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Old 10-30-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
MelissaSue
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Talking Conference in the City on the Bay (San Francisco, November 2011)

This trip report is doubly exciting because this is a BIG FIRST for me. It’s my first multi-day conference. It’s my first trip to the west coast! And it’s my first completely solo trip. Sort of … You’ll see in a moment.

Pretext
This is not a trip for fun: I’m going to a conference! My job is footing the bill, and I’m expected to soak up a lot of knowledge during this trip. And I take that very seriously! This is my first multi-day conference, and I am looking forward to meeting others who do similar work (higher education communications).In fact, I think I am almost as excited for the conference part of the trip as I am for the fun, exploring part.

Adventurers: Me
Me, myself and I. And a few hundred other conference attendees. One of my co-workers will also be going to the conference. We’re flying out together and staying in the same hotel, but her husband is joining her, and they are flying home separate from me. I’m planning to spend the majority of my non-conference time on my own, exploring the city. And what city is that …

Destination: San Francisco
I’m thrilled!! I’ve always, always wanted to visit San Francisco, and this is such a fabulous opportunity. I’ll be staying at The Stanford Court Renaissance in the Nob Hill section of San Francisco. This is a great place to be stationed—it’s not far from the wharf and even closer to Chinatown. Plus it’s a pretty swank area all on its own. And it’s actually where the opening of Full House was filmed!

My Plans: Work Hard, Play Hard
I’ll be in the City by the Bay for 70 hours. 20 of those hours will be spent in conference events, learning awesome stuff. Assuming I need 11 hours to sleep and rejuvenate each day (33 hours), that means I have approximately 15-17 hours on my own in the city! That’s 2 lunches near the hotel, 3 dinners wherever I’d like and 1 breakfast, preferably on the way to the airport.

Whoa.

I’m torn … because I don’t want to over-schedule myself, but I also don’t want to miss this opportunity! I’ll have all day Saturday and Sunday to recuperate …

Right now, I’m in serious research mode, trying to figure out the must-dos in the area. If you’ve ever been or know someone who has, please comment here. I’ll post a first draft list of plans in the next couple of days …

Conference in the City on the Bay Trip Report
(Completed 12/3/11)
  1. Day One, Part One - Jet Airliner
  2. Day One, Part Two - City Walk
  3. Day One, Part Three - Nob Hill at Night
  4. Day Two, Part One - Historic California Street
  5. Day Two, Part Two - Fisherman's Wharf
  6. Day Three, Part One -Ferry's Away
  7. Day Three, Part Two -Shopping on the Bay
  8. Day Three, Part Three -The Rock
  9. Day Three, Part Four - Complete Exhaustion
  10. Day Four, Part One -In the End and a Wrap Up
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Last edited by MelissaSue; 12-03-2011 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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yay! i'm so glad there's a trip report for this!

and, if it makes you feel any better, i was more excited for the conference part of my last teacher conference...and it was in disney world! i really, REALLY like conferences!
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:40 AM   #3
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deciding what to do with your time.

We were there in 2006 and really enjoyed the night-time tour of Alcatraz, and another highlight for us was riding the cable cars - that really is a must-do out there.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:17 PM   #4
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deciding what you want to do!
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:22 AM   #5
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As a dedicated Disney fan, I just have to recommend the Walt Disney Family Museum. It's in the Presidio, and well worth the trip and the time if you can squeeze it in somewhere!! The one and only downside is that they don't allow you to take pictures inside. But it's sooooo very worth it to visit!!!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elbodans View Post
if it makes you feel any better, i was more excited for the conference part of my last teacher conference...and it was in disney world! i really, REALLY like conferences!
I have never been to a conference. I am very, very excited for this.

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Originally Posted by chezp View Post
:goodluck: deciding what to do with your time. We were there in 2006 and really enjoyed the night-time tour of Alcatraz, and another highlight for us was riding the cable cars - that really is a must-do out there.
Our hotel is right on California Street, so I am totally going to take the cable cars up and down the hill. Very excited about that. And I already have two companions who are planning to join me on the boat to Alcatraz.

