Hey all! I'm going to San Francisco in the fall and I need a little help planning my trip. First of all, I'm young and active, and going with my long term boyfriend. This is our first trip to San Francisco and we want to do a number of activities, we have a range of interests and we are always up for trying new things. We would like to do the following things for certain: Visit SFMOMA, a winery tour, exploratorium, and some kind of walking tour. Any suggestions?
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You may be interested in trying a hot air balloon ride, or sky diving. The area is beautiful so if you are into intense travel experience that would be good for you. However, if you want to keep it a little more low key, i'd say try a number of wine tastings (i.e. Diable Grande Wine Tasting) Also, I suggest taking the Monterey & Caramel tour which is a great trip for photo opportunities. You take a long drive through the Del Monte Forest, visit Pebble Beach, and stop at a lot of shops along the way.
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Well, if you're the active type, you might want to try a half-day cruise--either in San Francisco Bay or in Monterey Bay (boats go out of Santa Cruz and Monterey). There are lots of boats that do this in SF, and in Santa Cruz there is a boat called the Chardonnay II that does this. Depending on the time of year, you can also go out whale watching.
I would also recommend taking the Alcatraz tour (out of Pier 39--near Fisherman's Wharf). It's a tourist thing, but still worth it.
For the extremely brave, there is one tour that takes people out on a boat to the Farallon Islands (28 miles offshore), has you put on scuba gear, then you get lowered in a cage to view the Great White Sharks that live in this area and feed on all the seals that live here. I'm not brave (or foolhardy) enough to have taken that tour, though. You can look this one up on the internet if you want. I'm not sure you'd ever want to go back in the water, however, once you've taken this tour.
Presuming you're looking for something a little less crazy, you can go to the city of Santa Cruz and spend time on the Boardwalk or on the beach. They have free concerts every Friday night there--usually with old surf-music groups like the Jefferson Airplane, Pappa Do Run-Run, or the Crusaders. The concerts are at 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM. The town is still in 1960s hippie-mode, so it's an interesting place to browse as well.
Also, check out any of the following--Exploratorium, the view from Treasure Island, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Chinatown, Monterey/Pebble Beach, Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, or one of the Redwood Parks or Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton which has trains that take you through the redwoods to the Beach at Santa Cruz.
I realize I left something out here--the nightclubs you might want to go to.
I would recommend Ruby Skye in San Francisco (up to 1000 people on the weekend--unbelievable), Catalyst in Santa Cruz (mix between concert hall and small nightclub--Alania Morrisette opened her nationwide concert tour here a few years ago), and Club Octane in Monterey.
P.S. These are the nightclubs for straights--for gay spots you'll have to ask someone else whose more "in the know" on that stuff--although I've heard "Endup" in SF is popular.