Road Scholar : Home
San Francisco: City By the Bay With Your Grandchild

Program Number: 21059RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/14/2013 - 7/19/2013; 6/19/2016 - 6/24/2016; 6/26/2016 - 7/1/2016; 7/17/2016 - 7/22/2016; 7/24/2016 - 7/29/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: San Francisco, California
Price starting at: $1,245.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; Signature Cities; History & Culture
Meals: 11; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 12 - 14 years of age.

Spend an iconic week in the City by the Bay. Take a ferry boat ride to Alcatraz Island and explore the infamous jailhouse. Walk across one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Explore Fort Point, a Civil War fort directly below the bridge. Be transfixed by the beauty of towering redwood trees in Muir Woods. Venture to the “crookedest” street in the world, Lombard Street. Experience the sights, smells and sounds of Chinatown, the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Expand your scientific knowledge through hands-on tinkering at the Exploratorium. Rumble through the streets of San Francisco on a historic cable car. By week’s end, you will know why Tony Bennett and millions of other visitors leave their hearts in every American’s second hometown, San Francisco.


• A behind-the-scenes exploration of the Academy of Sciences includes express entry into the planetarium, rainforest, living roof and earthquake simulator.

• Hike to Point Bonita in the Marin Headlands on a ranger-led visit of the only lighthouse in the country accessible via suspension bridge.

• Learn what life was like for seamen of yore on a ranger-led field trip to a historic sailing ship on Hyde Street Pier in Fisherman’s Wharf.

Activity Particulars

Participants must be in good health, mobile and able to participate in several hours of mild to moderate daily physical activity. This includes stairs, standing and walking up to three miles over uneven ground that is occasionally steep.

There is extensive use of public transportation on this program.

Date Specific Information

6-19-2016, 6-26-2016, 7-17-2016, 7-24-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

San Francisco

A stunning city with a colorful past and vibrant present, San Francisco offers legendary landmarks — the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, cable cars and elegant Victorian homes — along with spectacular cityscapes and views of bay and bridges.

Centrally located hotel in San Francisco with pool.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
James Dalessandro

James Dalessandro has written more than 20 feature film and television scripts, including the movie adaptation of his best selling novel, “1906,” for Warner Brothers, and the Hallmark movie, “Citizen Jane,” based on his true crime book. He is the writer and director of the award- winning documentary film, “The Damnedest Finest Ruins,” and the writer and executive producer of, “Petrosino,” an upcoming 10-hour mini series based on his Playboy article and upcoming book. He is the principal Road Scholar lecturer in his adopted home of San Francisco where he screens, “The Damnedest Finest Ruins,” and lectures on subjects ranging from the founding of San Francisco the Transcontinental Railroad, Old Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge to the history of its artists: Mark Twain, Jack London, Isadora Duncan and the Beat Generation.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
  San Francisco, CA 5 nights
 Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The 26-story Holiday Inn San Francisco Golden Gateway Hotel, just steps away from the historic California Cable Car turnaround, offers fantastic city views. The newly-renovated guest rooms begin on the 6th floor. Located in the lower Nob Hill / Pacific Heights neighborhood, the hotel is near all major attractions: the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, Chinatown, North Beach and Union Square. The hotel has a gym and rooftop outdoor heated pool.
  Contact info: 1500 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109 USA
phone: 415-441-4000
  Room amenities: The standard guestrooms are configured with two double beds, one queen, or one king bed. Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access and a 37-inch flat-screen television with pay-per-view and premium cable channels as well as an in-room refrigerator and coffeemaker. Other amenities include an iron/ironing board, hair dryer, private in-suite bathrooms, premium cable TV channels, pay-per-view movies, in-room Wii video gaming, blackout drapes, clock radio, spacious desk, and complimentary newspaper. All rooms are smoke-free.
  Facility amenities: Guests of the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway hotel enjoy a number of advantages including comfortable, spacious hotel rooms, two onsite restaurants, and an outdoor, heated swimming pool boasting views of the city. The hotel provides fitness and business centers that are open 24 hours-a-day. Other amenities include: car rental desk, tour desk in the gift shop, ATM, concierge services, newsstand, bellman, dry cleaning/laundry service, room service, and a safety deposit box at the front desk. All guest rooms are non-smoking; however, smoking is allowed in the pool area. PARKING: A large, indoor, self-park garage is available at the hotel for a fee of $45.60 per day, tax included. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: The hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi Internet service in all guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for current rates. Road Scholar rate is a discount on the best available rate. Please call Patty Smith at 415-447-3044 to book additional nights before or after the program.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for current rates. Road Scholar rate is a discount on the best available rate. Please call Patty Smith at 415-447-3044 to book additional nights before or after the program.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program registration is from 3:00-4:30PM. Orientation begins at 4:30PM followed by dinner at 5:30PM. Introductions are after dinner. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Golden Gateway that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 11:00AM on closing day. Please arrange your travel plans so you can join us for the final class on closing day. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Golden Gateway the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. 1. Each grandparent and grandchild must complete a separate Participant Information Form (PIF). On the enclosed PIF, please indicate to us the name(s) of your grandchild(ren) and traveling companion, if any. Also, let us know if you are traveling with other individuals and wish to be assigned a room near them

