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Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

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Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

Hi all

will be visiting SF in mid Dec with my family of 2 adults and 3 kids. will arrive at SF after visiting Yosemite:

13 Dec Friday expect to arrive at SF from Manteca after lunch, first stop is to visit Golden Gate park (windmills, buffalos and stow lake) Plan to have dinner at Pacific Catch

14 Dec Sat

Morning: Lombard street

Ferry building farmers market

Boudin Bakery for lunch

pier 39 , sea lions and crab tasting at one of the fisherman wharf's stall

Ghiradelli Square for chocolate ice cream and hot chocolate

Union street (xmas lightings and window shopping. would like recommendations for places to have dinner here, just simple affordable meals... considering La Belle crepes or sth light)

15 Dec Sun

Golden Gate bridge (plan to walk at least half way across from the south)

then drive to marins headland vista point and battery spencer

Muir woods (1/2 hr track)

Point Reyes National Seashore

Back to SF mission street to have dinner at Rosamunde Sausages

16 Dec Monday

Alcatraz (try to get onto the 9.10am cruise)

Pier 33 to take cable car to Chinatown (just for the kids to experience it)

Great Eastern chinese restaurant for dim sum

Powell street for turning of cable car

Union square

Sotto Mare for dinner

will be driving most of the time. willl be looking for infor on where to park ...however, need some advice on how to do the last day logistically... park the car at fisherman's wharf for whole day , then go pick it up after visiting union square? or dun drive at all until we need to go for dinner?

would appreciate any advice on the above itinerary... thks

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1. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

If you switch your Sunday and Monday, it will be easier to park downtown SF. Maybe though you still have to pay to park on street meter, there are fewer restrictions than on Monday.

Point Reyes easily a full day trip so together with Muir Woods is a long trip. But the elephant Seals in Dec may be worth it. Read the shuttle schedule in Dec to make sure you do not miss the last one- the drive in takes almost another hour from the entrance. nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/wildlife_viewing_…

I would rather do the actual TCHO factory tour than going to the gift shop at GS. Sign up for free tour at tcho.com. You might also be able to squeeze in Exploratorium. See tripadvisor.com/Guide-g60713-i113676-San_Fra… for other ideas.

I hope i have not overwhelmed you, but how can i overwhelm someone with 8 legs?

Edited: 27 July 2013, 07:42
San Francisco...
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2. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

please read the top questions of why not to have a car in SF. meters are enforced 7 days a week. some areas have 2 hour time limits. make the out of town trip on the first day, then try to get rid of your car, or park it in a lot or hotel parking garage: (free to $50).

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3. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

Also have a contingency plan if it rains in Dec.

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4. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

Hi Rachel

i did think of driving to muir woods etc on saturday ie the next day after arriving at sf but it would mean that i can't visit the farmers market at Ferry plaza building... not sure if it is cheaper to take public transport than driving since there r 5 of us.... will have to research more on that.

HI Altippet

thks once again! to be honest, despite having 8 legs, i am overwhelmed !! sf is just one leg of the entire 22 days road trip..and this is my third trip to California actually! this time round, so much more to plan since we have kids...but i am enjoying the planning though:)

thks so much for the tip on PR... i juz checked the website, the shuttle bus will be on from end of dec ie after my trip so i guess i can still drive around there.. btw, i am only planning to see the lighthouse... dun think will be seeing the sea lions since i am going to la jolla to see the sea lions there.....and of course, pier 39 sea lions:)

as for the chocolate factory tour, wow! thks much for that infor...i didn't know there is such a factory tour in sf. will slot in that one in my itinerary... will still need to go to Ghiradelli store to get some chocolate chips for my baking:) some of the chips r not available in singapore:)

as for raining, i am planning to bring rain coats and umbrellas.. looks quite hard to give up any of the places due to rain....

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5. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

Where are you staying? And how old are the kids?

Places like the GG Bridge and Golden Gate Park won't be difficult for parking (at least in December, for any lurkers the GG Bridge parking lot is packed in summer). But downtown will not be easy. As Rachel said it's almost all metered with a 2 hour limit (meaning that you must move the car after 2 hours, it's illegal to add time to the meter after 2 hours).

There is a large garage at Sutter & Stockton for Union Square, Portsmouth Square for Chinatown and Pier 39 and many others as well. Expensive but if the kids are small it might be easier than trying to deal with Muni.

If you do Muir on a weekend, either get there before 9AM or after 4PM or parking lots will be full (yes, even in December).

