Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’


Super “insider tips” from locals for your San Francisco Vacation



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Visiting a popular travel destination like San Francisco can be a challenge, especially for those of us that just don’t want the “cookie cutter” tourist trap vacation. If you’re sick and tired of the crowds, picture takers everywhere, rip-off gift shops and such, why not listen to the locals? After all, if you ask any resident of San Francisco, the only time they visit these places is if friends and relatives visiting them insist.

Quite possibly the best and most photographic beach in Greater San Francisco and one frequented by locals is Fort Funston Beach, and considered by most as a secret. This is where locals with “pooches” go to enjoy beach dog runs and so can you. Don’t be concerned if you’re not a dog person because there are lots of areas without dogs. There is also horseback riding the beach via Mar Vista Stable in the area. There is a main parking area above the beach cliffs and a walkway down to the beach and water. It’s a great beach to relax on, get some sun, but beware, waters are dangerous and not for swimming. That being said, it’s popular for surfers, dolphins, whales and seals. For history buffs, neighboring Battery Davis is a great place to visit old gun batteries and in fact, there’s a tunnel to the beach area.

Hot Tip: forget about the rental car. Parking can break a day’s budget, so instead use the excellent public transportation systems.



Save a bundle on that San Francisco Vacation



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  • Sea lions at Pier 39

If San Francisco has been on your “bucket list” for a long time, maybe its time you grabbed a great hotel deal, a cheap flight, and come on down. Contrary to what you might have heard, it is quite easy to experience this great city, cheaply and gain everlasting good memories of the visit. The best way to start is by planning not to go on expensive tours, seeing the same things everybody else does. Choose to be different, see other areas of San Francisco, out of the way sights and sounds.

There are actually a plethora of fun, cheap and sometimes free things to do in San Francisco, with a list that changes every week. When in the planning stages before your visit, you should check out the website,, where these events are listed and updated constantly. There are free admission days at area museums, concerts and even “watermelon days” if you can believe that.

If you really want to get a perspective of what San Francisco is about, and get some exercise as well, try a few of the free walking tours out for size. The free walking tours can be found listed on the “fun & cheap” site too. These take place in many different areas of town, like Fisherman’s Warf, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill Mission Heights and many more.

Hot Tip: The hot tip is to tip the volunteers that put on the tours if you had fun.


Sea lions at pier 39 San Francisco

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Let’s have some fun in the Golden Gate City, San Francisco


There’s so much that San Francisco has to offer us a tourists that the locals who live there take advantage of and frequent with their visitors and relatives. Of course there are the usual treats like Fisherman’s Warf that does have its place on our list at lest for waterfront dining. However, it’s one of the “tourist traps” that so many towns in the U.S. offer visitors.

Another popular place to visit of course is Alcatraz Island, which don’t get me wrong is a great place to visit, if not at least for the cruise out to it. The photos along of the city and Golden Gate Bridge are well worth the trip. During any day of the week, you can join the masses as they trek around the island, hallways and “haunts” of some of the worlds most notorious criminals. We however, suggest a different approach to Alcatraz, one not many realize exists, the “Night Tour”! Imagine taking a tour at dusk, with the fog rolling in over the island and ice-cold cement cells of Al Capone, The Birdman and Machine Gun Kelley. This isn’t for the feint of heart, because this totally creepy tour leaves in late afternoon and lasts for almost three hours. Remember, you never know whose voices may be whispering in your ear in that cold spooky cell.

Another often-overlooked adventure is spending a relaxing Sunday afternoon on the lawns and trails of San Francisco’s Presidio. Bring a towel or blanket and enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You don’t have to worry yourself about packing a picnic lunch, because from April – October, you can experience “Off the Grid”, a major “Food Truck” experience in the park. If you are looking for some nighttime fun, you might want to experience Thursday evenings “Twilight at the Presidio” when the same food trucks decorate themselves with party lights, set up covered cabanas, chairs, campfires and the best part, cocktails for sale.
Most visitors will put on their “bucket list” to take a cab to Chinatown for dinner one night during their visit. The fact is, Chinatown San Francisco is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. The very first recorded Chinese immigrants cam to San Francisco in 1848 and were soon followed by thousands looking to work the railroad construction era. It survived the 1906 earthquake, being re-built for commercial purposes, which remains today. We totally suggest that you at least take what’s called “the short walking tour” of Chinatown. On the tour you will experience the beautiful and colorful Grant Ave, with souvenir shops, pagodas and red lanterns strung high above the streets. Take a tour of the famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and the Golden Gate Bakery for an egg custard tart. For a culinary experience of a lifetime, check out the New Moon Restaurant on Stockton St. for the best Chinese “stand up meal”. The real experience besides the food is the whole cooked chickens hanging in the front window.
Lastly, if you have never experienced a Segway, this is the best way to experience the San Francisco Waterfront. For under $70 you get a twenty-minute training class and then a 2-hour guided tour of the Warf, Ghiradelli Square, Fish Alley with stops for the best photo op of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only is this a safe and fun way to see the Warf, its also environmentally friendly to make you feel good.