San Francisco, CA

This journal contains travel reviews for destinations and events in San Francisco.

San Francisco, CA

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by hellotmf on April 2, 2006

San Francisco is an excellent city to visit. There are many attractions within close proximity to each other, which enables visitors to hit many attractions in a couple of days. Some must-see attractions for first time visitors are: Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharf, Ghiradelli Square and Pier 39. You can also cruise under the Golden Gate bridge on one of San Francisco's many Bay cruises.${QuickSuggestions} Save your appetite for your visit to Fishermans Wharf, which has excellent vendor stands, seafood restaurants and pizza places. Save room for dessert and walk down to Ghiradelli Square to get a Ghiradelli sundae!${BestWay} If you can, park somewhere downtown and get a cable car pass to get around the city. This is a fun way to see the city plus the cable car tour dictates a lot of great information as you drive through. Boat tours are an excellent way to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

Cityscape Restaurant - San Francisco, CA

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by hellotmf on April 2, 2006

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

San Francisco’s CityScape Restaurant is one of the few rooftop restaurants in the Bay area and can be found on the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco on O’Farrell Street in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

The restaurant is bounded by mostly glass walls that display a superb view of the city. This is a high-end, cloth-napkin restaurant. It is a restaurant best for dates and/or a great way to end your stay in San Francisco on your last night in town. This is also a great place for a holiday dinner and/or a Sunday brunch, which is served every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. The Sunday brunch also includes live jazz and all the champagne you want as well as orange juice, coffee and tea. There are over 50 items in Cityscape’s brunch menu.

I had dinner at CityScape and while the food is very good I cannot imagine that the restaurant would get away with charging the listed prices had it not been for the spectacular view. However, the service is very good and they allow patrons to enjoy their time and the view in the restaurant without rushing you out, which is hard to find these days. There are not many dinner menu options, but there is enough for both the meat eater and the vegetarian. There is also free parking which can be accessed off Ellis Street at the corner of Mason.

You can find out more about San Francisco’s CityScape Restaurant at their website:

Sunday Brunch Prices:

Adults: $52
Children ages 5-12: $26
Children 4 and under: Complementary

Note that you do not have to be staying at the Hilton to go to this restaurant. Simply go into the Hilton San Francisco, go past the front desk to the elevators and look for the correct elevator to go to the 46th floor. Note that there are two sets of elevators – and the first set only goes up to floor 31. Do not forget to bring your camera!
Citiscape Bar & Restaurant
Hilton San Francisco & Towers, 46th Floor 333 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, California, 94102
(415) 771-0720

Pier 39 - Sea Lions

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by hellotmf on April 2, 2006

California sea lions can be found along the Pacific Coast from Vancouver to the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. Historically it was not unusual for sea lions to occasionally dock themselves in and around San Francisco Bay’s Fisherman's Wharf. However, it was only after the earthquake of 1989 when the larger population of sea lions decided to take up residence in San Francisco Bay, in particular Fisherman's Wharf’s Pier 39, and become one of the Bay Area’s main attractions.

No one knows for sure why the sea lions moved, only that it was uncharacteristic for these known creatures of habit. There are many theories, including the spawn of herring in the waters of the Bay area and the presence of fishing boats docked in the guest slips of K dock after the earthquake. But the fact remains that many of these factors were in place before the earthquake, and yet the sea lions stayed where they were on Seal Rock, which is north of Ocean Beach.

Regardless of the reason why they moved, it looks like the sea lions are here to stay – and they are multiplying at an alarming rate. Prior to the earthquake there were only sporadic sightings of the sea lions around Fisherman’s Wharf. The population quickly grew to approximately 300 after the earthquake and in winter months the Bay area is home to about 900 sea lions.

When the number of sea lions populating the Pier 39 area grew to a point when it became dangerous for boaters, the slips for boaters were relocated to another area of the Wharf and the pier was designated as a conservation area for the sea lions. Since then, renovations have been made to the pier to make it easier for the mammals to lazy about, and the population of Bay area sea lions has again increased. They are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

Seeing the sea lions at Pier 39 is a must-do activity for first time tourists. The best time to go is in winter months, when the sea lion population is at its highest. Don’t forget to bring your camera and walking shoes. To see the sea lions, go to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and walk along the waterline to find Pier 39. There are also a number of seafood and other restaurants along the Pier, including the Sea Lion Café which overlooks the Sea lions on the Pier below. The Aquarium of the Bay is also beside Pier 39 and is worth the trip if you are interested in marine life in the Bay Area. There is no cost to see the sea lions at Pier 39. To find out more information on the California sea lions in the bay area, visit the Marine Mammal website at:
Pier 39
Beach Street & The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California, 94133
(415) 981 7437

Aquarium of the Bay

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by hellotmf on April 2, 2006

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay is located at Pier 39 in Fishermans Wharf near downtown San Francisco. The Aquarium of the Bay was opened in 1996 and renovated in 2001. It is an educational facility that focuses on conservation and study of the distinct marine ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay area.

The Aquarium begins with a series of tunnels through a glass aquarium where visitors can view a wide range of Bay area marine life, including sharks, schools of fish, eels, and starfish. You can stand on the moving walkway as you go through the tunnels.

The tunnels end at a petting area, where visitors of all ages can pet the stingrays and other sharks. The facility is not that big, but if you are interested in wildlife and have children this is a great stop on your tour through San Francisco. It is also an easy and fun way to support the conservation efforts going on in the San Francisco Bay area.

For current prices and timely events and activities for children check the website at In April the Aquarium is holding a Sea Searcher Scavenger Hunt from Apr 8 – 23rd. There is also discounts for group reservations.

Getting There:


Parking is a bit of a nightmare in San Francisco so it is probably best to find a nearby parking garage or a more fun option is to take a cable car ride to the Wharf.

When to go:

Check the Aquarium of the Bay website to time your visit with one of their special events

Time to spend:

The Aquarium is not that big - plan to spend 2 to 3 hours at the most.

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

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