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      07-19-2013, 03:48 PM   #1
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Cool Going on family vacation to LA and San Francisco, what to not miss

Hey guys so this will be our first time traveling to Cali for pleasure instead of business and have no idea where to start.

I feel that many of the forum members on here are in the Cali area and I'm sure you guys know the place inside and out.

We'll be staying 7 days and 6 night so we want to make the most of our stay, open to any input. Thanks!

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      07-19-2013, 03:56 PM   #2
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Alcatraz is a must-see in SF. Been there twice with different groups and it's been a highlight both times.
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      07-19-2013, 05:23 PM   #3
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Food. Look up Michelin guides for LA and SF. There are plenty of michelin-star restaurants around.
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      07-19-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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Stay at the SLS Beverly Hills. I lived there for 2 weeks (very long stay before moving to cali.) BEST EVER. Kinda pricy at $379 a night. Eat at the IVY in Los Angeles. I also like Louie Botegga downtown LA, get a cup cake from the ATM at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive.
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      07-19-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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It's a bit of a broad question. What do you like? Parties? Museums? Sight-seeing? Beaches? Parks? Historical Monuments?

Both cities have a lot to offer.
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      07-19-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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Bush Man!
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      07-19-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bosstones View Post
Bush Man!
LOL!! I've been scared by that mofo before


OP what exactly are you looking for? sights? dining? partying? drinking? I've lived both in the bay area (17 years) and socal (almost 8) years now! i'm sure I can give you some good suggestions
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      07-19-2013, 07:05 PM   #8
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Bush Man!
LOL
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      07-19-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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My house is a must see...no landscaping but still...

forgot to mention but there's this restaurant near my house called "del taco" and it makes amazing burritos
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      07-19-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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i just got back from a trip to california about a month ago and while i was there i visited SF for a day.

you should definitely hit pier 39 if you can. it has a lot of shops with everything from taffy to tattoos.

i believe the tickets for the alcatraz tour are right outside of pier 39 and you can clearly see it from the pier itself. definitely a good time and amazing food.
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      07-19-2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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sf: fisherman's wharf
la: i want to say disneyland, but it's a dump now. try universal studios. it's a good time to hit the beach (manhattan or santa monica)

if it's a road trip, some interesting points between la/sf are solvang, hearst castle, monterey (the aquarium). in-n-out burger is a west coast icon and can be found all over cali. if you like baseball, catch a giants game (the park is awesome with great views of the bay)
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      07-20-2013, 12:17 AM   #12
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SF:

Twin Peaks, Lands End trail, Visit Height/Ashbury, Crissy Field, AT&T Park (SF Giants), Ferry Building for a lot of shops/goodies, Philz Coffee, Gharadelli Square, Downtown shopping (Union Square), Lots to do inside Golden Gate Park, Sausalito is a great place to visit on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Colt Tower, Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39, Academy of Sciences inside Golden Gate Park

and yeah, tons of fusion-y type of foods in SF along with some of the best restaurants in the country in SF.
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      07-20-2013, 06:39 AM   #13
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LA

Griffith observatory for the views and maybe a laser show

Malibu canyons (take a drive on Mulholland Highway, up Stunt Road to the top, see a view of the valley and the ocean from 2 sides of the street in one place!

The Standard on Sunset - its a hotel with a snazzy poolside lounge, very cool place for a drink

The Westin Downtown hotel has a spinning restaurant on a high floor with great views

The Standard Hotel Downtown - rooftop pool and drinks during a weekend day is awesome

Eat a double double at In-N-Out Burgers - or a 4x4 animal style (it's not on the menu but can be ordered)

Chart House on PCH right near Sunset Blvd in Malibu, great meal with beautiful views and free peanuts in barrels while you wait

Speaking of which, Sunset Blvd from anywhere in Hollywood down to the Pacific Coast Highway where it ends is an excellent scenic drive

The Rock Store in Malibu on Mulholland Hwy is a world famous biker hang out for breakfast on a weekend day

Melrose for shopping and people watching

Regular famous stuff like Chinese Theater, Hollywood star walk, etc if you haven't done is worth seeing once

3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica for shopping/dining

Walk down Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills

Skydive in Lake Elsinore

Universal Studios - agree its really cool

Magic Mountain if you have teenagers (roller coasters)

Definitely drive on Mullholland Drive (not the same as Mulholland Hwy) and stop to see views of Downtown LA and Studio City and the Hollywood Sign

Visit Santa Barbara

Take a ferry to Catalina Island

Visit UCLA campus

Not sure if they do tours (never did one) but try and find movie studios in Hollywood or Burbank that give tours



SF

Agree with fishermans wharf; you must have Clam Chowder down there it's the best!

