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San Francisco Highlights: From the Bay to the Ocean

Program Number: 21058RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/6/2014 - 7/11/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: San Francisco, California
Price starting at: $1,139.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 10; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Multitudes of residents and visitors alike believe this City by the Bay is one of the world’s greatest cities. Join us to experience some of its notable highlights as we explore high and low and get to know the distinctive neighborhoods, history, culture, and people with local experts.


• Take expert-led field trips from Nob Hill to Land's End to Pacific Heights, and experience two uniquely San Francisco historical landmarks.
• Discover unforgettable Golden Gate Park, one of America’s most extraordinary urban delights with its extensive gardens, museums, and other attractions.
• Revel in a classic San Francisco experience, a performance of Beach Blanket Babylon.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles on mostly even paved sidewalks, often up steep hills. Stairs at some sites. Physical activity 3-5 hours a day.

Program includes significant amount of free time for personal independent exploration. Extensive use of public transportation.

Date Specific Information


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.

Charming hotel in Nob Hill.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Carlton
  San Francisco, CA 5 nights
 Hotel Carlton
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The historic 161-room Hotel Carlton in San Francisco's Lower Nob Hill neighborhood offers an international ambiance with outstanding guest service and eclectic and exotic touches from around the world that celebrate the joy of travel. Located near City Hall, the Federal building and the Theater District, this San Francisco hotel is located in a residential neighborhood just five blocks from Union Square and two blocks from the California Street cable car. It is one block away from Polk Street with many eclectic shops and restaurants. The hotel features an international vintage style that offers a relaxing haven accentuated by exotic travel photographs. The charming public spaces showcase a cross-cultural design that incorporates one-of-a-kind objects and fascinating treasures. Hotel Carlton is a non-smoking hotel.
  Contact info: 1075 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109 USA
phone: 415-673-0242
  Room amenities: * Complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the hotel * Phone with voice mail/data port * Cable TV * Clock/radio/CD player that is MP3 compatible * Electronic locks * Hair dryer * In room safe * Coffee maker * Iron/board * Operable windows * Ceiling fan in all rooms
  Facility amenities: * Complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the hotel * High-speed Internet access at computer stations in lobby (fees apply) * Nightly complimentary wine reception * Saha Restaurant serves Arabic Fusion Cuisine - breakfast and dinner * Concierge services for your stay in San Francisco * Bellman services * Pet friendly hotel offering pet bed made of organic material * Daily newspaper in lobby * Laundry/valet service * Valet parking - $40 per day
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: 15% discount on best rate Additional nights are based on availability. The hotel will offer a 15% discount on its best available rate unless it is sold out. Contact Dana Silverstein at 415-292-1182 to make a reservation.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: 15% discount on best rate Additional nights are based on availability. The hotel will offer a 15% discount on its best available rate unless it is sold out. Contact Dana Silverstein at 415-292-1182 to make a reservation.
  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 Hotel Carlton that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 11:00AM. Please make your travel arrangements so you can join us for the final morning activity. You will be staying at Hotel Carlton the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. On the enclosed Personal Information Form (PIF), you are asked to list any food allergies or intolerances. In addition, please include any foods (i.e. fish, beef, poultry entrees) that you do not or are unable to consume. In lieu of the regular meal plan, you will receive a vegetarian entree. In order to accommodate your request, we must have this information three weeks in advance (no exceptions). There will be no changes to the menu once the program has started. Also indicate to us, on your PIF, the name of your roommate/ traveling companion and if you are traveling with other individuals and wish to be assigned a room near them. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
Guests of the hotel may 'self-park' in the 5 level garage beneath the hotel. The rate is $40 per day and guests have 'in and out' privileges.
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
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


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


Travel Time:


45 minutes




From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


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


Travel Time:


45 minutes to an hour

Driving Directions
  East / East Bay via Bay Bridge Take I-80 W toward San Francisco * Take the Civic Center Exit onto 9th Street * Bear right after Market and 9th Street becomes Larkin Street * Turn right at Bush St * Turn right at Hyde St * Turn right at Sutter St * The Hotel Carlton is located on your left. * Note: There is a $6 toll to cross the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.
  North / via Golden Gate Bridge Take Highway 101 South over the Golden Gate Bridge * Exit Lombard Street * Turn right onto Van Ness Avenue * Turn left onto Bush Street * Turn right onto Hyde Street * Turn right onto Sutter Street * The Hotel Carlton is located on your left. Note: There is a $6 toll to cross the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. There are no toll takers on the bridge. As you drive through the toll booth, a camera will take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill via the mail.
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: Registration/Orientation/Introductions
(Sunday, July 6)
 Afternoon: PROGRAM REGISTRATION takes place in the hotel lobby. 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: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Nob Hill/Grace Cathedral/Financial District/Palace Hotel
(Monday, July 7)

