The City of San Francisco and the near-by areas offer excellent sightseeing opportunities for attendees and their families before or after the WAAA Conference.
You can ride the cable car at Fisherman’s Wharf to Union Square for shopping and visiting Chinatown. From Fisherman’s Wharf, you can take a ferry to visit the Alcatraz Island. Drive to Golden Gate Park to see several gardens and museums. Afterwards, drive to the Presidio, the former army post and then to Golden Gate Bridge for a breathtaking view of San Francisco.
You can head north of Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods to walk among the giant redwoods in the Redwood Forest. On the way, stop by a small town Sausalito for a spectacular waterfront views and houseboats, and dine in a restaurant at the waterfront.
A drive to the east to Napa Valley Wine Country offers beautiful scenic ride through vineyards and unique wineries in spring time. Stop by award-winning wineries for wine tasting. Catch a wine train in Napa for a relaxing ride through the vineyards and wineries and enjoy a gourmet lunch on the train. For adventure, board a hot-air balloon and fly above the Napa Valley wine country.
If you enjoy California scenic coast, drive south to Monterey. You can visit the old Cannery Row and Monterey Aquarium featuring the sea life from the Monterey Bay. Drive through the 17-Mile Drive to see the beautiful coast, Lone Cypress, seals and birds, and million dollar homes dotted the landscape. Stop by Pebble Beach for a wonderful view of the ocean and coast. For those who enjoy art, be sure to stop by Carmel, a small town with rich artistic history and world famous galleries.
More detailed descriptions and the links for these places are provided on the following pages.
San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge and Park, Presidio
From San Francisco Union Square, one may take Historic Cable Car in a ride of up and down streets of San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf, Maiden Lane, and Chinatown.
Fisherman’s Wharf http://www.fishermanswharf.org/
Taking Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf, you may get off the cable car at any intermediate stop to walk around or find restaurants. Cable car maps and information can be found on: http://www.sfcablecar.com/
The Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf route’s last stop is at the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory and Park. Visit the factory store with several outdoor/indoor restaurants. Information about the chocolate factory is available on: http://www.ghirardellisq.com/
From Ghirardelli chocolate factory, walk north on the Fisherman’s Wharf. Stop at the Historic Navy Museum and take a tour of the WWII submarine.
Stroll through the bustling wharf area, lined with crab stands and street performers, and on to Russian Hill, where you’ll stop for a photo op of Lombard Street, the famed ‘crooked’ street that slopes down a steep incline.
Continue walking to North Beach, sometimes known as Little Italy, stop by the Washington Square Park and Saints Peter and Paul Church. See the neighborhood’s many Italian restaurants and cafes.
Climb up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city and bay, and then walk down to Levi’s Plaza.
If time allows, a visit to the Twin Peaks and a hike in the park is thrilling experience. Information can be found here: http://sfrecpark.org/destination/twin-peaks/
Maiden Lane http://www.maiden-lane.com/
From union Square, and only a few blocks one can shop in the San Francisco Shopping Center. Stop by the Historic Maiden Lane - a short street and is pedestrian-only from 11AM to 6PM. It is very close to Union Square and its concentration of upscale retailers, including Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and Yves Saint Laurent. It is also home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s V. C. Morris Gift Shop, built in 1948 and currently occupied by Xanadu Gallery. During the day, many little café and pastry shops are open with outdoors seating. It is a lovely place to enjoy coffee or an afternoon tea. Opera singers Robert Close and Litz Plummer set up shop at the end of Maiden Lane. They can always be heard on weekends as well as other days on occasion.
Several blocks down the Union Square, you will find yourself in Chinatown. You can enjoy the hustle and bustle of street/store front vendors of traditional Asian foods and souvenirs.
Alcatraz Island http://www.sftravel.com/explore
Step back in time and experience the legendary Alcatraz Island that has been a civil war fort, a military prison and one of the most notorious federal penitentiaries in US history. Day Tours are available for purchase at http://www.alcatrazislandtickets.com/
Golden Gate Bridge and Park http://www.sftodo.com/golden-gate-park.html
It is a must to visit a few of Golden Gate Park’s Gardens and Museums. This includes especially theJapanese Tea Garden and the Botanical Garden, tulip garden as you see the North Mill. And, of course, the Shakespeare Garden which adorned by quotes and poems of Shakespeare. Museums highlights the de Young Museum, SF Museum of Modern Art, Asian Art Museum, Exploratorium, and the California Academy of Sciences.
From Fisherman’s Wharf, you may rent a bike for a ride to the Golden Gate Bridge. At night, there is live music, theater, dancing, and comedy clubs. Although walking, biking and driving are options to the Golden Gate Bridge and Park, Bike tours and other tours are available at http://www.sftravel.com/explore
The Presidio is located in the northwest corner of San Francisco at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is where San Francisco began. Once a premier Army post, today the Presidio is a national park unlike any you have experienced before. This dynamic visitor destination is home to museums and food trucks, restaurants and recreational destinations, art installations, 24 miles of trails, and the best views of the Golden Gate in San Francisco. It is also a National Historic Landmark District where important stories about our country are shared. The Presidio's former military buildings are animated by more than 3,000 residents and 200 organizations — including high tech start-ups, innovative non-profits, and others that offer a surprising mix of visitor experiences. Thousands of visitors are discovering the park each year.
North of San Francisco Muir Woods and Sausalito
Sausalito is a quiet, charming town that some say reminds them of the Mediterranean. Sausalito is a small town best known for its spectacular waterfront views. You can drive or take a ferry to this small San Francisco Bay Area city of Sausalito. Walk among the eclectic houseboats, grab a bite to eat, and simply enjoy the day at this bayside town. Art galleries and souvenir shops along Bridgeway are Sausalito's most-visited attraction. Sausalito's floating houses are one of its least-known and most fascinating points of interest.
