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Thread: What not to miss in San Francisco - San Jose area

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    What not to miss in San Francisco - San Jose area

    Hi all.

    Having a rented car and hanging somewhere in between San Francisco and San Jose for a couple of months what a human being being here for the first time should not miss at weekends and nights?

    Any suggestions are welcome.

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    To begin with a simple googling:

    Golden Gate Bridge
    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
    Exploratorium
    Fisherman's Wharf
    Alcatraz
    Aquarium of the Bay
    The museum of California Academy of Sciences
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  3. #3
    Hanna
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    I have never been there, so I have no idea. But lovely to hear you are on an exciting trip! Hope you are having fun!

    ... are you there on holiday or work?

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    I have not been to SF, but I am considering train trips on coast:
    Travel by Train in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California | Amtrak.
    It looks like by train could do round trip also to San Diego, in couple of days.

    Another thing I have thought about is the Anchor Brewery, but it looks like need advance booking for tour (months):
    http://www.anchorbrewing.com/brewery/tours
    .
    Napa valley tour could be interesting to some people.
    .
    I myself would probably visit Stanford also, and I'd try to get a print of "Agassiz in the concrete" of which there are several views.
    Scroll about half way down to figure 4 to see what its about:http://quake06.stanford.edu/centennial/tour/stop3.html
    (Walking tour of Stanford)

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    CoffeeCup,

    Sorry for not responding sooner. I've only been to San Fran once and it was on business so I didn't get to sight see that much.

    I did get to go to Pier 39, which is known for their sea lions (it was okay, but not that great) and I was also lucky enough to go across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Muir Woods Forest. It's funny as a young child there was this cartoon about many of the national parks and there was a very short little part at the very end about the trees, but when I got to see the trees at long last, I recalled the cartoon.



    Another place you might want to go to is the Boudin Bakery. They make Sourdough Bread there and have been doing so since 1849. You can take a tour and learn more and taste the bread and such.

    I know you are into coffee, but San Fran is home to the oldest public Japanese Tea Garden in the U.S. You can go to just visit or for a tea ceremony.

    Do you have something in particular you are interested in that you would like to learn about or is your passion? It would help me to be able to give you better guidance.
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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Chinatown.

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Thanks all! Everything is now in my list.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    ... are you there on holiday or work?
    It is a business trip, so I am limited in sightseeing only by weekends and nights.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    there was a very short little part at the very end about the trees, but when I got to see the trees at long last, I recalled the cartoon.
    Well, I was considering to go to L.A. on a weekend but it would take me about 6 hours driving to and then 6 hours driving back only for all the big letters "HOLYWOOD" be mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Do you have something in particular you are interested in that you would like to learn about or is your passion?
    It is hard to have any particular interest in the place you have never been before. But I'd like to get as more impressions which would fill me up as to be able to say at the end "Well now I can think of myself as of a californian a little bit".

    The idea to take a train trip sonds really intriguing.

    BTW. I've got some more advice:

    Santa Cruz, 17-Mile Drive, and Monterey Bay Aquarium.
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    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    zxc
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    Yosemite National Park is about a three hour drive east of San Francisco. And probably much more worth seeing than L.A.
    If you don't want to drive all the way to Yosemite, SF has some good nature scenes of its own. You can drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and head about 30 minutes north to Muir Woods. There are plenty of redwood and sequoia trees up in that area.

    Monterey is a beautiful city a couple hours south of San Francisco. The aquarium is top notch, but just taking the time to walk down Cannery Row is pretty cool.

    Sticking with broad sightseeing, Lake Tahoe is about four hours northeast of San Francisco and it's another beautiful place to see.

    Twin Peaks in San Francisco is one of the tallest points in the city. You can drive up there and park and it offers a beautiful panorama of the city (both during the day and at night). Be careful and pick a good time with good weather to go up, though. San Francisco is notorious for its fog, and it can be kind of scary driving up the mountain when you can't see more than a foot in front of your car.
    Twin Peak

    I lived in northern California a couple years ago, so I'll try to think of some other stuff you'd be interested in.

