I’ve done one re-cognizance visit, and I’ve done another with small family in tow. These are my recommendations:
– park in the neighborhood you want to end up in, for our situation that was fisherman’s wharf/north beach, then take the cable car.
– the cable car is super fun. The powell-hyde route is the funnest, as it goes on a very steep incline and decline!
– the SPCA windows at Macy’s are really adorable and worth it, and aren’t materialistic or consumer-istic, as you would expect.
– the Westin-St. Francis gingerbread house inside the lobby is ROCKIN this year. Very cool.
– the tower elevators in that hotel are super fun, and FREE
– avoid Macy’s inside.
– don’t seek food in Union Square, but if you do get hungry, King of Thai on Geary, near Macy’s, is great.