Take a look at Best Parking as well: http://sanfrancisco.bestparking.com/

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6. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

HI

we have yet to book any accommodation... in fact i am also looking at where to stay in sf...in your opinion, based on my itinerary, which area should i stay at? i would need to find somewhere that can accommodate 5 of us... hoping to keep the cost down so budget is around $150 after taxes per night... dun mind motels if they r clean and safe.

my kids are 14, 12 and 8 respectively.

thks for the tip on the Muir woods..gosh , looks like it is tough to go there ... not possible to be there before 9am cause it is too early for us... and if i go there after 4pm, i will not be able to do pr.... unless i switch it with my monday's itinerary... is it okay to go to Alcatraz on a sunday morning? will it be too crowded? how bad is it at Muir woods on a weekend ie how long do we have to wait for a parking lot if we go between 9am to 4pm?

thks

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7. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

You might be able to do Muir on the way back from Point Reyes. Although last time I went to PR we were on the GG Bridge by 9AM and didn't get back until after 5PM and we barely scratched the surface (although we did stop for lunch ... a picnic might save time).

The lots at Muir are small. When they're filled people park along the side of the road. I've seen cars for 2 miles on either side of Muir on a January Sunday at noon. As much as I love Muir, you might reconsider the need to include it on your itinerary after having been to Yosemite.

Alcatraz sells out -- always. So one day is never more crowded than another. The Fisherman's Wharf area -- near the Alcatraz Pier -- will be more crowded on a weekday but as far as the ferries over or the island, day of the week doesn't matter. The night tour only has 2 ferries over so is less crowded.

With kids the ages of yours (I thought perhaps you had a toddler) I'd consider using public transit for the days you want to see Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 30 rather than driving between these places. Much of that area you can walk between, use the cable cars, the F-Market & Wharves or the 30-Stockton bus.

$150 including tax is quite low. Especially considering that hotel tax here is ~15%. So you're looking for a room for 5 with an advertised rate of $130 or so. There is a Top Question (right side of screen) that deals with rooms that accommodate 5 people (not many of those) so have a look there and start your hotel search as there isn't a lot of choice with that requirement. The two that come to mind are the family suites at the Columbus Motor Inn or the family suites at the del Sol. Both have free parking. But both only have a couple of these suites.

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8. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

actually i don't intend to do much hiking at PR.. i was attracted to the beautiful pic seen on the internet where i can see a stretch of land dividing the sea and a lake (i think)..there is a beautiful lighthouse there worth going... qtn is is it possible to take similar pics of the scenery or they r taken from the air? if not possible to take those pics and see that kind of scenery, i am not sure if i should go to PR ....

for Muir woods, i had originally planned to go to Mariposa grove at Yosemite... but due to possible bad weather, may have to give that up if i had to go to Mariposa Park and Ride and take YARTS into yosemite instead...so Muir woods is like a contingency plan if i dun get to Mariposa Grove....

in that case, i will just switch to go to alcatraz on a sunday instead and visit muir woods/pr on the monday after that...btw, i am hoping to get family package tickets for Alcatraz on the day of visit itself since it will be cheaper than booking individual tickets online... but if it is sold out so quickly, will i be risking it ? should i just book tickets online instead and forgo the savings?

thks for the advice on taking public transportation ... and the hotel recommendations... will take a look at both places...

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9. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

In reality, the photo you see at PR i am guessing is not a lake. Essentially point reyes lies right on two moving earth plates. So the strange landscape is because one part is moving north and one is moving south (a geologist can probably say it much better so i give up now and point you to …kqed.org/quest/…

Note that daylight ends at 5pm. If you cannot get to MW early and you run out of time to see MW, there are several alternatives:

1. Henry Cowell in Santa Cruz that you can catch if you are driving to Gilroy for outlet shopping or Monterey. Some of the trees are bigger than the ones in MW.

2. Samuel P. Taylor SP -- not as highly recommended as it only has one old growth tree within the second generation redwood forest. However, the park is just round the corner for those visiting Point Reyes and the lone old growth tree is large enough to stand in.

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10. Re: Draft itinerary for 3.5 days in San Francisco

Hi ALTippet

is it possible to take pics of the view from somewhere high up other than from a plane then?

not possible to go to Henry Cowell since it is pretty far and i have no plans to go to Gilroy ...

for Samuel P. Taylor SP, the trees r still v tall, right? cause may have to make do with this one as long as we get to see some v tall trees......

now, i am seriously considering dropping pr .... btw, will be going to La Jolla cove at San diego.... r the views similar? if yes, i think i will really drop pr so that i have more time to do Muir woods.....but then again, if i go to Muir woods on a weekday, i wouldn't encounter traffic and parking issues, right? sorry, so many questions .....