Monday, 4 November 2013

The Shows of San Francisco

When visiting San Francisco, finding a way to unwind at the end of a long day of sight seeing isn't always the easiest thing in the world to do. After dinner the choices for entertainment often seem limited because you don't really want to become too wired from your activities to find peaceful sleep later. Perhaps this is why most shows are shown in the evening. San Francisco certainly has quite a few options for shows to see.

If you like old musicals, then 42nd Street Moon is a great place for you to look for your entertainment. They like to take old Broadway musicals that haven't been over performed and rehash them to the delight of the audience and the cast. By breathing new life into these sometimes lost classics they are doing a service to both the original masters of these musicals and to the audiences they now play for.

Friday, 1 November 2013

San Francisco is Tops in Romance

If you're looking for a romantic vacation or honeymoon, perhaps you should consider visiting San Francisco, California. This great city offers a little something for everyone in addition to some very romantic destinations. There have even been songs about how romantic San Francisco is. Tony Bennett left his heart there if memory serves and who could resist a view of the Golden Gate Bridge when there's a full moon? 

San Francisco has been designated one of the most romantic cities in America don't you think it's time your found out why? It could have something to do with the climate, the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, the many beaches around that are great for talking long walks at sunset or the many parks in the area where romantic couples can walk together, hike, bike, and simply enjoy being together. In addition to activities such as this, there are other ways in which to enjoy the great outdoors of San Francisco as a couple. You could take a sunset cruise in the San Francisco bay is you want to make a very romantic night of it.

If you want to have a truly romantic experience you could schedule a couples massage at one of the many day spas in the area. This is an experience that neither of you would be likely to forget anytime soon. While there are spas across the country, there are quite possibly as many spas as there are Starbuck's in the city of San Francisco so you can be a lot more selective in the one you choose. 

Another romantic thing to do while vacationing in San Francisco is to tour the various vineyards in the area. While San Francisco is not literally part of wine country, it is only a stone's throw away from some of the most famous vineyards in America. It would be a literal sin to come so close and not tour these American legacies. Check with the wineries you want to visit ahead of time, as some require appointments for tours. Rest assured that visiting the beautiful countryside and enjoying the tasting of various wines will make for quite the romantic outing. Be sure to taste responsibly.

Still need some romantic activities? Try a picnic in Golden Gate Park. After your picnic, perhaps you can rent a rowboat and take a trip around the lake or bicycles. Use your imagination and let your sense of romance rule the day. Walk into a flower shop and buy every daisy in the store (that may be a little dramatic, but you get the picture). The most romantic things that have ever happened in my life, were not planned, they were spur of the moment gestures that touched me far more than any contrived venture ever could.

Monday, 14 October 2013

San Francisco's Original Chinatown

When visiting San Francisco, California there are so many things to see and do that it is often difficult to decide which things you should do and see in which order. Perhaps one of the most interesting things to note about San Francisco is the diversity of the many 'neighborhoods' throughout the city. Of these many diverse neighborhoods, perhaps the most famous is San Francisco's Chinatown. 

With more than one hundred restaurants, Chinatown owes no small part of its fame to the great delicacies that can rarely be found outside this part of town. There is something about the ambience and atmosphere, the smells, sights, and sounds that make the food that much more appealing to the average diner. If you have tried Chinese food elsewhere, be sure to try it here and compare. I think you will find that there really is no comparison and it's hard to go back to dime store Chinese food once you've tasted 'the real thing'.

In addition to the great food you will find readily available within the Chinatown area, there is a vast wealth of architectural beauty that will take your breath away. Some of these buildings aside from being stunningly beautiful have a rich history as well. Some of the more traditionally Chinese buildings that can be found in Chinatown are the Bank of Canton, the Sing Chong Building (which was destroyed during the earthquake of 1906 and rebuilt), and the Bank of America building which as 60 dragon medallions on its fa├žade in addition to the many golden dragons that adorn the rest of the buildings exterior.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

San Francisco is not just Child's Play

Visiting San Francisco, California is great to do with a family; it is even better to do as an adult without children along. Frisco has a thriving nightlife and plenty of entertainment that simply isn't meant for children. From the slightly off color to the seriously bawdy, San Francisco nightlife has entertainment of almost every flavor. Of course there is still plenty to do during the daylight hours too.