Muir Woods – Redwood Forest (National Monument, California) https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
Walk among old growth coast redwoods, cooling their roots in the fresh water of Redwood Creek and lifting their crowns to reach the sun and fog. Federally protected as a National Monument since 1908. The park hours are 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Parking is very limited. One option is to contact Local tour companies that bring groups to Muir Woods from San Francisco and Sausalito on a daily basis.
Napa Valley Wine Country
More than 400 wineries dot the fertile soils of Napa Valley, one of the world’s premier viticultural regions and famous for its prized Cabernet Sauvignon. But wine, as visitors quickly discover, is only the beginning. Stay in lavish resorts, charming bed & breakfasts or modern hotels. Find top-rated chefs at scores of restaurants who work alongside the farmers who tend this land. Take a hot air balloon ride or taste the bounty of the valley on a wine tour. Whatever your pleasure, the result is something understated and exceptional.
Visit Napa Valley Towns
Yountville is a food and wine lover’s dream that also boasts a lively culture and arts scene. It features French Laundry, internationally renowned restaurant by Chef Thomas Keller and other restaurants by world-renowned chefs.
Visit Oakville and Rutherford for some of the best Cabernet & Chardonnay wines in Napa Valley.
St. Helena is a picturesque town with scores of shops, wineries, restaurants, and swanky hotels.
Calistogais famous for their hot springs and mud baths, Calistoga is the place to unwind and relax. Visit Wineries for Wine Tasting
Visit Wineries for Wine Tasting
A list of wineries is available at the link below. Several unique wineries are highlighted below. Click the winery name to link to each winery directly.
1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga CA 94515
Perched 300 feet above the historic town of Calistoga, Sterling Vineyards offers brilliant wines and stunning panoramic views of Napa Valley.
4045 North Saint Helena Hwy, Calistoga CA 94515
This 13th century Tuscan Castle and Winery features amazing award winning wines, food and wine pairings, unique events and more! An unbelievable and unforgettable experience!
Domaine Carneros1240 Duhig Road, Napa CA 94559
Savor Award winning Sparkling and Pinot Noir, including Le Reve Blanc de Blancs - consistently named America's Best Sparkling Wine.
1345 Henry Road, Napa CA 94559
Set high into a hilltop with a panoramic views of Napa Valley, San Francisco Bay and its estate vineyard. Be educated while on guided tour of the breathtaking grounds and dramatic architecture at Artesa. Have a picnic, taste amazing wines paired with chocolates, then enjoy the amazing scenic view of water areas and fountains of Napa Valley.
The Napa Valley Wine Train’s Winery Tour packages provide a complete Napa Valley experience. Fill your day with a multiple course gourmet meal on the Wine Train and an exclusive tour and wine tasting at one of our many outstanding partner wineries. Relax as we transport you to and from the wineries and through the Valley with seamless transfers. Our fine dining service, winery tours, and beautiful scenery is a sample of everything Napa Valley has to offer.
Napa Valley Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Highlights: Napa Valley hot-air balloon ride from Domaine Chandon Winery including pre-flight snack and breakfast. Gently soar over the breathtaking countryside of Napa Valley, enjoying panoramic views of vineyards and rolling hills. Chat to your pilot about Napa Valley as you fly and learn about its landscape and world-famous wines and finish your hot-air balloon experience with a classic American buffet breakfast and Domaine Chandon sparkling wine.
Tours for Napa Valley wine countries are available at
South of San Francisco Monterey, 17-Mile Drive, and Carmel-by-the Sea
Monterey was the first capital of California. Monterey began to thrive as a fishing town with significant Spanish and Italian inspirations back in the 1800s. Not long after, when Cannery Row morphed into a mecca for the sardine-packing industry, and the revered scribe John Steinbeck made his influence known, the area became one of the most visited regions on the outskirts of Northern California. Marine biology is big here, too.
Monterey is 120 miles south of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Monterey is one of the top tourist destinations in the State. It was voted as one of the country’s 12 distinctive destinations by The National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2006. Monterey offers coastal beauty and charm, while maintaining a small town feeling unique from California’s larger Northern cities. Monterey offers the World Famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, and even a smaller sister of the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf.
This historic waterfront district on Monterey Bay was made famous by writer John Steinbeck. Today, the best of Monterey luxury hotels, award-winning restaurants, premium wine tasting, unique boutiques, and exciting nightlife are all found on Monterey's Cannery Row; and everything is in easy walking distance.
Monterey Bay Aquarium:
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940 https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the west end of historic Cannery Row, just minutes from Carmel and Pebble Beach. Monterey Bay Aquarium holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display. Sea life on exhibit includes sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, sea horses, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of very few in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s general hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The admission fees for adults are $49.95, children (3-12) $29.95, senior $39.95.
17-Mile Drive is widely recognized as one of the most scenic drives in the world. The famous coastal landmark runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the majestic Del Monte Forest. 17-Mile Drive is located in Monterey Peninsula, much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses, mansions and scenic attractions, including the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and the 5,300-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees. The entrance fee per vehicle is $10.00.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is 5 miles south of Monterey. It has been rated a top-10 destination in the U.S., attracting celebrities, artists, and visitors from the world all year round. It is a European-style village nestled above a picturesque white-sand beach. Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Tucked in the forest, this charming town is filled with unique boutiques, renowned restaurants and world famous art galleries.