Celebrating a birthday in San Francisco - ideas?
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Apr 22, 2010 11:29 PM Last Post By: siskiyou2
Mar 30, 2010 7:08 AM
Celebrating a birthday in San Francisco - ideas?My girlfriend and I will be visiting San Francisco from the UK for just over four days between 11th-15th May, and while we're there she will be celebrating her 25th birthday (a coincidence, the holiday hasn't been planned around the birthday).
I normally try and organise something memorable for us to do on her birthday. To give you an idea of the sort of thing I mean, since we've been together, some of her birthday presents have been a trip to watch the tennis at Queens Club in London, a hot air balloon ride, llama trekking, a long weekend in Dublin, and a surprise day out in Paris.
I'd like to organise something while we're in San Francisco but I'm not sure where to start? Our San Francisco stay is part of a longer trip taking in New Orleans, LA, Big Sur and Napa Valley, so a travel related experience is probably not the way to go this time round. Does anyone have any other suggestions? An experience unique to San Francisco would be ideal, whether it's some sort of activity (nothing too adventurous like bungee jumping though!) or even a meal in a top class restaurant.
Budget...hmmm? I'm a little flexible on this. Maybe $100-150 per person, but I'm willing to consider ideas outside this range.
Thanks in advance :)
Mar 30, 2010 7:15 AM
1This is a much better question for the TripAdvisor forum where locals who live there answer questions (this forum is not specific to any one area of the US as you probably noticed, so there are few people from SF). http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60713-i30-San_Francisco_California.html
Also, I think a wine tasting trip to Napa or Sonoma is a great way to do this. So I would suggest to do that instead of making a separate trip there for no particular occasion. You can stay at a cute romantic B&B in a gorgeous setting and go wine tasting.
In SF, one popular birthday thing to do is to take someone to Asia SF. http://www.asiasf.com Check it out and see if it's something that is up your alley. It's definitely unique.
Another great forum to post this is on Yelp SF where locals (usually younger...20s and 30s) respond: http://www.yelp.com/talk
Mar 30, 2010 7:34 AM
3Take her to a San Francisco Giants baseball game. Even if you've never seen a game or think you won't like it, go anyway for the experience. The San Francisco ballpark is one of the most enjoyable in the US. If possible, I'd go for the May 13th or 15th day game. Chat up the folks around you, tell them you are Brits who;ve never seen a game, and you'll have a bunch of instant friends.
After the game, walk to the Ferry Building. You could have a drink at the wine bar or some oysters at the Hog Island Oyster Company. Or buy some bread & cheese and a bottle of wine & eat outside. Or just potter around.
Top 100 Restaurants Note that a new list will be out in April.
Mar 30, 2010 7:58 AM
4Thanks so far guys. #1 have just posted on Trip Advisor cheers, not sure Asia SF is our cup of tea though!
Giants game could be a decent shout too, and the oyster bar idea is almost too perfect - we were in New York over New Year and had oysters at Central Station which was an excellent experience.
Will check out the top 100 restaurants and Chez Panisse now too, plus Beach Blanket Babylon, cheers :)
Mar 30, 2010 8:18 AM
Mar 30, 2010 9:06 AM
6Since you're already planning on going to Big Sur, and presumably will pass through Monterey to get there, you might consider visting wineries in that area. Some very good ones, and the scenery is better than in Napa. I think visiting Napa wineries is expensive (pay to get in, as I recall), and they get the crowds since they're well known, but I really don't now the costs for those in Monterey. Taking a ferry from SF to Tiburon, Sausalito or Oakland is a good way to get nive views of the SF skyline. Nighttime tour of Alcatraz would be fun. I saw Beach Blanket Babylone in 1983, and enjoyed it.
Mar 30, 2010 9:30 AM
7Thanks for the winery info. Quite interested in the ferry idea too, will check that out.
For info, our planned route is:
1st-5th May New Orleans (I'm there for a work-related conference)
5th - fly to LA at night and hire car
6th - LA to San Luis Obispo
7th - SLO to Monterey
8th - Monterey to somewhere in the Napa area (yet to find accommodation within our budget of up to $120/night so may be looking at Santa Rosa or Napa itself, rather than our original hope of Calistoga/St Helena/Sonoma)
9th-11th - Napa Valley/Sonoma region
11th - wherever we are in the Napa Valley region to San Francisco, returning hire car
11th-15th - SF, flying back to UK on the evening of the 15th.
Ideally I'd have like an extra day or two in there to space things out a bit more, but we reckon that's doable without feeling too rushed.
Mar 30, 2010 9:36 AM
8I would cut out one night from Napa/Sonoma and make a stop in Santa Barbara before San Luis Obispo. Also, I think Cambria is a better stop than San Luis Obispo and you can visit the Hearst Castle while there.
If you're going to visit Alcatraz while in SF, book ahead.
Check http://www.Hotwire.com for a better hotel deal. Use http://www.betterbidding.com to see what others recently won on http://www.Priceline.com in the St Helena region. I'm going there for a wedding and seeing that people are winning decent hotels for around $120.
Mar 30, 2010 9:37 AM
9Try Petaluma. Charming town & close enough to Sonoma area wineries. Much more enjoyable than Santa Rosa. Excellent restaurants, small clubs & bars, nightlife. Or, as I suggested, Healdsburg.
You're in SLO on a Thursday--I hope that is deliberate so you can go to the Thursday Night Market.
Mar 30, 2010 9:46 AM
10Would love to claim it was deliberate, but it's merely a happy coincidence :) I gather from several other sources it is worth checking out...?
The trip wasn't planned until I was told I was going to the conference last month, so it has firstly been a bit of a rush to get things organised, and secondly it has to fit in between existing commitments, hence the tight schedule. So unfortunately smartcookie, we've already booked all but the Napa/Sonoma accommodation, otherwise I'd be keen to consider your suggestion about Santa Barbara.
Will have a look at Hotwire/Priceline, thanks (and also Petaluma/Healdsburg!).
Mar 30, 2010 10:02 AM
Mar 30, 2010 10:35 AM
12On Thursday Nights, they close down Higuera Street, the main drag. It's part farmers market, part craft fair, part music fest. There are all sorts of food stalls, including local barbecue. Or try the Big Sky Cafe.
If you want to sound like a local, the street is pronounced high-GAIR-uh (Gair ryhmes with fair). The town in San Loo-is, not San Loo-ee.
There are a number of world class wineries in the SLO area.
Mar 30, 2010 1:37 PM
13You can get into the many tasting rooms and shops of wineries in Napa, and elsewhere, for free, but to get beyond there-- any tours-- there's a good chance you'll hve to pay. Best to do some research on various wineries in different areas. For some, wineries around Monterey would suffice, and you'll already be there, while for others going to Napa would, for whateveer reason, be worth it. There are, of course wineries in areas south of Big Sur, such as Paso Robles, Solvang, Santa Barbara, etc., even down in Temecula near L.A., but I don't see that you were planning on going that far south (though it would be worthwhile). If you're going to Napa because you really want to see specific wineries there, great. If you're planning on it because that's the one wine area you've heard of, it's just good to be aware of other options, including some that are less crowded and expensive than Napa. I lived in Sacramento for several years. I personally preferred the smaller wineries in the Sierra foothills, but if you've never been to a winery I can well understand going to one of the other places. Do keep in mind that after several tastes your taste buds are dulled and if you're driving you need to be careful to avoid a DUI ticket. You don't have to complete your wine education on one winery tour, of course. There are lots of wine bars in San Francisco. Education is a never-ending quest.
Mar 30, 2010 2:01 PM
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