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

Program Number: 21059RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/21/2013 - 7/26/2013; 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: 26 Floors 499 Non-Smoking Rooms 5 Suites 232 Double-Bedded Rooms 267 Single-Bedded Rooms Downtown/City Center 2 Restaurants Rental Car Desk: Tour Desk: In Gift Shop A/C Public Areas
  Contact info: 1500 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94109 USA
phone: 415-441-4000
  Room amenities: High-Speed Wireless Internet Access, Breathtaking Views, Flat-Screen Cable TV, Mini Refrigerator Coffeemaker w Complimentary Coffees & Teas, Voice Mail, Complimentary Newspaper delivered to Room, Iron/Ironing Board, Hair Dryer, In-Room Video Check-Out
  Facility amenities: Outdoor Pool Free wireless Internet Health/Fitness Center On-Site A/C Public Areas Pets under 35 lbs are allowed with a non-refundable $75.00 pet charge ATM/Cash Machine Concierge Services Ice Machine Newsstand Porter/Bellman Room Service Safety Deposit Box available at Front Desk WorldNews - Global Newspaper Service
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: call for rates Road Scholar Rate is discount on best available rate.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: call for rates Road Scholar Rate is discount on best available rate.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 PM at hotel. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Golden Gateway that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 11:00 AM. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Golden Gateway the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
Parking is $36 + tax/ day
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
Super Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826


Per Person/One Way:


Call Super Shuttel for current rates.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30-45 minutes 




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826


Per Person/One Way:


Call Super Shuttle for current rates.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


About 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic 

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 Ave. 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 and Orientation
(Sunday, July 21)
 Afternoon: Reception, orientation, introductions and get acquainted session at hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner will be in the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Chinatown/California History
(Monday, July 22)
 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel restaurant
 Morning: Separate introductory lectures for children and adults on the Gold Rush period.
 Lunch: Group lunch in Chinatown.
 Afternoon: Walking exploration of Barbary Coast and Chinatown.
 Dinner: Group dinner enjoyed at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Children's activities and adult lectures will cover California's journey to statehood and the growth of San Francisco's population.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Visit to the Academy of Science/ Kite Flying
(Tuesday, July 23)
 Breakfast: American breakfast at hotel restaurant
 Morning: 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 restaurant or cafe.
 Afternoon: Continue your visit to 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 5 minute walk from the Acedmy. This afternoon we fly kites in Golden Gate Park, kites provided.
 Dinner: Dinner independent, suggestions will be provided
 Evening: Evening free to pursue personal interests. An opportunity to take in a play or baseball game.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Maritime Museum/Hyde Street Pier/Fisherman's Wharf
(Wednesday, July 24)
 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Excursion to the Maritime Museum's historic vessels at the Hyde Street Pier. Here it is possible to board a square-rigged tall ship and several other vessels on display. A National Park Service Ranger will guide us through the ships, giving an in depth look at life aboard these old ships
 Lunch: Select from one of many venues available in the Fisherman's Wharf area.
 Afternoon: At your leisure, explore Fisherman's wharf. Visit the Aquarium (tickets provided) and perhaps the Musee Mechanique, a collection of 19th century mechanical toys, the USS Pampanito, and many other attractions. The group leader will make sure you know of all the options in the area.
 Dinner: Dinner free to explore personal choice with many suggestions provided both in waterfront and surrounding area.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Pier 39/Alcatraz/Festive Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, July 25)

Note: A public bus is taken 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: Presentation on Alcatraz with stories of the notorious inmates and daring escape attempts.
 Lunch: Choose from a variety of vendors at Pier 39. After lunch, be sure to check out the California Sea Lions on the docks at Pier 39.
 Afternoon: 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: The farewell dinner will be on Fisherman's Wharf with panoramic views of the Bay and Golden Gate
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Adult and children's session
(Friday, July 26)
 Breakfast: American breakfast at the hotel restaurant
 Morning: Morning wrap up sessions for both adults and children.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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


Author: James Dalessandro

Description: Every disaster has a backstory, 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. With the appeal and texture of The Alienist, Carter Beats the Devil, and the novels of E. L. Doctrow, James Dalessandro weaves unforgettable characters and actual events into a compelling epic. Movie rights to the novel have been bought by Barry Levinson/SpringCreek Productions/Warner Brothers. The movie will enter pre-production soon.

California, A History

Author: Kevin Starr

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

Eyewitness Guide: San Francisco and Northern California.

Author: Eyewitness Guides

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.

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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