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profile member asked on May 29, 2016

San Francisco - Suggestions for family 2 adults 2 teenagers

We arrive in San Fran early evening in July 31st. Staying Union Sq. Staying 3 nights
1. Suggestions for first evening.
2. We want to go to Alcatraz. Best day or night?? Best times?
3. Want to cycle over Golden Gate Bridge. Suggestions?
4. Any sports events?
5. Food? Restaurants day/evening?
6. Other suggestion of must do

San Francisco

6 Answers

answered on 5/29/16 by
a VT member

Looks like the SF Giants baseball team is playing at home July 31 against the Washington Nationals, unfortunately it is an afternoon game and they are away the following days. Check and see the schedule for Oakland Athletics on
Not sure when preseaon football starts, usually sometime in August.

answered on 5/29/16 by
a VT member from Stockton

First night after traveling all day I would just hang out around Union Square walk a few blocks to get a look at the city. Top floor of Macy's has a Burger place and a Cheese Cake Factory. I haven't eaten at either one, but the view would be spectacular and right on Union Sq.

If you haven't already bought your tickets to Alcatraz you had better do it. The official NPS site has been sold out for months so your only option is to purchase from a 3rd party.

I bought back in January and just got my confirmation for July 23rd at 1:00 PM. I had to give them three choices of times when I did my reservation and I got my 1st choice.

Sporting events not much available without driving some distance. Football pre-season doesn't start until mid August.

Food: Breakfast try Sears Fine Foods it's just 1/2 block up the street from Union Sq. Lunch or dinner Lefty O'Doul's is fun Irish Pub style. Daily News just next door to Lefty's is excellent for dinner. Both are 1/2 block off Union Square. Within walking distance off Union Sq is Le Colonial. It's not cheap (most places won't be) but the food is outstanding and ask for the cucumber martini even if it's not on the menu. Foreign Cinema is outstanding for dinner and the kids might enjoy the atmosphere. It's an old movie theater and during dinner they project old B&W movies on the outside cement wall alongside the patio eating area and there are old drive in movie theater speakers lining the outside walls. It's some distance from Union Sq so you might want to Uber there.

Best kept secret around Union Square is the Walgreen's Store. It's considered the "flagship" Walgreen's. It's multi-story with a sushi bar. It's a reasonable place to purchase snack, drinks, etc to take back to your hotel or have the deli make you sandwiches and go picnic at Union Sq.

Also, take a look at Wild SF walking tours. After many trips to SF we finally did the China Town walking tour and it was outstanding. The starting point is within walking distance of Union Square. It's a great way to spend a few hours. We plan to do the Haight and Castro tours next.

answered on 5/30/16 by
a VT member

Thanks very informative response.

answered on 5/30/16 by
a VT member from Marina

1. Depends on what time you get in, but you'll probably want to take it easy. There is some nightlife scattered around Union Square, if that interests you. And there are always good bands playing in town.
2. Night is better, but that's why night is more popular. You may have to just take what you can get at this point though.
3. Do some research online for this so that you don't get ripped off by just going up to a place and paying whatever they want to charge you. There are several companies that do this, but Blazing Saddles is, far and away, the one you see the most in the city. They have a few tours, but the one you may want takes you over the bridge and into Sausalito or Tiburon, then back to Fishermans Wharf on the ferry. Also note that they, as well as many other outfitters, bundle Alcatraz, so you may be able to obtain good times through them. [original link]
4. That time of year, it's only major league baseball. The A's will be easier to get tickets to and should be cheaper.
5. Personally, I like the area just west of Union Square but north of the Tenderloin for restaurants. Like along Sutter and Post. I've been to a few in that area that have all been good, and much cheaper than the Union Square area. For whatever reason (maybe it's all the hotels and none of the hotels serving breakfast), I've always found breakfast to be really crowded in Union Square, especially if you go after about 8:30 or 9. Just plan accordingly. Otherwise, it depends on how far you're willing to go. Some of the better places in the city are far from Union Square.
6. It totally depends on your interests. There's just so much to see and do there, and there's always some special event, concert, Broadway production or festival going on, especially in the summer.

answered on 5/30/16 by
a VT member from California

Your teens might enjoy taking a Chinatown Alleyway Tour: the tour guides are college kids. Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach are fun and just a Muni bus ride away from downtown.

VT members have put a lot of information and personal experience into our pages - reading those might give you more ideas. Use the search box at the top right. You're welcome to take a look at my San Francisco page: [original VT link]

answered on 6/5/16 by
a VT member from Cerritos

Some special cultural related suggestions to do for your stay. During the time, there are free and inexpensive Yerba Buena Gardens and Shakespeare in the Park performances through the Bay area. Also, you can do discounted cruises for an evening or day. Try using for discounts. On July 31, you may make it in time for the final day of the Japanese Film Festival. On August 2, there are free museum and cultural center admissions, including, de Young, Museum of Craft and Design, Legion of Art- Euro art, Yerba Buena Center, Conservatory of Flowers and Contemporary Jewish Museum. Donations are welcomed at the venues.

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