2. Parental Consent Form for grandchildren

3. Intergenerational Rules and Regulations.

4. Photo ID

  Parking availability:
Parking is $45.60 per day, tax included.
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Francisco, CA
  Nearest city or town:  San Francisco
  Nearest highway: US101/US80 are the closest highways to the hotel
  Nearest airport:  San Francisco International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: San Francisco, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

San Francisco


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call SuperShuttle for current rates.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30-45 minutes, depending on traffic 




14 miles


SuperShuttle offers door-to-door van service. Call to make a reservation or go online to




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call SuperShuttle for current rates.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


About 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic 




22 miles


SuperShuttle offers door-to-door van service. Call to make a reservation or go online to

Driving Directions
  101 North/ Golden Gate Bridge to the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel Take US-101 South toward San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Toll: $6 Slight left at Lombard St. / US-101 Turn right at Van Ness Avenue One mile to hotel
  101 South/San Francisco International Airport to the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel Take US-101 North Exit 434A and merge onto Mission St. / US-101 toward Golden Gate Bridge Slight left at S. Van Ness Avenue 1.2 miles to hotel
  East Bay/ Highway 80 to the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel Take I-80 West toward San Francisco Bay Bridge Toll: $6 Exit onto Central Freeway / US-101 North toward Golden Gate Bridge Exit 434A and merge onto Mission St. / US-101 North toward Golden Gate Bridge Turn slight left at S. Van Ness Avenue One mile to hotel
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Reception/Orientation/Introductions
(Sunday, July 14)
 Afternoon: PROGRAM REGISTRATION takes place in the hallway outside of the meeting room. Check in to the hotel at the lobby desk; you will be directed to the meeting room where the Road Scholar program is being held.

ORIENTATION: Begins before dinner. We'll have an overview of the program ahead and review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, any other administrative issues, and answer your questions. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

 Dinner: Dinner in hotel

Menus are contracted for the program and are designed to offer balanced, healthy meals for the participants. In addition to the regular Road Scholar meal plan, this hotel offers a vegetarian meal option. Unfortunately, there are no other special meal options. Participants with special dietary needs should be prepared to avoid certain foods or supplement the regular meal plan as needed.

 Evening: INTRODUCTIONS: Participants introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

Enjoy the remainder of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.

Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Hyde Street Pier/The Damnedest Finest Ruins
(Monday, July 15)

Note: Group will take public bus from hotel to Hyde Street Pier for one hour docent-led visit of the 1886 square rigger Balclutha followed by free time to explore other historic vessels on the pier.

 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel restaurant
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Hyde Street Pier offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history. There are many historic vessels to explore.

The Balclutha is a three-masted, steel-hulled, square-rigged ship built to carry a variety of cargo all over the world. Launched in 1886 by the Charles Connell and Company shipyard near Glasgow, Scotland, the ship carried goods around Cape Horn 17 times.

The CA Thayer is a wooden-hulled, three-masted schooner, designed for carrying lumber. She was built in 1895 in Northern California at Hans D. Bendixsen’s shipyard in Fairhaven, CA.

The Eureka, built in 1890, is a wooden-hulled, sidewheel paddle steamboat. From the passenger deck up, she is nearly identical fore and aft. Her "double-end" design made disembarking quicker and easier. Eureka's large "walking beam" steam engine remains intact.

The Alma is a wooden-hulled scow schooner built in 1891 to carry bulk cargo. The flat-bottomed hull was designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and to rest on the bottom at low tide. With few bridges and connecting roads, scow schooners delivered goods all over the Bay and Delta much as trucks do today. By 1880 there were 250 sailing scows on San Francisco Bay.

