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Vacation: San Francisco and Northern California. Where to Go? What to Do? Where to Stay?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
My wife and I are taking a week and a half to go to Northern California. Going in June.

I've been to San Francisco a few times on business, but haven't spent too much time there doing touristy stuff.

Neither of us has been to the redwoods or anything else in Northern California.


We're thinking of spending 3 nights in San Francisco then, driving north to the Oregon border.


What are the must see places in San Francisco? What should we do while we're there? We're going to spend some time in China Town, but other than that, what should we do? We like museums, cool architecture, hikes, scenery, etc. (Normal tourist stuff.)


Any favorite restaurants? Any favorite places to visit? Any quaint and nice hotels you can recommend?


What about on the drive north? We want to see the redwoods. What else should we do and see? Where should we stay?


Thanks in advance.

Kai
post #2 of 34

Vacation: San Francisco and Northern California. Where to Go? What to Do?

Golden Gate park, most specifically Japanese gardens, also good place for a bike rental and ride. The park is about 4 miles long.
Pier 39, take a boat tour around the harbor and under the Golden Gate, great restaurants and shops. Walk west to Ghireddelli Square and take the cable car up the hill.
Union Square Downtown has some great shops, and I like the Cheesecake Factory balcony for linch on the 10 floor of Macy's.
If you have a little time, a nice drive south on Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay is (about an hour) is a very pretty drive, and a nice place for lunch.
If you want to hit Napa, it's about a 2 hour drive east.
post #3 of 34

Yes, the Cheesecake Factory in Macy's may be the finest restaurant in all of SanFo.

 

Kai, are you bringing a rod? Do you want some river advice? There are a few rivers you need to fish if you have the time: McCloud, Upper Sacramento, NF Yuba, Truckee.

 

Either way check out the GG Angling and Casting Club in GG Park. You can spend an entire day in the park wandering and there is a fairly good if small museum there.

 

I'm not much for touristy stuff, but Alcatraz is worth it. Try the night tour.

 

The Muir Woods are 30 minutes outside SanFo and from there you could go to Tamales Bay for oysters.

 

Day hikes are plentiful in the Marin Headlands.

 

lefty

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post


Kai, are you bringing a rod? Do you want some river advice? There are a few rivers you need to fish if you have the time: McCloud, Upper Sacramento, NF Yuba, Truckee.

lefty

Sadly, no fly fishing. My wife hates fishing.
post #5 of 34

Oh well. Go to the casting club anyway. It's a pretty nice bit of history: http://www.ggacc.org/

 

Have fun. It's a great town.

(To visit.)

 

lefty

post #6 of 34
Assume you're driving up the coast? I remember Point Reyes being nice....
post #7 of 34

Past Tomales Bay is Bodega Bay where Hitchcock shot The Birds. Cool little place if you're a film buff.

 

lefty

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by romafan View Post

Assume you're driving up the coast? I remember Point Reyes being nice....

It's great.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

Past Tomales Bay is Bodega Bay where Hitchcock shot The Birds. Cool little place if you're a film buff.

lefty

Bodega is kind of sad, though. It was a thriving community at one point, now just a shell.
post #9 of 34
This is an excellent place to stay for one night just north of SF. Be sure to get a room on the water. The other rooms are across the street are just not the same. If the water rooms aren't available then stay somewhere else but stop in here for drinks and dinner or lunch and oysters.

http://nickscove.com/index.html
post #10 of 34

It does have an overcast of gloom to it. 

 

lefty

post #11 of 34
Bodega Bay doesn't do much for me, I prefer the quirky little spots around Mendocino myself.

The Northern CA coast has a mix of history, lots of little towns that thrived at one time and are now shabby, pot growers hiding in the woods, get-away homes right on the coast for very wealthy people who want privacy vs. high unemployment for locals, beautiful farmland a dairies, very rustic wooded areas that are difficult to access. You can drive very far without seeing the coast. This isn't the same as Hwy 1 going from SF south to Santa Barbara.

I'm always struck by how quickly the SF area turns into rustic woods and farms once you get north of Marin. It is a facinating part of the US.
post #12 of 34

Yeah, I don't know I'd spend much time in BB. It's a curiosity if nothing else. Closest thing on the west coast to a grey atlantic fishing town.

 

lefty

post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy View Post

Bodega Bay doesn't do much for me, I prefer the quirky little spots around Mendocino myself.

The Northern CA coast has a mix of history, lots of little towns that thrived at one time and are now shabby, pot growers hiding in the woods, get-away homes right on the coast for very wealthy people who want privacy vs. high unemployment for locals, beautiful farmland a dairies, very rustic wooded areas that are difficult to access. You can drive very far without seeing the coast. This isn't the same as Hwy 1 going from SF south to Santa Barbara.

I'm always struck by how quickly the SF area turns into rustic woods and farms once you get north of Marin. It is a facinating part of the US.

i'm with psg and matt. tomales bay is great and nick's cove is one of the best places i've ever stayed, anywhere, as long as you can reserve one of the rooms on the water (we stayed in one that was actually a re-purposed boat). Bodega bay is kind of a drag, but jenner has its attractions. and then you hit wild country. the 1 between jenner and mendocino is a spectacular drive. i love to stay in mendocino. we usually go to Little River Inn, just south of town, or in town, Allegria (but just understand that we're old hippies). North from there, I have a special affection for Arcata because my daughter went to college there (insert 420 joke here). place we liked the best there is the lost whale inn.
post #14 of 34
I'll be in Inverness this weekend. On Saturday I will read a long piece written by food guy while I wait to order oysters and a sandwich.
post #15 of 34
I can't quite figure out the appeal of all the BBQ oysters that seem to be everywhere around Iverness / Tomales Bay. I think it ruins their salty, mineraly flavor. If I want BBQ I'll stick with pulled pork and have my oysters raw with a nice local sparkling wine.
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