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:goodluck: deciding what you want to do!
Thanks!! It is harder than youíd think!

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Originally Posted by disney_duke View Post
As a dedicated Disney fan, I just have to recommend the Walt Disney Family Museum. It's in the Presidio, and well worth the trip and the time if you can squeeze it in somewhere!! The one and only downside is that they don't allow you to take pictures inside. But it's sooooo very worth it to visit!!!
Oh my gosh! I didnít even know this was there!!!!! I am looking into going becauseóhow perfect!! But Iím having some trouble figuring out public transportation. But Iím still working at it!
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Dec 2011 TR (COMPLETED 12/30): Mousetacular Holiday

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Disney, here we come!
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My Previous TripsJuly 1988 - Family Trip - Offsite // August 2001 - Family Trip - Offsite // December 2010 - Disneymoon - Contemporary Resort // September 2011 - Girl's Only Research Trip - Offsite // October 2011 - First Anniversary - Boardwalk Villas // December 2011 - Mousetacular Holiday - Boardwalk Villas // February 2012 - Girl's Only Trip - Pop Century Resort
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:04 PM   #7
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Planning, Planning and Planning

I have NEVER had this much trouble planning a trip! I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s San Francisco, but I’m finding the maps impenetrable. There are a ton of websites, each with their own map and recommendations. And they all look like they were built by a five-year-old! I think the SF tourism folks need to get their shit together.

And, as far as transportation, I can’t make heads or tails of the cable car system. It took me about 45 minutes to even figure out where the damn thing STOPS. And the subway is … well, it’s practically not. It’s been really, really frustrating.

However, I am making some headway. So far, I think I have one day planned in full. Tell me what you think …

Friday – My Fisherman’s Wharf Day
Conference 8a.m.-noon
On My Own after noon

When the conference closes, I’ll probably head up to my room to change and maybe catch a quick nap before the big day. Then I’ll take the California Street cable car down to the water. For lunch, I’m considering Boulevard (1 Mission St) or Americano (8 Mission St.). Then I plan to walk along The Embarcadero. I’m definitely going to stop at the Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building and at Pier 39 (for the shopping and the sea lions).

Then it’s off on the 5:05p.m. Alcatraz Night Tour (leaves from Pier 33)—my coworker and her husband are going to be joining me. That wraps up at around 7:30p.m. So after the boat tour, I’ll grab dinner at Wipe Out Grill (on Pier 39) or Scoma’s (on Pier 47), depending on how hungry I am. And depending on what’s going on that night (the calendar hasn’t been set), I may try to get on the guest list for The Parlor. Then, ride the Powell-Hyde Cable Car line back to California Street.

Any thoughts or comments?
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Feb 2012 PTR (UPDATED): 3 Resorts, 2 Friends, 1 Great Trip
Dec 2011 TR (COMPLETED 12/30): Mousetacular Holiday

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Old 11-04-2011, 01:45 AM   #8
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Anything that's got the Alcatraz night tour in sounds good to me!
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:44 AM   #9
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Great plans so far!
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:06 PM   #10
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I haven't been to Wipe Out Grill, but I've been to Scoma's and love it!!!
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:20 PM   #11
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Anything that's got the Alcatraz night tour in sounds good to me!
Very excited about this! Have you done it? Iím thinking that layers will be my friend here Ö how cold does it get on the water? Also, was the terrain rough on the walk from the dock to the prison building?

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Great plans so far!
Thanks!

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I haven't been to Wipe Out Grill, but I've been to Scoma's and love it!!!

Thank you so much for the review! Were there any other places in San Fran that you especially enjoyed?? Iím having so much trouble selecting restaurants.
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Feb 2012 PTR (UPDATED): 3 Resorts, 2 Friends, 1 Great Trip
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:22 PM   #12
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Okay ... planning, planning ... I’ve planned my last full day in the city ... now back to the beginning ...

