature preserve in 1908, Muir Woods was a gift to the US government. It was named after John Muir, a famous conservationist who increased US awareness of the importance of preserving nature. A Redwood can live for 3,000 years, and many of the towering giants have been in place in Muir woods for centuries. There are a variety of hiking trails available to use depending on how much time and effort you want to expend in the woods. The main loop is a very leisurely hike that takes about a half an hour. There are other...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Muir Woods
Muir Woods National Monument
Mill Valley, CA 94941-2696
(415) 561-4700

Fisherman's Wharf

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Attraction

Quote:
Our hotel was right by Fisherman's Wharf, and I had planned this because I remember the wharf as being magical for me as a kid. I had lived in Monterey when I was in elementary school, and I remember going to San Fran was a huge family treat. Fisherman's Wharf was always THE place to visit, and I had loved everything about it. Now-a-days, I'm not so sure. The Wharf is crowded with a lot of tourists (this is the number 1 San Francisco tourist destination) bustling past chintzy souvenier shops and stands on the busy sidewalks. There are, however, many street entertainers that are fun to watch, and many of the tours including the boat tours that go out to Alcatraz are booked at various places along ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 18, 2000

Fisherman's Wharf
The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California
415/956-3493

Edinburgh Castle

Attraction

Quote:
The Edinburgh is a dimly lit pub on Geary Street. The bartender looks like he never smiles, but he's fast and efficient. There are small tables on the first floor at which to sit and nurse a beer. Stairs lead up to a pool table and darts. The night I visited the Edinburgh with a group of friends, we had a good time challenging each other to games, having a few drinks and just hanging out in the relaxed, casual atmosphere. One of the girls in the group mentioned that the Edinburgh used to serve fabulous fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, but as I did not order any, I don't know if this is still true. The place didn't get too crowded though the tables did fill up as the night wore on. Tabs were...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 3, 2002

Edinburgh Castle
950 Geary St
San Francisco, California 94109
+1 415 885 4074

Blue & Gold Fleet

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Attraction | "Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise"

Blue & Gold Fleet Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise is a nice way to learn a little history about the area. On a nice day, what could be nicer than time spent on the water? However, be warned. The piped-in tour narrator's voice is not always easy to hear, and the wind can get a little chilly in San Francisco. The day of my tour, I at first tried sitting inside downstairs near the snack bar. There are windows through which to view the sites, and it was much warmer away from the wind. However, I could not hear the tour narration, so I moved outside to the deck. Eventually I found a seat on the top level near the speaker where the sound came in the best, and I leaned back for a pleasant ride. Dur...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 29, 2002

Blue & Gold Fleet
Pier 41 Marine Terminal
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 705-5555

Victorian Home Walk

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Attraction

Victorian Home Walk Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
On a lovely day in March I met our guide, Jay, underneath the grandfather clock in the St. Francis hotel lobby with a group of 15 other tourists. While I am a complete design novice, architecture intrigues me, so I was quite excited by the prospect of learning the differences between Italianate, Stick, and Queen Anne Victorian homes. During his brief introduction, Jay touched upon the history of San Francisco relevant to the tour: the economy that once allowed more than 80% of the population to own single family homes (Times have certainly changed!), the abundance of redwood building materials that influenced the city’s early design, and the 1906 earthquake that sparked the fires that burned...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 28, 2002

Victorian Home Walk
335 Powell St
San Francisco, California
(415) 397-7000

Fort Mason

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Marina Green/Fort Mason"

Fort Mason Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Anyone in San Francisco will be able to direct you to the Marina Green. This is a wonderful public area near the water. On a beautiful day it is filled with city locals out to exercise and enjoy views of the water. You can actually start running closer to Fisherman's Wharf, if you'd like, but the cab dropped us off at Fort Mason, and we began our jog to the Golden Gate Bridge. Look for paths that cut off the street and to the water once you pass the boats in the marina. Trails run parallel to the beach where you will see kayakers in their wet suits, Labradors chasing sticks thrown into the water, sailboats farther out in the Bay. Continue down the flat path and the beach will dr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2002

Fort Mason
At the corner of Laguna and Beach streets
San Francisco, California 94123
+1 415 441 3400

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

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Attraction | "San Francisco Museum of Modern Art"

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The SFMOMA is located in a reviving arts district in San Francisco. Works by such masters as Picasso and Henri Matisse can be viewed as well as a number of rotating exhibits. I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of all that is called modern art. In fact, several pieces on display at SFMOMA that were supposed to represent profound displays of abstract thinking---a rope hanging from the ceiling, for example---made little impact on me at all. However, other pieces let me see the world in a different light, notice a subtle nuance of beauty I might have missed without the aid of the artist. A photography exhibit by Edward Weston, a deceased Carmel native, was my favorite in March...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2002

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third St
San Francisco, California 94103
+1 415 357 4000

Cliff House

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Attraction | "The Cliff House"

Cliff House Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The Cliff House is a historical building located at the West end of San Francisco on a bluff hanging over the ocean. The Cliff House that is currently standing was built in 1907. Two former Cliff Houses have been destroyed. The current Cliff House was acquired in 1977 by the National Parks and Recreation Service, which now maintains it. The Cliff House is a popular tourist destination--especially in the summer. It is often foggy over the water, but on days when the weather cooperates, the views are quite lovely. Walks along the beach are pleasant, and most of the visitors on sunny days in the winter are San Fran locals, but be warned. Conditions can be cold and windy. If you walk dow...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 14, 2002

Cliff House
1090 Point Lobos Ave
San Francisco, California 94121
+1 415 386 3330

Getting around the city

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Walking is by far your best option when exploring San Francisco's different sections. Parking is an absolute nightmare in the city. You might find the perfect cafe, but if no valet is available, you'll spend an hour circling the block looking for a parking space! Walk when you can. Use BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), buses, and cable cars when you can't. Bart only has 4 lines so it is not complicated at all, and buses are part of everyday life for the San Francisco local. Make sure you take exact change if you do use the bus. You can get a transfer good for two vehicle changes within a 90 minute period for $1.00 (A BART fare starts at $1.10 and will not exceed $4.70). People at the stops are fri...Read More