If you're looking for a taste of nightlife that is 'belly busting' funny, there's Comedy on the Square that offers comedic variety shows. You can also check out Lila Theatre for some of the best long-form improvisation. If you need a good laugh these are great places to start. 50 Mason Lounge is also a great place to go to get in on the laughs. The problem with San Francisco is that there are so many great comedy clubs they can't all be listed in one place. My suggestion is that you ask around for suggestions and find out who's playing. You never know when someone you recognize might be popping in for the evening. 

In addition to the great comedy clubs there is the general 'gentleman's' nightlife alive and well in this fair city. I would be remiss if I failed to mention some of the more unique adult entertainment that San Francisco has to offer. In addition to the typical gentlemen's clubs such as Broadway Showgirls Cabaret, which boasts more luxurious surroundings than other clubs, there is Crazy Horse, Inc., which has totally nude live shows, The Gold Club, and Larry Flynt's Hustler Club. There is one club that goes above and beyond what any of these clubs offer though and is worth checking out with a date if you and your partner are so inclined. This club is called Power Exchange and while there are a few places like this around the country, they are extremely rare. If you aren't easily offended and are the least bit curious, I would recommend checking it out.

San Francisco is swimming with active and awesome nightclubs and as such it is quite difficult to single one out as superior to any other. I recommend finding a nightclub that is within walking distance of your hotel. This diminishes the odds of your driving while intoxicated. As always it is important to enjoy responsibly. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Science Museums Teach Children to Seek Truth

If science is the language that moves you, and for many of us, it is just that, then you really might want to visit some of the San Francisco museums that focus on science more than art. I find both to be of equal importance but there are those, many in fact, that would disagree with me. Whatever your feelings about it, if you have a child that you want to encourage to pay more attention to science courses in school, it is an excellent idea to take them to a museum such as this in order to fan that flame of curiosity. 

Science answers many questions about the past and offers many hints at the future of our world and universe. Without science there is much we wouldn't know and even more that we would not understand. I think any of use would be hard pressed to identify the single most important scientific discovery throughout history. There are so many things that are all very significant to the very lives we enjoy today and yet each and every scientific discovery happened because someone, somewhere, asked a question.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Trains aren't a lost art in San Francisco

One of the greatest things about visiting San Francisco is the close proximity to nearby attractions. You can stay in one city while visiting several. You can not only get the conveniences of being in the city, but the beauty of nature is not too far away from almost any point within the city. In fact, a short train ride will take you rather quickly to some nearby attractions that are definitely worth checking into. 

One of the first train tours I'll mention isn't only a train tour but a bus and train tour. This tour goes from San Francisco to Yosemite Park. This trip requires transfers back and forth from bus to train but offers some beautiful scenery and the ability to enjoy it without the worry of driving, rest stops, and a need to simply stretch your legs. Sometimes a little inconvenience is worth a lot more convenience later in your trip. The train portion of the tour lasts about three hours and you get to spend three hours in Yosemite. For some it isn't worth the hassle and for others it is just what the doctor ordered-time to rest and relax while on the way. This is by far the most complicated of the train tours heading out from San Francisco, at least the tours I will be discussing.

San Francisco Offers Fun in Sun and the Water

If you like water sports and activities that involve the water, then San Francisco should be at the very top of your must visit list. There are so many water activities in San Francisco your head will spin. In fact, bring your suit and prepare to spend a great deal of time enjoying the water and the great recreation that the water has to offer.

If you like the water but have little real experience at manning the wheel of a boat or navigating narrow straights, you will probably be best served by chartering the services of experts rather than attempting a go of it on your own. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to do this. One of the most common ways is to take a ferry out to Alcatraz or Angel Island. You get the benefit of time on the water with no work involved whatsoever. You also get the added benefit of a tour of some sort on the other end of your trip. Many visitors each year enjoy this means of water travel and it is both an economical way to travel by water and a low stress way to do so. 

