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interesting places w/o crowds?

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Burlington, VT
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362 posts
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interesting places w/o crowds?

Trying to learn from past travels, my wife and I realize that big, noisy crowds ruin even the best museums and attractions for us. Exploratorium is probably not on the menu for us.

Are there any smallish, not-so-common places to go that you'd recommend?

To give an example: when we went to D.C., the Smithsonian's american history museum was wall-to-wall people and we couldn't wait to get out. However, the soldiers' home/Lincoln's cottage in the suburbs offered a tour that only 3 other people took. Very interesting, and a highlight of our trip, but not a crowd pleaser.

Any museums, activities, sites of interest come to mind re SF and environs? (We'll be walking or using public transp, BTW.)

Thanks!

St. Louis, Missouri
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1. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

The easiest way to escape the crowds is to drive a bit. A few things I enjoy:

If you enjoy the outdoors, try Redwood Regional Park on the hills behind Oakland. The views of the bay and San Fran from Skyline drive might be the best in the Bay Area.

You could drive to the top of Mount Diablo near Walnut Creek for an incredible view all the way to the Bay. If you don't mind a little hiking, Rock City is worth a stop on the way.

The tide pools in Moss Beach are a lot of fun to explore

If youi like strolling shops, try Berkeley or Piedmont north of Oakland. Downtown Pleasanton is also charming.

If you enjoy wine, try the Livermore area - there are maybe a dozen wineries and nowhere near the crowds.

More ideas here if you haven't read them:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-s403/San-Franc…

Burlington, VT
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2. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

Thanks, I'll look up those places, although we won't have a car.

Also... Are there any small or underappreciated museums and historic sites reachable by public trans?

San Francisco...
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3. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

Cartoon Art Museum www.cartoonart.org

Contemporary Jewish Museum www.thecjm.org

the Mechanics’ Institute www.milibrary.org

San Francisco Cable Car Museum www.cablecarmuseum.org

San Francisco Fire Department Museum www.guardiansofthecity.org/sffd/index.html

Burlington, VT
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4. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

Excellent! You understand the quest!

San Francisco
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5. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

The Asian Art Museum has an excellent collection and not usually overly crowded. The deYoung in GGPark is pretty quiet right now also -- until the King Tut opens on the 27th.

Check the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy website for anything special things (http://www.parksconservancy.org/calendar/)

Fremont, California
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6. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

Wells Fargo has an interesting museum that is also free.

wellsfargohistory.com/museums/museums_sf.htm

Burlington, VT
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7. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

These are great ideas! Very glad I asked.

The parks conservancy has a cemetery tour at the Presidio while we're in SF. Sounds like our kinda thing.

Sacramento, CA
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8. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

You may not want to go to the exploratorium but you might want to take a stroll around the adjacent Palace of Fine Arts in the evening.

If you are into art then the Palace of the Legion of Honor is a great museum that is usually not that crowded. There are also some great hiking trails around that area with beautiful views of the coast.

Take a look at http://www.sfcityguides.org/

It is an organization run by the SF library that offers a wide variety of free walking tours (donations encouraged) throughout the city.

Burlington, VT
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9. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

Those tours sound fantastic! I want to do them all. Thank you!

San Francisco
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10. Re: interesting places w/o crowds?

The City Guides tours are great but generally well attended (there must have been 40 of us on a Chinatown tour on a Monday in January). Pick one that's off the beaten path.

I second the Legion of Honor. Check the Parks website for a trail map of the Presidio.

Go see Andy Goldsworthy's "The Spire" across from Inspiration Point, next to the Presidio golf course, just inside the Arguello Gate. (It's not far from the cemetary if you do that walk you'll be pretty close.)

Come back and let us know what you did!