The San Francisco Bay Area

Click here for a map of the Bay Area.






San Jose International Airport (SJC): 40 miles

San Francisco International Airport (SFO): 72 miles

Monterey Municipal Airport (MRY): 31 miles

Things to do in San Francisco

In order to get to San Francisco, you'll need a rental car -- it is about 100 miles north of our wedding location. Once there, you can choose from a large variety of activities, especially if you're a museum-goer or someone who enjoys seeing local landmarks. (Alison has been to every one of these places, so she can give you advice if you need it!)

Tours of Alcatraz leave from Pier 41. Please make reservations in advance by calling the Blue and Gold Fleet (415-705-5555) or you most likely will miss out! The tour includes information about the island's history as a military outpost, U.S. penitentary, and an occupied island (by Native Americans in the 70s).

The San Francisco CityPass gives you the opportunity to visit some amazing landmarks in San Francisco at substantial savings. Below is some info on the museums included (or you can buy tickets to each individually); also included is a bay cruise and a MUNI/cable car pass:

    The California Academy of Sciences, formerly in Golden Gate Park, houses the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, and various natural history exhibits. (Open daily.)

    The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. (Closed Mondays.)

    The Leigon of Honor features collections of ancient and European art, and is located in the Presidio near the Golden Gate bridge. It was originally built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I and has a permanent collection that includes Rodin's "Thinker". (Closed Mondays.)

    San Francisco's Exploratorium is a hands-on, kid-friendly museum dedicated to the exploration of science and art. It is located within the Palace of Fine Arts, which was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. If you have kids in your group (or you're a kid at heart), a visit here is highly recommended! (Closed Mondays.)

    The SFMOMA (Museum of Modern Art) routinely houses impressive shows by all types of modern artists. You can browse their current collections on their website, and also find out what shows are coming up. (Closed Wednesdays.)

The Cartoon Art Museum is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of cartoon art in all its forms. This unique institution houses approximately 6,000 original pieces in its permanent collection; a complete volume research/library facility is located on the museum's premises. In addition to seven major exhibitions a year, the museum has a classroom for cartoon art and a bookstore.

Beach Blanket Babylon is a musical spoof of pop culture that has been running in San Francisco since 1974. It is most famous for the extravagant hats worn by performers. You'll want to buy tickets in advance if you plan on attending.

The de Young Museum, in Golden Gate Park, was re-opened in 2005 and houses American, Native American, and African art collections.

Union Square -- shopping!! What more needs to be said?

Sony Metreon is near the SFMOMA and is more of an "entertainment" spot than cultural destination. Inside you'll find an arcade, shopping, and a movie theater. Because it's within walking distance of Union Square, it's probably worth a quick jaunt to.

You MUST visit Teatro Zinzanni! Alison initially entertained ideas of renting the tent for the wedding (she's been four times!). This is a dinner show which can be described as a mix between the circus and Cirque de Soleil; it's fun, the food is excellent, and the music/acting/circus acts are impressive. Make sure to get tickets in advance!

Check out the SF Visitor's Guide for more information about destinations in San Francisco!

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Getting to Santa Cruz will require a car or taxi, as the wedding site 9 miles south and is not close to any public transportation.

Everyone has heard of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, right? "The Lost Boys" was filmed here, after all! It's free to get in (but the rides cost money), and they often have concerts and events going on in the summer.

Take a gander at the county's vistor information site, which lists information for the areas surrounding Aptos and Santa Cruz, and has a weekly calendar of events available.

The Wine Country

If you plan on spending a lot of time in the area before or after our wedding, then you should make plans to travel up to the area north of San Francisco. (You will definitely require a rental car for this trek!)

Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are "the" place to go for wine tours and the like. Because visits here really do depend on what you're looking for (and partially because we've never been there as tourists), instead of making recommendations, we suggest checking out the websites. Email us if you have any questions, though!

Other Areas Outside of San Francisco

Some other places you may want to visit outside of San Francisco:

The Chabot Space Center is located in Oakland, which is directly across the bay from San Francisco and includes a planetarium and theater. Like the Exploratorium, this is a very hands-on museum which children in your group are sure to enjoy.

Hearst Castle is located in San Simeon, which is on the central coast of California (south of Santa Cruz). Alison has been there twice, and heartily recommends booking a tour (you should get tickets in advance) through the amazing house, which was built and occupied by William Randolf Hearst and includes his large art collection. Tour 5 is particularly interesting; it's timed at sundown (which is spectacular) and includes character actors from the 1930s "hanging around" the house.

The Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield is WAY north of San Francisco, near Sacramento, but we included it because everyone loves jellybeans!