Sending a huge thank you to all the SF experts who came to my rescue before and during our trip. I can't say enough how valuable your input was. A special thank you to Sal who was uber patient and helpful!
We did what we planned and more and loved every minute!
Arrived in The Castro, dropped off our bags and strolled to Delores Park. What an amazing park! Our flat had a wonderful backyard garden so we grabbed some drinks and waited there until the place was ready. Our place was in a word a marvelous find.
Day 1- Took the Muni to a 2:00 Giants game-they beat Cinnci. The stadium is beautiful, we wandered the area around the stadium before and after. We sat in the bleachers, surprising how good these seats were. Had my hot dog and beer-happy. Note-take sunscreen. What everyone says about the crazy weather is true. We started in jackets and hats and though the sun only came out for about an hour we all managed to get sunburned faces. Dinner at Harvey's in The Castro. Very good sandwiches, cold beer. Grocery shopping at Mollie Stone's fabulous store nice clerks.
Day 2- Ferry to Alcatraz. Enjoyed more than expected. The ferry trip was great, the tour very interesting, advice to all who visit-do the audio tour as was recommended to us. You will lose out on so much without it. Fisherman's Wharf was next lunch at Wipe Out, turkey burgers, good enough for lunch. FW is a must see but too crowded a little too touristy for me. Dinner in Union Square at Scala's Bistro. Delicious roasted chicken and pappardele pasta, cesars salad. Hubby thought it was overpriced, it wasn't, he's a tight wad:) Beautiful food. Window shopped scoping out future shopping.
Day 3 - A.M. cable car ride to FW. Thanks to great advice here picked it up at O'Farrell-otherwise wouldn't have gotten on. This is a must do but I wished it had lasted longer. Fun! Headed to China Town. Maybe my favorite place. Bought some trinkets, such a fun place. Had lunch at a great place that I sadly can't remember the name of. We were the only English speaking folks in the place and it was quite the experience. 3 of the 5 dishes were fantastic, 2 well, maybe a little too authentic, LOL! Shopping in Union Square, great Charm store that I picked up some sterling golden gate charms to remember our trip. Grabbed a beer at Beer Zone over Lori's Diner. Great draft beer nice bartender. Dinner in The Castro that night as we were just too tired to venture far. Ate at The Sausage Factory. My hubby picked this place and I was prepared to dislike it but it was actually very good. Good basil pasta and sausage pizza. Waiter suggested we take a ferry to Sausalito and then a bus back over the bridge. So we did.
Day 4 - Took Ferry to Sausalito-loved this trip! Man was it cold, glad I had taken advice to wear layers. Views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge were stunning. You could see Coit Tower as well. Shopped in the charming shops in Sausalito and ate at Poggio's. A little pretentious and the service was horrendous but the food was fantastic. Strawberry, arugula, goat cheese salad and sausage pizza. Had planned to take a bus back over the bridge but the July 4th bus schedule was screwed up so we took a cab over the bridge. We loved this trip kudos to our waiter for this tip. Cabbie dropped is in the Marina area. Next was Haight & Ashbury. Very interesting place, a must see, at least once. Dinner that night in North Beach. Oh Little Italy! Cafe Maria, tortellini Cafe Maria and Chicken Parmigiana, fantastico! Don't know why this place isn't rated more highly it's really quite good and fairly affordable. Family run and you can tell they take quite pride in delivering good food.
Day 5 Slept in! Good grief this town is exhausting! Took a Sky View tour, open air. It was wonderful! Picks up at the Wharf and hits all the high spots. A stunning view of the GG bridge, GG park that we had not seen, Painted Ladies, China Town, Lombard St,...etc. Worth every penny this tour. Went to Ferry Plaza grabbed food at a place in the Plaza, great chicken and pesto sandwiches. Wandered through the open air market across the street picked up a China town pic. Dinner that night at Tony's Pizza. About an hour wait (they said 2) went to Rogues Tavern to wait. Grabbed beers and a table outside and people watched across from Washington Square. Tony's Pizza is pizza perfection! To. Die. For. Definitely a MUST go. Worth whatever you have to wait. Period.
Day 6 was travel home day and what a sad day that was. I can't remember a trip where we hated to go home more than this one.
Our place in The Castro was spectacular. We found The Castro to be a lively, eclectic, lovingly cared for neighborhood. Someone asked me did I know this was a Gay neighborhood when I booked our flat? Um, yes of course who doesn't know? So? It was beautiful, and friendly and we never felt uncomfortable or uneasy. I'm so glad we booked this place. And San Francisco? Well we left all kinds of pieces of our hearts in this place. We will return.
Many, many thanks to all the good advice here. We heeded it and benefited greatly from it!
P.S. The homeless issue? Yes it's there, and everywhere. It's sad and thought provoking. Did it ruin our trip? Not in the least. Did it make us think and make us sad? Of course.
Those of you who live in SF I hope you appreciate this great city. I know it's not perfect, no place is. But it IS fabulous and wonderful and beautiful. If you've forgotten that take another look.