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    zxc
    That sounds great! Thank you!
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Oh, I agree with ZXC, if you have a choice between LA and Yosemite, go for Yosemite! That has been on my to-do list for some time now.

    Another tourist type thing but one you should try to do just so you can say you did it and then when you see it in movies or on TV is to drive down Lombard Street!!!



    Here's a cute video about it...
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    zxc
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom View Post
    Another tourist type thing but one you should try to do just so you can say you did it and then when you see it in movies or on TV is to drive down Lombard Street!!![/IMG]
    He'll feel right at home on Lombard Street, it's on Russian Hill.

    Actually, Russian Hill isn't a large Russian community as it once was. You can go to the Richmond District in San Francisco for that, though. San Francisco has several large Russian communities, but they're sort of cordoned off from one another (oddly enough, by religion--there's a Russian Jewish community, Russian Orthodox community, etc, and none of them really interact with each other).
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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    If you are going to San Francisco - be sure to check out the Redwood Forest! It is one of the most beautiful places in nature. The trees are gigantic, big enough to drive through. The last time one of Russian friends visited America, I took them there! It's great to hike along the trail and sing! And to get there, you drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, which you *have* to do if you're going to SF!
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    If you are going to San Francisco - be sure to check out the Redwood Forest!
    I've got a good bunch of locations by typing "Redwood forest" in google. Did you mean any specific location like the "Muir Woods" mentioned by zxc?
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeCup View Post
    I've got a good bunch of locations by typing "Redwood forest" in google. Did you mean any specific location like the "Muir Woods" mentioned by zxc?
    Muir Woods and Redwoods are the same place The redwoods are the types of trees in the Muir Woods so us Americans refer to Muir Woods as The Redwood Forest. 9.5 out of 10 people would not be able to tell you the proper name of Muir Woods... I knew there was a real name of the place so... I looked it up before I gave you the link
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    Coit Tower

    It gives good views of the city, though, perched as it is atop historic Telegraph Hill (home to sea captains in the days of the Golden Bough) in North Beach. The views aside, you're really here for the murals. Inspired by the social-realism style of the great Diego Rivera, and commissioned by the federal Works Progress Administration, the paintings inside the tower were completed in 1933 and are great fun to look at. Pay special attention to the depiction of the newsstand, because it is so wonderful and bygone.

    The murals inside the tower's base were painted in 1934 by a group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and depict life in California during the Depression. When violence broke out during the 1934 longshoremen's strike, controversy over the radical content in some of the panels became quite heated. Some of the most controversial elements were painted over, and the tower was padlocked for several months before the frescoes were finally opened to the public in the fall of 1934.

    Telegraph Hill takes its name from a semaphore telegraph erected on its summit in 1850 to alert residents to the arrival of ships. Pioneer Park, which surrounds Coit Tower, was established in 1876 on the former site of the telegraph station. As you wander the trails that wind around the tower and down the hill, you may hear the raucous chatter of the neighborhood's most famous (and noisiest) residents, the flock of parrots featured in the 2005 film "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill."


    It's free to get inside the city-owned monument, but if you want to take the elevator to the top to dig the views, it's $7 for adults. Get here by walking uphill on Lombard Street from North Beach, or take Muni bus 39 from Washington Square Park.


    • 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94133; 415-362-0808




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    The Stairs of Telegraph Hill


    You've seen Coit Tower and the city views. Now it's time to take the stairs down — all 400 of them! It's worth it because, along the way, you'll get to see some beautiful houses, gardens and, most times of the year, brightly colored flora. Also, it's all downhill. As you walk, keep a lookout for the wild parrots. Walk all the way to the bottom of the hill, then head east toward the Bay, to the Embarcadero, where you can pick up the trolley.


    The Trolley to the Castro


    You won't find better entertainment value in the U.S. for $2. Hop on a historic trolley car on the Embarcadero (you're looking for the F line) and you can ride it all the way to the Castro. Seventeen trolley cars are in service, painted in the colors of the originals from the 1920s and '30s. Rest your weary dogs as you rattle past the Wharf, down the Embarcadero and onto Market Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares.
    Hop off at First Street for lunch at Sam's Grill, a classic fish place; they have an authentic sourdough loaf on each table, and they don't serve farmed fish or endangered species.


