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5 Days in the Bay Area

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St. Louis
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5 Days in the Bay Area

My wife, 18 year old son and I are travelling to SFO from STL. Flight arrives at 10 pmish. May 12 - 18th. We want to see as much as we can and understand we will need to prioritize. My wife has Muscular Dystrophy so we will have a car and a scooter for walking. Hopefully we can figure out a way to get her on the Street car. Being first time, the typical areas from this site are key. GGB, Castro Dist, Alcatraz, Ferry Building, Monterrey or Napa (don't think we can do both), Chinatown, North Beach. I don't know where we are staying just booked are fare yesterday and are flying by the seat of our pants. Museums: maybe one for my wife, but we like more adventure. Also one must is we'd like to have a few suggestions on night life. Saint Louis is rather conservative and would love to give my son some perspective. I am Colombian and he is first generation American. Wifey is from KY... any help would be very much appreciated. Oh I am a little frugal, but if worth it I'll try it. Love making memories. We are early 50's. Hummm I forgot Sausalito.. I used to work at Sea World so Monterrey Aq is out would only do for views prob. Sorry for the novel.

San Francisco
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1. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

First of all: Accomodations. I understand your need for a car. But parking it downtown will probably violate your notions of frugality. Downtown hotels will charge anywhere from $25-50+ per night.

There are a few places in town that have free parking. The Columbus Motor Inn is one. It's located on the edge of Fisherman's Wharf and not too far from North Beach. That might work well for you.

The other options for free parking are the motor inns along the western end of Lombard near the Marina neighborhood. Nice ones there include the Cow Hollow, Coventry and Chelsea. In fact these are sister properties to the Columbus Motor Inn. Another possibility is the Marina Motel as they have suites with microwave.

San Francisco CA
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2. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

Do you have a handicapped placard? You can apply for a temp one here. See …ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr07.htm

That will give your lots of free parking close to entrances. To choose one museum, consider the De Young (you will all like the tower) and from there, you have lots of choices for activities and drives in GG park out to the beach and the Great Highway. I don't know about nightlife, but go see 24th St between Mission and Potrero, where there are restaurants and shops from many parts of Latin America, cafes with hipsters, and murals along many streets (see Balmy Alley). And Mission Dolores, the oldest building in the City, has a couple of steps but also an accessible door that they will open for you. Drive up Twin Peaks.

Edited: 28 April 2012, 14:11
San Francisco...
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3. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

For frugal nightlife activities, you may want to look at Goldstar.com which is a discount tickets site. They usually have a number of plays and comedy events listed.

You may also want to look at the Chronicle's web site which lists events at http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/ . Somewhere on there they also have a searchable events calendar by date and event type. There will certainly be music events, too. Some events may be at bars or clubs that do not admit anyone under 21.

There are free tours of various areas of the city on different topics (including one of The Castro) given by http://sfcityguides.org . They are about two hours, mostly on city streets. I'm not sure if your wife would find this doable with her scooter or not. I've certainly seen handicapped people go on some of these tours before.

If it were me, I think I would only choose either Monterrey or Napa, but probably not both if you have only 5 days. This would be especially true if it's not 5 full days but only 5 nights.

Your interests probably determine how you decide. I prefer Monterrey area because I love the wild, rocky coastline down there, but if you enjoy wine and wineries then Napa may be more your style and it will probably be warmer than along the coast in Monterrey.

San Francisco
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4. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

Go to the Gaultier show at the de Young ... that'll pop your eyes open! (Some very cool multi-media stuff there.)

The Legion has "Cult of Beauty: the Victorian Avant Garde" -- beautiful show but not as edgy as Gaultier.

For an 18 year old, wine country isn't much fun but here is a day tour of the north coast that is frequently recommended: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-c139373/San-Fr…

If you currently have a handicapped placard it will be good in California. However, it seems like doctors must be giving them out like candy as lately I've noticed that blue spaces are always taken. With one you can park at a meter without having to pay and no time limit (up to 72 hours).

San Francisco, Ca
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5. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

As far as the cable car, they are not handicapped accessible. If she can climb up two fairly steep steps, she can board, but there would not be room for her scooter on board. Maybe you could drive the car with the scooter in it to your destination, then either go back or have your son travel with her on the cable car, so the scooter's waiting when she arrives?

(The steps in the back of the cable car are "slightly" less steep than the ones in front.)

Most (if not all) other public transit (including the F line streetcar) is scooter-accessible.

St. Louis
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6. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

OK so we are still flying by the seat ... arrive on Sat at 10 pm .. rent car and tail it to Napa valley... (place to stay anyone?). Just a place to crash and get up spend the day (Sunday) in Napa and then high tail it to Monterrey (sleep close to or in Monterrey - suggestions?) Spend day (Mon) in Moneterrey.. then drive to San Francisco and remain there Tues, Wed, Thurs. Flight leave on Friday at Noon. My thought was to still hold on to the car as, we may need it to easily get around b/c of wife and scooter. We will be working on the 3 days in the city over the next few days. But with such a compressed stay, I think we will merely get to the highlights and hopefully some cool neighboorhoods.. Any thoughts or suggestions. As for hotels, given the two nights of crash pads we would probably want to spend our money when in the city.. say 100 - 150/night stretch 200. Now this is a stupid question, but does the alcatraz tour at night actually leave at night saw a 3:30 departure on one day but nothing later.. Gracias Amigos ... P.S. Anyone know of a Colombian restaurant?

Thanks for all the help thus far... on the Alcatraz tour I just realized there are several companies that do these - suggested operators?

Edited: 03 May 2012, 21:40
Napa, CA
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7. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

So, you want to come into the Napa Valley late on a Saturday night or early Sunday morning and spend just the one night? It's not worth spending the bucks in Napa in my opinion. I would just get a room near the airport and then head to Monterey the first thing in the morning on Sunday. Save Napa for another trip when you have more time.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

I agree too much driving back and forth between SFO , Napa , Monterey and SF. You can do wine tours in Carmel and Monterey. Just google that and you will find some good wineries there.

Alcatraz cruises has only 1 operator -- others are resellers with markup. The reason you see 3.30 is because the night tours are sold out. 6.10 and 6.45 are the tours in May. http://alcatrazcruises.com

For hotels, Sal has given you a list in Thread 1.

We have many Peruvian, Mexican, Salvadorian places but not been to a Columbian restaurant. You should search on chowhound.com on the SF Bay area board to see if there is one in SF. You may get one between SF and Monterey say in the Saiinas region but I am just guessing.

Edited: 03 May 2012, 22:41
Limerick...
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9. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

Your handicapped placard is legal in all of California.

There is a shuttle available when you exit Alcatraz ferry.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: 5 Days in the Bay Area

http://latingrillsf.com/menu.html have a look at the menu here. They have Arepas and other dishes.