Note: Walk several blocks to catch cable car for Nob Hill. Three hours of walking in the morning around Nob Hill and the Financial District. Mostly flat pavement; some stairs involved.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel; vouchers will be provided.
 Morning: So much of San Francisco's early history can be found on Nob Hill. You will have a narrated walking exploration of the square with a local expert which will include a stop in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco's iconic house of worhsip, open to everyone. Then hop on a cable car and ride down to the Financial District where the city's movers and shakers make their magic happen. Your exploration continues as your guide points out the unique architecture and history of the area. You will also see parks and gardens that are open to the public and yet very few people know about.
 Lunch: Group lunch at the historic Palace Hotel. Famed opera singer Enrico Caruso was staying at the Palace when the April 18, 1906 earthquake struck. He was fortunate not to be hurt but he was scared enough to leave San Francisco as quickly as possible, vowing never to return. You, however, will enjoy a delicious group lunch at the Palace's Garden Court. Since its debut in 1909, The Garden Court has been recognized as one of the world's most beautiful public spaces.
 Afternoon: Following a sumptuous lunch, you will explore the public spaces of the hotel. Upon registration, you will receive a history of the Palace Hotel which will help guide you through the hotel. Your group leader is also available to answer any questions. You will then have the rest of the afternoon for independent journeying through San Francisco. Throughout the program, you will have many resources to help you decide what else you would like to see and do in San Francisco.
 Dinner: Independent dinner. Find one of San Francisco's many eateries and dig in!
 Evening: Independent time to continue discovering "Baghdad by the Bay." On one of your independent nights, be sure and check out the Bay Lights, a twinkling, dancing, joyous light sculpture on the west span of the Bay Bridge designed by world-renowned artist Leo Villareal. This stunning fine arts experience will shine from dusk until 2:00 a.m. only through March 2015.
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Land's End/Sutro Heights/Sutro Baths/Camera Obscura/Beach Chalet Murals/Dutch Windmill/Columbarium
(Tuesday, July 8)

Note: Walk several blocks to catch bus to Land's End. Three hours of extensive walking through Land's End which includes stairs and hills.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel; vouchers will be provided
 Morning: Take a walk on the wild side. This morning, your local expert will give you an extensive walking exploration of Land's End, where San Francisco meets the Pacific Ocean. You will discover Sutro Heights, Sutro Baths, the Camera Obscura, the WPA murals at the Beach Chalet and a Dutch windmill in Golden Gate Park.
 Lunch: Group lunch in Land's End.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, you will be taken on a behind-the-scenes visit to a place very few San Franciscians even know about, let alone the rest of the world. Like Paris and New Orleans, San Francisco has an interesting history with its cemeteries. In New Orleans, the cemetery is celebrated and is very much a part of the city's makeup. Like Paris, San Francisco grew to a point that the cemeteries once located within city boundaries, had to be moved to the suburbs. Most of San Francisco's cemeteries were moved to Colma, located about 15 minutes south of the city in San Mateo County. Today, there are two cemeteries left in San Francisco--one at Mission Delores and the oher in the Presidio. And then there is the Columbarium, a cemetery for cremated ashes. The Coumbarium in San Francisco is located on a hidden court. Built in 1898, this four story historical landmark neo-classical building features intricate stained glass, mosaic floors and a breathtaking dome which creates an elegant setting. You will be taken on a pilgrimage of this very unique setting by the Columbarium's caretaker who has been there almost three decades and knows and respects its residents and their families. Following this activity, the remainder of the afternoon will be open for independent exploration of San Francisco.
 Dinner: Independent dinner. Find one of San Francisco's many eateries and dig in!
 Evening: Free time to continue discovering "The Golden Gate City."
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: de Young Museum/Conservatory of Flowers
(Wednesday, July 9)

Note: Walk several blocks to take bus to Golden Gate Park. Two hours of walking at an easy pace on two docent-guided visits.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel; vouchers will be provided.
 Morning: You will be guided on a docent-led visit through the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park followed by independent time to further explore the museum.
 Lunch: Lunch at the de Young Cafe. Vouchers will be provided.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we will walk through Tree Fern Dell on our way to the Conservatory of Flowers. The fauna in the dell is on such a gigantic scale, you will think you've been transported back in time and half expect a dinosaur to jump out at you at any moment. Once at the Conservatory, an elaborate Victorian greenhouse built in 1878, you will have a docent-led visit through galleries of rare and exotic plants. For the remainder of the afternoon, you can explore the Academy of Sciences and/or have a spot of tea at the Japanese Tea Gardens, both located nearby the Conservatory.
 Dinner: Independent dinner. Find one of San Francisco's many eateries and dig in!
 Evening: Free time to continue discovering "Everybody's Favorite City."
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Pacific Heights/Alamo Square/Beach Blanket Babylon
(Thursday, July 10)

