May 2007: My fourth trip to San Francisco was just as exciting as my first. Beautiful weather greeted us. We stayed at the new Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco's first LEED certified "green" hotel. I highly recommend it. It's located in the Union Square area beside the gateway into Chinatown. Read more about them. Our first stop was lunch at the Top of the Mark, located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill. The 360-degree views from the restaurant are spectacular. Lunch is not overly pricey (dinner and Sunday brunch is!). It's also a great spot to have an evening drink.
I love the cable cars, so we road every line. We bought a three day Muni pass at the Visitors' Center at Union Square for unlimited rides on the cable cards, Muni subway, buses, and trolleys. If there is a long line at the end of the cable car line, walk up a block or two and wait at the first stop to avoid a long wait.
I did my second tour at Alcaltraz (as a tourist). It's very fascinating. Get advance reservations on the busy weekends. The ferry ride offers great views of the city. An audio tour guides you in the cell house.
This trip, I combined a trip to Napa and Yosemite.