Family 'daycation' in San Francisco

July 9, 2009 4:44:09 PM PDT
Affordable and fun ideas for getting away from it all without traveling far.

San Francisco is a one of kind. From jaw dropping sights like the Golden Gate Bridge to famous neighborhoods like Fisherman's Wharf, the city is filled with an endless supply of activities and places to visit.

DAY ONE:
So let's check out a variety of cool destinations beginning with a day trip to Union Square. One of the top destinations in the city, Union Square is filled with the largest variety of shopping the city has to offer, cool cafes and buzzing night life. Pretend that it is our first time here and let's look at it from a history meets unique shopping meets romance-kind of way. First, start the morning off with breakfast at one of the best breakfast spots in the Bay Area, The Dottie's True Blue Café. Here, treat yourself to the mouthwatering homemade cinnamon rolls, spicy Louisiana hot links, sweet pancakes, and an array of incredible homemade breads. The walls are filled with pictures of legends like Dorothy Dandridge and people line up here every morning to satisfy their taste buds. It'll set you back about nine bucks per person and will be worth every penny. The owner takes special pride in all of the delicious meals served; so watch him work as he, himself, makes your breakfast.

Next, walk two blocks over to Union Square and indulge in the history. In the center of Union Square you'll find the 97 foot Dewey monument called "Victory" which commemorates the victory of Admiral George Dewey during the Spanish American War. In the 1860's they used to hold pro-union Civil War rallies here. Across the street, The St. Francis Hotel has had celebrity and presidential guests alike, so slip inside and take a peek.

Walk down Maiden Lane and enjoy this adorable street that used to be frequented by prostitutes during the Gold Rush. You can always go shopping in Union Square but why not take a walk to and through Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in the United States. Stop at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where, since 1962 they have been supplying fortune cookies to the world and here, you can watch them making the cookie in front of your eyes. From house items to cool fashion, Chinatown offers great deals and unique finds.

Walk to the end of Chinatown and into North Beach where you can enjoy a cappuccino at one of the many adorable cafes. If you are hungry, grab a sandwich at the Molinari Delicatessen. They've been around for over a century and offer hundreds of cheeses, meats and wines. It'll cost you about 7 bucks per sandwich and keep you on a cool reasonable budget.

Now, if you want to increase your budget, stop at Sodini's restaurant where you'll enjoy a real homemade Italian meal in a great atmosphere that definitely has the little Italy vibe going on. It'll cost you about $20-40 per person but you'll love the quaint atmosphere where the owner is your bartender. Now, you can either walk back or catch a cab back to Union Square. If you are feeling energetic, stroll through the romance of North Beach to the Wharf and catch the Cable Car back to Union Square.

DAY TWO:
Start the day off in local favorite Laurel Village where you can grab coffee and a breakfast treat at the Bryan's market. Drive out to Julius Khann Park with the kids and take a moment to take in the incredible Presidio Heights Neighborhood featuring an impressive display of mansions that overlook the park and its playground. Trek up the block through the Arguello gate and into the Presidio. Our first stop is inspiration point where you'll delight in one of the most awe-feeling views of the city. Here you can take a hike or simply chill out- this place is a spiritual experience in itself. Across the street you can check out the Presidio Golf Course and take in a game of golf or simply drive down to the water where you'll find Crissy Field. Here, toss the ball with the kids, bring a Frisbee, or enjoy a bag lunch and have a picnic. Every Friday they have a special themed parent-child activity where you can bond with your kids.

Walk along the sandy path into Fort Point, a San Francisco landmark that sits beneath the one and only Golden Gate Bridge. If you want to continue the day, drive over to the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts and bring bread crumbs so that you can feed all of the beautiful birds. Originally built to house art exhibits, it has been used for political debates, TV shows like David Letterman and currently it is home to the Exploratorium, a science museum.

To top off the day, if you are looking for a family-style dinner with a dash of romance, we travel to Café Cati in the upper Fillmore. Another local favorite, this restaurant combines Asian Fusion with American favorites and will give you a dining experience you will not forget.

About Zahrah Farmer-Castillo:
Zahrah Farmer-Castillo is the executive producer and host of Days With Zahrah, a traveling lifestyle show which has aired on KRON4 in San Francisco and this summer airs on PBS stations nationwide. Zahrah produced the programming and oversaw the development of days with zahrah.com, a video based travel website. Zahrah produced the start up programming for the Wedding Television Network, which includes a variety of shows with formats ranging from talk to magazine and documentary styles. She also hosted their wedding planner show called "Elements." At BET Zahrah was a producer for Teen Summit, where her work included producing a special feature on the 911 Tragedy and The "N Word." Zahrah has worked as an assistant writer, and floor director for CNN. She has written and produced PSA spots, town hall meetings, magazine and talk programming for the National Medical Association, The Sinkler Miller Medical Association, The Ethnic Health Institute and Alta Bates Summit Hospital. Zahrah has produced reality, infomercial and home improvement shows, pilots, and demos for a variety of real estate, health, and mental health groups. Zahrah has written commercial spots for The Sacramento Observer Newspaper and she has worked as a writer for Kaiser Permanente.

On Days With Zahrah, an empowerment show for women and young adults, Zahrah has worked with a variety of celebrities ranging from Daryl Hannah and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to Dr. Maya Angelou, Magic Johnson, Marlo Thomas and Mos Def.

Zahrah works at Laney College teaching Film and television. A visiting Professor at UCLA's Anderson School of Business's Riordan program, Zahrah has taught all aspects of production to students. In addition, she has also taught production to inner city kids at the American Film Institute, in Hollywood. Zahrah also has worked as a tutor with students in East Palo Alto.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Zahrah Farmer obtained her Master's Degree in Producing for Television and Film from The American Film Institute. She received her Bachelor Degrees from The University of California at Davis in International Relations and Spanish.


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