Shermans Travel » Blog » San Francisco
Who needs five star resorts, marble bathtubs, and caviar dinners? Sure, those perks are nice, but for travelers seeking a quick, easy getaway that won’t leave them in the financial lurch, there are better ways to go about it. Rather than overindulge, focus instead on fun, practical activities that are unique to the destination, whether that means hiking in a state park or snagging $9 seats to a symphony orchestra. To get you started, here are ten US cities perfect for budget travelers, plus tips on what to do when you get there: Read more
It’s easy to forget, in the rush of shopping, cooking, and traveling, that the holidays are meant to be relaxing. So, if you are dreading chore of cooking and cleaning up after your Thanksgiving Day meal, why not leave the dirty work to someone else by making a reservation at a hotel restaurant.
New York City
The Thanksgiving feast at the InterContinental Barclay offers a tasty buffet of local, natural and organic food with a turkey and ham carving station, seafood, smoked meats, soups, salads, hot entrèe selections that include Amish free-range organic roasted chicken breast with morel sauce, and pistachio-crusted organic farm-raised bronzini with lemon and pink peppercorn sauce. Dessert offerings include pumpkin pie, and chocolate and pecan tart. You may also like to partake of the Barclay Bar’s collection of 92 different Calvados labels or the collection of more than 100 martinis and cocktails. Thanksgiving seatings are from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the price is $75 per adult, $30 for children ages 4 through 12. You can make reservations through OpenTable.
Rates start at $329 on Thanksgiving night.
Every year, the hype surrounding Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, but in many Mexican cultures, one of the season’s liveliest celebrations falls on November 1 and 2. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, blends indigenous and Catholic influences, with the most traditional celebrations taking place in cemeteries in central Mexico. There, families gather at gravestones to honor deceased loved ones, but the tradition has become more popular in the U.S. as well, especially in places with thriving Latin American populations.
At the heart of the celebrations are ofrendas – altars or offerings of food, drink, and alcohol – which are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to Earth to spend time with their family and loved ones. Día de Los Muertos celebrations also include processions, musical performances, and tons of great, skeleton- and skull-inspired art – and, a refreshing break from the over-the-top commercialism of Halloween. What’s more, they’re almost always free, too. Here, five great places to get into the spirit of the Day of the Dead.
San Francisco is arguably one of the world’s most enchanting cities – but it’s also one of the most expensive, too (weekend rates for a mid-range hotel will set you back around $250 a night, on average). But a trip to the City by the Bay doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. Here, five ways for visitors to get an affordable, yet authentic SF experience – in other words, while you’re saving money, you’ll be mingling with the locals too. Need further incentive? October is a beautiful month to visit, with fewer crowds than summer and still-warm days. Read more
The travel gods must be angry this month – otherwise, we don’t know how to explain the recent spate of transportation breakdowns happening around the world. France, New York City, San Francisco; you name it, something’s going wrong. As a result, we feel like crawling under a rock and hiding until the madness has passed. But for many of you, not traveling is simply not an option – and anyway, that’s just part of the fun of traveling, right?
The iconic yellow cab is known in practically every culture as a symbol of on-demand transportation, catering to both disoriented tourists and rushed locals alike. But in the digital age, the way we call for and utilize on-demand transport is changing. E-hail apps, as they’re known, harness the power of GPS in order to bring a ride directly to you, thus significantly changing the taxi game. Legislators are still ironing out the kinks in many cities, though both San Francisco and New York have already embraced the cab hailing tech revolution.
Here’s a look at the biggest players, what they offer, and how much they charge for their services. Read more
Like televisions out of a window, rock stars and hotels just fit together. From the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok where Billy Idol caused so much mayhem he had to be shot with tranquilizer darts by the Thai army; to what is now called the Andaz West Hollywood where Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham rode a motorcycle through the hallways, and the Holiday Inn, Flint where Keith Moon started a food fight, destroyed a piano, set off fire extinguishers, and drove a car into the swimming pool, many a hotel’s walls, if they could talk, would tell stories of rock star excess.
While the trend of high hotel debauchery has faded over time, in spite of Joel Madden and DMX’s seeming attempts to revive it, there are a few hotels where you can get a taste of a rock n’ roll lifestyle without incurring the cost of “incidentals”.
BackStage Hotel, Amsterdam
Located in the central Leidseplein square, in the heart of Amsterdam’s nightlife district, BackStage Hotel is Rock n’ Roll all the way to its interior design, which features ceiling lights made from snare drums. The hotel is a few steps from both the Melkweg and Paradiso music venues, and is often the hotel of choice for musicians passing through Amsterdam on tour. If you find yourself inspired, you can borrow the hotel’s guitars and jam some Guitar Hero in the bar.
