Friday, January 1, 2010
SanFransisco Family Fun
We all arrived in SF in the evening. We are members of the Marines' Memorial Club and Hotel and always take advantage of their great hotel location and amazing happy hour. After catching up over some wine and great views of Union Square we headed to Chinatown for dinner. Our concierge recommended the Empress of China and boy was it yummy.
The next day after mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church we headed uptown for breakfast. The line for Sears Fine Foods Restaurant was up the street - but it was worth the wait. I had the famous pancakes and they were yummy! We spent our time waiting in line planning out the rest of our day.
The plan was simple walk from Sears Fine Foods to the Exploratorium. Turns out the walk is about 5 miles but was full of mini adventures.
The first stop was the Cable Car Museum on the corner of Washington and Mason. The museum features the cables that run under the streets of SF powering the cable cars. Another perk - the museum is free.
From the Cable Car Museum it was a leisurely downhill walk to the waterfront. There is some construction on the sidewalks around Ghiradelli square so we ducked into the San Fransisco Maritime Museum run by the National Park Service. The ranger was nice and pointed us toward a back staircase and we were treated to some amazing views of Alcatraz in the process. Oh and we got stamps for our National Parks Passport!
Once on the walking path we basically followed the Golden Gate Trail up through Fort Mason and down the other side to the Marina. At this point we were closer then we thought, but due to some sinage, intended to help traffic flow - not pedestrians, we enjoyed a walk through the surrounding neighborhoods first. You cannot miss the Palace of the Fine Arts which sits right next to the Exploratorium. When we saw the Palace we knew we must be close. We clearly had not walked enough though so we walked all the way around the Palace before we found the entrance to the science museum.
The Exploratorim was recommended for children but we thought we would check it out since we are a science loving group. We figured it would be a nice hour inside - plus it looked like rain. Three hours later we emerged having had lots of hands on fun. By the looks of the surrounding park we missed quite the deluge while we were playing inside.
We regrouped and decided to walk back towards the piers to dinner. We stopped into Scoma's. We were all rather tired - so we took a seat at the bar and ordered a glass of wine. Scoma's was the perfect mix of great food but not so upscale that we couldn't go in our walking clothing. It is also is off the main tourist track so its crowded but not overrun. We waited maybe 20 min for a table for five.
A trip to SF wouldn't be complete without a cable car ride back to the hotel... so our evening ended with a harrowing leap from a semi-stopped cable car. There is nothing like a cable car ride in light rain through the streets of San Fransisco to end your visit to this great California city.