Unique Memorable San Francisco Ideas

My GF will be arriving in Portland Tuesday morning. We will be skiing at Mt Hood this Thursday (fresh snow today! :discodance: ) and we will be driving down to California to take in some sights and spend some time together. It is her first time to the US and her first time to see, feel, experience snow. Will be fun I hope. :smiley:

We are spending 2 nights in San Francisco. I love the city, grew up in the bay area, but have been to the city so much its all “been done” to me. I want it to be exciting for her though. Any suggestions? If any of you have been to San Francisco, where would you recommend I take her in the city to experience unique, fun, and exciting things? (Including great places to eat)


A Taiwanese lady? Take her shopping of course! Do those big Old Navy and GAP stores, and Nordstroms. And stop by Golden Gate for photos. If you are driving through Klamath, don’t forget the lava beds.

If she likes shopping, Macy’s might be good too.

I second the GG Bridge. In fact, if the weather’s nice its a lot of fun to walk across it. There’s a big wide sidewalk and huge crowd of people do that. But maybe that’s too much.

Fisherman’s wharf is great. Check out the sea lions, maybe take a tour of Alcatraz, check out a WWII submarine, the Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum, eat some really good seafood. Then it’s not far from there up to Lombard Street (the world’s twistiest road – very cool) and Coit Tower (beautiful old structure with great view from the top). And don’t forget to ride a cable car.

China Town might be fun too. Sure, if she’s Taiwanese it might seem kind of stupid, but my Taiwanese wife got past that initial reaction and liked walking there, checking out all the great shops and eating some good dim sum.

And, on the drive down to SF I assume you’ll stop at a few wineries in Napa County for some free tasting. Actually, better than wineries, my favorite stop on the way down is in Hopland, at the Hopland Brewery, for some great barbecued ribs washed down with tasty brews. Maybe that’s not her thing but, hey, you should enjoy yourself too.

Where else are you stopping? Eureka? That’s a nice stop 5 hours from SF, with great B&Bs, beautiful natural scenery and a nice old town area with good shops and victorian houses.

Sipping coffee at Vesuvio, browsing City Lights, checking out the vistas from Telegraph Hill, slurping down clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, sampling vintages in Napa, driving down Highway 1 in sweet late afternoon light, and maybe even swimming with the fishes down in Monterey, but that

[quote]maybe even swimming with the fishes down in Monterey, but that

The Psychedelic Shop for tie dyes. Haight Ashbury for the weird shops: like a hologram art gallery…whoohoo

Golden Gate Park is a great walk.

Thanks for the great ideas everyone!
I think we will do all the “shopping” first thing when she arrives in Portland to get it all out of the way…plus no sales tax in Oregon :sunglasses: But, the giant Old Navy etc etc are cool things to see. China Town should be a bit of a laugh :wink: kind of like taking my relatives from Italy out for dinner at the Olive Garden or the Spaghetti Factory…haha :stuck_out_tongue:

She called last night with a list of things her family wants her to buy while here…vitamins, old navy was on the list!, nike, gucci bags, coach bags, etc etc… what is the fixation with expensive purses? I asked her and she told me that in Taiwan it is a status symbol and she said her co-workers and employer will respect her more… :loco: I challenged her on that one :unamused:

Yeah, February isnt the ideal month to go for a dip anywhere in California…we are a bit further north than Taiwan…dont want the GF to catch hypothermia or anything… :astonished:

I think we will stick to all the traditional touristy sights and take a walk through Golden Gate Park and take in the great views atop Macy’s in the Cheese Cake Factory. LOVE the idea of the B&B’s in Eureka and the lava fields in Klamath…barbecued ribs washed down with tasty brews = yummy…im already getting hungry… :hungry:

Thanks guys! :thanks:

[quote=“sandman”][quote]maybe even swimming with the fishes down in Monterey, but that

[quote=“sandman”][quote]maybe even swimming with the fishes down in Monterey, but that

If you drop your wallet on Grant…kick it to Grand…

Old gay joke…just couldn’t resist. Seriously though…wats San Francisco without a bit of gawiking down on Castro and Polk. I like sitting in Sausilito and chekin out the city from there hot cappucino or a cold beer. Teh bay cruise is kind of nice too.


If you are in the Inner Sunset area, you can get in a walk in GG park and I’d suggest La Aveneda for Mexican food or the Crepevine both on Irving street and both excellent. I like smell the glove’s recommendation of North Beach although I’d do Trieste for coffee, the Stinking Rose is a must for me, but I’m a garlic fiend, Vesuvio is where you drink :slight_smile:

Go to Chinatown.