The Hercules is a steam powered tug built for ocean towing. The 151-foot ship, of riveted steel construction, still contains her original triple expansion steam engine. Built on the East Coast in 1907, she towed her sister ship from Camden, New Jersey around South America to San Francisco.

The Eppleton Hall is a steam-powered sidewheeler built in 1914 in England designed to tow ocean-going colliers on the River Tyne.

The Wapama was constructed in 1915 almost entirely of Douglas fir in St. Helens, Oregon. A wooden steamship, it is the last survivor of the approximately 235 steam schooners that were built on the West Coast. (Vessel information courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park).

 Lunch: Independent lunch. Select from one of many venues available in the Fisherman's Wharf area/Pier 39. Suggestions will be provided.
 Afternoon: At your leisure, explore Fisherman's Wharf. Visit the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 (tickets provided) and perhaps the Musee Mechanique, a collection of 19th century mechanical toys, the USS Pampanito, the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien and many other attractions. The group leader will make sure you know of all the options in the area.
 Dinner: Group dinner enjoyed at a local restaurant.
 Evening: CLASS: Children's activities and adult lectures will cover California's journey to statehood and the growth of San Francisco's population. Adult lecture will include viewing instructor James Dalessandro's The Damnedest Finest Ruins, a documentary about the 1906 earthquake.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: San Francisco History/Chinatown/San Francisco Cable Car Museum/Barbary Coast
(Tuesday, July 16)

Note: Group will take a cable car to Chinatown for lunch. Following lunch, there will be a docent-led walking exploration through Chinatown and the Barbary Coast which includes a stop in the San Francisco Cable Car Museum.

 Breakfast: American breakfast at hotel restaurant
 Morning: CLASS: Separate introductory lectures for children and adults on the Gold Rush era
 Lunch: Group lunch in Chinatown. We will take one of San Francisco's iconic cable cars to lunch.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Walking exploration of Barbary Coast and Chinatown which includes a stop in the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. Cable cars began running in San Francisco in 1873 so 2013 marks the 135th anniversary of the cable car.
 Dinner: Independent dinner; suggestions will be provided
 Evening: Free evening to pursue personal interests.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: California Academy of Sciences/Kite Flying
(Wednesday, July 17)

Note: Group will take a public bus to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we take the bus to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park – the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof. It’s a stunning architectural achievement with hundreds of unique exhibits and nearly 40,000 live animals. Admission to the California Academy of Sciences includes access to all museum and aquarium exhibits, including the rainforest, planetarium, and living roof. Admission to this popular Bay Area attraction includes a wide range of daily programs and activities, including dive shows, penguin feedings, swamp talks and more.
 Lunch: A lunch voucher will be provided to use in the Academy Cafe.
 Afternoon: Continue your visit in the Academy or take an optional excursion with the group leader; a visit to the de Young Tower, with panoramic views of the city. The de Young is a five minute walk from the Acedemy. This afternoon we fly kites in Golden Gate Park. Kites will be provided.
 Dinner: Independent dinnner, suggestions will be provided.
 Evening: Free evening to pursue personal interests.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Pier 39/Alcatraz/Festive Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, July 18)

Note: A public bus is taken to Pier 39 for lunch, followed by a 15 minute walk along the Embarcdero to board the ferry at Pier 33 for the 20 minute ride to Alcatraz. Much of Alcatraz is steep and hilly; the walking distance from the dock to the cell house at the top of the island is about 1/4 mile and the elevation change is 130 feet. A tram is available for people who do not wish to climb the hill.

 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: CLASS: Presentation on Alcatraz with stories of the notorious inmates and daring escape attempts
 Lunch: Choose from a variety of vendors at Pier 39. Vouchers are provided.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: The history of Alcatraz--The Rock-- includes a Civil War fortress, federal prison, bird sanctuary, first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement. Visiting Alcatraz is a self guided experience which you can do at your own pace. Park Service staff offer free programs throughout the day on a variety of topics: escapes, military history, American Indian occupation, natural history, etc.

Once on the island you can stay as long or as short as you wish - there is a ferry departing about every half hour and you can return to San Francisco on any ferry. The group leader will let you know which ferry she will be taking back. There are numerous videos and exhibits on the island, as well as a complimentary cell house audio tour which covers the penitentiary era (1934 - 1963).