Wednesday – My Nob Hill Day
This first day, we arrive at noon (PST) after nine hours of traveling. And, after that very full day, I have six hours of conference ahead of me. I have a feeling that, by 6 p.m., I am going to be completely exhausted. So, for dinner, I’m going to eat in Aurea, the hotel restaurant. I’ve been dying to try gnudi, and they have it on the menu. And after I stuff myself and have a couple of drinks, I’m planning to go to bed. Boring, but necessary.

Thursday – My North Beach (or maybe Nob Hill) Day
Thursday, we’re in conference until 5:30p, but we also have a two-hour break for lunch.

For lunch, I have a decision to make … between Seller’s Market (388 Market Street) and Jasper’s Corner Tap (401 Taylor Street).

Seller’s has a great online ordering system, so if I decide on that, I can pre-order my lunch online, then take the California cable car down and back with plenty of time to spare. If I decide to go to Jasper’s, I could take the Powell-Mason cable car. No pre-orders here, but they have what seems to be a quick and simple ordering system, so I can get in and get back on time.

On to the evening ...

Originally, I thought I was going to spend this evening in Chinatown ... and then I realized that I had no interest in going to Chinatown. I also looked at Japantown. But, when it comes down to it, almost all of the stores are closed by 6p, so what’s the point?

Then I discovered North Beach, San Francisco’s answer to Little Italy, which is one of my favorite parts of NYC. So, that's one plant: take the Powell-Hyde cable car line to Union Street.

For dinner, I have four potential spots:
After dinner, I’ll pick up some dessert and/or breakfast treats at Stella’s Bakery. Then walk along, taking photos of the cathedrals at night, ending at the City Lights Bookstore. Then I’d walk down to the cable car stop at Mason and Jackson street.

Alternatively, I read about a great little Italian restaurant in Nob Hill (Colombini Bistro), which is the neighborhood where my hotel is. This is appealing to me because it means less wandering around an unfamiliar city at night.

Another plus of this plan is that I’d get to walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral and check out the fountain at Huntington Park. And there’s also a great themed bar (Big Foot Lounge) nearby. (And if I can’t drag my ass to the Big Foot after a big meal, there’s always the Tonga Room right across the street from my hotel.) This plan doesn't stray more than 4 or 5 blocks from California Street, and thus the cable car that drops me off at my front door.

What do you think? Little Italy or Nob Hill?? (And if you pick Little Italy, any restaurant recommendations?)
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Feb 2012 PTR (UPDATED): 3 Resorts, 2 Friends, 1 Great Trip
Dec 2011 TR (COMPLETED 12/30): Mousetacular Holiday

Completed Trip Reports:
City on the Bay (Nov. 2011), First Anniversary (Oct. 2011), Dream Disneymoon (Dec. 2010)


My Countdown Counting down to: Mousetacular Holiday Celebration
Disney, here we come!
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My Previous TripsJuly 1988 - Family Trip - Offsite // August 2001 - Family Trip - Offsite // December 2010 - Disneymoon - Contemporary Resort // September 2011 - Girl's Only Research Trip - Offsite // October 2011 - First Anniversary - Boardwalk Villas // December 2011 - Mousetacular Holiday - Boardwalk Villas // February 2012 - Girl's Only Trip - Pop Century Resort
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:31 PM   #13
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Hmm, it's been a while since I've been in the Nob Hill area. I was going to suggest North Beach, but I can't remember any names of restaurants. I can say, though, that I haven't been in a North Beach restaurant that I didn't like!

I'm not familiar enough with the cable car lines to recommend the most convenient place to eat, but maybe someone else reading will be able to help out.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MelissaSue View Post
Very excited about this! Have you done it? Iím thinking that layers will be my friend here Ö how cold does it get on the water? Also, was the terrain rough on the walk from the dock to the prison building?
We did it in April 2006 (I think - if I'm remembering right! ). I don't remember it getting that cold on the water, but then again, we were inside for the voyage. Again, I don't recall it being particularly rough as we walked to the prison, but I wear tennis shoes pretty much all the time when we're on vacation, so I probably wouldn't have noticed that.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:59 AM   #15
xrosario
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Just started reading, It sounds like it's gonna be a good trip I've never been so I have no advice for you but I'm enjoying following along!
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