Eat at Dol Ho or Y Ben for excellent and cheap Dim Sum. They are both on Pacific, just up from Stockton Street. Dol Ho is smaller and seedier, Y Ben is like a big banquet hall. Lunch only.

Or, if you want the quintessential Chinatown dining experience, eat at that wonderful, cheap, cramped hole-in-the-wall called Sam Wo, on Washington up from Grant. Not a place for whiners or prima donnas.

Explore the alleys: Spofford Lane and Ross Alley, for example. You’ll hear the familiar clicking and shuffling of Mah Jong tiles. Visit the Tin How Temple in Waverly Place.

Explore the Chinese markets and groceries on Stockton St.

Visit Old St. Mary’s Church, the oldest church in San Francisco. Across the street to the south is St. Mary’s Park, which is home to an art-deco metal statue of Sun Yat Sen built in the 1930s.

Visit Portsmouth Square. Look for the old men playing Chinese Chess on the northeast corner of the square. Then cross the footbridge to the Holiday Inn building and check out the exhibit at the Chinese Culture Center.

Chinatown has surprises around every corner, even for those who grew up in Chinese society. The rule: the farther north you go, the less touristy it becomes. The father east and west from Grant Street, the less touristy it becomes. Between Bush St. and California St., the only things worth seeing are the Chinatown Gate at Bush & Grant and the Sun Yat Sen statue in St. Mary’s Park.

Afterwards, go check out City Lights Bookstore and then have a coffee at Caffe Trieste in Little Italy. Both are on the northern periphery of Chinatown.

If you like Latin American culture, visit the Mission District. Take Bart to 16th and Mission, walk along Mission St. to 24th and Mission. On the way take a detour to Mission Dolores. Lots of great authentic eateries!

I’ve only visited SF twice, but one thing that stuck in my mind, other than biking across the GG bridge, was my visit to the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. I liked climbing up to it on the path that has hundreds of steps through the old residential area, the 360 degree view, and watching the large flock of now-local parrots circle overhead.

Of course, you’ve got to let her ride a cable car from the Market St. area up and over the hill toward Bay St.

Just as a memory jogger:

I’d also be thinking Noah’s bagels, check out Streelight in the Upper Market for cds, and get some fresh doughnuts up on 16th street (I think, been a few years). Most Taiwanese have yet to try a “real” doughnut or bagel. Some good pizza to think about as well. I’d be thinking Goat Hill on Portrero (aka Goat) Hill, but I’m sure someone could trump me on pizza; I just like their dough.

If I took a tour of the area again, I’d have to trek down HW1 a bit, preferably to Big Sur, but if pressed for time, maybe just take a little drive down past Pacifica.

Argg, feeling homesick now.

Thanks again everyone! So many great ideas! :bravo:

This really helped to refresh my memory of great places in San Francisco. Too bad the forecast is for rain for both days we will be there… :frowning:

Sounds like you have a car so I like both University towns nearby. Acoss the bay taking a walk on Telegraph Steet seeing all the burned out hippies. And Palo Alto is great both University Avenue as well as Palo Alto Shopping Mall. I think a drive partly on Highway 1 is fun too as long as not to long. So SF to Palo Alto and maybe back to SF on Skyline Drive or North to Bodgea Bay.

And I agree Chinatown is fun especially for you if you now can read or speak some Chinese and for her since depending on how worldly she is to find out most Chinese in SF speak Cantonese.

[quote=“derek1978”]This really helped to refresh my memory of great places in San Francisco. Too bad the forecast is for rain for both days we will be there:frowning:[/quote]derek1978 -
The standard joke in SF is that you can tell a local because on the sunniest day they carry a rain jacket with them. :sunglasses:
Within the city there are quite a few different climate cells. So much so,sometimes it will be raining on one side of the street and sunny on the other side.
Best weather - The Mission District and parts of Potrero Hill (also, while in the Potrero District - VISIT THE ANCHOR STEAM BREWERY…free beer free beer!!)
Worst weather - usually in the Richmond or out in the Avenues.
Anywhereyou look its a postcard picture. - Enjoy and beware of the “Bermuda Triangle” - (ask a local)
Pat O’Sheas - great bar and former IRA fund-raising hangout.
EDINBURGH CASTLE PUB - 950 GEARY ST. - very old Scottish bar. Great piper and say “Hello to Winston” - the bar parrot. Greatest fish 'n chips in San Fran (made by a Korean place out the back door and up the alley)
-former 10 year SF resident.