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San Francisco Highlights: From the Bay to the Ocean

Program Number: 21058RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/31/2014 - 9/5/2014;
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 in the lobby for all hotel guests * 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 * Hotel valet parking: $35 + tax daily
  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 Maria San Antonio 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 Maria San Antonio at 415-292-1182 to make a reservation.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program registration is from 3:30-4:30PM. 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:
Hotel valet parking: $35 + tax daily. Closest self-park: 1101 Sutter St. Parking Garage--415-447-3931--open 6:30am until midnight every day; half block from hotel. Daily parking rate: $20; in/out privileges: $28. Oversized cars: $30 daily/$33 in/out.
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 $7 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.
  South / via Highway 101 Take Highway 101 north towards San Francisco * Merge onto I-280 north * Exit 6th Street * Cross Market Street, 6th becomes Taylor Street * Turn left on Sutter Street * Just past Hyde Street, the Hotel Carlton is on your left.
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, August 31)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m.

Program Registration: 3:00-4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table (either in the lobby or the Summit Room) and pick up your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule, and other important information we will review during Orientation, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in.

Orientation: 4:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily program schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

As a special treat, the hotel has a complimentary wine reception in the lobby each evening from 5:30-6:00 p.m.

During free time, the Group Leader will be available to guide informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with any associated costs (if any) on your own, or explore independently.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

 Dinner: In the hotel’s Saha Restaurant on the main floor. Menus are designed to offer balanced, healthy choices. This evening, enjoy a plated, 3-course dinner plus complimentary coffee, tea, soda; other beverages available for purchase.
 Evening: Take the rest of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning. Get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Nob Hill/Grace Cathedral/Financial District/Palace Hotel
(Monday, September 1)

Note: Walk five blocks to catch cable car for Nob Hill. Four hours of walking around Nob Hill and then downhill into the Financial District. Mostly flat pavement; some stairs involved.

 Breakfast: In the Saha Restaurant, enjoy a tasty plated breakfast with choices from a select menu of eggs, breakfast meats, fruit, breads and pastries, yogurt, juices, coffee, tea, milk.
 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.
 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 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. A suggestion on this day is to go to the Ferry Building at the end of Market and peruse the many food stalls. You can also catch a ferry to Tiburon or Sausalito in Marin County.
 Dinner: Independent dinner. Find one of San Francisco's many eateries and dig in!
 Evening: Independent time to continue discovering "Baghdad by the Bay." A suggestion for this evening: take a night tour of Alcatraz Island.
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Columbarium/ Land's End/ Sutro Heights/ Sutro Baths/ Visitor's Center/ Camera Obscura/ Cliff House/ Dutch Windmill/ WPA Murals
(Tuesday, September 2)

Note: Walk two blocks to catch bus to Columbarium. Offboard, walk three blocks. After visit, walk five blocks. Take bus to Land's End for two and a half hour walking exploration which includes inclines, declines, and stairs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel
 Morning: The Columbarium in San Francisco is located on a hidden court. Built in 1898 for the internment of cremated ashes, 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.

Then, take a walk on the wild side. 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, the Land's End Visitor's Center, Sutro Baths, the Camera Obscura, the Cliff House, a Dutch windmill in Golden Gate Park, and WPA murals.

Sutro Heights is an 18-acre park that was once the estate of Adolph Sutro, land developer and former mayor of San Francisco. Land's End essentially belonged to Adolph Sutro as he also built the Cliff House and Sutro Baths.

Opened in 1886, the Sutro Baths were much more than the largest indoor swimming pool. Beyond the six salt water and one fresh water pools, the facility also had a museum, an amphitheater, club rooms, hundreds of private dressing rooms, and an ice skating rink! All that remains today are the ruins.

The Cliff House is a restaurant that has gone through five incarnations and is now part of the National Park Service. Step into the Cliff House and learn about its history starting in 1863. Then step into the Camera Obscura and discover the technology that predates the modern photography of the 1800s.

Proceed down the hill and onto the Great Highway. Step into Golden Gate Park and marvel at the Dutch Windmill. Finally, walk through the WPA murals painted by Lucien Labaudt in 1935-37. Entitled "San Francisco Life," the murals feature four spots in San Francisco, forever popular with visitors: the beach, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf and the Marina.

 Lunch: Group lunch at a restaurant in Land's End which will include an entree, dessert, and choice of coffee, iced tea, and soda.
 Afternoon: Independent afternoon to continue exploring San Francisco. A suggestion for this afternoon is to explore the nearby Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum.
 Dinner: Independent dinner. Find one of San Francisco's many eateries and dig in!
 Evening: Free time to continue discovering "The Golden Gate City." 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 shines from dusk until 2am.
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: de Young Fine Arts Museum Museum/ Conservatory of Flowers
(Wednesday, September 3)

Note: Walk one block to take bus to Golden Gate Park. One hour docent-led visit through the de Young. After lunch, leisurely walk through Tree Fern Dell to Conservatory of Flowers for a one hour docent-led visit.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel
 Morning: You will be guided on a docent-led visit through the permanent collection at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park followed by independent time for further exploration.
 Lunch: Lunch at the de Young Cafe. Lunch cards 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. Nearby is the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, once the playground to hippies, now very mainstream. Beautiful Victorian homes flank the main drag of Haight Street.
 Dinner: Independent dinner. Find one of San Francisco's many eateries and dig in!
 Evening: Free time to continue discovering "Everybody's Favorite City." You can take a night tour of San Francisco on one of the many bus companies that offer them.
Accommodations: Hotel Carlton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Pacific Heights/Alamo Square/Beach Blanket Babylon
(Thursday, September 4)

Note: Walk two blocks to catch a public bus to Pacific Heights. One and a half hours of walking up and down the steep hills of Pacific Heights. Then board bus to Alamo Square. One hour of walking around Alamo Square which has some inclined sidewalks. In the evening, taxis to dinner and performance in North Beach and then back to hotel.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel
 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. A suggestion for this afternoon is to explore San Francisco via the bay. Take a ferry cruise which takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge, a thrilling way to see the bridge!
 Dinner: Group dinner in one of North Beach's signature Italian restaurants. The meal includes, soup, salad, entree, dessert, coffee and a glass of house wine. Other beverages are available for purchase.
 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, September 5)

Note: Walk three blocks to take bus to City Hall. Offboard bus, walk two blocks to City Hall. Reverse trip back to hotel.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel
 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.

Please note that hotel check-out is by noon.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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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