Lombard Street (crazy winding street must drive at least once)

Golden Gate Bridge

Sonoma wine country do a wine tasting

Drive down to Big Sur / Monterrey - beautiful scenic drive on PCH
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      07-20-2013, 11:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitekid2002 View Post
My house is a must see...no landscaping but still...

forgot to mention but there's this restaurant near my house called "del taco" and it makes amazing burritos
i LOLed


but just a heads up if you plan on going to alcatraz plan ahead and buy tickets beforehand they are sold out day of VERY often
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      07-20-2013, 07:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitekid2002 View Post
My house is a must see...no landscaping but still...

forgot to mention but there's this restaurant near my house called "del taco" and it makes amazing burritos
Will make sure to check it out

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
LA

Griffith observatory for the views and maybe a laser show

Malibu canyons (take a drive on Mulholland Highway, up Stunt Road to the top, see a view of the valley and the ocean from 2 sides of the street in one place!

The Standard on Sunset - its a hotel with a snazzy poolside lounge, very cool place for a drink

The Westin Downtown hotel has a spinning restaurant on a high floor with great views

The Standard Hotel Downtown - rooftop pool and drinks during a weekend day is awesome

Eat a double double at In-N-Out Burgers - or a 4x4 animal style (it's not on the menu but can be ordered)

Chart House on PCH right near Sunset Blvd in Malibu, great meal with beautiful views and free peanuts in barrels while you wait

Speaking of which, Sunset Blvd from anywhere in Hollywood down to the Pacific Coast Highway where it ends is an excellent scenic drive

The Rock Store in Malibu on Mulholland Hwy is a world famous biker hang out for breakfast on a weekend day

Melrose for shopping and people watching

Regular famous stuff like Chinese Theater, Hollywood star walk, etc if you haven't done is worth seeing once

3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica for shopping/dining

Walk down Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills

Skydive in Lake Elsinore

Universal Studios - agree its really cool

Magic Mountain if you have teenagers (roller coasters)

Definitely drive on Mullholland Drive (not the same as Mulholland Hwy) and stop to see views of Downtown LA and Studio City and the Hollywood Sign

Visit Santa Barbara

Take a ferry to Catalina Island

Visit UCLA campus

Not sure if they do tours (never did one) but try and find movie studios in Hollywood or Burbank that give tours



SF

Agree with fishermans wharf; you must have Clam Chowder down there it's the best!

Lombard Street (crazy winding street must drive at least once)

Golden Gate Bridge

Sonoma wine country do a wine tasting

Drive down to Big Sur / Monterrey - beautiful scenic drive on PCH
Lots of good information in here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KwlAznKid View Post
i LOLed

but just a heads up if you plan on going to alcatraz plan ahead and buy tickets beforehand they are sold out day of VERY often
Good to know
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      07-22-2013, 09:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara504 View Post
Stay at the SLS Beverly Hills. I lived there for 2 weeks (very long stay before moving to cali.) BEST EVER. Kinda pricy at $379 a night. Eat at the IVY in Los Angeles. I also like Louie Botegga downtown LA, get a cup cake from the ATM at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive.
We don't all have receding-hairlined sugar daddies paying our way cross-country.
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      07-22-2013, 01:55 PM   #17
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All tourist traps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfJericho View Post
Alcatraz is a must-see in SF. Been there twice with different groups and it's been a highlight both times.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara504 View Post
Stay at the SLS Beverly Hills. I lived there for 2 weeks (very long stay before moving to cali.) BEST EVER. Kinda pricy at $379 a night. Eat at the IVY in Los Angeles. I also like Louie Botegga downtown LA, get a cup cake from the ATM at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosstones View Post
Bush Man!
Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionJim View Post
i just got back from a trip to california about a month ago and while i was there i visited SF for a day.

