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Itinerary Planning

Hendersonville...
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Itinerary Planning

We're a couple in our 60s planning 4 days in SF; need some help planning some days. We've scheduled a few activities and they were only offered at the times we booked, so we're committed to those.we're staying at the Donatello. I've compiled a list by neighborhoods of restaurants that we might be interested in so I think we're set there. What I'm having a hard time with is knowing how much time to spend on each thing we've planned. We planned on buying the MUNI pass, but wonder if that's wise if we do the hop on/off tour, which gives you 2 days of rides. Any help is much appreciated! Thanks, Sharon

Tues, Day 1: arrive early afternoon after flight from the East--lunch --possibly at Mama's--cable car to Ghiaradelli Square, walk around Fisherman's Wharf, see sea lions; we had planned an afternoon around North Beach & Telegraph Hill, but Coit Tower rec'd such mixed reviews here, we nixed it. Mistake? If we went to the Wharf or Square and combined it with the Telegraph Hill walk, how much time would you allocate for each? Dinner at Albona or Piazza Pellegrini in North Beach. (Time? Stop at Trader Joe's for some wine to take to our room!) Cable Car back to Donatello.

Wed, Day 2--Possible: Hop on/off tour? Golden Gate Bridge/ Sausalito. 2 PM Nob Hill tour?

Thurs, Day 3--Chinatown with 2 PM tour with Evans; evening at Golden Gate Park and evening at the Academy there?

Fri, Day 4--Daytime: What "must see" have we missed? Evening: Dinner at Butterfly and Alcatraz tour.

***Fleet Street Market? Worth a visit?****Top of the Mark? Worth having a drink there for the views?***Yerba Buena?****The Castro?

Sat--Drive through Napa --lunch-- en route to Arnold, CA (Here we'll go to Calaveras State Park so we're skipping Muir Woods--so much to do; also many wineries in Sierras so we're doing that there, too--although Black Cat in Napa sounded interesting) and then onto Yosemite for a few days. And another whole season & style of clothes!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Itinerary Planning

I won't be able to answer all of your questions, so perhaps other will.

>>we had planned an afternoon around North Beach & Telegraph Hill, but Coit Tower rec'd such mixed reviews here, we nixed it. Mistake? If we went to the Wharf or Square and combined it with the Telegraph Hill walk, how much time would you allocate for each?

I'm wondering how Coit Tower could get mixed review? Interesting. I love walking up there - especially on a clear day. But it is a hike so that might be what people don't like? IMO, it's not necessary to pay to go up the tower - the view is spectacular when you walk up and the tower is a part of San Francisco history.

Regarding the time spent, that is really hard to say. I would allow 1.5-2 hours for the Wharf (including getting there and back) and about an hour or so for Coit Tower/North Beach. If you do the Coit Tower, the walk will get you nice and hungry for your dinner. :-)

>>Hop on/off tour? Golden Gate Bridge/ Sausalito. 2 PM Nob Hill tour?

Having the tour in the middle of the day will make it harder to fit in the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito. I'd nix Sausalito if I had to choose between the two.

>>Thurs, Day 3--Chinatown with 2 PM tour with Evans; evening at Golden Gate Park and evening at the Academy there?

Evening at the California Academy of Sciences doesn't work since it closes at 5 and if you try to go there after the 2pm tour, you really won't have much time there. Again, the tour in the middle of the day will limit what you can do. You could try going to the Academy of Sciences in the morning, but you might still feel rushed. You could move the Golden Gate Park and Academy of Sciences to your Day 4.

>>Top of the Mark? Worth having a drink there for the views?

Absolutely.

Don't forget to add in some down time to just soak up the atmosphere of the city. Enjoy your trip!

