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Old 05-29-2005, 11:20 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov


What, does California have a reputation for scary Rocky Horror initiations? I've seen it in many places and California was no stranger than anywhere else.

I actually don't think Rocky Horror plays anywhere around here any more. The one in Berkeley closed down years ago (unless they reopened and I didn't hear about it). I saw it in San Jose about 8 years ago (ack, I feel old) and it was kind of lame. You really want to see a good Rocky Horror Picture Show, go to Cambridge. *waves at EasilyConfused*
I think I gave him that impression.

The Parkway Theater in Oakland still plays it, which I think is the place I went to but I'm not 100% sure. Even if it is I'm not sure if they still do the initiation, and even if they do, you can easily skip it by saying you've seen the movie before. That would probably make the experience much more enjoyable, as you can sit back and watch all the other people get embarrassed on stage.

http://barelylegal.rhps.org/

I really enjoyed it; it's with a very fun crowd and felt uniquely San Franciscan (despite it being in Oakland).
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Old 05-29-2005, 11:48 AM   #22
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I lived in the Napa Valley for 16 years. Napa Valley wine country has been mentioned, as were the redwoods (which are definitely worth driving north of San Francisco to see (lots of beautiful ocean coastline to see as well). If you're into that sort of thing, I'd suggest the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well---well worth checking out.

Yosemite is a very good idea. As I mentioned to Trep a while back, we have had a lot more rain/snow here this past winter than we have had for some time--and the waterfalls in the park are more spectacular in Yosemite right now than they have been in years. You couldn't have picked a better year to see Yosemite than this one.

I'd also recommend Lake Tahoe as well. Beautiful, with something for everyone. Plenty of scenery, and lots of nightlife and casinos if that suits your mood.

Hope you have a good trip.
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Old 05-29-2005, 12:02 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustCropper
I think I gave him that impression.
Did you edit your post? I only saw the part about the Golden Gate bridge. (Maybe I blocked the rest out. )

I've been to the Parkway before. Didn't realize they showed Rocky Horror.
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Old 05-29-2005, 12:45 PM   #24
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Sounds good, guys... Keep it coming!
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Old 05-29-2005, 12:57 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Did you edit your post? I only saw the part about the Golden Gate bridge. (Maybe I blocked the rest out. )
Yes I did. Muahaha
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Old 05-29-2005, 01:39 PM   #26
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Ninth, I just did Cali a couple of months back, and I'm very jealous. Believe me - you WON'T want to leave San Fran. I fell in love with it and even as a European, I can say that it's definitely one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Fantastic food, brilliant scenery, something new around each corner! Check out the Muir Redwood forest, the bridge, the seals at the harbour (Fishermans Wharf?), walk through Chinatown, take a tram (there's Trams from all over the world, plus those ones on the vertical street)... wow, you're gonna have FUN!

We (my ex and I) rented a car and took Route 1 (is that right?) down the coast to LA, which was utterly beautiful. Don't forget to check out that amazing area, including all sorts of wildlife and scary roads, plus Elephant seals further down. You'll never see such scenery.

Don't forget the Madonna Inn at San Luis Obispo, you JUST have to eat cake there. Make sure you don't eat much beforehand though! There's a nice hostel there with cheap prices and private rooms too, can't remember its name - if you get the Rough Guide it'll be in there.

We then "did" LA, went to Joshua Tree, then drove up through to Kings Canyon and Sequoia for stunning scenery and massive trees (General Sherman). We also went to Yosemite, which is totally unforgettable. There's a good hostel there which does great food - Yosemite Bug Lodge.

We had two weeks, so go further north too or do the wine region, Napa Valley! Make the most of it! I want to move there, if that's any indication of the fun you'll have!

Download the WorldWind globe from Nasa and check out Cali.

http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/

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Old 05-29-2005, 02:50 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squarejawhero
the seals at the harbour (Fishermans Wharf?),
Seals? We don't have no stinkin' seals!

They're sea lions.* But I don't know if they hang around in the summer. You can see them at the aquarium though.

