San Francisco Recommendations
- Alcatraz: Night Tour
- Voted ‘Best Tour of the Bay Area,’ the Alcatraz Night Tour provides a more intimate, engaging Alcatraz experience. This tour includes a personally narrated boat tour around the island; guided tours from the dock to the main prison building; ‘Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour’ and a variety of special programs and presentations offered only at night. Enjoy a sunset silhouetting the Golden Gate Bridge and breath-taking views of San Francisco as night falls. A truly exceptional experience. Tour Departs Pier at 6:45pm. Space is limited and sells out almost daily.
- Muir Woods
- Muir Woods National Monument, California Hwy 1, Mill Valley, CA 415-388-2596
- Hours: Open daily, 8:00 a.m. to sunset, Cost: Entrance fee $5 per person, Location: 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, How Long: The shortest loop is a 0.5 hour walk, but it’s better to allow 1.5 to 2 hours or more
- Muir Woods is the closest place to San Francisco where visitors can see an old-growth stand of coastal redwood trees, just a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt as the country’s seventh national monument in 1917, it was the first created from privately owned land, donated by conservationist William Kent. What you will find at Muir Woods are coastal redwoods, the tallest living things which can grow up to 379 feet tall – 74 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. In Muir Woods, they top out at 258 feet. You can see them in just a few minutes on an easy, flat walk that starts near the entrance. It will take you about an hour to walk all the way in to Cathedral Grove and back out (more with photo stops). To get away from the crowds and explore more of the park, Muir Woods has six miles hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. Your best bet is to discuss them with a ranger, who can help you figure out which is best for you.
- Muir Woods Tips: During busy times, Muir Woods is plagued with parking problems, with spaces filling up early in the day. You can take a bus to the shuttle stop from San Francisco and Sausalito. Check routes and costs here: http://goldengate.org/news/transit/muirwoods.php , Muir Woods is damp and cool all year, reaching a high of only 70 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day. •Among the best things to enjoy at Muir Woods are the forest sounds, but you have to be quiet to hear them. Respect the silence especially in the Cathedral Grove, keeping your voices down and kids under control. Poison oak and stinging nettle grow in the woods. If you don’t know what they look like, pay attention to the signs on your way in.
- City Guides Free Tours of SF
- When I went to San Fran last, I discovered a great nonprofit called City Guides, which are local historians that offer free walking tours. The one I did was Chinatown, which was GREAT! I highly recommend the Chinatown walking tour, which goes at 10:00am and 1:30pm today. Here is a link: http://www.sfcityguides.org/desc.html?tour=8
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- which is shopping and a great place to see how the seafood markets still operate.
- Ghirardelli Square
- where the chocolate originated. Also a great place for viewing the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Golden Gate Bridge
- You can drive over, and walk the bridge. There are also bike’s to rent and ride along.
- Union Square
- the heart of the theater district, sill filled with great entertainment and shopping.
- Nob Hill, Height-Ashbury and The Castro are popular sights, but from someone who has been there, it is ok, but there is not a lot here specifically to see.
Kokkari Estiatorio (My grandmother was Greek, and this is a great, authentic Greek place she always loved.) 200 Jackson St. (bet. Battery & Front Sts.) San Francisco, CA 94111.Phone: 415-981-0983
Perbacco (great Italian place, great atmosphere, happening place)
230 California St. (bet. Battery & Front Sts.) San Francisco, CA 94111.Phone: 415-955-0663
Bob’s Steak & Chop House 500 California Street (at Montgomery) (great steakhouse, stayed at this hotel a few years ago, and found their steakhouse great. Nice but not too stuffy). San Francisco, California 94104 Phone: (415) 677-9494
Jai Yun (I love Chinese food, and this is a nice dinner place, somewhere between upscale and casual)
680 Clay St. (Kearny St.) San Francisco, CA 94111. Phone: 415-981-7438
Café Claude (My fiancé is a Jazz lover, went here for the live music, returned because of the food, French Fusion, more casual place) 7 Claude Ln. (Sutter St.) San Francisco, CA 94108.Phone: 415-392-3515
Farallon (Great Seafood, really hot foodie place, pricey) 450 Post St. (bet. Mason & Powell Sts.) San Francisco, CA 94102.Phone: 415-956-6969
Gary Danko (went here last valentine’s day, AMAZING everything, hugely expensive $395 for two).
800 N. Point St. (Hyde St.) San Francisco, CA 94109.Phone: 415-749-2060.