View Full Version : Going to San Francisco with DH and Lexie

10-04-2007, 12:36 PM
DH has a conference in San Francisco next week, so Lexie and I are tagging along. We are staying in Union Square. I have never been before and am trying to figure out what I want to do, and what will be fun/safe to do with an 11mos old companion (DH will be busy most of the day since he is presenting and has a poster too). Any suggestions? What is the weather typically like in mid-October? What should I wear? Remember, I am fashion-challenged. Are jeans ok? Or do I need to be "dressier" to be out and about. What about dinner attire? Good places to eat/visit/shop, etc in/within walking distance of Union Square (we won't have a car)? I know our hotel is across the street from Macy's, but other than that, I don't know much.

Thanks guys!

Mom to Carter ~ 05.13.03
Madigan ~ 09.28.04
Natalie ~ 09.17.05 (born at 25 weeks!!)
Alexa ~ 11.03.06

10-04-2007, 04:39 PM
Occasional SF visitor (with family in Oakland)...

Anytime of the year you will want to wear layers! Jeans are fine, imo, for most everything. It's a pretty casual city. Sure, you could step it up a notch and fit in but I don't think you have to. :)

There's lots of shopping to do in Union Square. Your hotel will probably have a map of where all the stores are. I really like the Westfield San Francisco center at 865 Market St. It's a pretty basic mall with mainstream stores (Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, H&M, Barnes&Noble,...) It is a nice place to catch lunch too. They have 2 separate food courts. One is your standard mall fare and one is so much better! Just take a walk around and I am sure you will find something that appeals to you like crepes, Vietnamese, pasta...

The Sony Metreon used to have fun kid activities but I don't know what they have nowadays. Good food court but a lot like the one above.

There is a lot of public transportation and it is pretty easy to catch a taxi (or get one called for you) so feel free to venture away from Union Square.

You can head to the Exploratorium. I haven't been there in years but I think people on here have recommended it in the past for families.

She might be a little young for the playground at Golden Gate Park. We went in the entrance at the end of Haight street and walked just a few minutes to a really fun playground. It might be worth checking out though.

I really liked eating at the Beach Chalet and Park Chalet Restaurant. It's right across the street from the beach so it has a nice atmosphere. You'll probably need to take a taxi there. They should be able to arrange that for you though. The food isn't very exciting but fine.

Here's a link called "Fun things to do with kids in SF"

If you will be there over a Saturday go to the Embarcadaro for their farmers' market. Yummy samples and lots of good things to buy! Word of warning- use the bathroom before you get there! There was a huge line when we were there in August- like a 20+ minute line!

Fisherman's Wharf always works as a tourist destination. Get some chocolate at Ghirardelli and enjoy a stroll to see the sea lions.

I love SF. :) I wish I had some more advice. It's just been a while since I have really been there and could explore.


10-04-2007, 05:41 PM
No advice for you, but I just wanted to tell you I hope you have fun! Sounds like a great trip :)

10-04-2007, 06:21 PM
What fun!

For restaurants, try Scala's, which is right around the corner from Union Square on Powell Street (walk uphill from the square). Yummy. http://www.scalasbistro.com/ If you like Chinese food, pretty much anything in Chinatown is going to be good.

There's so much shopping within 10 blocks of Union Square that you're sure to find something to strike your fancy. I lived in the area when I was an impoverished grad student, so I didn't do much more than press my nose against storefront glass. But literally, there's everything from Loehmanns to a Chanel boutique around there.

Weather 50s-60s, (?) probably sunny rather than rainy. But it can change from moment to moment, so be prepared. Layering is a must. Jeans are fine, esp. with a turtleneck or t-shirt and jacket.

I'm sorry, I'm wracking my brain for more specifics, but it's been so long (and was pre-baby) that my memory fails me.

Have a great time!

10-04-2007, 10:41 PM
Also in the immediate walking area is Yerba Buena gardens, which has a carousel, ice skating and bowling. When DC was very little we rode together on the carousel, and watched the ice skaters. DC loved it.

Near to that is the temporary Aquarium. I would use the Baby Bjorn so all the tanks could be easily seen by both of us and DC loved looking at the fish. The hotel concierge can give you precise directions, but these places are just south of the Metreon.

Have a great trip!

10-04-2007, 11:43 PM

San Francisco is walkable if you don't mind huffing up and down hills. DH and I once walked home from the Embarcadero to our flat in Potrero Hill; it only took us about 45 minutes. There is tons of shopping and restaurants near Union Square. Other than shopping and eating, definitely spend time walking around the city -- there are so many interesting walks and destinations: Coit Tower (has cool WPA murals on inside), Fort Mason (right on water, goes under GG Bridge), Sutro Baths (in outer Richmond, right on water on the ocean side, quite windy and foggy), the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, Pac Heights, Chinatown, Nob Hill, Alamo Square (this is a park, and is the classic view of SF with the "painted ladies"), Japantown, Noe Valley (a few kid boutiques here). With a small baby, I'd avoid the Mission, the Tenderloin (watch out - it's west of Union Square) and the Haight, but other than that, there aren't too many neighborhoods that you'd have direct access to that would be dangerous, boring or simply inappropriate (the Haight is dirty and lots of street urchins on weekends). I'm not a fan of Fisherman's Wharf/Ghiardelli Square in general because it's a big tourist trap -- but there are 2 redeeming things about the area -- the Buena Vista for an Irish coffee and a great view (all bars/restaurants are non-smoking in CA), you can take the historic cable car over there, and In & Out (great fresh burgers and fries!). When we lived there, DH and I did a bunch of the National Historic Trust San Francisco Guide self-guided walks.