you should definitely hit pier 39 if you can. it has a lot of shops with everything from taffy to tattoos.

i believe the tickets for the alcatraz tour are right outside of pier 39 and you can clearly see it from the pier itself. definitely a good time and amazing food.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosster hymen View Post
sf: fisherman's wharf
la: i want to say disneyland, but it's a dump now. try universal studios. it's a good time to hit the beach (manhattan or santa monica)

if it's a road trip, some interesting points between la/sf are solvang, hearst castle, monterey (the aquarium). in-n-out burger is a west coast icon and can be found all over cali. if you like baseball, catch a giants game (the park is awesome with great views of the bay)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
LA

Griffith observatory for the views and maybe a laser show

Malibu canyons (take a drive on Mulholland Highway, up Stunt Road to the top, see a view of the valley and the ocean from 2 sides of the street in one place!

The Standard on Sunset - its a hotel with a snazzy poolside lounge, very cool place for a drink

The Westin Downtown hotel has a spinning restaurant on a high floor with great views

The Standard Hotel Downtown - rooftop pool and drinks during a weekend day is awesome

Eat a double double at In-N-Out Burgers - or a 4x4 animal style (it's not on the menu but can be ordered)

Chart House on PCH right near Sunset Blvd in Malibu, great meal with beautiful views and free peanuts in barrels while you wait

Speaking of which, Sunset Blvd from anywhere in Hollywood down to the Pacific Coast Highway where it ends is an excellent scenic drive

The Rock Store in Malibu on Mulholland Hwy is a world famous biker hang out for breakfast on a weekend day

Melrose for shopping and people watching

Regular famous stuff like Chinese Theater, Hollywood star walk, etc if you haven't done is worth seeing once

3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica for shopping/dining

Walk down Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills

Skydive in Lake Elsinore

Universal Studios - agree its really cool

Magic Mountain if you have teenagers (roller coasters)

Definitely drive on Mullholland Drive (not the same as Mulholland Hwy) and stop to see views of Downtown LA and Studio City and the Hollywood Sign

Visit Santa Barbara

Take a ferry to Catalina Island

Visit UCLA campus

Not sure if they do tours (never did one) but try and find movie studios in Hollywood or Burbank that give tours



SF

Agree with fishermans wharf; you must have Clam Chowder down there it's the best!

Lombard Street (crazy winding street must drive at least once)

Golden Gate Bridge

Sonoma wine country do a wine tasting

Drive down to Big Sur / Monterrey - beautiful scenic drive on PCH
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      07-22-2013, 02:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minefield View Post
All tourist traps.
eamon is a tourist...what do you want him to do? to go some hidden gem in LA? lol
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      07-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #19
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Sorry no great suggestions for LA but lots to do in the SF area, ideas broken out by neighborhood/area.

North Bay (Sausalito/Marin):
-Take ferry over to Sausalito and eat at Le Garage for weekend brunch. After brunch you can rent kayaks and kayak around the area, see harbor seals and check out the estuary OR take the shuttle to Muir Woods and hike Muir Woods. Don't try to drive to Muir Woods in the summer, there is no parking.
-Visit Mt. Tamalpias State Park and hike any of the trails. Ditto with Pt. Reyes National Seashore. You can get a good lunch at the restaurants in Stinson Beach.

