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San Francisco -- Just tacked on 2 days in SF to my end-of-year Vegas trip

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by Flowers, Jul 18, 2015.

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  1. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    Would love some suggestions.

    I haven't been to San Francisco since I visited the Bay area during graduate school more than 20 years ago. I'll be in Vegas December 25th (arriving in the evening after Christmas dinner with family in Upstate NY) and was going to head back to NYC on January 1st or 2nd. I really want to experience flying MINT on Jet Blue from LV back to NYC but MINT service is only out of SFO or LGB so I would have to fly back to NYC from Las Vegas via SFO or LGB. I'm constantly on the JB website checking. There weren't great MINT fares (I plan to pay with points and don't yet have enough though I will in about 4 weeks) unless I was willing to fly back to NYC via SFO around 9 pm on NYE and I'm one of those weird folks that likes the concert at Caesars (or someplace else) and the Vegas fireworks on NYE (though not the crowds), so a late NYE flight wasn't going to work.

    I also realized that my 8000 points on SW (I like SW but don't fly it much any more as there aren't great non-stops out of NYC/LGA) would get met a "free/comped" ticket from Las Vegas to SFO on January 1st or 2nd. So I just booked a non-stop LAS to SFO flight on SW for early Saturday morning January 2, 2016. Total cost, including early bird? $18.10. :thumbsup:

    I've got lots of Hilton Honors points so now my plan is to stay one night (maybe two nights) in SF using HH points and get either the red eye back to NYC Sunday night (Even More Seat if I fly on Sunday because MINT is way too expensive), which means I'd be in SF two full days/one night or take that Monday off and fly back MINT on Jet Blue Monday afternoon (far fewer FF points are needed for a Monday flight) and have 2 nights and 2 1/2 days in San Francisco.

    I don't know why I never thought about doing this before but I'm really excited about thoroughly enjoying Vegas (4 nights at Encore Tower Suites and then 4 nights at Caesars) with my Vegas BFF DBueler, followed by a short trip to SF to kick off the new year.

    I know San Francisco is a beautiful city with lots to do but I would appreciate suggestions from folks who know the city well. I'm a big lover of music and cultural venues generally, history and architecture and while I'm not a "foodie", I love a good meal, whether it's great food in a dive for ten bucks or in a beautiful place with lots of ambiance for considerably more.

    I'm excited that I feel like I'm going to have four vacations during about 10 days. NYC to Buffalo with family for Christmas :santa (vacation #1), 4 nights at Encore Tower Suites (#2) :woohoo:, different experience at Caesars for 4 nights (I'm expecting 7* NYE events, such as a nice dinner/party and concert again and the New Year's day brunch, etc.) (#3), and wrapping up with a couple of days in SF (#4). Other than taxes and the $12.50 for early bird, flight cost for all legs will be just my $300 SW flight from Buffalo to Las Vegas. Future hotel costs for 9-10 nights in two great cities? Zero. Yippee. (I noted "future" because I have certainly "paid" for my comped rooms in LV.)

    Yeah, I know, when I finally make it back to NYC at some point on Monday, January 4th, I'll be pooped but I'm feeling like I am going to have a great time. And, if I fly on Monday, laying flat out in a super nice MINT Jet Blue seat on the flight back to NY will make the transition back to the real world a bit easier. :)

    Suggestions for good things to do in San Francisco during the first weekend of 2016 would be appreciated.

    Many thanks! :cheers:
     
  2. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Hotel rooms are expensive, so best to book months in advance. As it gets closer to your trip the rates seem to go up so better to lock in early to get the best rates. Even the "dumps" are charging close to and over $100 a night in San Francisco. Outrageous but it is only because they know that people will pay that amount just to stay in town.

    Unless you are driving out of town best to not rent a car in San Fran. Parking is expensive and street parking is difficult to find, plus you have to move your car since they do street cleaning regularly, first one side and then a few hours later the other side so you have to move your car or it will be towed. The bus system is very good, make sure you ask for a transfer because the transfers are good for 3 or 4 hours and going in all directions, sometimes it is good enough for a trip somewhere and back to your hotel.

    I am going to Las Vegas/San Francisco in September. From HNL, it only costs $420 to fly to OAK but over $600 to fly to LAS. SW air is only $130 r/t so I still make out in the airfare dept. Unfortunately with the outrageous hotel prices I may not visit San Fran very often anymore, better to just go to las instead and pay the higher air price.
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    It's travel. Enjoy. Life's too short to sweat every nickel.

