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Jun 26, 2011 12:23 PM

San Francisco/ Napa itinerary for a group of 8 - new to area

I'm planning at 4 day trip to San Francisco in late September for 4 couples - we like great food but not a stuffy or formal atmosphere. We haven't been before but each fall we do a food centric trip together.

Wednesday night arrive about 9 pm - we might be up for a bite after - thinking of Foreign Cinema.

Thursday: Ferry market building - for bakeries and breakfast, take the cable car to Pacific Heights - either a casual lunch or To Go for a picnic - Out the Door, Swan Oyster Depot. We're staying at the W so thought close to the hotel for dinner - either Cotogna or Perbacco.

Friday: Dynamo donut for breakfast (my husband loves good pastries and donuts), pick up a picnic at Tartine for Twin Peaks. Dinner either at Frances or Flour and Water

Saturday - rent a car and drive to Pt Reyes, Healdsburg - lunch at Barndiva, then dinner somewehere on the way back - maybe Cyrus, Redd, Bottega - looking for somewhere more casual - preferably outdoors with a great view. We may stop at a vineyard or olive farm

Sunday - pick up at Greens for Presidio park, dinner at Cotogna for their Sunday night dinner if this is doable for a 9pm flight out

Are there good bakeries around the W? Is this a reasonable itinerary with good variety or are there better places to go?

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

231 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Out the Door
1 Ferry Bldg Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94111

6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. Swan Oyster Depot may be really tough for a group of 8... it is really tiny (look up pictures). You will most likely have to eat in smaller groups.
    Also you may want to consider some ethnic food (Mexican, Burmese, Peruvian, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc...), and I wouldn't go out of my way for Greens.

    1. Saturday without traffic you have almost 5 hours of driving.

      6 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        Would it be better to head to Napa on Friday rather than Saturday for traffic? Maybe just Napa and Yountville and not as far as Healdsburg? I'd have to see if we could change our booking if we wanted to stay overnight in Napa to lessen the drive.

        1. re: kellysv

          I can attest the late Friday afternoon/early evening drive to wine country (either Healdsburg or Napa) can be horrible. Really, really horrible as a lot of people pull out of the city early. One year, it took over 4 hours to get from the city to Healdsburg. Alternately, a drive on Saturday morning could take a little more than an hour.

          I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for in your trip to either Healdsburg or Napa - wine tasting? Wandering and shopping? Just dining? Downtown Healdsburg (where Barndiva is) is charming and can offer you intimate wine tasting (I recommend Selby), good food, and a quaint atmosphere. With Napa, you would have to do more driving to have the charming experience.

          231 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          1. re: CarrieWas218

            Yeah, I think early Saturday morning is much better than Friday, because Friday you're dealing with rush hour traffic/people heading home as well as the tourist traffic, while on Saturday morning it's only the tourist traffic. If you can leave SF by 9ish, you should be just fine. Staying overnight in Healdsburg or Sonoma would be great if you can, because then you won't have to rush your day, and you can head back to the city in the early afternoon on Sunday and have a leisurely morning and get to experience more of wine country.

          2. re: kellysv

            A better way to avoid traffic would be to flip your days in the wine country. That is, instead of heading up on Saturday when you'll be fighting crowds every where you go during harvest season, plan your visit for Thursday or Friday instead. You've laid out an ambitious route for your north bay trip and the only way you can hit Point Reyes, Healdsburg and Yountville in one day is on a week day when there are fewer tourists in your way. That said, I would recommend limiting yourself to 2 of the 3 . . . or even just one with touring in the immediate environs instead of spending so much time getting from place to place. That's easily do-able as a day trip without the need to change lodging.

            And the Ferry Building is much more of an attraction on a Saturday morning anyway.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Melanie, as usual, is correct; this is a much better itinerary.

              1. re: JasmineG

                What Melanie said.

                Point Reyes is a great visit for hiking and strolling. Lunch at Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station is a good base.

                Then, on to Healdsburg. Wine tasting in Dry Creek Valley with dinner near the Plaza sounds great.

                Then, return to SF if sleepover cannot happen. Stretching for Yountville on that same day would, IMO, be a bridge too far.

                Have fun.

                Osteria Stellina
                11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, CA