Wednesday, July 23, 2008

San Francisco Vacation

We returned late last night from our vacation in San Francisco. I've never done so little planning for a trip before, but it worked out really well. Thanks to Travelocity's Last Minute Packages, we got a four-night stay plus airfare for two for a total of $1070. And this time I didn't need to spend a whole Saturday researching hotels and B&Bs like I have for the last few trips.

We stayed at the Executive Hotel Vintage Court. Their location is convenient to cable cars and buses, and not too far a walk from the Powell street BART station. Front desk staff were friendly (but not that fake-smile friendly) and helpful. The room was a decent size, pleasantly decorated, and well maintained. Bonus: free wine in the lobby between 5 and 6 pm, free coffee and danishes in the lobby between 7 and 9 am.

Instead of renting a car and attempting to drive in the city, we were all about the public transit. We used BART for rides to and from the airport for $10.70 round trip. Then, $24 each for a 7-day MUNI passport, which worked on all cable cars, buses, streetcars, and underground light rail. We used each of these options at least once during our trip. I thought the cable cars were fun, a cross between a tow rope and a really small roller coaster. Downsides include being slow and cold.

Ah, yes, cold. I packed wrong. It was windy and cold in the daytime, mostly cloudy, and often trying to rain. It was windier and colder at night. So, a jacket and sweatshirt was required over every outfit for the trip. The sun did come out during the day on Monday, so I have a sunburn on my face with a pale patch in the shape of my sunglasses.

Armed with a single guidebook, the Time Out San Francisco, we walked and ate our way through a good cross-section of the city. Chinatown, North Beach, the Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, Richmond, Castro, the Golden Gate Bridge, Ocean Beach, Union Square, and so on. In a departure from previous vacation patterns, we only went to three museums. First, there was the Musee Mechanique, with old video games, pinball machines, and other antique amusements. We dropped a few quarters there - everything was in working condition! Next to that, floating in the water, was the USS Pampanito. It was larger on the inside than I expected, but crammed just as full of equipment as the Titan missile silo that we toured in Arizona. On our last day, we went to the Cartoon Art Museum, where I read every word of every cartoon on the walls.

Other highlights include: walking along the beach beside the Pacific ocean, staying Internet-free for the whole trip, never getting lost, the best pot-stickers ever, sourdough bread, walking to the top of Buena Vista park, DS Tetris battles, great music stores and bookstores, historic bars, the view from The Bridge, and catching ourselves forgetting that we were still in the United States. San Francisco is a crazy city. It was fun to be a part of it for a few days.


  1. Sounds like you had an awesome trip! San Francisco is one of my favorite places...glad you had a good time! :)

  2. Cool! Sounds like a great trip. I'll have to check out some of the places you mentioned. We don't make it to the city nearly enough.

    You should have said something sooner. We could have joined you for dinner. :)


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