    A young boisterous crowd keeps things lively at this gasthaus on Russian Hill: Leopold's

    Leave the Pizza Rocks to the other towns, Tony really shines here: Tony's Pizza Napoletana

    Spent a good part of the day walking from the wharf through Ft. Mason, the Marina District and Crissy Field, and up to and across some measure or all of the Golden Gate. Hoof back through the Presidio and Cow Hollow, or take a bus.

    At the risk of being risqué, SF has some of the best adult toy stores around. To keep this safe for work, google "Good Vibrations San Francisco" yourself. Fun shop, helpful staff, not creepy.

    Everyone is doing it and I don't care, it's that good. Have Vietnamese at the Slanted Door along the Embarcadero.

    All Spice for Indian.

    Golden Gate Park, museums, hire a driver for a wine country tour, rent a car for the day and check out Monterey or Santa Cruz ...

    Most of all, have FUN!
     
  4. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    Makikiboy and Ken2v, thanks so much for your comments and suggestions.

    I was kind of obsessed this past weekend with trip planning (could you tell? LOL) and went ahead and booked a Hilton hotel for that Saturday, January 2nd using points. I would LOVE to stay in one of the historic hotels but my plan once I get to the hotel is to drop off my bags in the room, see the sights all day until late evening, just sleep and rinse and repeat before going to the airport late Sunday night, assuming I get the red eye back.

    I know Hiltons are plain vanilla but the Hilton San Francisco Financial District got decent reviews (better than Parc 55) so I booked that Saturday night for 62k points for a guaranteed bay view room. So hotel is now set.

    Booked Jet Blue back for 12:55 am Sunday night/Monday am using points.

    Love the suggestions Ken2v, including re: the non-creepy adult toy store. ;)

    Over the weekend I did some basic searches for things to do in SF. Below are the usual suspects. I won't do all of them but will pick a view and will definitely check out some of your suggestions. Thanks again to both of you. And re: having fun, I will! So excited about Vegas and really excited about SF too!

    • TOUR of San Francisco + Ride Cable Car.
    • Golden Gate Bridge + Golden Gate Park
    • Japanese Tea Garden
    • Twin Peaks
    • VISIT the Palace of Fine Arts
    • Ride a Cable Car
    • VISIT The Castro
    • VISIT Ferry Building Marketplace (Good Gourmet Shopping)
    • VISIT China Town
    • VISIT Wharf
    • VISIT UNION SQUARE
    • VISIT Mission District
    • VISIT South of Market Street
    • WINE TASTING Place that focuses on Boutique Wines
    • DINNER Some Place Special
     
  5. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Sounds interesting. I did many of them, like Chinatown, ggbridge and park, twin peaks, cable car, ferry building, union square.

    Note, the ferry building has an open market on Saturday and (I think) Wednesday. it is great to sample food and buy produce and a meal. Highly recommended.

    I love going to fisherman's wharf and have the clam chowder in a bread bowl. also love going to ghirardelli square for their chocolates. along the way there is an international spy museum that has a lot of neat stuff to see and buy.

    Note: I also love going to japan town. There is a store called Daiso that sells stuff for a dollar or so. Lots of trinkets and neat stuff for cheap. google daiso and you will see what I mean.

    Twin peaks is kind of hit or miss. awesome view but a lot of times the clouds cover the city.

    Don't forget visiting Coit tower. Nice view of the bay area also.

    good luck with your trip!
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Indeed fun grub shopping at the Ferry Building. We've been lucky enough to stay at the Fairmont Residence Club of late and having a kitchen we can stock up on stuff. Simply fun. You might want to drop a PM to cjlangston here as to wine bar recs in the city; he's our resident expert on things wine.
     
  7. Jordan

    Jordan Caveman

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    My wife and I were just in San Fran 3 weeks ago, an amazing city...we did most of the above mentioned things, here are a few other suggestions that we did and REALLY enjoyed:

    - Ghirardelli
    - Walk up/Drive down Lombard Street
    - Wine tasting at the Winery Collective. http://www.winerycollective.com
    - Alcatraz Tour
    - Eat at "Scomas" right on the wharf for amazing fresh seafood, crab cakes are to die for. http://www.scomas.com

    Enjoy...we can't wait to go back to San Fran!
     
  8. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    Thanks Makiki Ken and GC for all the suggestions, especially those concerning food, wine, chocolate and views! I also googled "Daiso" to check it out and I see what you mean Makiki. It has almost all four and five star reviews on yelp!

    I just happened to turn on Bravo TV and Million Dollar Listings: San Francisco is on now!! It's neat to see featured in the show some San Francisco neighborhoods.
     
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