Shermans Travel » Blog » San Francisco
The holidays are supposed to be a season for spending time with family, giving thanks, and recharging our near-depleted batteries. Unfortunately, for all too many of us, they bring about more stress than relaxation; between the cooking and cleaning, gift-giving and hosting, we often find ourselves needing a vacation from our vacations. So why not switch up your usual holiday traditions and take a trip during the holidays this year? With these domestic hotel deals, you can swing an affordable getaway without straying too far from home, and still avoid the usual stress of the season.
Looking for a unique, off-the-wall (or, more accurately, on the bridge) setting for this year’s holiday photo? The Golden Gate Bridge, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in May, has added a seasonal twist to its green screen Photo Experience, which lets visitors pose for a photo that appears to be from atop the bridge’s mighty cables or a 746-foot-high tower.
In other words, a holiday photo that’s anything but ho-ho-hum.
The Photo Experience, which is offered in the Round House building at the southern entrance of the bridge, provides a variety of props, including Santa Hats for the little ones, strands of lights, and, my personal favorite, that swirly topper as shown on the lovely lady in the photo to the left. Visitors can bring their own props too but are encouraged not to wear green, as they’ll become invisible in the green screen.
I experienced the Photo Experience when it was first launched, and though the $20 fee for two 5×7 photos ($10 each for extras) seems a tad steep, it pretty much guarantees a memorable photo that will be talked about long after the holidays are over. Read more
The City by the Bay is also known as a second home to many business travelers, with a huge swath of conventions and events hosted in San Francisco each year. It’s also ludicrously pricey, almost always “chilly” to visitors from the south, and packed full of amazing opportunities for enjoyment… if you know where to look. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of SF, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
While San Francisco is busy enough to offer a smattering of convention center options, Moscone West is undoubtedly the king of the city. Thankfully, the Mission Bay Conference Center and Fort Mason Center aren’t too far away, so even if you find yourself at one of those, these recommendations will still apply – albeit with a little more legwork. Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the Hilton Union Square. Chances are, it’ll be a recommended hotel for you to stay at if you’re spending most of your time at Moscone. Beneath, there’s a place called Urban Tavern, and while the hours are a little weird, the food is superb. It’s a pretty laid back place, and the prices are really reasonable for downtown San Francisco. I rarely recommend hotel eateries, but this one is a cut above. Read more
This season, take advantage of incredibly low fares to and from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Experience perfect fall weather in San Fran, see the Hollywood Hills and famous piers and beaches in LA, or try your luck in the Sin City for as little as $59 each way. Or, depart from any of these cities to many more gateways throughout the country, like New York, Orlando, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. These fares from Virgin America include all applicable taxes.
Sample one-way fares include:
- San Francisco — Los Angeles: $59
- Las Vegas — San Francisco: $59
- San Francisco — Portland: $79
- Dallas — Los Angeles: $129
- Los Angeles — Chicago: $129
- Philadelphia — Los Angeles: $139
- Los Angeles — Orlando: $139
- San Francisco — Fort Lauderdale: $149
- Washington, D.C. — Los Angeles: $149
- New York City — Los Angeles: $149
- Las Vegas — New York City: $159
To see even more available fares, visit Virgin America’s website. Travel is valid Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays from September 17 – December 12. Blackout dates are November 12 and November 15-26.
Book fast — this sale ends Friday, September 14.
Give yourself the gift of travel this holiday season with a stay in a classic hotel in San Francisco’s Union Square for $147 to $175 per night. This offer saves 30 percent (or $60 per night) on current rates and provides complimentary breakfast.
Travel is available November 1 to December 30, including weekends, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Stay in a Deluxe Queen Room at The Inn at Union Square, ranked fifth best hotel in San Francisco by TripAdvisor readers. Accommodation includes a plush queen bed, a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, and Wi-Fi. Each room is warmly decorated with classic furnishings that have a modern feel. The hotel also provides a nightly wine reception, and offers discounted access to nearby fitness center.
This boutique, 3.5-star hotel provides an ideal location for taking in all of San Francisco’s highlights. The iconic Powell Street Cable Cars are only steps away, as well as Macy’s Union Square, the American Conservatory Theater, and Curran Theater. Within the neighborhood, you’ll find decadent restaurants and cafes, dozens of shops, and an array of entertainment venues.
To book, visit the Inn at Union Square’s website by clicking here and use the promo code “SP7″ to receive the discounted rate. The following dates are not available at a discount: November 6-10, 12-16, and December 2-6. Book by October 10.
See our San Francisco destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rate on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.
Last spring, we picked the Top 10 Cities for Cycling, those U.S. locales where bike lanes, cycler safety, and easy access to two-wheeled transportation all rank high for residents and visitors alike. Four of those cities – Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and St. Petersburg, Florida – were set to launch ambitious bike share programs this summer. Unfortunately, the start dates have passed for each of those places, and we’re still waiting on those cycle rentals. So what happened, and when can you expect to see bike shares in your city?
Forget champagne bars – when you want a glass of bubbly, shouldn’t it be more hydrating with a bit fewer calories? That’s where the Perrier Lounge at San Francisco’s Hotel Diva comes in. The brand-new common space boasts 30-foot walls painted Perrier green and accented by round mirrors, as well as a glass chandelier with hand-blown bubbles and a swinging bubble chair. There’s even bubble-imprinted carpets and sheer white bubble curtains. As if you needed any more convincing of Perrier’s superior qualities, a flat-screen TV shows the beverage brand’s short film “The Drop,” while the shades are embossed with one of its print ads. And, of course, you can knock back a bottle of Perrier, available for purchase for $1.75 from the vending machine. www.hoteldiva.com
See our San Francisco destination guide for general trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more travel deals.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is perhaps the best kids’ museum you’ve never heard of. With an unbeatable location in San Francisco’s revitalized Presidio, the museum chronicles the life of the animation visionary as well as the achievements that made his company a household name through videos, interactive screens, artwork, and family artifacts. Recently, the museum has been stepping up its game with special exhibits that expand on specific accomplishments and influences in Walt’s life.
Sadly, you can’t do the real thing, but thanks to a new green screen photo experience – just one of the offerings unveiled today, leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration over Memorial Day weekend – you can pose for a photo that makes it looks like you did. (Yep, that’s me at the right, and I gleefully fooled my husband and parents – though they did notice that my hair, mysteriously, wasn’t blowing around.)
In addition to the Golden Gate Bridge Photo Experience ($20), which is ideal for San Francisco’s famously foggy days, new developments include the Bridge Pavilion, a 3,500-square-foot eco-friendly building that serves as a visitor center and gift shop with beautiful bridge-themed design and memorabilia; personally guided tours on the bridge, including the first-ever night tours; and much-needed enhancements to trails and signage around the southeast toll plaza. Read more
San Francisco’s Presidio, a 1,500-acre former military base, serves as a woodsy urban sanctuary, a must-do for military buffs, and an actual neighborhood for a few lucky San Franciscans. But with the recent opening of its first hotel, the Inn at the Presidio, this under-the-radar gem can also become the home away from home for visitors to the City by the Bay.
Officially opened on April 1, the inn features 17 suites and five guestrooms in a beautifully restored historic building, ranging from $195 (just three rooms offered at this rate) to $350, with most featuring soaring ceilings, a fireplace, and spacious bathrooms. Rates also include a free wine and cheese reception every evening, a continental breakfast, and Internet. Read more
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