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Author: Subject: Suggestions for Northern Cali trip?

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  posted on 9/24/2017 at 06:43 PM
I fly into San Francisco and have 10 days to bum around Northern California. Was hoping to check out a show at the Fillmore or find a place for great live music. If anybody knows the area and has any ideas I'm all ears. My wife has never been to California. We have the red woods and napa valley on the list so far.

[Edited on 9/24/2017 by thresher]

 
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  posted on 9/24/2017 at 07:10 PM
Can potentially catch Damien Marley at the Fillmore the night before I fly back but a $35 ticket cost $150 after fees on Ticketmaster. $150 is pretty steep for Damien Marley but everything seems to cost far more than average in San Francisco.
 

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  posted on 9/24/2017 at 08:45 PM
I"d say....try picking up tickets outside the venue for cheap. It's Damien Marley. He might not sell out. If ya can't get in, go to a great restaurant and have a wonderful night out.

If you are in N Cal and have road trip time, Go to Mt Shasta. Or even better, drive some of the coast highway. Spend a couple days in Wine Country, it's gorgeous, yah, But whatever else you do, try to spend a night somewhere nice on the coast. You won't regret it.

PS people who live here call it Cal. Cali is for tourists.

 

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  posted on 9/24/2017 at 09:53 PM
Here are some of my SF picks from when I used to get there for work a few times a year - have s great trip!


The Saloon is a Dive Bar, but you can catch some good live music and fun here - but it is a dive:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/kjxNhdqxIG

Biscuits & Blues is a decent Blues Bar/ Restarant like a B.B. Kings:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/yLzKNzixIG

Balboa Cafe is another good bar and restaurant near the Marina:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/bvKGF38wIG

Farallon is an upscale seafood restaurant in a very cool designed room:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/kjxNhdqxIG

The Fly Trap is another nice restaurant in the SOMA neighborhood
https://yelp.to/qTKq/kjxNhdqxIG

Magnolia Pub in The Haight is good for food and drink near Haight Asbury:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/ZRxj42YwIG

[Edited on 9/25/2017 by mikesolo]

[Edited on 9/25/2017 by mikesolo]

 

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  posted on 9/25/2017 at 01:39 PM
i'd not hassle with a car during your time in SF, too much of a pain to park, and the hotel will charge you a daily parking fee as well. there's spots in SF to pick one up and drop off.

10 days gives you a good bit of time in 3-4 places. don't run all over trying to see everything, as there will be so many interesting finds that are not on your list of to-do's wherever you go.

here's some info on a couple of my fav's North of SF to visit while out there (some of this is from an email i sent recently to a friend headed that way, so if the flow is weird...):

Muir Woods is the obvious choice for big trees north of SF. great place.

since you'll be in Napa area at some point, i'd suggest taking the Oakville Grade road north of Napa in Oakville. It goes up and over the mtns, dropping into Sonoma Valley. Great drive on a twisty road. Sonoma is very different vibe than Napa. if you can, goto the Jack London State Park in Sonoma. The hike up to his lake / reservoir is neat, and the museum has a bunch things he brought back from his world travels. You can do this on the way to or from the coast if you like. the ruins of his old house were ok, but i liked the hike to the reservoir better.

We really enjoyed Point Reyes National Seashore. If you only have one day or part of a day to explore here, goto to Limantour Beach. that drive and area are AWESOME. great for one day trip to see all the different types of scenery, forest & open places, and great beach.

There isn't really a place to stay on the Pacific near Point Reyes, but you can stay just off the peninsula, and on Tomales Bay:
We stayed at the Point Reyes Station Inn, which is just outside of Pt. Reyes, and was new and decently priced.
http://www.pointreyesstationinn.com/

http://www.ptreyes.com/ covers most of the options for lodging near pt. reyes, and has some info on the area.

Go a bit north of Pt. Reyes, there is Bodega Bay (town where Hitchcock's The Birds was partially filmed) and then up towards Jenner.

we stayed on the cliffs at the Timber Cove “Resort”, but apparently they are now asking 350+ a nite, so don’t think it’s worth it there. It would be a good place to visit for lunch or dinner and walk around the grounds, and see the totem pole and cliffs.

