Vacation destinations fall squarely in one of two “life’s checklist” categories for me:
1. A place that is a “must see once”
2. A place that feeds the soul and is a “must see often”
I spent a few days as a tourist in San Francisco with my daughter & husband this week. While the visit was interesting and we have a handful of happy photos, San Francisco is a category 1 destination for me.
There is so much to do as a tourist (and we managed to do almost all of them during our 4 day visit): Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, China Town, San Francisco Zoo, Palace of Fine Arts, Exploratorium, The Aquarium of the Bay, Sausalito, Union Square, and of course…Alcatraz.
The Zoo, Palace of Fine Arts, & Alcatraz are incredible. The zoo has clearly been recently renovated…Rich has a good summary about a recent visit. The Palace of Fine Arts is stunning…the Exploratorium Science Museum is at the same location. My daughter (a science fan) loved it. Alcatraz is quite interesting…the views are phenomenal.
The Wharf area was a bit of a turn off…didn’t so much enjoy the cheezy, guerilla warfare Disney-like marketing of tourist crap. And I really, *really* despised the fact that timeshare marketing companies had significantly contributed to a sell-out of Alcatraz tickets during our stay so we had to listen to their lame schpiel to get tickets. I did feel somewhat vindicated as I successfully navigated the schpiel with an “I’m a sucker who’s oh so interested and can’t wait to plunk down my credit card” facade only to reveal the “give me my [*******] Alcatraz tickets now” close.
The best part of the visit was a fantastic, fog-less Independence Day fireworks display over the bay…a rare occurance from what Quoc and Kathy tell me.