A Hotel and Itinerary for a Luxe Weekend with kids in San Francisco

My phone showed 6 am but I was till in Dallas time, I got up from my under the cloud like comfy covers at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco and glanced at my daughter who was still sleeping soundly.  Trying not to make too much noise I changed into my pants and t-shirt and headed out the door.  I made my way downstairs and tiptoed through the hallway from the lobby to the terrace where all the meeting rooms and conference suites were to catch a glimpse of the sunrise.  Downstairs the city was barely waking up and the Yerba Buena gardens was in view.  The terrace with its potted lemon trees and relaxed seating though quiet this morning was a nice place gathering place for drinks and chitchat.

The doorman opened the door with a friendly smile and when I asked for the park, pointed me to the walkway that leads to the little urban oasis I was looking for.  I made a quick stop at Peet’s coffee, a San Fransico staple before heading in the direction of where he had pointed.  Yerba Buena was the original name of the settlement that later became San Francisco, California. Located near the northeastern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, between the Presidio of San Francisco and the Mission San Francisco de Asís, it was originally intended as a trading post for ships visiting San Francisco Bay. The settlement was arranged in the Spanish style around a plaza that remains as the present day Portsmouth Square which today is a part of Chinatown. Yerba Buena Garden, is a little urban oasis, much like Central park but in a much smaller scale.  It was steps away from Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco and this morning I had it to myself except for a couple of people practicing taichi, a jogger and a lone man meditating.

Guest Rooms and Suites

Back at the hotel, I joined the rest the family as they were getting ready for breakfast.  Four Seasons San Francisco is going through some renovation and will unveil new guest rooms and suites in 2018, but our room was so well appointed and furnished that I couldn’t really see what renovation was needed.  We had an executive suite that had a king bed with expansive windows that opened up to city views.  There was a living area with a sofa that converted into a bed, a huge flat screen TV and all the necessary modern amenities.  The marble bathroom was clean and ultra spacious with L’occitane bath minis that reminded me of our trip to Provence a few years ago.  We made ourselves coffee in the Keruig while everyone got ready.

MKT Restaurant-Bar

Downstairs the MKT Restaurant is the place for breakfast, a few cocktails or dinner- the atmosphere and clientele is classy while the staff attentive and friendly.  The bar team at MKT Restaurant-Bar, led by Michael Baldonado puts together two monthly events for both the cocktail and wine enthusiasts. The Den features live music and craft cocktails every third Thursday from 5:30-8:30pm. The event pays homage to San Francisco’s original speakeasies and parlors. Food, Wine & Friends are intimate wine dinners with the best wineries in the region. Held every fourth Thursday, they incorporate a wine-pairing dinner from the culinary team at MKT along with the winemaker as the host.

Why kids love Four Seasons

There is no doubt adults appreciate the luxuries at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts but the kids love it too. There is no additional charge for children 18 years old and under occupying the same guest room with parents or guardians  as along as space permits.  If you provide the hotel staff with the names and ages of the children in your party, they have complimentary amenities waiting for them like child-size bathrobes, children’s toiletries, pool bags, they sometime even have little scavenger hunts planned for the little travelers.  My little niece till this day cherishes the little wand and magic skirt  from the Four Seasons Orlando at Disney World (she calls her little tutu that was left for her at check in, a magic skirt since everyone she encountered called her a princess when she wore it around the resort and at the theme park ).

Our favorite things to do in the City of Bay

Set on Market Street across from Yerba Buena Gardens and just blocks from Union Square, the Hotel Four Seasons San Francisco puts you within easy reach of all the attractions in the City by the Bay.  It is impossible to see everything in a weekend, its best to have a plan based on your interests, here are a few things we love to do.

1.Start with a walk around the Yerba Buena park and take in an arts that opens a window on San Francisco’s diverse and culturally rich art scene. Stop by SFMOMA that is right across the street to further get a cultural immersion.  The contemporary art museum has a great permanent collection art, and works specially commissioned for this new museum.

2. Kids will love riding the iconic cable cars of San Francisco over its roller-coaster hills. Hop off at Lombard Street to walk the “crookedest street in the world” and enjoy a stroll along the waterfront.  