You can also elect a sunset or sightseeing cruise around the bay on a chartered sailboat or motor sailor that is fully crewed. Some of the charter companies even offer team-building activities if you are traveling to San Francisco on business. Sailing is a great way to build a team and bond them like nothing else on earth. If you've never been sailing before, I highly recommend chartering a boat for an outing even if it's only for a small period of time. It's a great way to find out if you have sea legs that's for sure. In addition to finding out if you have sea legs, a short tour will either leave you knowing this isn't for you or hungry for more-in which case, you might wish to take sailing lessons and consider purchasing a sailboat of your own someday. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

San Francisco offers Great fun for Kids of All Ages

If you are looking for a great place to visit and bring the kids, look no further than San Francisco, California. This city is a wonderful vacation destination not only for grownups for little ones alike. There is so much to see and do that will appeal to young and old alike.

The real beauty of San Francisco to me is the fact that many of the best attractions for kids are also educational as well. Even better is the fact that the educational values are so cleverly disguised as fun, your kids won't even know what hit them. In fact, mom and dad might find themselves learning a thing or two along the way. You might even find yourselves having just as much fun as your little ones are. 

My suggestion though is to be careful not to overdo it. We all want our kids to have fun and enjoy the vacation experience but if you cram too many activities into a small span of time, you will have children who are overloaded, cranky, and tired. This will make your day miserable and will affect their memories of the time they spend here.  I will give a brief overview of several great things for kids and families to do in San Francisco, hopefully this will help you choose more selectively the activities you feel are can't miss activities and those that you can live without. Also remember if you don't get to do everything this trip, don't try to force activities in. Consider is a good reason to come back.

The first thing that I want to tell you about is the Exploratorium. This is definitely one of those destinations that disguises education as fun. The great thing about this one is that it will not only appeal to the little ones but also offer education and fun for the grown ups as well. If I were to point out one 'must do' thing for your family trip to San Francisco this would be it.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Overbooking your Time is a Vacation Destroyer

When planning a vacation it is often very difficult to set priorities from a distance. San Francisco is really no different than any other vacation destination in that manner. In fact, as a vacation destination, this city has so much to offer that the problem isn't finding enough stuff to do; it is limiting yourself to only doing the things you want most to do because of time constraints. Unless you are going to be in this great city for a month, it would be very easy to overload your itinerary.

Here are a few suggestions for pacing yourself while traveling as well as providing adequate downtime for all family members while visiting San Francisco.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Blending Cultures is the Key to Frisco's Greatness

Cultural activities and events abound in the great city of San Francisco. There are even plenty of museums that not only promote awareness of the diverse cultures of this great city but also celebrate the contributions of these people to what this city has become. If you are planning to visit San Francisco, you will be robbing yourself of a real treat if you fail to visit some of the museums devoted to the cultural history of this city. 

Below you will find museums dedicated to the great and diverse people of a city that is only as wonderful as its citizens. San Francisco truly is a melting pot of cultures, beliefs, philosophies, and ideals. If you are looking in from the outside it may not be as obvious to you as to someone who has made a great study of it, however, it is still there. The differences of people here are celebrated rather than duly noted. It's a different world here and I think it's an example that the rest of the world would do well to follow. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Art Museums still manage to move the Masses

With around 65 museums, it's no wonder that it is quite difficult to narrow down the choices and select the San Francisco museum that you absolutely must visit while vacationing here. The good news is that it is quite possible to narrow down the choices according to your personal preferences. Museums are a great way to discover the history, the art, and the future of a city. If that city gives a great amount of effort into building great places of learning about the art, music, history, and future of said city, then that city has a bright future ahead of it.

Art is something that is becoming more and more often overlooked as budget cuts hit school curriculums and great emphasis is placed on learning specific facts and details rather than the learning process, but art is a vitally important component of societal development. Think about it, the one thing that survives the generations of old and appears in museum today is most often art of some sort. Art is a way of expressing who we are, what we dream, and where we hope we are going. If we take the art from our lives, we are stifling our societies and risking our progeny.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Walking Tours give Unique View of San Francisco History

If your boots were made for walking, then a walking tour of one of San Francisco's many fascinating neighborhoods or districts may be the perfect activity for you while visiting San Francisco. Even if you aren't all that into walking but enjoy learning about an area and the things that make that area unique, this is the tour for you. 

