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Clueless about San Francisco...

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Little Rock...
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Clueless about San Francisco...

I will be tagging along on my boyfriend’s business trip for a few days in early December. Neither of us have been there before, so we’re extremely clueless and looking for any recommendations for a couple on a budget. We are staying at the Ramada Plaza and are in our late twenties. I’ll list a few specific questions first, but please feel free to suggest anything whatsoever that is a must while in San Francisco.

1) We are planning one romantic, pricey dinner (about $50ish per person, I would guess) and love pretty much all cuisines. Any favorites?

2) A friend of mine recommended a limo trip from SanFran to Napa and Sonoma. A few years ago, she was able to score tickets for $60 per person in a limo with a few other couples (entry/tasting fees included for four wineries & complimentary champagne in the limo). Does anyone happen to know of a trip that is similar? Do you have any recommendations for other wine country tours from San Francisco?

3) Any suggestions for a good wine bar or martini bar with live music (preferably jazz)? Are there any bars that are a must for twenty-somethings? We prefer a trendy, laid-back atmosphere away from the “fresh out of college” crowd.

4) Any tour suggestions? We were thinking about the evening tour of Alcatraz.

As sad as it is, that’s all we’ve thought of at the moment. We just nailed down plans yesterday. Please help! :)

knr
Houston, Texas
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for Houston
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1. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

There are many tours around the San Francisco area. I would recommend any tour with Gray Line. They offer a narrated city tour, which allows you to hop on/hop off where you want on their route.

The Alcatraz tour can be done with a company or on your own. The Blue and Gold Fleet at the Wharf sells tickets to Alcatraz, and then you can pick up a narrated audio tour on the island.

Dress warmly for the cruise across the bay and on Alcatraz. The winds can be gusty and cold.

San Francisco
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2. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

1. The Hyde Street Bistro

Gary Danko

Fleur De Lys

2.The only real "tour" I know about is grey line --you may be able to rent a limo but it would be a lot more than $60, Im sure. I also have to say that being crammed in a stretch limo with tons of other couples to lower the cost really isn't at all comfortable or romantic.

3. Top of the Mark. Awesome martinis IMHO and if you're there on the right night, great views.

4. The evening tour is typically pretty cold. I went when family was in town a year or so ago and I was miserable the entire time --even though I dressed warmly.

San Francisco is easily explorable without a tour, unless you just like that kind of thing. There are guided city tours and Im sure you can book them through your hotel.

Pacific Grove...
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3. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

Has anyone seen that show on KQED called check please?

http://blogs.kqed.org/food/?cat=4.

Incanto looked pretty good.

If you are into museums, the MOMA, and the Legionares museum are great.

For Shopping, Union Square, Maiden lane. Their is a Gumps around.

Petaluma, California
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4. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

Try "Bubbles" in North Beach area - it is a champagne bar! Very cute and classy.

I second MOMA. Excellent museum. Also shopping on Union Street - different than Union Square. Union Street is full of great restaurants and great boutique shopping.

Had one of my birthday dinners at Fleur de Lys - not sure you can do it for $100 though. But one of the best restaurants in SF.

Little Rock...
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5. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

Thank you all so much for your great advice!! I'm sure I will be back with more questions as the trip gets closer. But, in the meantime, I'll look into your suggestions!

Easton, Pa.
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6. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

If 100 pepole respond to you, you will get probably 50 different suggestions. That's the beauty and diversity of San Francisco.

We visited for the first time in October.

Our two favorite romantic dinners were at the Cliff House at sunset( get there an hour early, walk around and take photos of this beautiful location. Make a reservation and request a window table, even if you have to wait to be seated ). They make great Green Apple Martinis at the bar. They have a great web-site which will give you an idea of the layout and menu.

Our other favorite was taking the Ferry over to Sausalito and having dinner at Scomas on the water. Again, make a reservation and request a window table. The food is fantastic and the views across the bay of the San Francisco skyline will stay with you forever. The ride back to S.F on the Ferry will give you great views of both bridges and that incredible silhouette of San Francisco. Scomas also has a web-site you can check out.

You can have a beautiful dinner at both without skimping and come in around $100.00. The views are free, but priceless.

Somewhere in the mix, try to sneak in a lunch at Boudins Bakery and have their world famous Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl !!!

Depending on the weather, try to get in a guided city tour on one of the double decker buses. Great opportunities for a lot of photos of the major downtown attractions from up on top.

Hope you have a great time, I know you will love every moment of your stay. We're counting the days till our return visit next April.

Little Rock...
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7. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

Thanks, Patriciann! We have discussed the Cliff House and definitely think that will be one of our stops. Since we will be there for a short time, I think that a tour of the city will be something we look into, as well. I welcome all suggestions!

Easton, Pa.
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8. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

You may want to enlist the help of one of the local experts on best and most economical way to get to Cliff House from your hotel.

We took a taxi from our hotel down on the Embarcadero and it was $ 29.00 each way. Found out after we returned that the # 38 bus would have taken us there for $ 1.50 each.

If you're not familiar with Webshots ( www.webshots.com )there are hundreds of photos available on line you can access to get great visuals on places like the Cliff House, Scomas, hotels, etc. We checked out all the places we planned to visit to get some ideas of what we were in store for and it really helped.

We now use all these photos as screensavers to bring back the wonderful memories of all we saw and did on our stay.

If you're looking for souvenirs, try the " Only in San Francisco " gift store at the entrance to Pier 39 directly across from the Hard Rock Cafe. Half the price of anywhere else we found on comparable items.

The Ghirardelli wooden cable cars filled with their chocolates were a big hit with all the relatives and people at work. $ 7.99 here, $ 22.99 for the same item at the factory store up on the Square.

Best postcards we found were at the Walgreens drug stores. They have 2 great 3D postcards of the Golden Gate Bridge and city shots that when you tilt them slightly the fog rolls in. Eveybody raved about getting them in the mail.

Waiting for our plane when we were leaving, we grabbed some lunch at a restaurant in the terminal. There was a quote on the wall from the late Herb Caen that said:

"If someday I enter the gates of Heaven, I'll say: It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco.. "

Happy Thanksgiving, have a wonderful time on your visit.

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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9. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

Make sure you reserve your Alcatraz tour well in advance. We were disappointed when we arrived in SF and found out that the tours were sold out for over a week in advance. So, we never got to go to Alcatraz. I know you can book it over the 'net, but I don't have the website.

Little Rock...
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10. Re: Clueless about San Francisco...

Patriciann,

Thanks for the additional info! I will check out webshots.com. I've been curious, as well, about the best ways to get around town, so I'll begin looking into that. Can't wait for the trip!

Camping Girl,

I've heard that about the Alcatraz tours, and I looked into booking. We had decided an evening tour would be the best bet since my boyfriend will be in meetings all day, but there wasn't much availability during our time there. So, as disappointed as we are, we may end up scrapping the Alcatraz tour. Maybe something will work out!

Happy Thanksgiving to you both!