    Get back on the trolley, and take it to the Castro Street station, the end of the line. San Francisco's Castro neighborhood was initially settled by gay servicemen discharged here from the Armed Forces (for being gay) during World War II. Historically, the neighborhood has always been in flux: At the turn of last century, it was known as Little Scandinavia; then it became an Irish neighborhood, until the Gay Pride Movement of the 1960s made it safe for all the ex-servicemen to come out. Nowadays the neighborhood is overrun with fashionable, rich straight people.


    Grab a delicious cookie or brownie at Hot Cookie, and view the snapshots of store patrons showing off their Hot Cookie underwear. (Note that neither the pictures nor the baked goods, which are anatomically correct, are for the homophobic.) And next-door is the famous Castro Theater, a pristine, 1920s movie palace that shows excellent art and repertoire films and has a real live Wurlitzer player some nights.
    From the Castro, you can walk to the Haight — it's a little less than a mile — or take Muni bus 33.



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    Haight-Ashbury


    The birthplace of America's counter-culture, the Haight was Ground Zero during the summer of 1967, a.k.a. The Summer of Love, baby. Hippies used to live here, but at some point the Jefferson Airplane moved out, and affluent yuppies moved in, buying up all the colorful Victorian homes throughout Haight-Ashbury and replacing its head shops with high-end boutiques, chic restaurants and hip cafés. My favorite spot in the Haight is Amoeba Music, which is in a former bowling alley and boasts one of the biggest collections of CDs (new and used) in the world.

    From Amoeba, head west a block along Haight Street (please don't feed the panhandlers; there are plenty of social services in San Francisco that provide them food and health care) to its end. Cross the street and you're just inside Golden Gate Park, at famous Hippie Hill, which you'll either love or loathe, depending on your feelings about drum circles and wheat-free pot brownies. (They're legal in S.F., by the way, for people who have marijuana prescriptions.)

    1. Amoeba Music
    1855 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117; 415-831-1200 amoeba.com
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    Golden Gate Park


    Golden Gate and its million trees. Be sure to visit the Conservatory of Flowers (closed Monday), which is the oldest Victorian greenhouse this side of the Thames, and the carousel on Kezar Drive, both on the eastern edge of the park.
    If you're feeling spry, walk to the western edge of the park to check out the herd of bison at the the Bison Paddock, then hop a trolley or bus back east, or call for a cab. Next stop: the Exploratorium


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    The Exploratorium

    the Exploratorium (in the Palace of Fine Arts), San Francisco's legendary science museum in the Presidio. Make sure you experience the tactile dome, a pitch-black maze that you have to navigate by touch (it's worth the $20 premium on top of the $15 admission fee); blow the world's biggest soap bubble, as big around as a beach ball; and dissect a cow's eye.

    3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123; 415-397-5673 exploratorium.edu



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    The Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge


    The Presidio was used at different points in its 230-year history to house soldiers from Spain and Mexico before it became a U.S. military base. Its armed past notwithstanding, you won't find a more bucolic spot in the city, thanks to its abundant eucalyptus trees and yawning lawns. If, at this point, you want to fortify yourself with a cocktail or dinner, a great place for both is the Presidio Social Club, an urban hipster kind of a joint, which was once an enlisted-mens' barracks. (The Club has one daily cocktail hour, followed by one seating for dinner. If you miss them, not to worry. You can grab dinner later at the Ferry Building.)


    From the Presidio, you can walk to the Golden Gate Bridge, which isn't really golden at all — it's more like a rust. The bridge is an engineering marvel and one of the most beautiful — if it's not too windy and foggy — walks in the country. So beautiful that some people apparently feel compelled to hurl themselves off it. The G2B is the top spot for suicides in the nation, with a person a week, on average, taking a fatal plunge.




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