9 Tips for your Bay Area Getaway this Fall
San Francisco has oft been heralded one of the top travel destinations in the US. Though its Golden Gate Bridge has been featured in countless movie cameos, the City by the Bay has much more to offer the slew of tourists who visit each year. Better yet, San Francisco is within a short drive of some of the nation’s most prized wine regions. That’s why we’ve packaged a deal that allows you to experience the best that both the city and the country have to offer by taking you from one Fairmont to another. Follow these expert tips to make the trip even more amazing.
Hike in the Muir Woods
If you take a hike in the Redwoods and don’t Instagram it, does it really even happen? You can find out when you embark on one of these popular trails in the Muir Woods. Declared a National Monument by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, these redwoods have been around for anywhere from 500 to 800 years. The tallest tree in the forest stands at 258 feet tall—we dare you to find it.
Get Your Geek on
It’s no secret that some of the largest tech companies reside in San Francisco, ahem, Silicon Valley. With moguls like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Netflix, it only makes sense that the city is host to one of the best auto shows in the country that highlights the latest technology in production vehicles. The show, which takes place from November 18th to the 26th at the Moscone Convention Center, will showcase over 35 vehicle manufacturers and their newest innovations.
Watch the Leaves Change Color
Travelzoo members can save up to 25% off Avis base rates when making a reservation, so rent a car and get out of the city for a day to check out the fall foliage. If you thought the orange and yellow hues were limited to New England, you’ll think twice after going on one of these excursions.
Get the ‘Bay to Bar’ Experience
Hog Island Oyster Co. has some of the freshest oysters in the game and offers several varieties from both the East and West Coasts on its daily menu. Better yet, the restaurant sits directly on the water in Ferry Building Marketplace, so you’ll have some amazing views of the Bay. Even if there’s a breeze, you’ll still be able to enjoy the view through the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Not a fan of raw oysters? Frequenters of the restaurant also rave about the Clam Chowder and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Channel Your Inner Hansel & Gretel
Each year on November 25th, Fairmont San Francisco opens its two-story, life-sized Gingerbread House in the hotel’s grand lobby that’s exclusively accessible to overnight guests. The edible construct stands impressively at 22 feet high and 23 feet wide, with more than 7,500 gingerbread bricks, hundreds of pounds of candy, and more than a ton (that’s 2000 pounds if you needed some perspective) of royal icing. In addition to the Gingerbread House, Fairmont San Francisco hosts a variety of other awe-inspiring holiday festivities that range from a Thanksgiving Feast in the Crown Room to a New Year’s Eve Luau in the Tonga Room. Travelzoo Tip: Book your holiday event reservations soon before they fill up!
Say Hello to SUP
Revered as the most intense stand up paddling event in the world, the Red Bull Heavy Water competition features several top ranked athletes competing for a record $20,000 first place prize. The event, which takes place from October 16th to the 31st, marks an Official Stop on the 2017 APP World Tour Circuit (the global circuit for stand up paddle boarders and racers). The epic course stretches from Ocean Beach to the San Francisco Yacht Club, which lies just beyond the aforementioned iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We recommend watching the 7-mile race near the finish line at Fort Point.
Have a Whale of a Time
The moderate weather that accompanies San Francisco’s Fall makes whale watching possible in the late months of the year. In the Farallon Islands, whale watching season lasts from mid-May to November. On the excursion, you’ll see whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and large numbers of sea birds. Tickets tend to sell out fast, so book them soon! Travelzoo Tip: Be sure to account for the wind chill on the water and pack lots of layers to make your trip more enjoyable.
Visit a Piece of Haunted History
Alcatraz Island sits 1.25 miles off the coast of San Francisco. The 22-acre body of land most notably served as the site of a high-security prison–Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary–from 1934 to 1963. During this time, the prison housed some of history’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone, Bumpy Johnson, and more. While the prison has since been abandoned, the citadel remains one of the top tourist attractions in the city. Tours depart from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing and last from 2.5 to 5.5 hours depending on the option you choose.
Reap the Harvest
When you arrive at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, you’ll be greeted with sparkling wine at reception, shortly followed by a bottle of wine waiting in your room. The hotel’s extensive spa, championship golf course, and Michelin-rated restaurant will make you never want to leave. If you do feel the need to explore beyond the grounds, though, be sure to take advantage of our Wine Passport to gain access to over 65 wineries in the area for only $29. If Napa’s more your style, head to Healdsburg for a 50% discount on a limited-edition wine tasting with food pairings. Travelzoo Tip: Red Wine has been known to cause drowsiness, so book this 80-minute massage for your post-vineyard nap.