*Which technically are a type of seal but you never hear them referred to as seals in San Francisco.
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Old 05-29-2005, 02:56 PM   #28
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Sorry, getting confused between the Elephant Seals further south and the Sea Lions. They're not seals, I'm being a dufus!
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Old 05-29-2005, 04:13 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Seals? We don't have no stinkin' seals!
Stinkin' is a good way to put it. They smell so bad.

Touristy stuff in Northern Cali around San Fran.

1- Muir Woods. Mentioned by Tempsie and squaresie
2- Half Moon bay: A city that still lives in the 60's
3- Sausalito: really nice touristy city across the golden gate
4- Great America: In Santa Clara about 10 miles south from Palo Alto
5- Tiburon: another really nice touristy city across the golden gate
6- Golden Gate
7- Napa and Sonoma (wine)

In San Francisco
8- Cable cars
9- Ghirardelli Square
10- Museum of modern art (MOMA): On 3rd Street
11- Sony Matreon right on market street. All the Playstation and PSP love, and you get to see the walk of video game stars
12- Lombard Street: : San Fran's crookedest street
13- China Town
14- Union square
15- Golden Gate Park
16- Pier 39 and Fisherman's wharf
17- for food definitely try out: Sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder. It's a cali specialty
18- Try out Garlic Icecream also.
19- North beach: Little Italy of San Fran. All the Italians live there. Over there definitely eat at Stinking Rose a heaven of garlicy goodness
20- Check out the Castro district. It's where most of the gay community live in SF. Very bright and colorful
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Old 05-29-2005, 04:36 PM   #30
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DEFINITELY Castro. Very cool, nice cafe's too.

Haight and Ashbury too. That's a real great place to shop for clothes, and check out the place that started the hippy revolution. Don't forget to look out for Hummingbirds in the park!
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Old 05-29-2005, 05:11 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squarejawhero
Check out the Muir Redwood forest, the bridge, the seals at the harbour (Fishermans Wharf?), walk through Chinatown, take a tram (there's Trams from all over the world, plus those ones on the vertical street)... wow, you're gonna have FUN!

We (my ex and I) rented a car and took Route 1 (is that right?) down the coast to LA, which was utterly beautiful. Don't forget to check out that amazing area, including all sorts of wildlife and scary roads, plus Elephant seals further down. You'll never see such scenery.
I already did all that (Muir woods, Golden Gate, Sea Lions, Chinatown, Trams, and Elephant seals) 7 or so years ago, but yeah, it's great, and I'll do it all over again, if only to share the sights with my girlfriend.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys, I guess I'll need to find a decent piece of paper and a pen and write it all down. Again, keep it coming! I'll have a car and probably the opportunity to fly away for a few days, so don't let your suggestions be limitated to the Bay area. For example, I was thinking about going to LA. Until I read Jake's post, that is...
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Old 05-29-2005, 05:28 PM   #32
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The "Burning Man" festival would be a great way to finish off your trip, but since it doesn't start until August 29th, you'll probably be back in France by the time it starts.
The event is part performance art and part Pagan celebration, but mostly it defies description. It takes place a little North of Reno, which is just across the California/Nevada border near Lake Tahoe.
For more details, check out www.burningman.com

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Old 05-29-2005, 05:34 PM   #33
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California!
I'm going to assume (for now, until you tell me otherwise) that you are going to stay in the San Francisco Bay area the whole time. Let me know if you plan to go somewhere else. That will work fine, if that is what you are planning to do - lots and lots of day trips.

Let's start with the weather. It will be dry, very low humidity, and no rain. The coast will be cool to warm with cool nights. The further inland you go - it will be warm to hot, also with (mostly cool nights). San Francisco will be cool to warm with quite chilly nights and fog - the sunnier weather for SF comes in fall. That's actually great for city touring, as there is nothing worse than a hot muggy city in summer, when you want to do fun city stuff. So, on clothing, think layers, and at least one cozy thing - a fleece jacket, a wool sweater, something like that. If you forget that's fine - SF does a nice business selling fleece pullovers and jackets to unsuspecting tourists.

I'm going to start with Palo Alto, since you said you might stay there. If you are interested, in subsequent posts, I can recommend stuff that's more a "must see".