Combining education and entertainment with physical activity is a great way to trick your body into getting out, getting a little sun, and having a lot of fun. The best thing about these tours for me is the fact that they are free. Don't get me wrong, I love learning about the history of the areas I visit. Even more than that, I love hearing about the great and quirky people that made the history; but I have to admit, I love doing things that provide entertainment and don't cost a great deal of money. A donation is recommended and I can honestly appreciate that much more than an overpriced amusement park ride (or worse paying that much just to walk through the gate and never actually riding a ride). 

Not all walking tours of San Francisco are free, but the ones that are led by the San Francisco city guides are. You really should check them out at some point during your visit. They offer a great selection of walking tours each and every day that will appeal to a very diverse audience. In fact, there are tours that are geared towards specific groups of people so if you are with your family, it might be a good idea to allow each member of your family to select at least one of these walking tours that is of interest to him or her. That way, everyone is motivated to sit through the selections of the other in anticipation of the trip he or she selected. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

San Francisco offers a Little Fun for Everyone

San Francisco is perhaps one of the most diverse cities in America. With the vast diversity among the people that make this great city what it is today, San Francisco really is a melting pot. Not only have the different cultures and flavors had a great effect on what this great city has become, they also have an incredible impact on the city that is seen by those visiting. There is very little you can look for in a vacation that can't be found in San Francisco. 

The real appeal of San Francisco as a vacation destination is that it has a little something to offer everyone. From families with small children, families with teens, young couples, older couples, to those of different lifestyles and ethnicities there is a little something that should appeal to all. 

San Francisco has a great history that celebrates its diversity and a future that looks, well, golden. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman's Wharf and everywhere in between San Francisco has a lot to offer visitors in way of art, entertainment, shopping, and incredible, mouth watering food. You don't have to take my word for it though, wander on over to Fillmore Street and see for yourself. If you've been having too much fun taking in the sights and playing in the wonderful parks that can be found throughout this fabulous city, take a trolley on over. Just make sure you bring your appetite.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

San Francisco Feeds its Guests Well

If you have a healthy appetite for good food and good drink, then visiting San Francisco is probably a great plan for you. While you are visiting, there are several places that you really should check out. Not only do these great places offer tours that will explain how they make their goodies, but many of them also offer samples. Even better, some of the tours are absolutely free. 

While not every good thing in life is free, there is no doubt that some of the best things are. Among those outstanding freebies is a tour of the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory. I love dark chocolate and while I won't go so far as to say they have the best dark chocolate (can't do that as I haven't tried all the dark chocolate there is to have in the world), I will say that there dark chocolate is definitely among the best. The only drawbacks I have found is that children must be at least 10 years old to attend, you must make reservations and you have to wear close-toed shoes (I live in Birkenstock's so this is a minus for me). I really believe that their chocolate is worth the sacrifice however and will gladly send the husband off with the kids to the arcade for an afternoon while I enjoy learning more about this awesome chocolate, err, chocolate company. The tours are free which means if you don't have young children it isn't too difficult to talk your traveling companion into going with you. If for some odd reason there is resistance you can always use the divide and conquer rule. Let them do an activity that you don't relish while you enjoy yours.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Wine Country Offers Great Family Fun

If you are planning a visit to San Francisco and you love wine, you might seriously wish to consider taking a day trip to one or more of the many vineyards that are only a short drive away. In fact, many of these vineyards offer packages that leave you free to taste all the wine you can handle without worries about drinking and driving. 

Even if you've never really tried many wines or don't really find the flavor of the wines you have tried in the past to be pleasant, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised to discover that you do in fact have a great palate for the excellent wines that can be found in California's Sonoma Valley and Napa Regions. The wines you will taste here are generally great quality wines and are specially selected to showcase the best that these vineyards have to offer. Regardless of whether you find yourself a reformed wine connoisseur or not, you will at least have gained a really good education about both the wine making process and the many varieties of wines that are available. 

