San Francisco Journals

Columbus Weekend in San Francisco

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An October 2007 trip to San Francisco by mikro

Villa Florence Photo, San Francisco, California More Photos
Quote: Our son, who works at IgoUgo, gave us a 3-day trip to a place he thought we would enjoy - and we loved it!

Columbus Weekend in San Francisco


Golden Gate bridge. Photo, San Francisco, California
With only 3 days to see the sights, we packed as much as possible into our first, and hopefully not the last, visit to San Francisco. Armed with camera, good walking shoes, map and the Muni pass, we covered alot of ground in this beautiful city by the bay. Since it was Columbus Day weekend, we passed by the parade through North Beach. Several Navy ships were in port for Fleet Week and the Blue Angels performed their stunts as part of a 2-day air show. Also going on (but we did not get to) were the Castro Street Fair and a bluegrass festival at Golden Gate Park. Not to be missed are the sights and aromas of Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the views from Telegraph Hill, walking on the Golden Gat...Read More
Villa Florence Photo, San Francisco, California
This 183-room boutique hotel was a block away from Union Square. The rooms have been recently redecorated in a romantic Italian style and provide a homey sense of comfort. Windows do open and have plantation-style shutters. Rooms have air conditioning, which is uncommon in many of the older downtown hotels. The bed was the most comfortable ever - we slept very well after days of walking all over the city. Bathrooms are old-style tiled with modern fixtures. The towels were plush; LATHER bath & body products were featured. Rooms contained iron and ironing board, honor bar and snacks. The furnishings overall were in excellent condition.The lobby is very inviting with comfortable furnis...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 15, 2007

Villa Florence
225 Powell Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(800) 553-4411

Trattoria Volare Caffe

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Restaurant | "Trattoria Volare Cafe"

Trattoria Volare Caffe Photo, San Francisco, California
In the heart of North Beach is this Sicilian cafe. As we walked by, the hostess passed a tray of bruschetta around to those checking the menu. She burst into a robust version of "Volare" and invited passers-by to come in for dinner. The atmosphere is noisy and jovial; diners get a view of the open kitchen. TAbles are close together and you may end up talking with the adjoining diners.Music of the great Italian singers plays in the background. Menu is billed as Sicilian specialities and features pasta dishes, antipasto, fried calamari, seafood, chicken, veal, steak and even rabbit. Italian bread and marinated olives are served with all meals.Pasta, gnocchi and ravioli are homemade da...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2007

Trattoria Volare Caffe
561 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 362-2774

Alcatraz Island/The Rock

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Attraction | "Alcatraz Tour"

Alcatraz Island/The Rock Photo, San Francisco, California
A night tour of Alcatraz Island provides more features than daytime tours. You have a guide up to the prison, then walk your way through listening to the audio tour. At the end, there are several options - extra guided tours, movies, or just time on your own. The boat ride across the bay has many photo ops of the city, Golden Gate Bridge and the island itself. As you disembark the boat, a guide welcomes you, explains the history of Alcatraz - first as a military fort in the Civil War days, then the federal penitentiary, and finally the Indian occupation during the late 1960s. It is presently operated by the National Park Service. Visitors walk through the Guard house and Sally Po...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 18, 2007

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

Walking around the City by the Bay

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Chinatown Photo, San Francisco, California
Using the walking tour guide found in the AAA book, we headed out from our hotel to tour San Francisco. After a hearty breakfast at David's Deli, we began at Union Square. This area is surrounded by major department stores: Saks Fifth Avenue, Macys, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffanys, to name a few. An interesting side street is Maiden Lane which has iron gates at each end. It boasts a small art gallery designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that was a prototype for the Guggenheim in NYC.We next approached Chinatown, up Grant Street. You can't miss the gateway marking the entrance to this neighborhood. Many gift shops and businesses beckon visitors inside. We passed Old St. Mary's church, the original Cat...Read More