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San Francisco\Alcatraz Tours

NickdeBug 15 391
21 Jul 2005 5:26PM
Definitley book early for Alcatraz (online is easiest). When you are waiting to board the boat you will find lots of people standing around waiting for last minute returns and ending up disappointed.

Other things to do -

The Ferry Building is a good place to start. Indoor and outdoor market selling all sorts of food and drink. Walk from there along Market Street (through Downtown area). Lots of things to do in this area: the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is well worth visiting, and there a lots of department stores etc if you want the US shopping experience (Union Square). Pick up a free map/guide (you can find them in the same places as the newspapers on street corners). I love walking around in San Francisco, the hills are steep, but I had no problem and I'm no fitness fanatic. I think that walking is probably quicker than the cable cars in most cases, but you have to do it once! Best cable car to get is the one that takes you up to the top of Lombard Street (famous windy road). Walking between Russian and Nob Hill gives you a good view down the classic SF streets.

Fisherman's Wharf is tourist hell, but the seafood is pretty good (if pricey). North Beach is my favorite area. Great nightlife and fantastic restaurants (try the Stinking Rose if you like garlic - the food is amazing). City Lights Bookstore and Versuvios Bar (Columbia Avenue) are great if you are like me and love the Beat generation literature.

Chinatown is an experience to walk through, but avoid the shops. If you are there on a Sunday morning the market will be going on - has to be seen to be believed (handy if you want to buy a snake).

What else...great record stores in Haight Ashbury (hippie area), along with a couple of good places for breakfast. Castro area is pretty fun (the SF gay area). The gay parade was a few weekends ago - amazing spectacle.

Best advice is to spend a day doing the tourist thing in the City, and spend the other two days day-tripping - go south to Monterey (hire a car and drive Highway 1 down the coast - not for the nervous passenger), or north east to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys (winery tours). Day trips are easy and you can head back to the City for the restaurants and jazz clubs in the evening. Point Reyes or the Golden Gate Park are great places to go. I am sure Patrick can give you some good places to go on the coast for photo opportunities (nice thing about being on the west coast is the sunset shots!).

You will not get bored in three days, and then you have 2 and half weeks to recover in Hawaii (lucky sod!)

Have a great time and look forward to seeing the photos!

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