There’s another interesting option in Jenner, CA, Fort Ross Lodge is decently priced & is near a couple cool state parks, Salt Point State Park & Fort Ross SP, and near the Russian river area as well, with some beer & wineries.

If you were to go south of SF, drive down the coast to Santa Cruz / Capitola. Then to Monterey / Carmel, and a bit further to Big Sur. Once you drive a couple miles south of Pebble Beach and towards Big Sur, it's a whole other world down there. I'd be happy to give some info on that as well.

SF to Big Sur to Napa (or whatever your combo) to airport is quite a bit of a drive, so focused on the north of SF stuff.

EAPFNor.Cal




 

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  posted on 9/25/2017 at 03:00 PM
I drove up to Mendecino from SF. Drove through Sonoma wine country then cut across Anderson Valley to the ocean. Pretty good wine in Anderson as well. Great drive and Mendecino is interesting to say the least. Some great galleries, B&Bs and scenery. Interesting people as well.
 

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  posted on 9/25/2017 at 05:18 PM
San Francisco is the best !

Numero Uno - leave your car at a park and ride outside of San Francisco and take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), or you will spend FOREVER trying to park, often with no luck at all. That, or pay for a decent hotel in town that offers parking, so you can leave your car and explore town on foot and bus. Believe me, it can piss you off to the point where your day is shot to hell for real. SF really you can walk everywhere in the downtown tourist areas.

Went down to the Fillmore to catch Hot Tuna last winter, stayed in a great Japanese hotel a couple blocks from the Fillmore in JapanTown, 150 for a night, http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/california/san-francisco-hotels/hotel-kabuk i/ , has parking, and next to a great Japanese indoor mall, Japan Center, a tourist destination in itself. All kinds of great food, a fantastic bakery (western style), neat shops. https://japancentersf.com/

If you haven't been to SF you Gotta check out Chinatown! It's the real thing. San Francisco is a fantastic place to be a happy tourist, do the cable car, seafood at Fisherman's Wharf and walk aboard the big WW2 sub there, walk across the Golden Gate bridge, to the Golden Gate Natl Seashore area, it's really boss.

Worth a stroll around Haight Ashbury, to admire the renovated Victorian houses, Golden Gate Park,, the Japanese Tea Garden there is great. The boat to Alcatraz is a fun day outing.

A great little venue in Berkely called Freight and Salvage, you can catch Sarah Jarosz Oct 10, if can't get tix she is also playing Oct 9 just north of SF in Mill Valley at the Sweetwater Music Hall.

I would like to check out Phil Lesh's Terrapin restaurant in San Rafael, just across the Golden Gate Bridge, apparently he plays there randomly a lot with his Terrapin band.

All of the above posts are right on, couple nights on the coast, real nice. warning if you come from somewhere where you actually get somewhere in a couple hours driving - you can burn all day in the car out here, so plan with time and distance in mind.

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 09:05 AM
As someone mentioned Mendocino is a lot of fun. We actually rented a canoe on a river there if you like that sort of stuff

Muir Woods is the closest place to experience the Redwoods - the real giant ones are a few hrs north

And if you are heading to Carmel/Big Sur make sure the roads are operational as they got washed out last year. The restaurant Nepenthe is totally overpriced but has the most incredible views in the world

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 01:03 PM
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the greatest free concert in the universe, returns to Golden Gate Park 10/6-8 according to the internet. driving up to twin peaks gets you a nice view of the city. I always liked the drive up to the top of mt tamalpais (mt tam) and I liked visiting berkeley until I got an undeserved parking ticket there & swore I would never go back and I haven't. if you get out of the city be sure to watch the gas gauge, some of these northern calif. areas get pretty remote. here's the camera at nepenthe, but it gets fogged in a lot around the coast.

https://www.nepenthe.com/live-weather-cam/



[Edited on 9/26/2017 by patrickcrenshaw]

 
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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 01:47 PM
Hardly Strictly is a lot of fun, but be prepared for Woodstock crowds and traffic. BART and a bicycle is the way to go. Don't know how far north to the Redwoods you're going but one of the most mystical places I've ever experienced is Lady Bird Johnson Grove north of Eureka about 40 miles. You walk past redwoods that fell before Columbus arrived, Jurassic fern groves.

