San Francisco: A Pre-Holiday Gift

San Francisco was not in our plans.  We often fly to San Jose for the holidays to visit our daughters and their families.  We try to book our air flights in August or September when the prices are low.  This year we searched, and they were too high.  Wait.  They will go down.  When they were still high in November and it was time to book, we went into search mode.  If we booked a Wed., Dec 21 flight out and a Wed., Dec 28 flight back, we would reduce the fare substantially.

The girls were expecting us on Friday, so now we had a few days on our own.  San Francisco was the answer: great food, strolling through the city, museums, and a chance to rest before visiting with the 4 grandchildren (ages 5, 4, 3 and 2).  This was the perfect holiday gift to ourselves!

You should know we did not spend extravagantly. Our friend, Stephen, recommended Hotel Whitcomb.  It is historic, centrally located, has a beautiful lobby, and an excellent front desk staff.  The rooms were fine.  We booked their smallest room for $72/night.  When we checked in, they upgraded us to a king-size room for our original price.  Excellent!

We also save money on transportation by walking whenever possible.  So many neat things can be seen by strolling around, not to mention all the calories burned – essential to offset the fabulous meals.  Speaking of meals – we were ready with a list of places to go which included several inexpensive neighborhood bistros.

San Francisco: DAY 1

After a very early morning flight, we were checked into the hotel and ready to go by 11am.  Our destination: Golden Gate Park and the de Young Museum.  We had a beautiful sunny day and an easy hour’s walk to the Park. We spent a lot of time at the lake, bird watching, checking out the waterfall, and pagoda.  The trees were magnificent. Our map reading skills were totally off as we meandered though the eastern end of the park before accidentally walking by the de Young Museum!

Our first stop was its wonderful café.  Why can’t all museums have such a wonderful dining option?  Joe had a “preserved tuna and white bean” salad, and Beth had a smoked trout salad with dried fruit.  Fed and happy, we strolled into their special show of paintings from Venice.  It was good but not as satisfying to us as their regular collection.  So many treasures! A favorite was Grant Wood’s “Dinner for Threshers” .

After a rest back at the hotel, we walked to a lovely little neighborhood restaurant, Alamo Square Seafood Grill.  We sat by the window. Lights were twinkling, and we relaxed in the little cushioned alcove.  We chose a $14.50 3-course early meal that was just right for our first day in the city.

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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