I love Palo Alto, and I know it quite well. It is on the peninsula of land south of San Francisco. It's a cross between a city and a suburb. It would be a fine home base for exploring the area. Palo Alto is not a "name" distination, by any means. It's pretty quiet - as a young person, you might find it boring. But for a couple of hours with your friends, particularly if you want a relaxing "day off", where you don't travel, you might try

- dinner in downtown Palo Alto. Lots of good to great restaurants on Univeristy Avenue and the cross streets. There's also some good places to drink, including a microbrewery (they make the fancy beer on the premises) with good food.

- If you are in the area at that time - the Palo Alto Art and Wine Festival. The food is good, the wine and beer are great, and the arts and crafts are super great - good for all those presents for friends and family members. Go early, it will get hot. Palo Alto Festival of the Arts http://www.mlaproductions.com/ . The Palo Alto Festival of the Arts is on August 27 and August 28, this year.

- Free twilight outdoor music concerts in Palo Alto. Low key and fun, and interesting music.
http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/artscu...tconcerts.html

- Free lunchtime concerts in downtown Palo Alto
http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/artsculture/brownbag.html

- The Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Palo Alto
http://pafarmersmarket.homestead.com/

- Stanford University. This is great place for walking around. It's a lovely campus. It also has a great art museum, and some interesting contemporary art sculptures, all around the campus (I know, might not be your thing).
http://www.stanford.edu/

- swimming. OK - you are probably thinking - "I didn't travel thousands of miles to swim in a pool"! Still, on a warm day, you might find it relaxing. I myself enjoy it, but then I'm very focused on swimming, and you can't swim in the ocean in Northern California, without a wetsuit. If your friends don't have a pool (private pools aren't as common here as they are in Southern California), I'd recommend the pool at Rinconada. I'm just giving you a link here - the hours in Ausust will be different. I think there is recreational swimming every day along with lap swimming
http://www.city.palo-alto.ca.us/ross...tion/swim.html

- relaxing outdoors - at your friends outdoor deck or backyard. Maybe some outdoor grilling, along with drinking the local wines. This is really big in this area, though in San Francisco people with outdoor decks and backyards usually wait until September when it's warmer. In Palo Alto - August is a great time for it. There aren't very many bugs,so you can actually eat outside without being bitten alive or sharing the food with the local insect population.

- There are local parts (the baylands, http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/commun...rve/index.html ), but there is much more spectacular parts of California elsewhere. Still, if you just want a bit of nature when you are visiting your friends, the baylands is a nice choice.

Getting to San Francisco from Palo Alto - I'll do that in my next post.
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Old 05-29-2005, 05:39 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninth
I already did all that (Muir woods, Golden Gate, Sea Lions, Chinatown, Trams, and Elephant seals) 7 or so years ago, but yeah, it's great, and I'll do it all over again, if only to share the sights with my girlfriend.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys, I guess I'll need to find a decent piece of paper and a pen and write it all down. Again, keep it coming! I'll have a car and probably the opportunity to fly away for a few days, so don't let your suggestions be limitated to the Bay area. For example, I was thinking about going to LA. Until I read Jake's post, that is...
I vote Seattle, then. I was there a couple of years ago for a friend's wedding and I had a wonderful time. If you are there in August, it might not rain. The food and wine is also wonderful, and a lot of people told me Seattle is what San Francisco was like before it became just like New York, but on the West Coast.

* winks at Emily and runs *

There is a great market in Seattle, and amazing bookstores, and one of the coolest things I've ever seen--the salmon returning to spawn in the rivers where they came from. They have designed a damn specially so that the salmon can still get back to where they came from, but also so that people can walk inside and see into the water through glass--you see these gigantic, five-foot long fish wearing themselves out trying to swim upstream. It's quite . . . poetic. And very sad, because they are going to die.

Okay, I have to go weep now.
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Old 05-29-2005, 05:47 PM   #35
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Getting to San Francisco from Palo Alto

Don't drive to San Francisco from Palo Alto - parking is really expensive, when you can find it. Caltrain is your friend. There are two Caltrain stops in Palo Alto - Palo Alto and California Avenue, both, oddly enough, in Palo Alto. Caltrain is very convenient, and it's a pleasant experience, taking the Caltrain train to and from SF.

http://www.caltrain.com

Once you get there, you can take local mass transit, to get around San Francisco.

