View Full Version : California!

The Benniest
April 14th, 2009, 12:05 AM
In a little more than a week (the 23rd), I'll be flying out to California took stay with family and look at schools, sight-see, and search around. I'll be mostly in the San Francisco/Sacramento area, but have never been to Cali so I don't know what to expect.

Has anyone ever been out there? Opinions? What touristy and "good things to do" are there in that area?

Anything is welcomed and appreciated! Thanks!

April 14th, 2009, 01:09 AM
touristy....ride a cable car, walk across the golden gate bridge,
walk Height Ashbury, sit in Alamo Sq. and see the most photographed houses in the world,
spend some time in Golden Gate Park, Walk up to Sutro tower,
China town blows away the one in NY, you also Need to take a short detour to Sausalito,
wear layers -to put on and peal off- the weather changes morning noon and night-
and don't forget to drink Calistoga water while your there ;)
San Fran is also Lofters old stomp...

The Benniest
April 14th, 2009, 01:56 AM

Thanks for all the awesome tips! :)

April 14th, 2009, 11:05 AM
When I was growing up we used to refer to Sacramento as "Suck a tomato" :D

Visit the capital building and if you can take a boat ride on the Sacramento River (get out your atlas and study up before you go -- CA is big). Walnut Grove (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walnut_Grove,_California) (nearby on the river) is cool if you can go by boat. Also worth seeing is Locke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locke,_California), a teeny town near WG that sprung up in the early 1990s as a community for Chinese. Not sure if it is still there, but a restaurant in Locke known by the totally non-PC name "Sam the Wop (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/45972)" used to be reknowned. Other than moving through the Sac airport I've not been there in a lifetime -- but it's a city that's developed into the worst of California, with sprawl everywhere and no there there.

However, the coutryside outside of Sac is gorgeous this time of year. Drive to the west through the rolling hills (which now should be covered in poppies and mustard flowers with big oak trees here and there). it's a long drive (4-5 hours) to the coast, but the Mendocino area is jaw dropping amazing and the drive from there down to SF (if you go on the smaller to medium sized roads) is a great experience. The NoCal Pacific Coast Hiway is just one "Wow" after another.

In SF there are a gazillion things to do. Number one is Golden Gate Park. Great museums (most recently re-done and re-opened following retro-fitting/ redesigns needed after the Loma Prieta earthquake -- now 20 years past, but with lasting effect.) Also check out the ruins of Sutro Baths on a cliff above The Sea Cliff restaurant -- a great place for a bowl of chowder and a drink. Definitely walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (bring a windbreaker). Get on a boat -- SF is all about the ocean and the bay so do whatever you can to experience that. Rent a bike and ride along the Embarcadero from the Bay Bridge around the piers (this whole area was blocked off by the heinous Embarcadero Freeway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embarcadero_Freeway) when I was growing up / living in SF -- but the '89 earthquake did what everyone always hoped for and the hulk of concrete was brought down in the early 90s, opeing the whole edge of The City [SF is referred to as "The City" by everybody] to the wharves and Bay. Continue on past Fisherman's Wharf and over to the Marina and the Golden Gate area. Go to Sausalito (but NOT on the weekend). I used to ride my bike up and down the hills but I was young and crazy then. Beter way to go: Cable car (rdie on the outside); it used to cost a quarter, but now it's probably many bucks. Still, it's worth it (you could do that all day). Crooked old Lombard Street is OK -- everyone seems to feel the need to see it but walk it, don't drive it. But better for views is Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower. The City Hall area is somewhat scuzzy but the buildings there are great examples of Beaux Arte design. Go to the Mission and walk around for a completely different experience. The Haight has some historical value but is an entirely different place than it used to be now that it's been gentrified (although you'll still see folks looking for spare change -- and might even be able to find a Free Clinic should it be needed :cool:). Finally: The Castro Theater at Castro and Market for great film viewing.

Public transportation in SF is great. Don't even think about driving around much. You'll get lost and traffic / parking is horrendous during the day. BART will take you all over -- take the 20 minute ride to Berkeley and stroll around the UC campus for a nice University experience.

Northern California is great. Enjoy it.