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Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Winston Salem...
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Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Will be spending 3 nights in SF in late June 2014. Will have 2 full days and a partial day on day of arrival. We will not have a car. Please let me know your recommendations on the following:

Day 1 (arrive): Take a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf, hopping off at Lombard St, evening tour of Alcatraz

Day 2: Day trip to wine country with a tour company. Any company preferences?

Day 3: All day tour; one-half day for SF and then see Muirwood and Sausalito on the tour.

Should we do the day 3 activities on our own? What should we add or take away? We want to see the highlights and get a feel for SF. What are Victorian houses close to? Is Vista Point at GG Bridge the best place to get a picture with the bridge in the background?

Regarding lodging, am considering Le Meridien, the Omni and the Inn at Union Square. Would like a room with a nice view, quiet so we can sleep at night, $300/night or less. Included breakfast would be wonderful. Best suggestions?

Thanks so much!

San Francisco
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1. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Is this your first trip to SF? If so, with only 2 full days in SF I would not recommend a day trip to Sonoma. It leaves you with almost no time to explore San Francisco.

There are Victorian houses all over town. The most well known are those at Alamo Square (Painted Ladies) -- they're famous because the skyline of SF can be seen behind them (they also get called Postcard Row) but they are by no means the best examples of Victorian architecture in the city. However, Victorians are not found in the downtown core (the area predominately east of Van Ness) because that part of town either fell down or burned down in the Great EQ and Fire of 1906. So they take a bit more effort to find.

SF City Guides (www.sfcityguides.org) does free walking tours of Pacific Heights mansions as well as Victorian San Francisco that also takes in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

The Vista Point is one good place to get a photo of the GG Bridge. Obviously there are tons more. If you want one from water level, try Fort Point or the Warming Hut.

The Meridien and Omni are nice hotels but are in the Financial District. If your dates are over a weekend, the area will seem rather dead and a tad dreary (like Wall St. on a weekend). I would take the Inn at Union Square -- however, it is more of a boutique hotel in an older building. So those things are a matter of taste.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Agree with WD. Spend the time in SF. If you do Dylan's tour it covers Muir and you can get off in Sausalito ..

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

belomiser forgot to say that if you take Dylan's tour which drops you off in Sausalito, then you get to take a ferry ride on the Bay back to the SF with views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Don't miss it. I, too, would save Sonoma for your next trip. You will not get the best of SF, nor of Sonoma if you cram them up together.

Winston Salem...
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4. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Thank you for the information. So the tour that you recommend for SF hightlights, Muir Woods and Sausalito is Dylan's tour? I did google that and found it. We plan to do the Alcatraz evening tour on the day of arrival. If we don't go to the wine country for the other day, what suggestions do you have for this day?

Regarding lodging, would the Inn at Union Square have rooms with views? Other suggestions for boutique or historic lodging?

I have been to SF several times but it's been many years ago. My husband has never been. We are in our early 50's. We like to see and do as much as possible and soak up the atmosphere.

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5. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

yes Dylan's does SF and Muir woods and as Puter mentioned you can get off in Sausalito at the end of the tour and walk around and take the ferry back to SF.

Views and boutique hotels --

Inn at Union square is a nice hotel. You can look at the Chancellor which has some rooms with Union Square views. and it is a historic boutique hotel.

The following are historic hotels and not boutique

The grand dame of SF hotels is the Palace which is just off Market street and not too far from union Square. The Fairmont is on Nob Hill and the tower there has some great views. The Westin St. Francis is next to the Chancellor and the tower has views.

Now on the Embarcadero and by no means a historic hotel is the Vitale which has great views and is close to the waterfront

Edited: 23 January 2014, 15:23
Winston Salem...
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6. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Thanks again, I will check on the hotels mentioned for certain.

Regarding sightseeing, if we do the evening Alcatraz tour on day of arrival, then do Dylan's tour one day, what would you recommend for our other full day? We like to see/experience as much as possible and my husband has not been to SF before.

Thank you.

San Francisco
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7. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

What time is your flight arrival? We're often leery about suggesting the booking tours on the day of arrival in case of flights delays.

If you do Dylan's on your second day then you have the opportunity to go back and see anything that caught your fancy.

There is also a great number of free walking tours via SF City Guides. I mentioned them when talking about Victorian homes in post #1. I think highly of their Chinatown tour as well.

How about Golden Gate Park? In the Park is the Academy of Sciences, de Young museum, Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, Stow Lake (rent a peddle boat perhaps?). You can also rent bikes in the Park (behind the bandshell) or go on a Segway tour.

Explore the Mission District (especially Valencia/Guererro)? Or the Haight? Or Hayes Valley? There are a dozen or more little neighborhoods in the city, all with their own local shops, restaurants and personality. IMO this is where the true atmosphere of SF is. Not so much in downtown or the Wharf. Here's a brief description: http://www.sfgate.com/neighborhoods/

Edited: 24 January 2014, 20:00
Louisville, Kentucky
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8. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

Came across this post while researching my own trip, and wanted to put my 2 cents in. We did Dylan's tour while in SF in 2011 and it was fantastic. I highly recommend it as a great starting point to get used to the city and see Muir Woods. The drive through Sausalito is super quick but like mentioned, you can get off and ferry back if you want. We also used this tour as a way to find out what we wanted to do with our extra time. We had a good "intro" to several areas of the city and were able to then see which ones we wanted to go back to on our own.

We also did the Golden Gate Park segway tour which I would recommend. Ended up spending most of the afternoon there after the tour before heading down to the beach (sorry, I can't recall the name).

Forestville, CA
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9. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

hi: ...i'd say "head thee through the Stockton tunnel, through Chinatown and plop yourself into the Cafe Trieste in North Beach"....from Union Square go to Stockton & Sutter Streets and take the 30-Stockton bus (or walk thru the tunnel and also have time in Chinatown). With the bus, it's 10 minutes or so to get to Washington Square Park (the center of the universe)... North Beach is the old Italian neighborhood...beautiful, walkable, sidewalk tables, coffee houses, a famous bookstore (City Lights), great food, Coit Tower, the Filbert Steps, wild parrots, gorgeous church/square, shops, delis......if you want a "feel of the city", I recommend a few hours in this neighborhood.

10. Re: Need help with 2.5 day itinerary in San Francisco

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