Note: Walk several blocks to catch public bus to Pacific Heights. One and a half hours of walking up and down the steep hills of Pacific Heights. One hour of walking around Alamo Square which has some inclined sidewalks.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel; vouchers will be provided.
 Morning: Pacific Heights--the name conjures up images of the families that built San Francisco. Your local expert will guide you through the hills of Pacific Heights and provide a fascinating history to the mansions on the hills with their sweeping views of Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Then you will take a short bus ride to Alamo Square and continue an exploration of San Francisco's unique and stunning architecture. Alamo Square is where the most famous Painted Ladies of San Francisco reside. Painted Ladies, Victorian and Edwardian houses painted with plenty of color, are found throughout San Francisco. The most famous of these are the Painted Ladies on Alamo Square, nicknamed "Postcard Row" because of the backdrop of the San Francico skyline behind them.
 Lunch: Independent lunch; suggestions will be provided.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is open for the final day of independent exploration.
 Dinner: Group dinner in North Beach, San Francisco's historic Italian section. Mangia, mangia authentic Italian fare.
 Evening: You've waited all week and the night has finally arrived! Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest running musical revue in theatre history. Hailed as "a constant cascade of showstoppers" by the San Francisco Chronicle, Beach Blanket Babylon follows Snow White as she takes a fast-paced journey around the world in search of her "Prince Charming." Along the way she encounters a star-studded, ever-changing line-up of hilarious pop-culture characters. (Courtesy of Beach Blanket Babylon)
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: San Francisco City Hall
(Friday, July 11)

Note: Walk several blocks to take bus to City Hall.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel; vouchers will be provided.
 Morning: On our final morning, take a guided exploration through San Francisco's majestic city hall. The program concludes at 11:00AM. You, too, have now left your heart in San Francisco.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  San Francisco, CA San Francisco Visitor's Bureau
Visit this website to get information on events happening in San Francisco while you are here. The hotel is located very near the theater district. 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

San Francisco's Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights (Images of America: California)

Author: Tricia O'Brien

Description: The prestige of Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights has long fascinated and awed San Francisco residents and visitors. The westward expansion of the city, followed by the addition of cable car lines, quickly transformed these once-barren outlands into gardens, schools, consulates, and homes, both extravagant and simple. Attracted to the stunning views and unique architecture, prominent and humble families alike have formed the fascinating role of Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights in San Francisco lore.

San Francisco's Ocean Beach (Images of America)

Author: Kathleen Manning

Description: Where the waves of the Pacific Ocean wash up against the quiet neighborhoods of San Francisco, Ocean Beach has endured as a popular destination for tourists and San Francisco residents alike. At water's edge is the Cliff House restaurant where visitors can look down upon the remains of the Sutro Baths, a 19th-century indoor pool complex. Just south is the famous Golden Gate Park with its two stately windmills, followed by the well-loved San Francisco Zoo. But a century of change has altered the landscape and the attractions of Ocean Beach, making way for new developments and reflecting the evolution of the city of San Francisco itself.

San Francisco's Nob Hill (Images of America) (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)

Author: Katherine Powell Cohen

Description: More than a neighborhood, San Francisco's Nob Hill encapsulates some of the major elements of the city's history. Early European settlers' cattle grazed on the windy hill, and with the Gold Rush of 1849, it became a lookout point as ships arrived daily, bringing thousands to San Francisco. Within the next 40 years, the moguls of the Central Pacific Railroad, along with other magnates, built spectacular residences atop Nob Hill, which became a focal point of San Francisco. Today Nob Hill is home to elegant hotels, a cathedral, and a variety of residents. It remains a center of activity in a legendary city.

San Francisco's Financial District (Images of America)

Author: Christine Miller

Description: Some call it Wall Street West, while some just call it downtown, but San Francisco's financial district is a long-running business powerhouse, home to scores of corporate headquarters, prominent law firms, restaurants, hotels, banks, the Pacific Stock Exchange, and striking waterfront views radiating outward from the landmark 1898 Ferry Building. The district was among the first areas to be settled, and many of the original 19th-century buildings still stand, along with streets and businesses named for early California business leaders like Mills, Sharon, Fair, and Flood. The district holds examples of nearly every type of commercial architecture and is arguably the city's most popular, as its population swells by tens of thousands of office workers each day.

Palace Hotel, The, CA (IMG) (Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)

Author: Richard Harned

Description: When it opened in 1875, the Palace Hotel was the largest and most luxurious hotel in the world, a perfect symbol of one of the most remarkable eras in San Francisco history. Built at a time when Nevada’s fabulously rich silver mines were pouring millions of dollars each month into San Francisco, it typified the color and grandiose extravagances of the whole bonanza period. After the original hotel was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, a successor Palace Hotel took its place and remains one of the most prestigious hotels in San Francisco today.

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