San Francisco Revisited: Five Spots You Never Knew Existed

Written in cooperation with Hotel Planner.

The city of San Francisco is by no means undiscovered territory. One of the most loved and visited cities in the nation, the City by the Bay is a perennial favorite. Everyone is aware of major attractions like Alcatraz Island, Embarcadero Wharf, San Francisco’s sourdough, and Lombard Street’s famous curves, but here are five of my favorite little-known sites that you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.

Visit the South Pacific

Image via Flickr by Doug Letterman

Recreate the exoticism of the South Pacific with a visit to the Tonga Room. Fans of Jimmy Buffett will recognize the name, but others may have missed this explosion of bamboo, seashells, and tiki figurines. During World War II, tiki bars opened all across the country, with San Francisco jumping on the trend relatively early. While it’s now considered a bit kitschy, the Tonga Lounge, which opened in the luxurious Fairmont hotel in 1945, was once the place to be seen. Even today, the pool in the center of the restaurant, where the band plays, is a unique feature.

Sleep Like Royalty

When you visit the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel, ask to take a peek at the hotel’s luxurious penthouse suite. Spanning a staggering 6,000 square feet and costing a whopping $18,000 per night, this suite has housed the likes of Prince Charles, Mick Jagger, and Alfred Hitchcock. It features a two-story library, a cornucopia of design styles, and a dining table that seats 60. One of its main claims to fame is the secret passageway that John F. Kennedy supposedly used to allow Marilyn Monroe to enter.

Step into the Sunset District

Image via Flickr by Ed Bierman

Located in the quiet and relatively undiscovered Sunset District, the 163 mosaic-tiled steps are worth the effort to climb. Completed over the course of two years, the gorgeous steps lead to beautiful views of the city. They also pave the way to the neighboring Green Hairstreak corridor, along with the beautiful succulents and native habitat designed to sustain the local butterfly population.

Slide in the Park

Image via Flickr by jdeeringdavis

The Seward Street Slides are a perfect example of community activism and protecting green spaces. In the 1960s, this area was slated for development, prompting local residents got together to protest with an epic bulldozer-defying sit-in. After nearly a decade of protests, the community won their lot back and turned it into a city park, which opened in the early 1970s. A local teenager designed the Seward Street Slides to encourage enjoyment of the park by young and old. Bring your own cardboard along for this unique experience.

Remember the Dearly Departed

In San Francisco, the most interesting cemetery revolves around furry family members. When military families resided at the Presidio, this cemetery was created as a final resting place for their beloved pets. Tombstones show that the array of species includes dogs, cats, goldfish, birds, and even lizards. Local development nearly caused the demise of the pet cemetery in 2009, but community activists managed to save it from complete destruction. It’s a fitting tribute to beloved pets.

San Francisco will always draw visitors to explore its most popular tourist attractions. Next time you visit, take a minute to head to these lesser-known gems.

Discovering Disney ~ and Beyond!

Written in cooperation with Hipmunk’s Boutique Hotel Campaign 2016.

The state of California is vast, and encompasses one amazing site after another. For many, San Francisco is the bomb. The architecture, the stunning vistas from nearly everywhere in the city, the restaurant scene, the Embarcadaro, and Alcatraz offer just a few reasons for its popularity. Days or weeks could be spent touring it all.

Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport Waterfront

One thing San Francisco also has is a lot of very expensive hotels. If the city by the bay is your choice for your California dream vacation, consider staying near the airport. This city has a wonderful array of transportation options. By choosing a hotel near the airport, such as the Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport Waterfront, you will receive suites, many with water views, and all the amenities expected of the Embassy Suites hotel group, while being just a short ride from the city on BART. Before a full day of touring, enjoy a free, cooked to order, breakfast and return to enjoy a dip in the pool before retreating to your comfortably appointed room.

image via Flickr by smswigart

Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort

As wonderful as San Francisco can be, when many people around the country think of California they think of one thing; Disneyland! One excellent choice for lodging may be the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort. Located just blocks from the Convention Center and the park, the Sheraton features a pool, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi, as well as discount passes for all the Disneyland attractions. All rooms have sweet sleeper mattresses and are sound proof for a great nights sleep before another exciting day.

image via Flickr by designsbykari

La Quinta Inn & Suites Anaheim

Families traveling will surely appreciate the thoughtful amenities of the La Quinta Inn & Suites Anaheim. Microwaves, coffee makers, refrigerators, and a separate seating area create a comfortable atmosphere. Free buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi will make mom and dad happy, while a covered pool will entertain the kids in between visits to the park. Reasonably priced, the hotel is even dog friendly if you are traveling with your furry companion.

image via Flickr by Roller Coaster Philosophy

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resorts~ Convention Center

Convenience and free parking are two big draws at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resorts~ Convention Center.  Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and California Adventure are all close by. When back at the hotel, guests will appreciate the plush mattresses and soft linens as well as the microwave, refrigerators, and coffee makers that are standard. Kids, both young and old, will want to take advantage of the in-room game consoles and refreshing pool.

image via Flickr by www.pa-ul.net

Alamo Inn & Suites Hotel

For a budget friendly choice, check out the Alamo Inn & Suites Hotel offers free parking and Wi-Fi with comfortable rooms, all just one block from the attractions. Rooms feature comfortable accommodations with mini-fridge and microwaves. The pool is a delightful place to unwind after a day on your feet visiting the multiple parks nearby.

image via Flickr by vl8189

Whatever hotel choice suits each traveler, know that Hipmunk offers options in all price ranges and categories. California will continue to offer up excellent choices across the state for family vacations or romantic getaways. The choice is yours.

 

Choosing Convenience in the City by the Bay

This post is in cooperation with the Hipmunk Boutique 2016 campaign

San Francisco; the City by the Bay, the Gateway to the Pacific. There are many titles given to this amazing West Coast city, all of them worthy of such magnificent surroundings. Set on San Francisco Bay, home to San Francisco Sourdough, Alcatraz Island, and the curviest street in the country, this city of around 900,000 residents continues to charm.

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