Trip Sugestions, San Francisco
"Quake City Shuttle" will drop you to your hotel for $16. Catchy name and cheapest. Super Shuttle is nineteen bucks per person. BART is about seven bucks, and you gotta lug your stuff three long blocks, or take a cab, which will be another ten dollars, plus the hassle. There's about 50-100 people waiting for a cable car. Good luck getting a taxi.
What I did was take a ferry from around pier 40 over to Sausalito. Sausalito is a nice place to wander around for a while, but it is quite small. Then i walked out of Sausalito up to, just before the golden gate bridge, there is a small road that leads up into a national park, I then walked all the way up Hawk Hill, where there is a fantastic view point.
If you do plan to walk this, it is a long way and on a hot day you will need to bring plenty of water with you there are no places to buy food or drink here. You could take a car, but I enjoyed the walk, although i was the only one walking up the hill. If you are walking it will take you sometime to do it. It took me a full day to go over to Sausalito, walk up Hawk hill, walk the golden gate bridge and back to my friends in the marina district.
It's usually not worth driving around the city except on Sunday when the parking meters are free and you can usually find a space. I hope you can parallel park! Just make sure you don't park in a bus zone. The tickets are outrageously expensive and you can and will be towed. The yellow meters are for trucks during business hours Mon-Fri, after that they're all yours. Keep an eye out for signs. In residential areas parking is usually limited to two hours without a residential permit. And at some meters you cannot park during rush hour (3-7pm).
During the week it's usually easier just to grab a taxi. They are everywhere. And you can always take the Muni. Please read my tip for getting on and off the bus and the schedules.
If you can, I would suggest staying up in St Helena Calistoga area over Napa. Napa itself is kinda ghetto. Napa Valley is where you want to be – not that town of.
With only about 1 ½ hours away from SF, you CAN do it in a day, but do you really WANT to? Especially after visiting one of the world’s premier wine making areas? I think not. There are several roads to get there.
I do not EVER condone drinking and driving – but keep in mind that it is tolerated or excepted a little bit more here than in any other part of the state. So be careful and watch for the other guy on the road!
4 ½ hours – take Hwy 80 east. At Sacramento, you have to pick North Lake, stay on the 80, or South Lake Tahoe, and take Hwy 50.
Beautiful Sierra Mountains and water with renowned skiing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and gambling.
All coastal cities south of SF (listed in Order from North to South).
It can be done in a day by car. However, this is not something I would recommend. SF to Monterey, inland route takes about 2 hours, coastal route, a 3-hour drive.
Quick synopsis: you will have to do the coastal drive at least one of the ways. Cool drive from SF to Santa Cruz – awesome drive from Monterey to Big Sur on down south.
In-between SC and Monterey - so so…
Skip Santa Cruz – unless you have an infatuation with the movie “The Lost Boys”
Monterey – go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium – better food and shops outside of Canary Row and the Warf. Just south of there is Pacific Grove, 17Mile Drive & Pebble Beach – all picturesque.
Carmel is Nice! Cool art, good food in a pleasant town – as in the words of Ferris Bueller, “it is so choice” Lots of Art gallery from glass to painting to photography to import stores. Then once you’ve had your walk around, lunch and coffee, walk down the hill till you hit the ocean.
Big Sur – 26miles south of Carmel, it is the California Coast you’ve seen in books.
The rest of the Transportation Section will be used to give you some ideas on where to go from SF and how long it will take – whether it could be a day trip or someplace else to stay for a couple of days.
*all these destination are by car, unless otherwise noted.
*times may very greatly, depending on time of day, route taken, holiday weekend or not, weather etc… for example, I have made it from Reno NV to the (south) Bay Area in under 3 hours one time. (Leaving Reno at 5am Sunday morning and traveling about 100 to 110 mph (about 170 k/mh) most of the way with 2 stops included) and another time it took the better part of 12 hours to get home from Lake Tahoe after New Years during some VERY bad weather.
*rule of thumb – don’t try to get in or out of the city during “rush hours” 6am – 9:30am and 3:30pm to 7pm – Friday afternoons even worse.
Sausalito / Tiburon
*by car, drive over the golden gate.
Sausalito – take ALEXANDER exit – head towards Bay and North.
Tiburon – take the 131/ Tiburon Exit and follow around the Bay
*There are the Blue & Gold Ferry’s (www.blueandgoldfleet.com) that dock at Pier 41 as an alternative method to get to these places for about $6.00 each way.
Both are small wealthy communities that reside on the Bay across from SF; small stores and restaurants – good for an afternoon lunch. Sausalito more artsy-fartsy touristy & Tiburon more quietly rich. Great views of the City from over here.
The 97-foot Dewey Monument in the center of Union Square. The 18-month, $25 million restoration is now complete. Union Square is the 2 1/2-acre heart of San Francisco's shopping and theater district. It draws locals and visitors alike, bounded by Powell, Post, Stockton & Geary streets.
A new hot spot is found along Post Street between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue: high-end jewelers, and British clothiers such as Dunhill, Thomas Pink, Jaeger and Burberry. This one-block stretch of resembles London's famous Bond Street. Noteworthy are Boucheron. Also Shreve & Co., a jewelry store forged 150 years ago by ingots from California's Silver and Gold Rush, located at the corner building that it has occupied since 1906.
Back at the square, there's historic St. Francis Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus' and Wilkes Bashford
Back down Stockton, Britex Fabrics (since the '50s) and Morrow's Nut House (since the '30s) coexist with Bottega Veneta, Frette and Prada. Next door to the the Nut House is the charming Antoinette's Fine Jewels, purveyors of estate jewelry since the '30s. The perfect gift combo from this street might just be a pound of Morrow's "Jumbo Cashews" ($6) and a pair of mink-lined alligator mules from Frette ($750).
From Geary Street, a left on Grant followed by another quick left leads to Maiden Lane, a historic alley now a pedestrian pathway, it passes some of the city's chicest boutiques: Chanel, YSL, Marc Jacobs, TSE, Wolford and Gumps. The lane is also home to upscale homeware shops like Sur La Table, Pierre Deux and Christofle. But even better, Maiden Lane is one of the best spots to step away from the madding crowd.
SHOPPING WITH KIDS (OF ALL AGES)
Exiting Maiden Lane onto Stockton Street, down at O'Farrell to FAO Schwarz - the classic toy store. Sanrio, the home of Hello Kitty, in the basement of the San Francisco Shopping Centre at Fifth and Market streets. Back up Stockton at Post, can be found both the Levi Store and Niketown.
Tiffany, for precious jewelry and Louis Vuitton.
Take the 80 to 580 East (near Oakland) work your way on the 5, then the 205 and finally Hwy 120 which runs through the National Park. Incredible landscape, camping hiking
Lombard Street, the crookiest street in the world, between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets. (Click on aerial photograph to enlarge; it lies between the two red dots.)