The weather in mid-October is actually pretty warm in the city. As I recall, October is like summer in the rest of the country. At least during the day. It will be foggy in the early morning and may be chilly; it will also be chilly in the evening. But the cardinal rule of SF is wear layers! Jeans are fine. It really is not a dressy-dressy town. For as many highly rated restaurants as SF has, I remember being surprised by how few of them were really dressy. Dinner attire is not as important as dinner time, IMO. The only people ever eating at restaurants before 7 p.m. were out-of-towners. Man, what a shock it was to move to the midwest, have kids and have the latest dinner time be 6 p.m. -- we used to eat at 8 p.m. or later.

DH was just in the SF Bay area last week. He came back recharged and now I have a huge itch to go back for a visit.

10-05-2007, 08:01 AM
WOW! Thanks guys. I knew that your firsthand advice would be much better than I could find in a guide book. I am getting very excited.

A few questions - are there any areas I should avoid, or is it all pretty safe during the day? I will be by myself with Lexie most of the time.

Also, as far as "transportation" I am bringing my e3. Lex is just way too heavy to haul around in the Bjorn. I do have a sling that SASM just convinced me to buy, but I am still not super adept at using it, although I will bring it. If I am going somewhere out of walking distance (more than 1-2 miles) should I call a cab (but then I need a car seat)? We ARE bringing the car seat - not sure if we will bring the Key Fit or roundabout. Use the BART (are strollers ok)?? What about the cable cars - can I use the stroller on that? I have never been in a big city with kids before, let alone without another adult.

Thanks so much for all your help so far.

Mom to Carter ~ 05.13.03
Madigan ~ 09.28.04
Natalie ~ 09.17.05 (born at 25 weeks!!)
Alexa ~ 11.03.06

10-05-2007, 09:03 AM
I feel pretty safe just about anywhere in SF by following my inner voice. I will cross the street, hop into a store or something if I have any doubts on a person or situation. I personally do not have a problem with Haight St. (except that there is nothing there that I want to buy, see or do :)).

On BART I think if you just fold up the stroller you should be fine. Not sure you even have to do that. The cable cars are really small and often crowded (well, depending on the line and time of day/ day of the week) sO I would not take a stroller unless you can easily fold it.


10-05-2007, 03:07 PM
The PPs all mentioned lots of great tips. I agree with all of them, and I've learned from them, too. I've lived in SF all my life, but sometimes I forget about all the things the city has to offer. I don't think anyone mentioned the zoo, so I'll add that. You can take the L Taraval MUNI from Powell Station (the one close to Union Square)all the way to the end of the line. From there it is a short walk to the zoo. I think you can even get a discount on your zoo ticket if you have a MUNI transfer.
You'll definitely want to bring the stroller with you everywhere you go. Unfortunately, MUNI is not stroller friendly. You are supposed to fold the stroller up and hold your child. This is especially difficult when you are trying to get on the bus and pay your $1.50. All MUNI stations have elevators, but I avoid them at all costs. The smell of urine is overwhelming and you never know what kind of characters are hanging out in them.
If you plan on going to the Asian Art Museum or the Main Library (both are at Civic Center), do not walk. It is a very short distance form your hotel, but the walk through the Tenderloin is NOT safe. Staying on Market Street for that walk is not safe either. Market Street east of Powell is fine (that's the touristy area).
As for clothes, jeans are fine. Definitely dress in layers, as PPs mentioned. Today the sun is out and it is beautiful, but very cold. Usually October is warm, but then we have chilly days like today. By the way, very cold here is 55-65 degrees. Warm is 65-72 degrees, hot is 73-85 degrees and anything over 85 is the top story on the news and everyone talks about the extreme heat as if they're going to die from it.

I hope you have a wonderful time in San Francisco. Please feel free to PM me if you need any other information.

10-06-2007, 10:24 AM
Hi you,

Your trip sounds like such a fun little adventure! Don't forget the Benedryl and Tylenol for the plane ;) ~ that is, if the Benedryl doesn't make Lexie hyper, like B.

I wanted to throw in a restaurant idea: The Stinking Rose ~ http://www.thestinkingrose.com/. It is a restaurant with a menu that revolves around GARLIC! Believe it or not, I actually liked the garlic ice cream with caramel sauce. :) I mean, anything tastes great with caramel, right? You can probably get a better quality meal elsewhere but it is all about the experience, right? :) Obviously, do it on the last night. ;)

As for the Comfy Joey, start trying it out with Lexie in the hip carry this week to get her used to it. I would try to avoid bringing your e3, as that thing is a BEAR to haul around folded (think buses, trollies, BART, small shoppes, etc). I would just buy a small umbrella stroller that you can toss at the end of your trip if you want, or look on Craigslist or stroller swap for a used Mac Quest or something along those lines. You can probably get a pretty good deal on there.

HUGE hugs and good luck!! Have a blast!!!!

ETA: link