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 06:22 PM
quote:

If you were to go south of SF, drive down the coast to Santa Cruz / Capitola. Then to Monterey / Carmel, and a bit further to Big Sur. Once you drive a couple miles south of Pebble Beach and towards Big Sur, it's a whole other world down there. I'd be happy to give some info on that as well.


Highway One through Big Sur has been closed since our massive rainstorms/slides throughout last winter. I believe they have opened a one lane access road but that may be for locals only............if you're not, I really doubt you could get through. It was really, really bad...........the aerial photographs of the slide just left you astonished at how much earth actually moved. I've lived in the Bay area for 32 years now. We don't get snow or ice or hurricanes. But when it rains........man, it can REALLY rain. And last winter was by far the worst in my time here.

If you're in San Francisco as mentioned yes I would recommend The Fillmore..............what they did with it when the remodeled it 30 years ago is just miraculous..........it's a classic room. Be sure and go upstairs at the back of the building to the huge lounge. Posters of bands who have played there going back to the mid-sixties.............photos galore of 60's San Francisco bands........Grateful Dead, Big Brother and The Holding Company (w/ Janis), Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service. And there will always be an acoustic solo or duo artist playing live there in the lounge and it's always quite good.

I can honestly say having been going to The Fillmore for 20 years now that performers get pumped when they walk out on that stage. I saw Gregg there solo 3 or 4 times and he was always brilliant. Tom Petty, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jimmy Cliff, The Black Crowes, Steve Earle, Gov't Mule (4 or 5 times at least), Los Lobos (several times), Les Claypool, Drive-By Truckers, Rickie Lee Jones. The Petty show was in '97 when he did a run of 20 nights there.

For eats I'm going to recommend a very non-touristy place right on the corner of Geary and Van Ness: "Tommy's". It's cafeteria style, you go up to a counter full of yummy selections and make your choice. You will not believe what you can get for around NINE dollars and since it is self-serve there is virtually no tip involved unless you order a drink from the waitress. I recommend the turkey leg........HUGE, and loaded with yummy and very fatty gravy (the way I like it). Or tell them "no gravy" if you prefer. You get dressing and a roll on the side included with that. And if you order a salad or another side, add in an ice tea from the waitress and you'll still get out of there for $15 per person. And you will have eaten SO much that you can't believe you paid around $15 for that........in San Francisco? REALLY? Great roast beef and ham as well and some of their salads and side dishes are just to die for.

As mentioned there is virtually no tip @ Tommy's..........but you may want to leave something in the jar by the register. If you are driving, CHECK THE PARKING SIGNS AT CURBSIDE. In San Francisco they love to tow illegal parkers, that's how they balance their budget.




[Edited on 9/27/2017 by robslob]

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 06:51 PM
Also if you want to go 50 miles south of San Francisco to San Jose The Poor House Bistro is a really cool place, www.poorhousebistro.com.

Live music is early every night.........6:00 - 10:00 PM. There is a roof on it but the side is open air and there are residences in the neighborhood. That's why the early curfew. But if you're on vacation, easy to get there early. Don't leave San Francisco to go to San Jose on any weeknight after 3:00 PM; you will get caught in a horrible mess of traffic.

Poor House Bistro features GREAT live blues and R&B seven nights a week although Sunday shows start earlier. The menu is authentic Cajun. I recommend the barbequed shrimp poorboy sandwich. Lots of spicy cajun sauce, just delicious. You can get gumbo, jambalaya, etc.

There is no cover at Poorhouse Bistro but tip the staff and definitely tip the band, they depend on that income.