While it's easy to get to San Francisco from Palo Alto, you might want to stay in "the city" as it's called, at least for a day or two, so you don't have to worry about catching that last train back. Waking up in the city is also fun. I'm not sure what your budget is like. I can recommend some hotels that I like (although I live south of SF, in the SF Bay area) I've stayed in San Francisco. There are also some good youth hostels, if that's more of an option for you.

I'll let other people post now. I'll be back to recommend some outdoor stuff (I love the California coast) and maybe some SF stuff.
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Old 05-29-2005, 06:31 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninth
For example, I was thinking about going to LA. Until I read Jake's post, that is...
Don't let me dissuade you You should get someone who actually lives down in Southern California give you advice on what to do there. I live up north and only really go down to LA for a few specific things each year, and other than the specific things I head there to do (eg the E3 expo), I don't really enjoy the surrounding area. It could just be because I don't know where to go So yeah, ask someone else
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Old 05-29-2005, 06:40 PM   #37
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Spoken like a true Santa Cruz'ian!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake
My mind has gone blank on things to do, but I do have advice on one thing to not do: Unless you're super excited by visiting Hollywood or Disneyland, I recommend not bothering going to Los Angeles/Southern California. If you want to plow all the way through LA to go south to San Diego for some reason, which is nice, (or if you want to visit Mexico) then yeah I guess go there, but in my opinion (unless you like Disneyland, or really want a picture of yourself with the Hollywood sign in the background), the horrible traffic, urban sprawl, smog, and general falling-apartness of the Los Angeles areadoesn't really make it worth visiting in my book.

Last edited by fov; 05-30-2005 at 09:10 AM. Reason: fixed quote tag
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Old 05-29-2005, 06:59 PM   #38
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I think you'd enjoy Northern California much more than the South. However, if you do end in the LA area, I would recommend going to the Getty Center, a free museum in the Santa Monica mountains which holds some very impressive collections, and Venice Beach, which has a very active and colorful front walk.
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Old 05-29-2005, 10:26 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mszv
Caltrain is very convenient, and it's a pleasant experience, taking the Caltrain train to and from SF.
Ah yes, I remember that, the slowest train I've ever seen in my life...
I think I'll try to switch between going by train for a limited time and by car if we want to linger late at night. And yes, (not too expensive) hotel recommendations would be nice.
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Old 05-30-2005, 12:13 AM   #40
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Take the route 1 to San Luis Obispo and stop off there, as I said for the cheesy Madonna Inn (http://www.madonnainn.com/ for cake, theme rooms and waterfall urinals , only in America) but also the hostel ( http://www.hostelobispo.com/ ) which makes for a nice stop-off if you're heading to LA or through to Baja California or San Diego.

I can't tell you how beautiful Route 1 is, so really - just do it. It looked like a chore at first on the map, but the scenery means you'll be stopping every 5 seconds to take photo's. Just don't trip or you'll end up at the bottom end of a sheer drop!

There's also a great Ranch north of PioneerTown if you're headed to Joshua Tree and want to enjoy it. http://www.pioneertown.com/ is where you'll find more about the crazy little place but the ranch is in the district above it. It's right in the middle of the desert, well furnished and cute with a great owner PLUS a special night platform for watching the beautifully clear sky.

http://www.rimrockranchcabins.com/ is the name! Just found it. The photo's don't do it justice, they're really great. Tricky to find though. Just head north through Pioneertown, the road forks and take the left. It'll bend to the left and Rimrock is on the left further up marked with a sign - just remember the cabins are on the right when you turn in, otherwise (like I did) you'll end up at the neighbours place!

edit - in LA this is apparently the best, most central hostel. I liked it when I stayed there - http://www.hostelz.com/display.php/527+Orbit+Hotel . They also hold social occasions and have trips for the studios arranged cheaply, if you want to do it (I didn't). There's also another at Hermosa Beach which is apparently nice but I didn't get to.

As for LA, it's worth doing as a foreigner. There's enough places to visit but it is basically a massive urban sprawl. If you do go there, don't forget to visit famous Pinks Hotdogs on Melrose!
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