I'm just wanting to say "hello" and to ask you where your favourite place to visit is in San Francisco. I'm not into concerts or baseball, and I don't drink (can't) but I enjoy pretty much everything else!
Let me know what your fav's are!
I enjoyed to trip over to Alcatraz. Great tour, great views of the city. Worth doing IMO.
Well, Golden Gate Park is my favorite. In particular the botanical gardens (free) and the Japanese gardens (which cost a bit of money) are the best. It also has a separate rose garden and two museum/display buildings. The Ferry Building (near Pier 1) is essentially an indoor farmers' market. Fisherman's Wharf is interesting, if somewhat touristy. The shopping areas down near Union Square are good ones and have a wide variety of choices. Ghiradelli Square is the place to go for chocolate and a bit of browsing--it's close to Fisherman's Wharf. There is a Sony "Metreon" (a very unusual sales/theatre/restaurant combination) just a block or so south of Market Street down near Union Square.
Taking a tour of Alcatraz is fun, and just being on a boat on the bay is nice. Next door is Pier 23.
Riding a cable car is a must--and the line that runs from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf goes through some of the most interesting areas of town--Chinatown, Columbus Street (good eats), and Washington Square--good food and always something going on. The other cable car line (the one on California Street takes you to the top of Nob Hill where the fancy hotels are and the views are spectacular.
Down in the Marina District is the Exploratorium and the Palace of Fine Arts--plus walking or biking there by the bay is fun. Inland on Union Street are small shops and many small restaurants.
Don't forget the spots nearby San Francisco--the Muir Woods, the wineries of the Napa, Sonoma, or Russian River Valleys, and a couple of hours south is the Monterey Bay--Santa Cruz, Carmel, and Monterey itself. There is a world famous aquarium, plus some fantastically beautiful scenery in Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
P.S. There are also some unusual things in different parts of the city--for example, the Castro area is where the gays/lesbians mainly hang out and there are unusual shops. At the top of Lombard Street is where it becomes the "crookedest" street in the world, and there are the famous "Seven Sisters" (beautiful victorian houses) in the southwest part of town. Also, if you have a car, drive over to Treasure Island at night and check out the view of the city from there--spectacular.
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If you love to walk and experience new neighborhoods and new food, this is the place for you. SF is tiny, and easily walked from ocean to Bay in a few hours. Explore the hilltop views with your camera for fantastic 360 degree views of SF Bay and the City (I like both Buena Vista Park on Haight St. and Twin Peaks off of Upper Market St.)
Ride the cable cars at odd hours (prime hours near impossible with the crowds) or rent a bike and explore Golden Gate Park or the GG Bridge. Walk down to Lands End (nude beach) or into the Presidio forest. Get a Mission Burrito down in SF's Mission District, or great Italian food at Little Joe's Baby Joe's at Broadway/Columbus in North Beach (be sure to sit at the counter for the "cooking show").
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jun-2010, at 11:55 by Daawgon ]
Don't be too cool to do the touristy things. Here are some things that I would consider to be very touristy but a lot of fun:
Alcatraz...do the night tour if you can
Fishermans warf and the embacadero
The market in the ferry building is a must
Union square...ride some of the glass elevators in the fancy hotels
Chinatown...walk there from Union square
The California academy of sciences is also excellent in Golden Gate Park
A nice way to see some of the town is one of the double decker bus tours...again very touristy but actually quite fun
Get a multiple day muni pass at includes the cable cars and use the cable cars to get around. You see a lot of stuff that way.
There are so many little neighborhoods that you could spend the day exploring, but again, I really recommend being open to the more touristy stuff too.
We live an hours drive from SF and recently started doing the more touristy stuff with our 8 year old...we have a had a lot of fun.