Dining and resting your head in San Francisco with kids
After 3 full days in San Francisco with our 10 yr old, Bo, I feel like I should recap some of the eating, sleeping, and getting there parts.
Getting to San Francisco from the middle of the country always means flying in. I tried to have as little cash layout for this trip as I could. Domestically, that means Southwest for us. This time, the best points choices and travel time meant flying into Oakland, which I had never done before. I knew we were not going to rent a car, so flying into Oakland, meant a little more of an expense for airport transfers. I did like that I had several flying options to head into the bay area. You can always check out this handy site for alternate airports when planning your travel.
One of my favorite bloggers, Johnny Jet, had mentioned the use of the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), to get into San Francisco. In order to save a little money, we tried it. By the time we got to our hotel, I felt like we had been in that movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t try it again. The cost savings was not enough to justify the hassle. It might be worth it for one person, and not traveling with children.
We rested our heads at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a great location two blocks off of the busy wharf area. I used points for a 4 night stay, so it was free for us! We didn’t spend much time in the room, although it was nice, the location relative to the activities we had planned was the most important factor. In the past, I have also stayed in the Union Square area, but near the wharf seemed the best with Bo, in tow.
Dining with a 10 yr old sometimes meant that when he was hungry, we found something. We don’t have In n’ Out burgers where we live, so even though some foodies may balk, we try to eat at one on travels when we can. There is one right on the Wharf, close to the north end.
The Blue Mermaid is a retaurant on the wharf that is actually connected to the Hotel Argonaut. Hubby and I stayed at this property on a couples trip earlier this year, and loved it. Let me just say that I am not a clam chowder fan. I haven’t put a taste of it in my mouth since I was 8. But I tried Hubby’s at the Blue Mermaid and was hooked. Their award winning chowder, is the only chowder I will eat in this world. Their kids menu had some great choices too. I have amazingly always had great experiences at the restaurants attached to the Kimpton Hotels that I have stayed in.
Another eatery, Boudin Bakery is an institution in itself in San Francisco for their Sourdough Bread. The location on the wharf has a quick service counter restaurant, as well as a full service bistro upstairs. Although Hubby has devoured their clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl in their quick service restaurant many times before, we decided to eat at the bistro with Bo. I was quite glad we did, as the menu is more extensive. Not to mention the views from the second story windows out into the bay are pretty good too. I made reservations through Open Table, but you could walk up easily the day we visited. The fish tacos with homemade sourdough tortillas were awesome. The tortillas were paper thin, just like I like them. Bo had a giant tower of fish and chips that were quite tasty too.
No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to Ghiradelli. It is not a working factory anymore, and just like the stores in other cities. They do have small display area about how chocolate is made, with some old machines, but it is rather unimpressive. The location is just past the northwest end of the wharf, so it was more about convenience than anything else. Hubby still dreams about the brownie fudge sunday to this day. Bo negotiated ice cream for dinner the night of our adventurous 13 mile bike ride. We’d earned it, right? They even have a small store attached so that we could purchase some chocolates for his brothers that stayed home.
We also ate at Knuckles, the restaurant attached to the Hyatt. While I wouldn’t seek this restaurant out, it was good enough for a quick breakfast, or late dinner if we were too tired or time pressed to head out somewhere else.
Our restaurant planning on trips is usually pretty minimal. There might be one or two places in a long weekend that we have on our radar to stop by or actually make reservations. This trip was about Bo, and having a trip alone with Mom and Dad. The activities came first on our priority list. One thing is for sure, we couldn’t have visited these places or restaurants at home.