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First time to San Fransisco

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First time to San Fransisco

We are a family of 4 (teenage children) travelling to San Fransisco 18 Oct through to 22 Oct and does anyone have any tips on places to visit. We are wanting to go to Alcatraz but want to do it alone rather than on a guided tour etc. We are staying at Chancellor Hotel on Union Square. Any tips etc would be very much appreciated.

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Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: First time to San Fransisco

Alcatraz is a U.S. National Park, and so there are restrictions on how you get there, what you can do while you're there, etc. You can wander around once you get there, as long as it's in non-restricted areas, but you have to take the ferry there, and buy passes (I think an audio tour is provided), for an October tour, you need to buy passes from www.alcatrazcruises.com. (the only way to get onto the island...even the other tour companies have to book through them...it's a National Park contract.) You are scheduled for a departure time from both the mainland and from Alcatraz back to the mainland. I'm pretty sure you can walk around to the non-restricted areas by yourself in that time, but the audio tours might be more informative. I'm going in September, I'll be sure to put it in a trip report on this site. Hope that helps. I'm sure everyone from SF will be helpful with the rest of your itinerary, but you might want to check the "Inside Pages" feature for suggestions, or type in "things to do" or "trip report" in the search feature on this forum to see what other people have already suggested, or for reports on what other people did with their time in the city. Have fun!!

mandeville, la
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2. Re: First time to San Fransisco

Take a bus tour: gives you an overview of everything and you can plan to revisit anything that really interests you. Get your Alcatraz tickets ahead of time because they sell out a lot (blueandgoldfleet.com or possibly hornblower.com if they have taken over yet).

Ride a cable car...Walk Fisherman's Wharf (Pier 39) area...Go to Chinatown...We went to Sausalito on our bus tour over the Golden Gate bridge...

It seems to be a city for just hanging out and walking around.

San Francisco
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3. Re: First time to San Fransisco

You have to buy tickets for Alcatraz and you do have to go over on the "tour" boat ferry. You can't just show up by your own means. You do not have to pay for the audio tour, however, you will be with a group. I do have to tell you that the audio tour is really a better way to go (in my opinion) if you've never been before. Without the audio, you're pretty much looking at a prison and you don't hear the history that the audio tour contains.

There are certain areas of the island and the prison that are off limits to visitors and thus, you cannot go there, whether you're with a guided tour or by yourself.

Book your Alcaraz tickets well in advance as they do sell out quickly. For the dates you'll be here, Hornblower will have taken over as the official carrier for Alcatraz and you will need to book through them.

Down Under
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for San Francisco
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4. Re: First time to San Fransisco

Book your Alcatraz tickets in advance. You can only book with Hornblower. Avoid any other seller.


As to other things to do_____

Click on "Inside pages" above your post

You will find __"things to do" and here you will find many ideas.

Click on __"The One thing you must do" and you will find many more suggestions and have a look at the bottom of that page for the thread where most of the suggestions came from.

That should keep you going for a while .

Have a great trip.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: First time to San Fransisco

orisam asked for «tips on places to visit.»

Above all, I recommend the Exploratorium that will be a highlight for your entire family. Get there as early as possible as, although it's easy to get in, it's extremely difficult to leave.


The "Don't-miss sights in San Francisco" page geocities.com/iconoc/Articles/Sights.html has enough to keep you busy for nine twelve-hour days. It includes links to your best source of advice on where to eat here, the UseNet Group ba.food, and the quite-good sfSurvey. It also has a weather chart with a link to current conditions.

The best on-line map of San Francisco is an inter-active PDF created for the San Francisco Municipal Railway: geocities.com/iconoc/Grafix/CityWide.pdf. I recommend 150% or greater magnification. There's also a link that will tell you how to get There from Here. Other links on the page, geocities.com/iconoc/Grafix/FlagMaps.html are a map of our cable car routes and a superb map of Golden Gate Park.

The frequently-updated SPECIAL EVENTS page has irregularly-scheduled music and dances as well as links to seven calendars of regularly-scheduled dances, a composite of five of them, and one of dance cruises and events around the world: http://geocities.com/dancefest/Specials.html

6. Re: First time to San Fransisco

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