3. Fisherman’s Wharf has lots of enticing shops and places to eat with Ghirardelli Square with a chocolate factory at its center, while the Marina is a great place to join locals flying kites and walking dogs on a weekend morning.

4. Stroll the 5 acres  of the oldest Japanese-style garden in the U.S. (built in 1894) and view an eclectic collection of sub-gardens, buildings and artifacts.

5. Make another quick stop at the Iconic row of historical Victorian homes, affectionately called the Painted ladies.  It is historical row of Victorian houses well-known for appearances on movies, TV shows and postcards.
6. Presidio of San Francisco is another big park with trails and lookout areas.  The 1,500-acre park was a former military post, is a major outdoor recreation hub. It has forested areas, miles of trails, a golf course and scenic.
 
7. If you have time to spare, climb up Coit Tower, for a 360 degree view of the city.  This 1930s-era building known for its WPA murals, 360-degree views & resident flock of parrots.
 
8. Twin Peaks is a popular park with views of the Bay Area.  It is famous for its 180-degree views of the Bay Area are offered at this 64-acre park with hiking trails. Stop at Twin Peaks to see a panoramic view of the city and in the Marin Headlands to see the city from across the Bay.
9. Then there is the Golden Gate Park, home to the California Academy of Sciences, the greenest museum in the world. It houses an aquarium, planetarium, rain-forest and natural history museum under a 2.5 acre living roof. And, of course, you can’t miss a visit to the most photographed Golden Gate Bridge.

10. Catch a ball game at the AT&T Park, that is home to the San Francisco Giants and take in the breathtaking views and classic design.  Even if it is not the season for baseball this ballpark with bay views offers tours and hosts special events. (D’s favorite stop!)

See also : Places to take a postcard shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Where to eat 

We like to start our day with a fabulous breakfast at MKT Restaurant and Bar at the Hotel with views of the city and plane trees.  As we wait for our order of lemon ricotta pancakes, custom made omelette and egg benedict, we plan our short but sweet visit to the city. San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. It is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco.  Don’t miss to stop for some dim sum in Chinatown or try the seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf. There’s also a charming Japanese tea house for refreshments with a Pacific flavor at Golden Gate Park. Kids will love to end the day with some ice cream or treats at  Ghirardelli Square with a chocolate factory at its center.  Also don’t leave San Francisco without try the famous sourdough bread, we love getting some world-famous New England-style clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl at Boudin Bakery by the wharf, they have vegetarian options as well.

Where to go if you have a few more days

There is plenty to do within the city of San Francisco but if you have a few extra days, a trip to the wine country in Napa or Sonoma can be done in a day.  We love visiting the Point Reyes National Seashore, a vast expanse of protected coastline in Northern California’s Marin County – it is one of the windiest places so go prepared with some jackets.  On the way to Point Reyes, you can spend some time on the trails at Muir Woods National Monument.  It is part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco and known for its towering redwood trees.

More pictures from the trip

MLK Memorial Silver Walls

Dutch artist Lin Utzon designed the walls which flank the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Waterfall as sculpted and silvered forms to reflect the surrounding nuances of water, sky, and landscape. These fluted granite walls, emblazoned with immense silvered fissures, adjust to changes in sunlight and weather. YBG’s granite paving pattern also designed by Utzon, creates a sense of movement and guides visitors walking through the gardens.

Glass Ship—Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain and SFMOMO

John Roloff‘s, 18-foot-high sculpture “Green Glass Ship – Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain,” rises above the East Garden terrace accompanied by portholes that allow a hint of activity to be seen in the Moscone Center, located below the gardens. Roloff said, “At the site, land is an illusion with the gardens above and convention space below – a metaphor for the ocean, a different world, and the surface of the sea.”

Ford GoBike is a bike share system in Bay Area’s, with thousands of public bikes for use across San Francisco.  You can get a Single Ride or Day Pass to use the system or sign up for an annual program.  You simply use their mobile app or a card to unlock any bike in the system, ride around the city and dock it back when you are done.  That simple! They had a few bikes right outside the Four Seasons Hotel.

The Four Seasons Hotel offers the best location from which to enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer, plus they wow you with their signature warm and genuine service every single time.

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