My mom and 12 year old sister are visiting me in SF - where should I take them?

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  1. Should I go for Christmas brunch or dinner? The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay or San Francisco?

    I thought about taking them to Monterey to see the aquarium, too. Any other suggestions?
  2. The Nikko Hotel has a really great Sunday brunch buffet. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also fun and they've got a great white shark. I like animals, so I had a great time at the San Francisco Zoo. I've never been on the Alcatraz tour, but I heard it was lots of fun.
  3. The Alcatraz tour is pretty informative and fun, but word of caution- you have to walk uphill at a pretty steep incline to get from the boat docking area to the actual prison. It's not that bad really, but it could be for someone who has trouble walking or those with really young kids in tote (although I believe they do offer a tram up for those with difficulty).
  4. It depends on what their interests are. The Ritz-Carlton in HMB is scenic, so that would make a lovely brunch. What about taking them to Golden Gate Park--paddle boating at stow lake, a walk through the arboretum, lunch up on Irving, then back down to the deYoung Musem, even tea at The Japanese Tea Garden--it's a one-stop scenic tour! If your little sis doesn't think she is too big for a carousel ride, there is also the giant carousel at the end of the park.

    You could also do the scenic neighborhood shopping tour: upper fillmore, union st.,haight st., and 24th st.
  5. I'd be wary of the outdoorsy stuff since it has been unusually cold here lately. Some indoorsy ideas:

    Go to afternoon tea at Lovejoy's in Noe Valley. There is nothing more indulgent, relaxing, and girly than tea and finger sandwiches at Lovejoy's! A VERY charming place and very San Francisco.

    A 12-year-old girl might also enjoy shopping at the new Westfield Shopping Center. GREAT new mall.

    Take your sis and mom for a mani/pedi! West Portal Spa is clean, pampering, and affordable. They open a new pack of tools for every client and offer yummy treatments such as a milk and honey pedicure.

    I'm not sure what restaurants are open for Christmas brunch or dinner other than the hotel restaurants. Silks at the Mandarin Oriental is a very swanky and pricey place, but luxurious with rich and delicious food. For casual, there's always Chinatown! They're definitely open for business on Christmas Day.

    SFMOMA is a great place to stroll and enjoy great works of art. If you're gonna do an aquarium, don't go to the temporary Steinhardt on Howard St (it's on the lame side)...go to the one on Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39, which is smallish but MUCH nicer. My kids love it there.

    As for which Ritz, depends whether you're going for intimate luxury (SF!), or scenery (HMB). If you're gonna haul their butts all the way down to HMB, then make a day out of it and get spa treatments too!
  6. Is construction done on that carousel? I checked the parks web site recently and I thought it was closed for renovations until like 2008 or thereabouts. :confused1: If it's actually open, my kids will be so psyched!!!
  7. Shopping is always fun; Union square, the new Westfields mall, or Stanford are always good.

    The exploritorium would probably be great for your sister! So much fun hands on stuff. If you sign up online there is usually a class or two going on each day.

    What about a show, Jersey Boys (which won the tony last year) is playing at the curran. I can't wait to go in JAN!!! A Christmas Carol is playing at the ACT.

    It would be a drive, but Bonfante Gardens is doing a festivale of lights that sounds nice.
  8. Thanks for all your wonderful suggestions! I'm not *too* concerned about the "cold" weather these few days because they're from Wisconsin, where it's freezing and covered with snow. I'm sure upper 40s, lower 50s will feel like the Bahamas to them.

    On Saturday, I thought we could definitely do the manicure/pedicures, take a tour of my school (Stanford), and perhaps go shopping (Westfield is quite large and fun).

    Sunday is for Monterey Bay and the aquarium there. It will be a nice drive, too.

    For Monday, I made reservations for the Ritz Carlton San Francisco Christmas Day brunch, and I thought afterwards, we could do a walking/driving tour of SF (Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Palace of Fine Arts, etc.) OH! And this will be the first time my mom meets my boyfriend...wish me luck!