If you want links and info about the things we did, make sure to look at the schedule view instead of just the journal. This is short and sweet and does not include everything.
The Cartwright Hotel was a great place to stay. Yes, the room was sorta small...but, we would stay there again because of the elegance, service and breakfast...and comfortable beds! Bathroom REALLY small ;-) Don't grab the Cable Car there at Powell because it is usually already filled...walk down the street to the FIRST stop (5 minutes) and sit or stand where you want.
Alcatraz....awesome! Gloomy, sad and old...but historically really cool. Definitely do the audio walking tour for the little bit of money. Buy your tickets online so you don't have to wait in the LONG line at the pier.
Fireworks for the fourth on the river were fun! It was cold (hot chocolate sold below deck), but displayed fireworks near Ghirardelli Square and in unison over to the left as well. Fun and different.
Cable Car museum very educational. Go to it in the middle of your trip so you can observe before and after how the drivers work and why they do the things they do. FREE!
Grace Cathedral was a pretty walk, labrinth a little lame...but inside was beautiful. There was a park close by and a nice place to rest and read a book in the grass if you wanted.
Kong Chow Temple ....glad I went, won't go back. Lame, boring and no one there was friendly to help show you or guide you or educate you. Looks like the place hadn't been dusted in over 200 years.
Oriental Pearl Restaurant was what I consider Americanized Oriental Food. It was good, service was good and it was clean...but I preferred the Dim Sum down the street where the locals went.
Favorite thing was having crepes and coffee and listening to live jazz band at the Del Monte Square right before Ghiradelli Square. GS has an awesome brownie and ice cream sundae...OMG!
I had three clam chowder bowls (one at Sea Lions Cafe - so/so, one to go - ugh!) and the best was at the Boudin Company UPSTAIRS in their elegant restaurant where you don't have to be dressed the part. Great service, atmosphere and food! They have a great museum for $3 which you walk and educate yourself, but very interesting and worthwhile. Then have dinner/lunch afterwards. PLUS....CLEAN bathrooms upstairs...this is the place to go because everywhere else is sorta gross.
We didn't rent a car, but rode the cable cars the entire time. Definitely worth it if you don't know your way around because parking is a hassle and the streets are busy. We had fun ;-) Get your cable car pass at the local Walgreens (only cash for the cards) for 1+days. You can use it on the bus system too.
Go to China Town first and see what they have to offer. Then visit everywhere else and buy what you couldn't get there. Prices for visitor stuff is a lot cheaper there and they will haggle.
Down in little Italy, stop and have a bite of dessert and coffee along the street and watch the passerbuyers go by.
Union Square.....BUSY!! We tried to grab a bite to eat at the top of the mall at the Cheesecake Factory..no way! Wait was over 2 hours...but, at least go up on the elevator to get a good view when you walk outside.