On arriving at the Alcatraz dock, you will be greeted by a park ranger who will give you a brief orientation including information on any special activities available that day. The weather on Alcatraz can be some what unpredictable and can change quickly - it may be warm and sunny in the city and very windy and cool on the island. Summer days can sometimes be as cool as winter due to thick fog and strong winds. We recommend dressing in layers.

There is no food service available on the island - only water is available on site. Eating, drinking and smoking are only allowed at the dock level. (Alcatraz Island information courtesy of the National Park Service)

 Dinner: Farewell dinner in hotel
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap-up of Week in San Francisco.
(Friday, July 19)
 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel restaurant
 Morning: CLASS: Morning wrap-up sessions for both adults and children
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  San Francisco, CA Coit Tower
Built to fulfill the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who left funds to be used to beautify the city she loved, Coit Tower is an icon on the San Francisco skyline, a simple tower crowning Telegraph Hill overlooking the San Francisco waterfront.Coit Tower visitors come here mostly for the views: sweeping waterfront vistas from the parking lot and observation deck, and for cityscapes best seen from the small park behind the tower. You'll often hear guides and claiming that Coit Tower is supposed to look like the nozzle of a fire hose, but designers Arthur Brown Jr. and Henry Howard always denied it, and in fact, it looks more like the towers at London's Battersea Power Station, completed one year earlier. For additional information, visit
Located right on San Francisco Bay at Pier 15, the Exploratorium is a 21st century learning laboratory, an eye-opening, always-changing, playful place to explore and tinker. The hands-on exhibits ignite curiosity and encourage exploration. Dive in and discover. For additional information, visit
  Ghiradelli Ice Cream & Chocoate Shop
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company began its rich history of chocolate making at Ghirardelli Square in 1852. Visit the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Manufactory, where you can view the original chocolate manufacturing equipment. For additional information, visit
  Musee Mecanique
The Musee Mecanique is one of the world's largest (over 200) privately owned collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines in their original working condition. You can play them! Located on Pier 45, free admission. For additional information, visit
  SS Jeremiah O'Brien
The SS Jeremiah O'Brien is one of two remaining functional Liberty ships of the 2,710 built and launched during WWII. Berthed at Pier 45, the O'Brien has the distinction of being the last unaltered Liberty ship and remains historically accurate. For additional information, visit
Located at Pier 17, the TCHO Factory experience includes a presentation and factory tour with the most knowledgeable and entertaining chocolate experts in town, as well as an in-depth guided tasting of their flavor-driven, artisan chocolate. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the history of chocolate, the unique TCHOSource program of direct training and investments in cocoa farmers, and how they manufacture their New American Chocolate from scratch. For additional information, visit
  USS Pampanito
USS Pampanito is a World War II Balao class Fleet submarine museum and memorial that is open for visitors daily at Pier 45. The Pampanito made six patrols in the Pacific during World War II during which she sank six Japanese ships and damaged four others. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: San Francisco & Northern California

Author: Annelise Sorensen

Description: This superb guide features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps, and a synopsis of San Francisco and Northern California's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.


Author: James Dalessandro

Description: Every disaster has a back story, none more thrilling than this one. Set during the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, this page-turning tale of political corruption, vendettas, romance, rescue and murder is based on recently uncovered facts that forever change our understanding of what really happened. Told by a feisty young reporter, Annalisa Passarelli, the novel paints a vivid picture of the Victorian-era city, from the mansions of Nob Hill to the underbelly of the Barbary Coast to the arrival of tenor Enrico Caruso and the Metropolitan Opera. Central to the story is the ongoing battle fought even as the city burns that pits incompetent and unscrupulous politicians against a coalition of honest police officers, newspaper editors, citizens, and a lone federal prosecutor.

I Survived #5: I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

Author: Lauren Tarshis

Description: The terrifying details of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake jump off the page!

California, A History

Author: Kevin Starr

Description: A lively short history in the excellent Modern Library Chronicles series, written by a renowned historian.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Author: Joan Didion

Description: A classic collection of essays on the 60s cultural climate, first published in 1968. In the acclaimed title essay, Didion vividly describes the landscape, mood and culture of 60s San Francisco.

Travelers' Tales

Author: O'Reilly, James (Editor), Larry Habegger (Editor), and Sean O'Reilly (Editor).

Description: An engaging, insightful and entertaining selection of mostly contemporary eyewitness reports, all set in the city of San Francisco; a great literary profile of a dynamic city.

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