Need help with trip to San Francisco - Mothering Forums
California, Nevada > Need help with trip to San Francisco
Husky359's Avatar Husky359 10:39 AM 04-22-2011

We are taking a trip to San Francisco next month, and up to Point Reyes and down to Santa Cruz.  But my questions are about SF.  My daughter will be 11 months and although I vowed to not hide to nurse this time (she's my 2nd), I have to or she gets too busy to nurse, even all day.  So where are good places to hide - we are doing Randall Museum, Cal Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, GG park, Presidio, Chinatown, Ferry Building Farmer's Market, Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf and a Bay cruise, the Carnavale festival, and possibly the Aquarium of the Bay if we have time.  So those are all the places we plan to be.  Any of them have nursing locations specifically?  If not, do any areas have a good place to hide and nurse?

 

I also need ideas on the hotel, and in addition to the below, I am considering Cow Hollow (??) or Travelodge by Presidio to be near the Presidio... I posted this on TripAdisor but need more advice:

 

We are finding some excellent prices for the hotels we are looking for, but now need help deciding. Because of the extra travels we are doing outside of SF, and some of the activities we will be doing while staying in SF, we would prefer to keep our rental car the whole time. We would like to do the Cal Academy of Sciences, Presidio, the Bay cruise, Exploratorium, GG park in general, Fisherman's Wharf area, Ferry building for the Farmer's Market - leaving from there Sat morning to the Carnavale festival, Chinatown, and possibly other things as they are able to fit in. We will also have our 3 year old son and 11 month old daughter with us. So, that said, here are our hotel choices:

 

 

Argonaut - $150 deluxe king, $45 for parking (I think)

 

Hotel del Sol - $142, king, free parking, light breakfast

 

Holiday Inn Express Fisherman's Wharf - $150, $44 for parking, continental breakfast

 

Radisson Fisherman's Wharf - $150, free parking

 

Hyatt Embarcadero - $150, $50 for parking

 

Westin - either, $172, don't know how much is parking

 

 

I know these are pretty decent rates on a holiday, and I am having a hard time choosing. I don't think the Westin is next to any areas we are extremely interested in, but Westin hotels are definitely nice! Hotel del Sol sounds really fun actually, but not in a great location, even for public transportation. Argonaut sounds cool, but we'd probably have to ditch the car, which we are leaning toward not doing. Hyatt sounds cool, too, and next to the Ferry building so we wouldn't have to get up so early Sat morning, but we'd still lose the car, and we aren't wanting to.

 

 

So, thoughts or opinions are appreciated!!!

 

 

Thanks!!!

 



allisf's Avatar allisf 03:51 PM 05-04-2011

I live in SF and have breastfed in all sorts of random places - people are in general very cool with it. I don't think you'll find a lot of nursing rooms per se (there is one at SFO, I know Nordstrom's has one in Union Square, you can definitely do it at Day One - not too far from Presidio - and Natural Resources in the Mission). Sounds like you just need to find a quiet place, which can be challenging somewhere like Chinatown. At the Cal Academy, there is a great playroom that your 3-year-old will enjoy (Little Explorer's Cove), and I've seen lots of moms nursing in there. It tends to get very crowded so going there as soon as they open will help keep the wait to a minimum. Also recommend going early to the Ferry Building on Saturday morning to avoid crowds. I personally dislike Fisherman's Wharf - very, very touristy - so if you are looking to pare down your itinerary that might be a candidate. I can't vouch for any of the hotels since I haven't stayed in a hotel here!

 

Let me know if you have more questions...safe travels!


Husky359's Avatar Husky359 04:33 PM 05-04-2011

Thanks!  I think we will stay in Fisherman's Wharf because we decided to keep the car rental the whole time, so it is either Radisson Fisherman's Wharf or Hotel del Sol, and public transportation looks like it is faster from the Radisson.  So we will be there anyway, won't really be able to "cut out" that part.  Certainly I am nervous about the crowds, that is for sure.  But it is what it is.

 

We were told to cut the SF zoo because it was not impressive, but now I am starting to consider going there again, but I don't know where I would put it.  We will be driving in on Thursday, do the Randall Museum then.  Friday we are doing Cal Academy of Science, Sat farmer's market and Carnaval festival and Chinatown, Sun Exploratorium and Presidio, Mon the Bay cruise (just the cruise, I thought my kids would be too young for the Alcatraz tour), and Mon do the Fisherman's Wharf, maybe a drive over the bridge toward Oakland.  So I do not have a spot for the zoo, but I can change things around.  What do you think?

 

Thanks!


Sfcmama's Avatar Sfcmama 12:08 AM 05-05-2011
Re: nursing - I find all sorts of random places to nurse my 15 month old, though I don't mind sitting on the floor in a corner somewhere... Locals are definitely cool about it so I wouldn't hesitate to ask an employee somewhere if they can recommend a spot. Hotel lobbies may be your best bet in crowded places (like Chinatown). I've also borrowed a booth at a restaurant for a few minutes without actually dining there, or while dh grabs a drink at the bar. I think you'll be fine on that end.

Don't know much about hotels, though you may want your car more than you think. Public transpo isn't always convenient or efficient, especially when you are with kids.

