SAN FRANCISCO — Ah, the clang, clang, clang of the cable cars.
I simply can’t get enough of it here in the city by the bay. It’s been a long while since I actually rode one of them, which is something I must do again.
But for now, it’s simply that wonderful clanging sound that I have known all these years, announcing an oncoming car that starts my day off just right here at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco’s lovely Nob Hill neighborhood.
The cable cars pass by the charming hotel, which has been a fixture in this part of town for many years. And talk about a wonderful location for a hotel – this is definitely it!
The Stanford Court is not only close to the cable car line – it’s also within walking distance to Chinatown (and all those Chinese restaurants I adore) and plenty of great Union Square shopping.
Indeed, I enjoyed some rather brisk walks to Chinatown and then to Union Square, with its major department stores plus the quaint boutiques that fill petite, historic Maiden Lane.
Now, please note: If you’re planning to walk to Union Square from the hotel, keep in mind that on your way down, it’s going to be a rather steep walk. On the way back up, you should be prepared for some brisk exercise for the uphill return.
While on the subject of the Stanford Court Hotel, I liked the crisp, clean look of the place, complemented by 393 newly renovated rooms with contemporary designs.
Come morning, after a comfortable night in a wonderful bed, the hotel offers a variety of breakfast choices in the Aurea Café, including baked pastries, coffee, organic juices and breakfast sandwiches.
For later in the day, or the evening, the Aurea Lounge offers drinks, including cocktails, beer, wines and spirits, plus a dinner and dessert menu.
The hotel also offers other amenities, including a 24-hour fitness center, free Wi-Fi, same-day laundry and dry cleaning, valet parking and it’s also pet friendly.
All in all, I found the Stanford Court’s location, comforts and service just right. More information is available at www.stanfordcourt.com.
Now, if you’re planning to visit San Francisco anytime soon, you may wish to list these venues on your to-see list from information I’ve recently received courtesy of Visit California:
Sea Lion Center
This educational center at Pier 39 offers free interpretive programs of the sea lion colonies you can see lounging in the sun on the docks by the pier.
For more details, visit www.sealioncenter.org.
“Dark Universe” at Morrison Planetarium
You can dive into all that dark matter and dark energy with a visit to “Dark Universe” at the California Academy of Science Morrison Planetarium.
The program is open through Oct. 9 and is narrated by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who illustrates spectacular scenes of deep space.
The program delves into the unknown vastness of the universe, some 95 percent of the cosmos, in an attempt to reach an understanding of our world.
More information is available at www.calacademy.org.
Amgen Tour of California
Meanwhile, aside from San Francisco, here’s a note about the upcoming, ninth annual Amgen Tour of California, set for May 11-18.
Covering more than 700 miles, this well-known bike tour is expected to attract some two million spectators throughout California regions.
There are 12 official stage, start and finish locations for the iconic race, including Cambria, Folsom, Monterey, Mount Diablo State Park, Mountain High, Pasadena, Pismo Beach, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Thousand Oaks.
More information is available at www.media.visitcalifornia.com.
A bit further away . . .
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something quite far from home, Quebec City is offering a great lineup of entertainers during the Quebec Summer Festival July 3-13.
This festival’s stars include Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, Three Days Grace, Cypress Hill and many more. The historic city is expected to attract more than a million visitors to hear their favorite singers and bands in nearly 300 shows.
I’ve long enjoyed Quebec City, this charming, romantic city planted on the St. Lawrence River, and I’m sure you will, too.
There are more details at www.infofestival.com/home, and for general Quebec tourism information, visit www.bonjourquebec.com.
George Medovoy covers travel at www.PostcardsForYou.com.