There are many companies that offer tours to different vineyards. Try one, or try a few. The drive is short if you want to go it alone-just be sure that the vineyard you are planning to visit doesn't require reservations before making the drive. The drive, should you choose this route, is quite beautiful and there are many things to see along the way. Be sure to have a designated driver for your wine tasting experience if you are going it alone. This detail alone could save one or many lives and is vitally important when planning your wine tasting adventure.  

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Fisherman's Wharf, Famous for a Reason

Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most famous of destinations for visitors of San Francisco, California and with good reason. There is so much to see and do in Fisherman's Wharf that you could quite easily plan an entire trip to Frisco and only leave the Wharf as you are leaving the city. 

The Wharf offers more than 2,500 hotel rooms, several restaurants, and an almost endless amount of shopping, history, culture, and attractions. Anyone would be hard pressed not to find something fun to do in Fisherman's Wharf. 

If you are interested in the sea faring culture and history of the Fisherman's Wharf, take the Port Walk, which is a walking tour that you can take at your own pace while learning about the history of Fisherman's Wharf through the various signs located along the tour. You can also tour the USS Pampanito, which was a WWII submarine, or the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, which is the last unaltered Liberty ship that is operational. Both of these can be found on Pier 45. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Best Way to See San Francisco is from the Air

If you have plans of visiting San Francisco you really should consider seeing it from a birds eye view. There are many ways in which you can do this, but few, if any are more romantic than doing so from the basket of a hot air balloon. In fact, if you've never been in a balloon before, this is a great place to start. 

There are many tours that are offered and each one offers spectacular views and a feeling of weightless wonder that is unrivaled by any other feeling on earth. Imagine watching, as everything on the ground gets smaller and feeling completely at ease with the process. It's a truly amazing way to travel for those who have never experienced it. Young and old alike will thoroughly enjoy the awe of this particular form of travel. 

Some of the tours linger along the coastline while others will take you up into wine country. You can even charter tours that will combine the hot air balloon excursion with ground transportation and accommodations at one of the many area bed and breakfast inns for a nice romantic weekend get away in California's wine country. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Teen Scene in San Francisco Offers Many Opportunities for Fun

Teens are beautiful and unique creatures. At least this is what we as parents keep telling ourselves. The problem with teens is that their tastes and wants change almost hourly so it is quite difficult to determine at lunch what will appeal to them at dinner. Fortunately, if you are planning a visit to San Francisco, California, there is most likely something that will appeal to them no matter what mood they are in at the moment.

I always recommend allowing older children and teens (even younger children in a limited capacity) to have some voice in deciding what activities to do while on vacation. After all, it is their vacation too and just because we think they will like it doesn't necessarily mean they are remotely interested in it-this goes back to the beautiful and unique creature statement.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Golden Gate Park offers more than just a Play Date

With its moderate temperatures year round, San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world in which to go outside and play. No matter what time of year it is, there is probably something you can find to do outside that is a lot of fun. Even if it is just "Singing in the Rain". Beyond singing of course, there are plenty of activities that are best enjoyed out of doors. And there are few places in the world better to enjoy these outdoor activities than Golden Gate Park. 

If you like wheels, there are plenty of places in the park where you can either rent biking and skating equipment. Of course if you plan on skating, it is quite easy to bring your own equipment along on your vacation. If you have children and are looking for fun activities that you can enjoy together, these are among the top on my list. Of course there are several more that you will find at Golden Gate Park as well. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Young and Old Alike: Fun Abounds in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of those rare cities that offers almost timeless appeal. One of the greatest things that can be said about this great city is that the things that attract its youngest visitors are also quite often the things that bring in its older visitors.

In fact, the very museums that fascinate youngsters have lessons to teach their older visitors as well. Art is a common language among us all and the entertainment that can be found in this great city from opera, symphonies, concerts, plays, and musicals, to street entertainment are both top notch and appealing to people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances. 

