going to cali!

I have never been to California (or the west coast for that matter) so I am am super excited. The Hubs has a business trip in Napa in late-October so I am going to tag along and then we are going to spend about a day in San Francisco before we come back home. 

So I was wondering: could you help an East Coast girl out? I need your advice on what we should do while we are there. Here are the details that I know as of right now:
* We are leaving on a Friday which will be a travel day. 
* My MIL and I will have three whole days in Napa, Saturday through Monday. (The Hubs and the FIL will have two because of their meeting.)
* We are staying at the Villagio in Younteville (because that is where the meeting is) but we are not sure where we are staying in San Francisco yet (but we will probably be using our Hilton points.)
* Tuesday morning, the Hubs will be in a meeting and then the two of us will head to San Francisco. We are not sure if we are going to take a red-eye flight out Wednesday night and get back early or leave Thursday morning. Either way we will have at least a full day in the city. 

While in Napa, I definitely want to do a wine tour and tasting. I also want to see downtown Napa and go to Oxbow Public Market. Ideally, I would love to go to Thomas Keller's resto, French Laundry, but we will most likely go with one of his more budget-friendly places like Bouchon or Ad Hoc. I also want to eat at Michael Chiarello's Bottega. I think it would also be fun to do olive oil tasting. I also want to have time to just relax a little bit - it will be towards the end of travel season for me at work and I will be exhausted. 

In San Francisco, we only have a day. I want to visit Tartine Bakery, ride a cable car, check out Chinatown (and maybe eat dim sum), see Lombard Street, go down to Fisherman's Wharf, and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Not sure if that is possible in 24 hours though.

Again, all of these are just ideas. I will have to be pretty flexible during the meeting since a lot of time there are group activities. 

So I need your help because I really know nothing about the West Coast. Where should we eat? What should we see? How is the transportation in Napa and San Francisco? What clothes should I bring for late October?

Thanks so much for your help!

{image from here}



    Here's the link to all my California posts :) http://www.longdistanceloving.net/2011/07/soaking-it-up.html

    We did Bouchon for lunch and it was the perfect alternative to French Laundry. One place we didn't love was the CIA restaurant, so maybe stay away from there ;) If you have a chance, be sure to hop over to the Sonoma side. It's a little quieter and we loved Healdsberg!

    xoxo {av}

  2. Oh my gosh ! So jealous ! A favorite spot of ours is Auberge du Soliel -- we go every time we're in Napa. check it out here. I recommend lunch outdoors. The view is phenomenal, and it's very casual.

  3. I'd recommend the Robert Mondavi tour, it's a very nice introduction to wine making even if their wine is not your favorite. Grgich Hills has a great tasting room. My friends have raved about the French Laundry if you can get in.

    I think most of what you want to do is possible in a day, getting across the Golden Gate and back may be a stretch, but you could rent bikes and do it faster! Here's a post from one day in SF last summer: http://i-dabble.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-left-my-heart-again-in-san-francisco.html

    When I was in SF 4 years ago it was mid-October and was incredibly warm, I packed a denim jacket, cardigans, boots and jeans and was totally fine. It was colder there last August!

    And to answer your question, the small plane wasn't scary, the helicopter in Juneau was far, far worse. :)

  4. You will LOVE it! In SF some good spots: Slanted Door, Pizzetta 211, delfina. Go through a walk through Golden Gate Park, get some croissants, take the cable car for fun. Go to North Beach, have a glass of wine outdoors and people watch. :)

  5. Ooh lots of great advice on here already. My personal faves are Fisherman's wharf and china town. You won't get to do everything if you want to be able to enjoy each experience, but that's up to you. Have fun. I will always be a California Girl at heart and miss it dearly. Especially after living in Utah. blech.

  6. You have to go to Cris' (http://www.yelp.com/biz/cris-san-francisco). It's a high end consignment shop. It is run by my aunt's best friend and by coincidence was my brother's girlfriend's favorite shop when she was on a mega budget as a student at USF (before they'd even met). Have fun! AKW


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