Thursday, December 24, 2009

San Francisco 2009

Obviously this is post that should have been completed many months ago, but better late than never, right?

When we traveled to the San Francisco area back in June for Nate and Leigh Ann's wedding, we went ahead and made a vacation of it, since we knew there was tons to do in San Francisco that we didn't get the chance to do when we were there the previous summer. Since I'm writing this post so many months after our actual vacation, I'm going to try to make it brief and just hit the highlights of our trip.

1. Aquarium of the Bay. I'm actually not a big fan of aquariums in general, but we'd purchased a San Francisco CityPass, and one of the things it included was admission to the aquarium. Since we were right down on Pier 39 anyway waiting for our cruise to start, we decided to check it out while killing time. We actually saw a ton of incredible marine life and found it all very interesting! Verdict: I would totally go back there again if we were in the Pier 39 area.

2. Bay Cruise Adventure. We thought this bay cruise would be interesting because it went underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though it was a fairly nice day, we got on the water and it was absolutely freezing. It actually made the cruise fairly miserable, and most of it we felt like we'd seen before on our ride out to Alcatraz last year. Verdict: I would only take this cruise again if it were SUPER warm and sunny and I had a fleece jacket!

3. The Fairmont San Francisco. We booked this hotel because the Donatello that we loved so much the previous year was already full for the few nights we were in the city. They were having a sale one day on and we got it for half their normal price. The location was decent, but overall we just weren't that thrilled with our room. It was a fairly old hotel, and even though the lobby was beautiful, the room really showed its age. Verdict: I would only stay here again if it was on sale and other hotels in the area were already booked!

4. The Exploratorium. This was another place that was included in our CityPass, and although we were probably the only people in the place who weren't there with children, it was still actually pretty cool. There were tons of fascinating things to play with and see and do and explore, and we only made it through the first level and probably only stopped at 75% of the exhibits. You could spend days in that place and not get bored. Verdict: I would go there again and specifically check out the second level that we complete missed!

5. The Cliff House. We specifically went to the Cliff House for lunch because we'd read so much about the history of the place, and the food was really good. We ate in the diner instead of the formal dining room only because we were hungry and the diner was easier to get into, and the ambiance was kind of cute.

6. California Academy of Sciences. This place had a Natural History Museum, and although that's generally not my thing, it had some interesting exhibits. The live penguins were great. It also had a lot of boring exhibits, but hopefully I learned something useful. The Academy also had a rainforest, which was close for repairs/upgrades, an aquarium, which we'd already seen, and a planetarium, which we missed because it closed a couple of hours earlier than the whole building and we didn't know it. Verdict: I probably wouldn't go to the Academy again unless I knew everything was open and we just happened to be in the area.

7. The Beach. It was such a nice day when we came back down from the wine country the beaches all the way down from the north were packed with people. We stopped at this beach at the edge of Golden Gate Park and miraculously found a parking place, so we just got out and took a nice stroll and watched the waves and people and flying kites and dogs. It was lovely and I could have stayed there for hours if I'd had a beach towel. Verdict: I would always go back to the beach on a nice day!

8. Mt. Davidson. This is actually the highest spot in San Francisco, but it's so far from the main city it's not very well publicized. There were absolutely no signs that we could see to direct us there--Chad just kept driving around in circles higher and higher towards the cross on top of its peak. It's a park with an interesting history, and the cross was actually burned down several times before being rebuilt in concrete and steel. The tiny area around the cross was actually sold by the city to a private group, because the city-owned park with a cross was considered to be a violation of the separation of church and state. Besides the interesting history, the views were absolutely amazing. The cross is actually really cool too because it's huge--103 feet tall. Verdict: I would most definitely go back to Mt. Davidson and would recommend it to everyone as well!

9. AT&T Park. The Giants weren't actually in town when we were in the city, but we took a walk down by their stadium, which was absolutely gorgeous. Even though I'm not a Giants fan, I think it would be super cool to see a game there. Verdict: I probably wouldn't go see the stadium again on a day that it wasn't open, but I'd definitely go back to see the Giants play!

We did also go back down to the Union Square area to get dinner and drop off our rental car, but since that was something we also did last year, it's probably not work blogging about. We tried to get Uncle Vito's pizza again since we loved it the first time, but the line was so long we ended up getting pizza at some other place that wasn't very good. Verdict: next time we'll stand in line for Uncle Vito's!

If you want to see lots (and I mean lots) more pictures from our trip, check out the full slideshow!

1 comment:

cw said...

Wow, you did take a lot of pictures. I think those starfish do like each other - I saw a story about their illicit affair on TMZ.