The diversity of this great city is as much a part of its appeal as are the attractions that are designed to bring in visitors. Perhaps one of the most attractive draws to this city for older audiences is the significant history of this city and its people. There are many places-museums and galleries, where you can learn about the history and tragedies that this city has endured, overcome, and now celebrate as part of its heritage. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Fun Museums for the Child in San Francisco

If you are bringing young ones on your visit to San Francisco, you've probably wracked your brain trying to find activities and events that will not only be fun for them but also provide much needed mental stimuli as well. Well, look no further. I have five museums that are guaranteed to be completely kid friendly and fun for the entire family. 

Gone are the days of stuffy museums that are cold and unfeeling. These museums of old have been replaced with modern day museums that offer areas that encourage hands on activities and promote learning and education through activities that are well disguised as fun. Your children will have no idea what just happened and you will be able to rest comfortable in the knowledge that this event that they considered so much fun will remain with them for a long time to come. Knowledge is a great gift to pass on to your children, especially when they don't realize what it is that you are giving them. 

The first of these museums is the Cartoon Art Museum. You may wonder what your children can possibly learn from a museum such as this, but as with all art, comics often imitate life and this museum shows how comics have evolved and morphed over time. In addition to that, anything that will encourage your children to read is a good thing in my opinion, even if it is comics that they are reading.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Incredible History of San Francisco

I grew up watching cowboy movies and tales of the old Wild West on weekend television with my dad. I can't help but think of those old black and white movies whenever I think of San Francisco or California in general. Whenever I think of visiting San Francisco there is a part of me that visualizes the San Francisco of old, long before the earthquake of 1906, or not so long before actually. 

If you share my vision of a Wild West San Francisco or just wonder what it would have been like to walk down the streets of old, then perhaps one of these museums will help give you a taste of the good ole west without the outhouses (the one thing I never really could wrap my mind around). Even if you can handle a world without indoor plumbing, the idea of enjoying the greatest of the past while still experiencing the comforts of modern existence is quite appealing to me. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Angel Island is a Diversion from the Ordinary

Whether you are a true nature lover or simply enjoy the thrill of an educational field trip, you will find both the wonders of nature and a deep sense of history while visiting Angel Island. In fact, I would suggest making Angel Island a must see destination while visiting San Francisco. 

In the great city of San Francisco, which has so much to offer visitors, it's almost impossible to find that one thing that will be truly special and unique about your trip. Angel Island is just that thing. Wherever your interests lie, there is something that will attract the attention of people of all ages, economic situations, and other walks of life. If you can't find something that will interest you here, you really should rethink your interests. 

For the nature lovers there is plenty of interest in way of plant life, bird life, and other animal life that should be of interests. There are even specialized tours available that will highlight and focus on the wide variety of life on this great island. Not only are there a great variety of land animals but a good representation of sea animals can be observed here as well. If you love nature, this is a great place to get a good dose of it while in the big city of San Francisco. Not only can you enjoy the sea animals on the ferry ride over (if you choose a ferry for your transportation) but you get to enjoy the plant and animal life on the island as well. Don't forget the air animals either though. There are many varieties of birds that are well represented here as well. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

5 More Freebies for San Francisco Entertainment

If the thing you look least forward to on vacation is wracking up vicious amounts of debt on your Master Card, then you've come to the right place. I'm here to offer advice on free things to do while visiting San Francisco. Granted, it is not wise to think that you can go on vacation without spending any money and have a good time. However, it is quite possible to be very selective when deciding where to spend your money by having alternative entertainment options that cost little or no money.

Rather than a top ten list, which can be a little long winded, I'm going to provide a top five list. My sincere hope is that you will use this list as inspiration for finding your own free or low cost entertainment while visiting San Francisco. On to the list:

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

5 Free Things to do while Visiting San Francisco

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like cheap and free things to do with the family. It isn't that I'm not willing to pay good money for good fun, I just happen to believe that the best fun is sometimes as free as the wind. The same holds true when visiting new cities like San Francisco. I will invest a great amount of time looking for activities that me and other members of my family can enjoy for little or no money. This saves money for other things like good food and souvenirs. 

I'm also a big fan of David Letterman and in that spirit I decided to devise a top five list of my very own in honor of Mr. Letterman's Top 10 list. My big 5 list consists of things to do for free when visiting San Francisco.