San Francisco Whirlwind Tour

My wife and I went for a long weekend getaway in San Francisco. We've been there a number of times, but this time we wanted to experience the city and the sites.

Seeing San Francisco by Metro and Foot

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by MattF on May 8, 2009

This was one visit when we wanted to get out in the city and see alot of the areas we never saw before. To start with we decided to take the the Cable Car up California St. from the Hyatt Rengency and to walk the victorian house tour of the Pacific Heights area. We thought this would be a great way to see alot of the city architecture, one of the more beautiful neighborhoods in the city, and see some inspiring San Francisco views.

We really enjoyed the victorian house tour. The walking was not as bad as you would think with all the hills, you walked through some really pretty neighborhoods, and the homes are as picture perfect as what you always see in the travel magazines. We even saw the house used to film the movie Mrs. Doubtfire that Robin Williams stared in!

After the tour we decided to start walked down through the Filmore District on our way to Haight Ashbury. The boulevard is lined with quaint little shops, store fronts, and restaurants. We had a great time seeing the area, but also noted how alive the District and San Francisco is in general. People are out on foot walking everywhere all day long; walking their dogs, couples strolling and shopping, and sitting in the many restaurants. This city is really alive and you can feel the vibe and energy everywhere.

About half way to Haight Ashbury District we decided it would be wise to take the Metro transportation the rest of the way (way too long a walk). Again, we used our three day Metro transportation pass and hopped a bus the rest of the way. I don't know why, but we really had no problems figuring out which buses to take, and if we had a question, there were 4 or 5 people there willing to help us. My experience with public transportation in other cities was not this easy. The buses are well maintained, clean, and pretty much on time. And in this city - everyone uses public transportation! So you can pretty much be assured that the seats will be full.

The Haight Ashbury District was a must do for us and it was everything and nothing at the same time. There are shops and pubs all over the place and the eclectic neighborhood is what you might think it would be for an area with the 60's history this one has. It is a touristy area that trys to capitalize on it's past, a little run down, but worth seeing if you've never been before.

From here we took the bus to Market St., transfered to a great street car that was originally manufactured and used in Milan, Italy. I love all the old refurbished street cars that the city uses. They are from all over the States and the world, are beautifully refurbished, and provide a ride through the past when you take one. The ride down Market St. on the street car dropped us off at our home base (Hyatt Regency) located in Embarcadero Center and we ended the day with a glass of wine sitting on the balcony. A nice adventure for the day, a wonderful walk and ride through the city, and the end of another San Francisco day watching the sun set.

Our Home Base for Adventure

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by MattF on May 8, 2009

We chose to stay at this hotel for many reasons, and in the end, it was a great choice. The hotel is in a great location in the Embarcadero Center on the waterfront, across from the Ferry Building. If you stay here, your right at the cross roads for all the Metro transportation; street cars that will take you up Market Ave or down the Pier, and the famous San Francisco Cable Cars. The California Ave / Market St. Cable Car starts right out the front door! How great is that!

It is also well located for the shopping crowd. There is a shopping mall in the Embarcadero Center right next to the hotel, and it's only a few blocks from the shopping Nirvana of Union Square. There are a number of restaurants and bars within walking distance of the hotel, and the street cars are right there to take you down the pier if you want more variety. Location: Excellent.

The hotel itself is quite elegant and the rooms are well situated and appointed. We got a balcony room on the 11th floor that had fantastic views of both the bay and the city skyline. We spent more than one evening on the balcony at the end of the day enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun go down. The view at night is also spectacular. The city and harbour lights are enchanting.

The Hyatt Regency accommodations, services and staff were great and we highly recommend you stay here on your visit.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, California, 94111
(415) 788-1234

More than we Bargained For

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by MattF on May 2, 2009

On our long weekend in San Francisco my wife and I (really just me) thought it would be great to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. Sounds innocuous enough doesn't it? Well, when you haven't rode a bike in 10 plus years, and you do it on a weekend when all the other bike enthusiasts and runners are out in force, and you think it's a simple ride across the bridge, you find out it's not as enjoyable as you had hoped.

The adventure starts at Pier 41 and ends on the other side of the bridge in Sausalito. This is a LONG ride up steep hills and across a bridge with little clearance for passing. Be aware that it can be a little frightening when heavy trafficed - like on a weekend!

Overall, I will look back on this experience as a positive one and will remember the adventure. I think that my wife will kill me if I ever suggest another bike adventure again!

Blazing Saddles was excellent! If you're going to do this - go with them!
Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals and Tours
2715 Hyde Street
San Francisco, California, 94109
(415) 202-8888

Trolleys, Buses, and Street Cars

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by MattF on May 2, 2009

Getting around in San Francisco can be daunting if you don't know your way around and a little intimidating in a car due to the traffic. We were advised by the hotel to get a 3 day unlimited use Metro Pass to use any of the city's public transportation. This turned out to be a grat idea and a great bargain. over the four days that we were there, we used the cable cars, street cars, and buses to see the city, and I mean we really got out there!

I think I love the Street Cars the most. They are antiques from all over the world and have been refurbished back into working order. The street car that impressed me the most was from Milan, Italy. All wood, beautifully restored, and well maintained.

Of course, who can resist the San Francisco Cable cars? These were great to ride and really gave you an opportunity to see city sites from an open air cable pulled cable car. It doesn't get much better than that.

The buses were also in good shape, well maintained, and we found everyone to be very friendly and helpful.

If you are going to San Francisco for a few days we definitely recommend that you get the Metro Pass to see the city.

© LP 2000-2009