San Francisco, Ca
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2. Re: Itinerary Planning

>>Evening at the California Academy of Sciences doesn't work since it closes at 5 and if you try to go there after the 2pm tour, you really won't have much time there. <<

I assume the OP is talking about Nightlife, the evening event at the Academy on Thursday nights. It's kind of an appeal to a younger, hipper crowd with music, mingling, etc. A friend of mine went (who is NOT in the younger, hipper crowd) and really enjoyed it. You get to wander about the Academy with relatively few people at the exhibits, have drinks, etc.

http://www.calacademy.org/events/nightlife/

San Francisco, Ca
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3. Re: Itinerary Planning

>>We planned on buying the MUNI pass, but wonder if that's wise if we do the hop on/off tour, which gives you 2 days of rides. <<

Keep in mind that these loops are generally one direction, so you have to carefully plan your sequence of sightseeinng so as not to be wasting time backtracking.

Maybe create a Google map of your desired sightseeing, then compare it to the HoHo route and direction.

>>***Fleet Street Market? Worth a visit?****<<

If you mean the Ferry Building Market, I'd say it depends on where you're from. Most of the time, there are about 12 or so permanent stalls inside selling locally-made bread, cheese, olive oil, chocolate, wine, etc. (A more upscale version of Burough Market in London, if you know that.)

The *best* time to visit, I think, is at one of the weekly markets. The Saturday market is largest (but the most crowded), but that's rather irrelevent given your schedule. You could stop there for lunch on Thursday, prior to Chinatown, as there are a number of hot-food vendors out front selling usual items like kimchee tacos.

>>Top of the Mark? Worth having a drink there for the views?***<<

I'd say yes, as you're the right age to appreciate the old-school vibe and picture what it was like during World War II when the sailors' and soldiers' wives and girlfriends gathered up there for one last wave at the departing transport ships. And they play grown-up music at night.

Hendersonville...
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4. Re: Itinerary Planning

Thank you all for the help planning our days...I'm glad to know that the Coit Tower is worth the view and visit even if we don't go up (that was the part that got the mixed reviews.) We'll put that back on the itinerary; and yes, it is the evening event at the Academy that sounded interesting...we'll either do that or take the Land's End walk. And, thanks for the affirmation about Top of the Mark--all great advice I'm happy to have. I lived in Chgo for 56 years and for that reason have skipped a lot of the theater and museums that looked so interesting--I love the energy of a lively city and the diversity of them so I am eager to--as you say "soak up" the feel of the city. Sharon

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5. Re: Itinerary Planning

>>I assume the OP is talking about Nightlife, the evening event at the Academy on Thursday nights

Oops, that's right, I didn't pay attention to the night. I think that's a grand idea. :-)

Hendersonville...
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6. Re: Itinerary Planning

Yes, the nighttime event sounded interesting & different. Am thinking that the Academy is a newer, interesting building w/ interesting exhibits. About the Sausalito trip....it seems to me it's a pretty little town in which to shop. Hmmm. What else is there that might make us squeeze it in on one of our days? If I had to choose between Lands End for a walk and Sausalito, which offers more? Sounds like Lands End is a natural experience while Sausalito is more antiseptic--but it's been recommended by good friends. Any thoughts there? Thanks again! Sharon

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7. Re: Itinerary Planning

It's been awhile since I was in Sausalito but it's either low down souvenier shops or way upscale galleries.

I realize you're skipping museums, and I don't know your exact travel days, but there is a special exhibit of Impressionists on loan from the d'Orsay. The first flight is on til early September. The second flight opens in late September. Wonderful exhibit. Tickets should be ordered in advance and are timed: www.thinker.org

Hendersonville...
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8. Re: Itinerary Planning

Thanks, RamblinSal. The Impressionist exhibit at the DeYoung is another great option for Thursday night, and one that I know I'd find stimulating. Liked your comments about Sausalito--think we may skip that trip. Sharon

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9. Re: Itinerary Planning

>>The Impressionist exhibit at the DeYoung is another great option for Thursday night<<

The deYoung closes at 5 pm on Thursdays, but is open until 8:30 pm on Fridays.

Hendersonville...
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10. Re: Itinerary Planning

Special times for this exhibit--From the DeYoung website---Impressionism at Twilight every Thursday evening, featuring reduced admission fees and extended viewing hours for Birth of Impressionism until 8:45 pm (last ticket at 7:30 pm. They also mention a fixed price dining option, though there's a highly rated Thai restaurant not too far from the Golden Gate Park--Baan Thai House & Wine Bar. Any endorsements for either of those? Thanks again.