Definitely skip the zoo. There are a ton of cool parks and playgrounds that will be more fun (and free). I would pick either the academy of sciences (1st choice!) or the aquarium of the bay but not both. Have you considered the discovery museum? Would be great on your way to pt Reyes! Fairyland in Oakland would also be a better choice, IMO, than the zoo. Or even Oakland zoo... It's not that the sf zoo is horrible, just not amazing.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions as I'm not on the forums regularly. I hope you have a great trip!!! I'm excited for you and your family.
Chamomile Girl's Avatar Chamomile Girl 12:40 AM 05-05-2011

I agree that the zoo is meh, and it is really far away from everything else you are doing.  Pier 39 is meh too IMO...just sayin.  Also I looked up the location of Hotel del Sol and its in the Marina not really the Wharf so if you don't have a car you will have to do some walking.  I also think that if you are going to stay in the Marina you can probably find something cheaper (like the Marina Motel or the Marina Inn...I've stayed at the latter and it wasn't bad).

 

Hookay...I've nursed all over the city as well and nobody bats and eye, but finding quieter places to do so is tricky in the crowded touristy places.  Here are some places I have used:

 

Chinatown I usually go to St. Mary's Square which is a cutie little park with a good play structure for your 3yr old and nice benches for you.  They also have a public toilet but its pretty sketch.  If the square is too noisy go into St. Mary's Church across the street (you should anyway...its old and cool).  Nobody is going to care if you nurse your kid there.

 

Fisherman's Wharf is a place I usually avoid like the plague so I second the using hotels for nursing.

 

The Ferry Building...noplace quiet here on a Saturday.  BUT if you go up Market Street a ways you can hit the mall (Bloomingdales/ Westfield San Francisco) and they have a family bathroom in the foodcourt (bottom floor) that has nursing rooms.  If you take the historic trolley from the Ferry Building it will take you right there.  Its also across Market from Powell Street which is the terminus of one of the cable car lines.

 

Academy of Sciences:  Another place with too many people.  I would recommend that while you are there you also hit the DeYoung viewing platform (it's free and has an amazingly wonderful amazing view of the city).  You could go to the tea garden which does have some quiet nooks even on busy days, but there is a fee to get in.  Or just grab a bench in front of the music concourse. 

 

Hope this helps!

 

 


Husky359's Avatar Husky359 11:12 AM 05-05-2011

Actually I do have another question - it is an opinion based question.... I was considering leaving the stroller behind and just carrying or kids with our baby carriers (we have many) - this isn't the problem, we usually use the stroller for "stuff"... I was considering carrying my baby on my front and a backpack on the back as a diaper bag... I do this now to get out to our car and back.  I just don't know if this is realistic, but I only have a huge travel system stroller and although I have flown with it before, so that part isn't what worries me, I really didn't want to try to take it through the city.  I thought that sounded crazy.  Thoughts?

 

And what is with everyone here in Michigan thinking SF is a bizarre vacation?  Everyone we run into thinks we must have family or something there, none of them would "think to go to SF".  An imponderable, but in all my reviewing of info, SF seems extremely vacation worthy.  In fact, I know we won't get to everything I wanted in one trip - we will be back.


Chamomile Girl's Avatar Chamomile Girl 01:14 PM 05-05-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Husky359 View Post

Actually I do have another question - it is an opinion based question.... I was considering leaving the stroller behind and just carrying or kids with our baby carriers (we have many) - this isn't the problem, we usually use the stroller for "stuff"... I was considering carrying my baby on my front and a backpack on the back as a diaper bag... I do this now to get out to our car and back.  I just don't know if this is realistic, but I only have a huge travel system stroller and although I have flown with it before, so that part isn't what worries me, I really didn't want to try to take it through the city.  I thought that sounded crazy.  Thoughts?

 

And what is with everyone here in Michigan thinking SF is a bizarre vacation?  Everyone we run into thinks we must have family or something there, none of them would "think to go to SF".  An imponderable, but in all my reviewing of info, SF seems extremely vacation worthy.  In fact, I know we won't get to everything I wanted in one trip - we will be back.


Not crazy, I've done it lots of times.  ANd it will give you better mobility and access in places with loads of people like the Ferry Building farmer's market and especially like Chinatown.  I just got bagged on in another thread for this but I really do believe that you are going to have a way better experience in some places without a stroller and downtown SF/Chinatown is one of them.  I like to take walks through the city hill neighborhoods with DS in the Ergo and I'm not up for hauling a stroller over Telegraph or Nob Hill.  Bring lots of water though because you'll need it.

 

Your Michigan observation made me totally crack up.  I grew up in Michigan (Royal Oak!  Wheehaw!) but we moved there from California when I was five and my mom's family is from SF.  I spent my whole childhood hearing about all the "fruits nuts and flakes" that live in San Francisco, and about how I should never want to go there because it was a place for freaks and social deviants.  Well from the day I got to Mi I couldn't wait to go back home and finally made it back to the West Coast when I was 21.  There are things I truly miss about Michigan, but my family's tolerance level 'aint one.  I'm going back to visit the first week of June...first time with my kid...and I am dreading seeing my family.  But totally looking forward to going to a coney island and getting some chili fries and a greek salad.

 


Lillitu's Avatar Lillitu 10:05 AM 05-07-2011

If you want a zoo trip, skip SF (it is ugly and depressing for the animals) and go to Oakland Zoo. They are so much better! That said, Your trip sounds pretty full. I would stick to things that you cannot get at home.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Husky359 View Post

 

We were told to cut the SF zoo because it was not impressive, but now I am starting to consider going there again, but I don't know where I would put it.  We will be driving in on Thursday, do the Randall Museum then.  Friday we are doing Cal Academy of Science, Sat farmer's market and Carnaval festival and Chinatown, Sun Exploratorium and Presidio, Mon the Bay cruise (just the cruise, I thought my kids would be too young for the Alcatraz tour), and Mon do the Fisherman's Wharf, maybe a drive over the bridge toward Oakland.  So I do not have a spot for the zoo, but I can change things around.  What do you think?

 

Thanks!



 


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