Friday, August 15, 2014

The Summer of Loving... San Francisco

The ding of the cable car is in the air, the ding of the cable car cuts through the morning fog... Where else can you be-- none other than in the city by the Bay, the city of  San Francisco.  This is a resilient community that has bounced back from natural disasters and persevered through cultural clashes that have defined a nation.

It's a diverse municipality where each neighborhood is more authentic and distinctive than the one that preceded it. Any trip to San Francisco is guaranteed to be a thrilling mix of incomparable dining, activities and nightlife that will easily occupy each day of your vacation.

We are all aware of San Francisco's trademark attractions, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the brooding prison Island of Alcatraz and of course Chinatown--to mention a scant few. But be sure to bring along some bread and we're not talking the sourdough variety, because they have plenty of that.... Trust me you'll need it for this memorable of a vacation.


Getting to downtown San Francisco has never been easier on the Bay Area's subway system. Out of the Airport, simply hop on the Air Tram to the International Gate-- there you will find the entrance way to the city's rapid transit system.  A nominal $8.65 per person will secure passage directly into the downtown hotel district.

At times, the wheels get mightily squeaky and loud on the Bart Tram, so bring along your favorite MP3 outfitted with noise cancelling ear buds... and as an added bonus they will assist in you avoiding eye contact with several of the subway's, let us say,  more colorful characters.
Union Square

Suffice to say that in San Francisco, you have several options of where to stay... My favorite being Union Square, which is centrally located and loaded with inexpensive transportation options that will allow you to navigate the city like a breeze.

'All Pleasure'
Where else would you pamper and indulge your awesomeness in San Francisco than with a stay at the Hotel Diva? Pamper yourself in a discreet room that marries the Old San Francisco with a stylish,  new contemporary vibe.

Actually the Hotel Diva is only one of three 'Personality Properties' located in the posh Union Square district.  These hotel's set themselves apart with clean paint schematics, vaulted ceilings and a good flow. Personality Properties' Kensington Park Hotel offers up European styling-- a tight yet efficient use of space... you also will appreciate the crisp bay breeze cascading through the room's open windows.

Hotel Union Square-- is steps from the upscale department stores, and  their rooms are surprisingly quiet considering the bustle of foot traffic on the street below. If Hotel Diva has no vacancy, feel comfortable opting with one of these other sister properties for an escape to remember.
'All Business'
On a  tight schedule? In town on an assignment? Looking for a consistent room product  with a trusted hotel brand that is detail driven and run by a skillful management team? Look no further than the Parc 55 Wyndham smack dab at the core of Union Square.

This is easily one of the Union Square's largest hotel's boasting 1024 rooms and seemingly hundred's of stories tall . When you are this high above the fray-- each room's  large Bay windows will translate into grand, sweeping views of the city below-- Their full size room combine a no frills style with a straightforward design. 
With over 30,000 sq feet of meeting room space, and a fitness center that overlooks Union Square this is a great option for large groups and business minded traveler.

Dine About Town

When in the City by the Bay don't toss away your hard earned dining budget on a quick bite at a greasy spoon restaurant... Make sure to hit each one of these standouts-- you can't go wrong, and you'll understand why San Francisco is world renowned for their cuisine.

Historic John's Grill-- Their signature clam chowder is considered the tops in all of San Francisco. With some of the most succulent and mouthwatering steaks around-- Historic John's is not the place to be starting a vegan diet. This three story dining landmark even served as inspiration for Daschle Hemet's, The Maltese Falcon--
Parallel 37 Restaurant-- Tucked inside the swanky Ritz Carlton Nob Hill this fine dining gem is famous for its art deco setting and ever pleasing cocktails-- Their standout chef outduels the rest with creative offerings and cuisine of great finesse.   
Piperade-- 'Movers and shakers' come together in this financial district dining hotspot. Snap a great photo of the Transamerica building-- be sure to stop by the Financial district for dinner at Piperade.

Bix Restaurant-- This dining establishment harkens back to when the nights smoldered and jazz was in full swing. One of the city's best for crab cakes, hand-cut steaks and old fashioned cocktails. Also, featuring exemplary service where the water glass never reaches-- half full.   
Palio d'Asti-- The next best thing to having visit Italy. The wood fired pizza here is delicious and the Italian entrĂ©es -- top notch. Affordable, busy, and a great atmosphere set this trattoria apart. Service tends to be on the slow side but the food is worth the wait.   
Urban Tavern-- Attentive service is the benchmark for an outstanding dining experience at this centrally located establishment. Their crispy battered Fish & Chips are the perfect lunch option and explode with tasty delight.
Fog Harbor Fish House  One of the great fish houses in San Francisco with a breathtaking view of the Bay. Featuring fresh caught Alaskan Halibut, Sea Bass and mouth-watering Prime Rib their menu will offer something for everyone… Set in a casual Pier 39 environment.
Fog City-- Enjoy their laid back morning vibe for an incredible Sunday Brunch-- Featuring succulent French Toast and a signature Bloody Mary that is a meal all unto itself-- Don't forget their patented doughnuts and homemade ice cream.
Definitely Do:
Beach Blanket Babylon-- Club Fugazi hosts this over the top cast of bubbly and spirited characters. Even the Queen of England and Prince Charles have taken in this mad capped musical revue during their San Francisco stay.
Tower Tours Wine Country-- This exceptionally picturesque and guided drive into Wine Country is a sure bet for the avid wine enthusiast. Tour historic wineries and snap the quintessential photo of a California vineyard that is suitable for framing. When visiting the Napa Valley-- if you've quit drinking... let's be honest-- it's a good time to start back.

Adventure Cat-- Choose this Sailing Crew for a wild evening of raucous fun and dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Gale force winds tousle the hair and the sea splash will  invigorate your core. However, they do have an inside cabin for those wanting to remain warm and fuzzy.
Little Italy Walking Food Tour-- Sample the tastes, sights and sounds in this celebration of North Beach. Lead by a knowledgeable guy named Jimmy-- a wise guy-- who's to say? But I sure did laugh loudly at all of his jokes.   

Hornblower Dinner Cruise-- Hop aboard the San Francisco Belle for those wanting a tranquil, romantic and unforgettable dining cruise. Spectacular imagery awaits as you witness firsthand the evening fog that envelops the small town Sausalito.
Aquarium by the Bay-- Studies show when fish are in the tank-- there's a natural lowering of one's blood pressure... Just think how many points will drop when you take a 'Behind the Scenes tour' at this Pier39 mega-attraction.

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