Here's another tip: Check out the Redwood City Blues Jam, any Wednesday night, at Club Fox in Redwood City. Another early start time, 7:15. There is a featured artist every week and they will open the show with a one hour set. Then there is a blues jam and you must be a somewhat accomplished player just to get up there. Vince Caminiti runs the jam, plays guitar during the jam set every week, and is very picky about who he lets up on that stage. After a jam set from 8:15 to 9:45 the house band will get up again and do another hour. It's really a great scene and features monster Bay area talent EVERY week. The cover? An entire SEVEN dollars. That money goes to the house for overhead. Again, tip the band, that is their only source of income.

Redwood City is only 25 miles south of San Francisco. Club Fox is right downtown on Broadway. PLENTY of good eats in the surrounding blocks and downtown Redwood City is REALLY nice. You can get a big slice of pizza, a big salad and a fountain drink for $8.00 right around the corner from Club Fox at Pizza My Heart. www.clubfoxrwc.com


[Edited on 9/27/2017 by robslob]

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 06:55 PM
Pt. Reyes
Walk across the Golden Gate
Eat anywhere in the City
Napa/Sonoma/ Russian River/Dry Creek/ Carneros
Muir Woods
Fort Ross
Bodega Bay
Santa Cruz

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 08:35 PM
Thank you guys for the all suggestions. Precisely the info I was looking for. Figured I'll do two nights in San Fran and then head south to Santana Cruz/Monteray area for a night or two. I have two nights for a wedding in Lincoln and I have another 5-6 days to travel around. After Lincoln I wanted to head to Mendocino and visit areas up the coast to around eureka.

The hotel costs, especially in San Francisco, was pretty shocking. Looks like I'm going to Air B&B this whole trip. I think I can buy tickets at the Filmore and possibly avoid some Ticketmaster charges. So I'm gonna try to swing that Damien Marley show.

 

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  posted on 9/26/2017 at 11:10 PM
So I haven't heard anything in regards to Napa or Sonoma or these parts. Was wondering if I should skip this area and head straight to the coast?
 

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  posted on 9/27/2017 at 12:28 AM
Go to "Napa"! Napa valley for and Chard. Dry Creek appellation in Sonoma for Zinfandel, Russian River for Pinot Noir, Carneros as well for Pinot. Do not ride the wine train and try to spend no more than 45 minutes in each winery. Be prepared for the tasting room fees. Stay away from the "big" name places and turn left where you should have turned right, then go into the closest winery. Start in the town of Napa and drink your way up 29 towards Calistoga. Eat... anywhere . The wineries are open from 10-4... but Mumm is open 'til 5, you'll run into lots of people you met earlier because it's the last winery open.

Do it

 

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  posted on 9/27/2017 at 09:19 AM
Lots of great suggestions....I'm going to mention that Lincoln is on foothills of the Sierra's and you have to go through Sacramento to get there. So plan for some really bad traffic if you get there anytime in the mid afternoon. Going up Highway 80 from SF can be a very long ride to Lincoln. My suggestion would be leave after morning traffic app 10:30am and get through Sacramento early afternoon before all that traffic starts building up. Same on the way back down...you want to hit a window between 11AM and 2PM. Anytime before or after Highway 80 will be a parking lot until about 8PM...or go very early in the morning...like 5AM

Tommy's Joint get a +1 from me...

 

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  posted on 9/29/2017 at 05:32 AM
Perfect. Thank you guys so much! I planned this trip around much of the input I received from your posts and can hardly wait.
San Fran
Santa Cruz
Sacramento (very random suggestion from my wife)
Lincoln (for a wedding)
Sonoma
Mendocino
Arcata
San Fran (to catch Damien Marley at the Filmore on our last night. Using Air BnB the whole way through. We'll see how that goes. Was fun choosing places though.

Don't have too much experience with N Cal but I really love California. It's beautiful and the people are far friendlier than any place I've been to before. At least they were 20 years ago.

Thank you again.

 

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  posted on 10/1/2017 at 07:05 PM
Nobody's mentioned my faverate place in the Bay area, Sausalito. It's right after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Take the first right down to a Mediterranean type fishing village where the houseboats are.
 
 


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