September weeknight rates start at €175 ($233) Read more
Silicon Valley techies – along with pretty much all Californians – are abuzz with news of the latest venture from entrepreneur Elon Musk: a super-high-speed train called the Hyperloop that is capable of jetting passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a mere 30 minutes.
Musk, the dynamo who co-founded PayPal and how heads up Tesla Motors, this week unveiled plans for the proposed transit system, which will whisk passengers through a tubular system at speeds up to 700 miles per hour – faster than most commercial airliners and slightly less than the speed of sound.
At a conference earlier this year, Musk described the Hyperloop as “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table.” But it will be a while (if ever) before travelers can hop aboard the Hyperloop. Musk estimated he could build a prototype in about three to four years, but some transportation experts doubt the project will ever be realized.
In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the current available routes between the City by the Bay and the City of Angels. Of course, none of them can hold a candle next to the Hyperloop’s supposed 30 minute commute, but until Musk’s vision becomes a reality, it’s nice to know we’ve got options: Read more
Escape on an end-of-summer getaway, or start planning your fall and winter travel early, with this sale from Virgin America. Fly one-way, nonstop to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and more. While travel for these low rates is valid for a while (August 24–December 3, 2013), booking ends on August 8, at 11:59 CT. Certain day-of-week restrictions and blackout dates from November 21–December 3, 2013 also apply. Check out some of these great fares below! Read more
Sonoma County boasts some of Northern California’s best wineries: Kenwood Vineyards, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, and Gloria Ferrer, to name a few. It’s also home to some of the best restaurants north of San Francisco. If you’re looking for a great meal while you’re vineyard-hopping, or you’re just in NorCal on vacation, here are five eateries offering well-prepared meals, ambiance, and, of course, excellent wine. Read more
A couple of weeks ago, Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson issued a rare public lashing on immigration wait times for passengers coming into the United States. Obviously, the leader of a U.S.-based airline has financial motives for wanting to get passengers off the plane and through passport control in a more efficient manner – but his rant still held a lot of truth. Immigration wait times in countries like Japan or the Netherlands are far shorter than what we face here in the United States.
For those looking to make informed decisions around their future travel plans, here’s a quick look at which airports boast the shortest wait times – and perhaps more importantly, which airports have the worst. Though we can’t guarantee you’ll miraculously breeze through immigration on your trip, at the very least, you’ll know which entry points to avoid or plan for longer layovers if you have a connection. Read more
It may be a sign of the times that mobile travel apps are beginning to catch up, popularity-wise, to their older, pre-existing website counterparts. People are busy these days, and they want the tools to be able to book their flights, hotels, and dinner reservations on the fly. Enter Hipmunk, one of the web’s most comprehensive travel search engines, and their spiffy upgraded mobile app (suitable for iOS and Android) with a new last-minute hotel booking option.
Launching today, “Tonight Only” essentially aggregates information about hotel rooms available on 24 hours’ notice. So, let’s say your flight out of San Francisco gets delayed and you need a hotel, pronto: simply open the app, scroll through the available hotels, and book a room right there.
Of course, for seasoned travelers-in-the-know, this is nothing new. The folks at HotelTonight have made last-minute bookings their exclusive business, and a slew of others have been cropping up, as well. So, what makes the updated Hipmunk app special? Read more
In early July, a four-day strike of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, system of subway and light rail crippled the city, leaving about 400,000 riders – including tourists – struggling to find transit alternatives. Though a temporary agreement was reached, both sides are still in heated negotiations, and according to Bay Area news reports, a second strike could occur if a new contract or agreement isn’t reached by the August 4 deadline.
However, BART isn’t the only game in town when it comes to getting around the City by the Bay. So before you jump the gun and cancel your trip, here’s a beginner’s guide to making sense of San Francisco’s sometimes confusing public transit system. Your first order of business? Purchase a Clipper Card (available online or at dozens of retail locations like Walgreens all over the city), which can be used on all of the Bay Area’s transit systems with a single tap. Read more
Nap. Read. Work. Eat. However you occupy your time at the airport, Virgin Atlantic has devised a new way to ‘upgrade’ your pre-flight experience. With its new “Guest List” package, Economy and Premium Economy passengers now have the option to pay extra for the same perks normally extended to Upper Class passengers.
The special treatment will cost you, though. On top of your airfare, rates for the “Guest List” package start at $384 – depending on how many chauffeurs you need… Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals