Tag: "San Francisco"

5 day San Francisco travel plan including Alcatraz, Napa, and Redwoods

While the Golden Gate city of San Francisco is large and bustling, you can still get the full San Francisco experience in just 5 days if you manage your time well. Check out this suggested five-day itinerary that will have you experiencing the whole city from Alcatraz to Redwoods, and the surrounding Napa area before you depart.

Day 1: Upon arrival, the first thing to do is go out and explore, like any tourist. Take a bus tour and get a flash view of the city. The best place to start off is Union Square, as most of the bus tours start and end here. Head out to visit some of the more historic places, like the Alcatraz prison, made famous by blockbuster action film, The Rock. It’s recommendable to book your Alcatraz tour at least three days in advance, as they sell out quite quickly. Spend the rest of your day walking up and down the steep streets, or catch one of San Fran’s famous trams. Sample the local cuisine. With around 4,500 restaurants across the city, you’re sure to have a memorable culinary experience here.

Day 2: On your second day, take a trip to the Redwood National Park. Redwoods is an amazing place to experience the huge majestic trees that form this magnificent forest, and its stunning scenery will leave you breathless. The cycling trails in Redwood are unrivaled and there’s something for every level of cyclist here. If you like riding fixies and want an easy, fairly flat trail, try the Gold Bluffs Beach Coastal Trail. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, take a mountain bike and tackle the Little Bald Hills trail.

Day 3: Check out the Golden Gate Bridge – Rent a car, take a tour, walk, or if your legs will still allow, you can bike across this famous landmark that is an engineering work of art. You can even take a helicopter tour and enjoy the amazing view from the skies. Make sure you check out the weather forecast first for visibility, as San Francisco is a famously foggy city.

Day 4: Bike through Napa Valley – Made famous by its delicious wine and pleasant countryside, California’s Napa Valley makes an excellent place to bike around and you can find bikes for sale or rent throughout the city and surrounding area. The Napa Valley also has an array of top-rated restaurants, more than 500 wineries, and tons of great local Napa cycling routes that you can explore. Yountville, located in the heart of Napa’s agricultural reserve, is an ideal place to start your Napa Valley bike ride.

Day 5: Hit up Chinatown – Complete your tour of this West Coast city with a taste of the East. With San Francisco hosting the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, this is a definite must-do. With an endless array of cheap souvenirs and street food to sample, there’s also a fortune cookie factory, located on the corner of Washington Street and Ross that you can visit to try out the delicious treats famous for their wise sayings and premonitions.

San Francisco has something for everybody, from nature lovers to historians and art and food fans. Five days in this wonderful part of everybody’s favorite state are sure to be the most memorable of your life.

Author: Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.

Travel plan for Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and San Francisco

I start school in September. As a poor student, I’ll have less money for traveling but I don’t want that to stop me entirely. I’ll be based in Tallahassee, Florida, and I’ll try to get to a few places in America and maybe South America or Central America. So time to start dreaming up American holidays and – as many of you know – I like to check out different tours to get some well-planned itineraries to start from. For a British perspective, I found a site promising luxury holidays in America and started to search for their itineraries.

So if you were to check out this page for USA tours, you would find the following itinerary: New York -> Washington DC -> Chicago -> Scottsdale -> Grand Canyon -> Las Vegas -> Los Angeles -> San Diego -> San Francisco. That’s a beautiful itinerary for someone with 22 days to spare. I’m thinking I can just take a part of that travel plan. For example three places I’ve never been: Las Vegas -> Grand Canyon -> San Francisco.

My travel plan:

Day 1: Las Vegas

I start here first because it should be a very easy airport to fly into. For lunch, try Mon Ami Gabi in front of Paris – Get a table on the patio. Excellent food and great place to people watch. If you time it right you’ll see the fountains at Bellagio during your meal.

After that, how about a Vegas-style nature walk? The MGM Grand’s lion habitat is open from 11am to 10pm. The Mirage has its white tiger habitat (by the Las Vegas Boulevard entrance). The volcano erupts at the top of each hour from 6pm to midnight so you may want to come back later in the evening.

What you have to do at some point before leaving Vegas is see an Elvis show. I’m told that there’s a good free one in the Riviera Hotel but I can’t find confirmation on their website. This part of the travel plan could use some more research.

Day 2: Las Vegas

For brunch, try Bouchon in the Venetian hotel. It’s a Thomas Keller restaurant and it’s excellent. While there at the Venetian, you could do a gondola ride, but I’d feel weird doing it in Vegas when I skipped it in Venice (a regret I must admit, but it was pretty pricey as I recall – Vegas is probably less expensive).

After you’ve eaten, walk off those calories at the Fremont Street Expereince. Fremont street has stuffy casinos and vendors if you’re a shopper. The huge LED canopy covering 5 blocks of Fremont Street does something special every hour on the hour.

Back to the strip to check out Circus Circus. Different acts perform each half hour from 11 a.m. to midnight. They only have about 60 seats and you can’t reserve one. But the news isn’t all bad – it’s free and 15 minutes before a show starts usually gets you a seat.

Days 3 and 4: Grand Canyon

I really want to raft the Colorado River here and camp overnight. My wife isn’t so sure but I have some time to talk her into it. It’s hard to really itemize this part of the itinerary, but the tour I linked to above has some good ideas like a sunset tour of the South Rim for some stunning views.

Day 5: San Francisco

Head down to the Fisherman’s Wharf where there’s sure to be something for everyone. Pier 39 is a festive marketplace with more than 110 stores, 12 Bay view restaurants and loads of outdoor stuff like the Aquarium of the Bay, bike rentals, street performers and a Carousel with famous miniature San Fran landmarks. If fun and laughter don’t suite your fancy you can always hop on an Alcatraz Cruise from Pier 33 that will take you to Alcatraz Island. In case you don’t already know, Alcatraz used to be the home of some of America’s most notorious criminals like Al “Scarface” Capone and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud.

San Francisco has a great Asian influence and being right on the water, sushi in this city is to die for. Take yourself out for dinner in Japantown or J-Town as the locals like to call it, to Kiss Sea Food Japanese Restaurant (1700 Laguna St.) The restaurant is a little small so be prepared to wait in line or make sure to head there early.

Day 6: San Francisco

The site I linked to above has some more cool ideas. One is a guided bicycle tour of the Waterfront, Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito, including a ferry trip to return to the city. This sounds like a lot of fun. They also have a scenic seaplane flight (weather dependent) over the beautiful San Francisco bay for views of the cityscape, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. It also occurs to me I don’t have a single museum in my itinerary. The Walt Disney Family Museum is one option, but I think I would prefer the Asian Art Museum.