As some of you may remember, we take a small vacation each Christmas rather than exchange gifts. This year, our surprise destination is San Francisco.
I know it's not a theme park topic, but I've had luck getting advice from this site on various cities, including Las Vegas, D.C., and New York. What do you recommend? What are the must-sees? What are the must-skips? Attractions, restaurants, sites, sounds, smells - all recommendations are welcome (except hotels - we're already set up in that department).
BTW, before you get any ideas about visiting the L.A. theme parks, I should state that we're staying strictly in San Fran.
One of the challenges of deciding what to do is that each attraction seems to polarize critics and tourists. It's quite different from, say, Orlando, where most people can agree on which parks/attractions/restaurants excel. For example, The Unofficial Guide to San Francisco lists the Museum of Modern Art as a five-star (must-see) attraction, a difficult-to-attain rating in that guide. However, TripAdvisor.com lists it as only #88 in the top attractions. Frommer's gives the attraction a moderate recommendation, warning that "for the money the experience can be disappointing".
Therefore, I turn to the Insiders on this site, people whose reviews I know and trust. The success or miserable failure of this trip depends solely on your recommendations! No pressure, though.
Also, the Walt Disney Museum just opened up really close to the Golden Gate Bridge. The museum is all Disney related and shows pieces from Walt's career including some historical pieces of concept art and more for Disneyland and Disney World.
Other than that, the usual Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghiradelli Square are all must sees in San Francisco!
There is also a "Vertigo" tour, seeing some of the exterior places that the movie was filmed. "Scottie's" apartment is one block from the bottom of the famous winding Lombard street. "Judy's" apartment building (The Empire) is now converted in Hotel Vertigo.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood