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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this in the travel section and figured it would not hurt to post here either..

My friend and I both had nothing planned tomorrow so we decided we should go somewhere for the day and after discussion, realized we both have never been to San Francisco. So tomorrow morning we are going to hop on a plane and head out there for the day..

A few questions:

From the airport (SFO) is it necessary to get a rental or would public transit suffice? We really want to see the full house..house, aside from that, we have no idea, our plans only got us as far as the airport, lol. I thought of hiring a driver but we plan on taking the last flight back to Vegas so I think it would be more cost effective to do stuff on our own.

Are there any must do tours? Alcaraz I would imagine. Is there anything at Golden Gate?

In simple research, I have found that union square and fisherman's wharf are the places to be as far as food; are there any recommended must eat restaurants? How far away is Nob Hill or Napa? We would like to have dinner at a michelin rated restaurant and compare service to Vegas.

I guess that is all, any input would be greatly appreciated. Will take pics, but only from our phones I would imagine. Not really the camera toting type of tourists.
 

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I'll try to answer a few of your questions, but not all...

It is about a 20 min drive from SFO to SF, but you can take Bart (on the International side) from SFO to Downtown SF.
Full House, who wants to see that? There are so many victorians and some are very very nice.
Alcatraz, I believe you need to make reservation for the tour (departs from Fisherman's Wharf). It is not far from GG Bridge.
The food in SF is very diverse; you should be able to find something that you like. We don't usually eat too fancy, Gary Denko to me was pretty good.
Nob Hill is part of SF and Napa is about an hour away (need to drive).
Filmore, Union, and Haight streets are good walking streets with a lot of shops and restaurants.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
right on..my biggest concern is rain? i do not know what that is, we do not have that here. im ok with overcast but i hope it does not rain!
 

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I believe the forecast said... it may be a little (just a little) wet tomorrow morning and it will get better later the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
nice. I looked in to the BART and that seems like the way to go to get downtown. As far as walking, is everything fairly close? Example, how far of a walk is it from union to fisherman's wharf? Also, that zig zag road that has all the turns that is always in photos, sorry, I do not know the name; where is it?
 

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That called Lombard Street.

SF itself is not a very big city. Parking is usually a problem so you should either take buses (most locals do) or Taxi. Bart within SF is not a very good tool to get around.

Google site seeing in SF, you should be able to find a few things to do in a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
planning on taking bart from sfo to downtown then either walking or taxis to get around.
 

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If you take Bart and get out at the Powell Street stop, you can do some shopping there (SF Center across the street is nice) and take cable car (right there) to Fisherman's Wharf. One of the cable car route (forgot which one, out of two) would pass the top side of Lombard Street too.
 

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As far as walking, is everything fairly close? Example, how far of a walk is it from union to fisherman's wharf?
That walk will take you quite awhile and would be a waste IMO, although the city isn't that big comparatively, its quite hilly. You can take the cable cars around to most of the touristy places.

I would hit up Fishermans Wharf, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate, Union Square and AT&T Park (its a cool stadium regardless of there being a game or not, also a couple great restuarants/breweries around there)...I'd avoid Nob Hill, as there really isn't anything there besides a couple hotels (The Fairmont and Mark Hopkins, both famous, but not THAT cool). Thats probably a pretty busy schedule for one day, but it can be done for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
we are planning on getting there around 830am and leaving around 11pm so we should have plenty of time to fit everything in. As I said, our plans only got us as far as the airport so im sure there will be plenty of stuff to consider. is chinatown worth checking out?

regarding the cable cars, i read that the best place to get on those is off streets or something because the turn-a-bouts always have long lines..im assuming there are maps on the airport for the routes?
 

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SF Chinatown is the biggest (most concentrated) in U.S.; the cable car also passes the top end of Chinatown. Since mostly only tourists ride cable car, that is actually the stop you can get a space (standing or sitting) between Powell and Chinatown because some people will get off from that stop. So, you'll either stand in line to get a space, or walk to Chinatown; don't expect you'll get a space in between.

If you are in good shape, you can walk from Downtown to Chinatown thru Stockton Street (thru the tunnel). It is actually a pretty short walk (it is safe to walk, and you get to see Union Sqare on the way). You then can walk from Chinatown to Fisherman's Wharf via Columbus. My wife and I used to walk this route all the time.

Well good luck! and have fun in SF.
 

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skip fisherman's wharf - the food is terrible & it's a complete tourist trap.

take the BART in. that will get you to: downtown, chinatown, & the mission. the mission is fun w/ all sorts of craziness. from downtown, you can walk to chinatown, over nob hill, over russian hill, to the bay, and even to the GG bridge if you desire, or the Marina/Cow Hollow.

that's more than enough for one day...there are hundreds of restaurants everywhere so you need to figure out where you'll be, and what you want to pay.

- chuck
 

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The only reason I'd see for renting a car and driving into the City, is if you were planning on driving north into wine country also. If not, and you're just going to stay in SF, then taking BART from the airport into the city and walk, take MUNI, or take taxis to get around.

As far as sights, I'm not much of a tourist, but I would advise against Fisherman's Wharf. It really is nothing more than a tourist trap, and the food there is NOT good.

I found the cable car museum interesting. Also, Grace Episcopal Cathedral (I'm into old historical type cathedrals and buildings and such). I also liked Golden Gate Park, and the deYoung museum, and the Museum of the Legion of Honor. But...you really need to be into museums and art galleries for those. Otherwise, you'd probably find them boring as hell.

As far as food:

Haven't eaten at any Michellin starred restaurants in the area, so can't comment on those. I don't tend to frequent ultra-fancy places anyway.

The steak place I find myself gravitating most toward is Ruth's Chris on Van Ness and California. Yeah, it's a chain, but every meal I've had there has been fantastic, and my friends and I have been enough we get discounted corkage when we bring our own wines down from wine country.

Another place I went just recently was Farmer Brown's (Farmer Brown) The location isn't the best, you'll probably stumble over some street people while going there, but the food is outstanding, especially the fried chicken.

If you like Thai food, I can recommend Lemongrass up by Polk and Union. Great food.

If you're there for breakfast, I'd suggest Sears Fine Food on Powell. But get there early or be prepared to wait in line, cause they get BUSY at breakfast.

If you do head up to wine country, and you like good Zinfandels (especially Dry Creek valley type zins with a bit of pepper/spicyness to them) I can heartily recommend Seghesio, Mauritson, and Ridge. All three are right in the Healdsburg/Dry Creek Valley area and an easy drive up from the City.

That's about all I can think of...have fun, and eat, drink, and be merry!
 
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