Aging Expectations

Going Local in SFO…Part 2 of 2

Originally posted April 2010

After arriving in San Francisco and visiting China Town we went onto our hotel – we checked into the Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport – South San Francisco. The Embassy Suites is a great hotel if you are traveling with kids. Obviously, they offer suites (you probably guessed that from the name, and in fact, they only offer suites!). They also include a nice breakfast with your stay, which works for us.

And, they have a nightly happy hour with free snacks and drinks. A nice relaxing drink in the lobby while your kids sip a soda and eat goldfish – so civilized.



Also, because Embassy Suites is so family friendly, there are a lot of families staying there – surprise, surprise. This means, no one looks at you funny when some of the goldfish end up on the floor – not so civilized.

This Embassy Suites also had the added benefit of a beautiful lobby. Now, normally the lobbies are pretty lush because they build it around a glass-ceiling atrium so there are always tons of plants and other greenery. However, this one also had a coy pond. A coy pond is fun for all ages but it was especially fun for my 18 month-old, no toys necessary when a coy pond is involved.

Embassy Suites Lobby
Embassy Suites Lobby

That night we went to Usulutan for dinner. It was a quick walk and great food for reasonable prices. There wasn’t a cool atmosphere at this place but the staff was quite friendly!

The funniest part of the evening was when my father-in-law went to put dressing on his salad. They brought him over a bottle of salad dressing (see, a real down-home place). He proceeded to shake the bottle without realizing they’d already removed the cap. Dressing was everywhere. I know this is one of those stories that probably doesn’t translate well if you weren’t there but trust me, it was funny.

The next morning we ate a hearty breakfast at the hotel and then onto the California Academy of Sciences. The museum was beautiful. We couldn’t stay too long and it was quite crowded but we all had fun. We spent most of our time in the aquarium area but also caught the Planetarium show. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the rain forest are because our limited time frame didn’t bode well with the long lines.

We ate lunch at the museum café.   The food was very hip and even with that, it was good. The lines were long and it was hard to find a place to sit, especially with a large group and two strollers. It probably would have been better to bring lunch but I’m not a big “lunch packer”, in fact, one of my favorite things is eating out so I’d never suggest doing it.

Right outside of the café, is a great outdoor space (may be good if you are a lunch packer). All the kids (and grown-ups) loved playing out there.

My oldest and youngest - adorable
My oldest and youngest – adorable

That night we had dinner that night at my brother-in-law’s home and then went back to the hotel. After the baby went to bed the boys headed down for a late night swim. Hotel pools are so much fun.

My niece’s birthday party was that afternoon but before going there, we stopped at Jeffrey’s Hamburgers for lunch. This place is great. It’s small and one of those places where you put your order in and then pick it up and take it to your table. I know, it sounds like McDonald’s, right?  This place was so much better and they even had a “fixins” bar. The food was really good and it’s just a fun atmosphere.

Ladies at lunch
Ladies at lunch

After the big birthday party, we went back to the hotel to rest a bit and then onto my sister-in-law’s for dinner. On the way, we missed the exit and accidentally went down Vermont Street.

Now, I know Lombard Street is supposed to be the curviest street but I’m telling you Vermont is definitely curvier, not as fixed up and pretty but definitely curvier. You’ve got to check it out.

We left the next morning for our long flight home. I, unfortunately, have to comment on the horrible San Francisco airport again. While we were in line at security, the entire area was built on a downhill slant. Although everything seems like it’s on a hill in San Francisco, did they have to carry the theme through to security?

Have you ever tried to get you, your kids, your husband, a baby, a stroller, carry-on bags and a car seat through security on a downward slope?  It’s not easy and it’s not fun. I know I’m bashing that airport unrelentingly but I just expect so much more from such a great city.

We did make it through though and arrived safely at home that night.



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