San Francisco - The Mission:
-Visit Dolores park on the weekend or weekday afternoon/evening for people watching and some of the best weather in the city
-Eat at Beretta or Delfina for fantastic upscale italian
-Eat at almost any of the taquerias for great cheap mexican, drink some mezcal at Mosto or get fancier tacos at Tacolicious (next door to Mosto)
-Get coffee at Four Barrel and stroll Valencia St
-Get Ice Cream at Bi-Rite by Dolores Park

San Francisco - Golden Gate Park / NOPA / Richmond
-Visit California Academy of Sciences and DeYoung for great museum experiences
-Take the kids to the Exporatorium
-Visit botanical gardens or conservatory of flowers in GG Park
-Eat at Nopalito on Divisadero or 9th Ave for fantastic upscale mexican food
-Visit Lands End and Sutro Baths for short hikes and great views of GG bridge, grab some clam chowder at the Cliff House (voted one of the best in the city by people that actually live in the city)
-Eat delicious artisan Pizza at Pizetta 221
-Take the lady for a Mani/Pedi/Massage at Utoepia Foot Massage & Nail
-See a show at The Independent

San Francisco - Haight/Ashbury
-Visit intersection of haight/ashbury and get some ben and jerrys
-Drink craft cocktails at The Alembic
-Eat at Parada 22 for the best value meal you will ever eat (great food that's unbelievably cheap)
-Try tapas at Cha Cha Cha
-Climb to the top of Buena Vista Park for an excellent view of the city and bay

San Francisco - Downtown/SoMA
-Eat Sunday brunch at Farmer Browns (live soul music and bottomless mimosas)
-Shop at Union Square
-Visit the ballpark and grab a beer at Public House
-Drink craft beer at 21st Amendment Brewery
-Ride the cable car from Powell St turnaround
-Leave the kids and go out on Polk Street
-Visit the cable car museum

San Francisco - Northbeach/Marina and everywhere else
-Catch a ferry to Alcatraz and take a tour, bonus points for including a hike on Angel Island
-Visit Rogue Brewery taproom
-Eat great italian food somewhere off Columbus, or grab Pizza by the slice at one of many venues
-Walk around Union St Shops and get a burger at Umami

Santa Cruz/Monterey (bit of a drive from the city but totally worth it for a day trip):
-Get lunch at Gayles Bakery in Capitola
-Visit Monterey Bay Aquarium
-Stop at Santa Cruz beach boardwalk and ride some rides on the way home

I know a lot of people suggested Fisherman's Warf and Pier 39 but I would honestly avoid - it's a tourist trap with not a lot of interesting stuff to see.
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      07-22-2013, 03:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThEnder View Post
San Francisco - Northbeach/Marina and everywhere else
-Catch a ferry to Alcatraz and take a tour, bonus points for including a hike on Angel Island
-Visit Rogue Brewery taproom
-Eat great italian food somewhere off Columbus, or grab Pizza by the slice at one of many venues
-Walk around Union St Shops and get a burger at Umami
I'd actually recommend against Umami Burger. Mission Bowling Club hands down has the best burger in the city. MBC is great for kids on weekend brunch too.

In North Beach, Sotto Mare is a nice family friendly place that has good seafood also. For pizza, Tony's is a crowd favorite, and Golden Boy is known for its clam and garlic pizza.

If you plan to visit Chinatown, be aware that 99% of the restaurants there are just cheap, low quality food. It helps to know where to go to get the good stuff. Pick up some Egg Tarts from Golden Gate Bakery if they're open. If they're closed, AA Bakery and VIP Coffee & Cake Shop both have decent Egg Tarts. Fried Chicken Drummettes from New Golden Daisy and Gourmet Kitchen make great snacks while walking around. If you're looking for a full sit down meal in Chinatown, my only recommendation is Z&Y. It's probably the best Szechuan food in the city. Get the Spicy Beef Tendons, Sliced Pork Belly with Garlic Sauce, Spicy Beef or Fish with Chili Oil, and Tan Tan Noodles.

There's a huge food truck scene here, so it might be fun to go to the Off the Grid event on Fridays at Fort Mason, where a variety of food trucks and vendors gather together in one spot. One of my favorite clam chowders actually comes from a truck called Sam's Chowdermobile. It sounds weird getting clam chowder from a truck, but I love that they put bacon in it. You can also find Sam's in Golden Gate Park on weekends near Academy of Sciences. There's another place in the Mission that puts bacon in their chowder called Basa Seafood Express.

It'd help if op told us what he and his family likes doing. I'm guessing the kids are gonna be the pickiest.

Last edited by i dunno; 07-22-2013 at 03:55 PM.
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