Just got back from a 4 day in San Fran. I haven’t been there for a while and only on business with next to no time for tourism. This trip was pure pleasure.
Short story : a great city, friendly people, we had great weather and did a LOT of walking. (a few photos are on Flickr)
We stayed in the Mission District (it’s good to have family and friends in foreign cities!), and could have spent all our time in this area alone, particularly Valencia and Guerrero Streets (between 22th and 18th): Coffee shops (like Ritual); Hip retail shops (Borderland Books ScFi, Fantasy and Horror; Paxton Gates; Little Otsu); Pastry Shops (Tartine’s Bakery on Guerrero and 18th is not to be believed -lineups out the door during the weekday mid morning- and for good reason !); and restaurants both fancy (Farina on 18th was our Fav) and humble.
San Fran’s BART and Muni streetcar’s made travelling around easy; much appreciated when it was time to return. And I love the BART link to the SF airport.
The best fun in the Union Square area, with it’s high end name retailers, was seeing 2 groups of halloween party goers : a the gaggle of cross dressing beauty queens; and many young asian cosplay girls (high heels and short shirts) off to a different party- okay there were guys there but apart for one “Kakashi Hatake” I wan’t paying much attention.
And Yes, I saw the Apple store, just as they getting ready for Leopard launch (and already a line up), as well as playing with both the iPhone and iTouch pod devices (however I did make my saving roll against bright and shinny, barely).
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) delighted and challenged us (the very purpose of Modern Art?) with it’s exhibitions on Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Wall; and Joseph Cornell.
We walked up Buena Vista park (foggy, so no view that day but gorgeous), and down into Haight Ashbury neighborhood, which included a visit to Giant Robot, before going onto the Golden Gate Park , it’s Tea Garden and in the Botanical Garden being swarmed by very aggressive grey squirrels (cute when it’s a chipmunk, but 6+ squirrels? not so much).
We also did a day trip up to Sonoma wine country (an hour north of the GG bridge) and were able to visit a couple of wineries, including the Gundlach-Bundschu Winery with its picnic tables. They were very generous with the tastings (it may have had something to do with 4 lovely ladies I was traveling with) and I greatly enjoyed the weather, food, wine and company.
We are looking forward to returning to San Fran as soon as we can.