Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alcatraz

Voyage to Alcatraz
Visited Alcatraz while in San Francisco. It is such a historic place. We loved the short boat ride to the island. Booked the tickets on line about 3 weeks ahead which is important as they sell out.

This is such a cool piece of the Bay Area history. This attraction is almost always booked months in advance. 

Alcatraz Island
Once on Alcatraz there’s a hill to walk up before you get to the prison itself. There’s a tram that runs up and the down the hill for anyone who can’t manage it. The tour is audio-guided and narrated by former Alcatraz guards and inmates and is really well done. It's gritty, informative, and gives an idea of what life was like being in prison here. Interestingly,  Alcatraz was known for having the best food in the prison system.

Welcome
Alcatraz Boat Dock
Learn the history from former prison guards and prisoners themselves and step into the life of an Alcatraz resident as you tour their cells, sit in their cafeteria, and stare at the beautiful-yet-unattainable cityscape a little over a mile away.

Al Capone's Cell
Michigan Ave and A Block
Plan to spend at least two hours on Alcatraz - any less and you're doing yourself a true disfavor. And don’t forget your camera as this island is very photogenic.

 
San Francisco
On a clear day there are beautiful sweeping vistas of the city and the Golden Gate bridge.  Incredibly beautiful.

Golden Gate Bridge
Sometimes the island also plays host to art exhibits and previous guards/inmates who have put their stories on paper (their books are for sale in the gift shop).

Fisherman's Wharf
It can get pretty chilly so dressing in layers is a good idea since it can also be quite warm there too. Alcatraz is a wonderful place to see and experience.

Highly recommended.


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SFMOMA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Got a chance to visit the reopened San Francisco Museum of Modern art (SFMOMA). It was fantastic in every way. Absolutely beautiful space filled with wonderful art and natural light. It’s a beautiful expansion of the old museum.

Oculus Bridge
If you love modern art, you can't miss this experience when in SF. They recently expanded with additions from the Fisher Collection and more. It is well worth the price of the ticket. Tickets should be bought in advance as they’re sold by entry time which kind of keeps the museum from getting over crowded. It was pretty crowded Saturday afternoon though.

Chuck Close Agnes
Andy Warhol Silver Marlon

The art itself is a nice mix of contemporary art along with a nice section of old California photography gallery. There’s also a nice section with interesting British sculpture.

The new media section had some strong pieces. Lots of large scale Chuck Close works which is impressive. Nice full selection section of graphic design work. There’s also a nice group of Andy Warhol prints and silkscreens.

Living Wall
One thing not to be missed is the living wall on the 3rd floor sculpture terrace. It is said to be the largest vertical garden in the United States. It is 150 feet long by 35 feet tall. It contains 19,442 plants with 21 of which are CA native species. The plantings are evocative of the forest floors of Mount Tamalpais, Muir Woods, and the East Bay Regional Parks.  

Also not to be missed is the Oculus Bridge for an interesting vantage point of another Calder that hangs above the Botta Lobby off 3rd St. Beautiful natural light shines from the oculus and lights the lobby while welcoming visitors. 


When you are in San Francisco and want to explore modern art, you must not miss  this museum. Many of the pieces of art on display have been in private collections and have not ever been seen by the public in one place.

The SFMOMA is a beautiful example of how space, food and art can work in harmony. The balance of shape and architectural points makes the entire experience a rich and spectacular experience.

Highly recommended.

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Loews Regency San Francisco


Loews Regency on Sansome Street, San Francisco
We had a great experience staying at the Loews Regency in San Francisco. We were in SF for a dinner at Perbacco and we wanted to enjoy somewhere that had the best views in town. We had stayed at this location before when it was a Mandarin Oriental and those stays were always quite nice. Happily, nothing’s changed except for a few minor updates that are all for the better.

Room 4411
The Bridge to Bridge room met all our expectations - beautifully furnished, spacious, good storage options and the most amazing views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, North Beach, Chinatown and the entire East Bay.

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Room
The Loews Regency occupies the top 11 floors of the 3rd tallest SF office tower in the City’s financial district. The beautifully remodeled hotel continues its well known excellence. The lobby and downstairs lounge/bar have been completely renovated and updated to an understated calm elegance, which was also reflected in the renovated room we enjoyed. The view rooms are unmatched in any hotel, in any city.

View of Bay Bridge from Room
The lobby area is modern, but warm and inviting. The hostess and managers are all very friendly, professional. The bar area is nice also, well lit, well stocked and the chairs were very comfortable. The service can't be beat, the drinks are well made, and the whole atmosphere is very, very nice.

Cost Tower and Alcatraz from Room
The hotel opened the 40th floor outside deck and set up a wine and champagne bar for hotel guests only at 5:00. We had a really good time there meeting people from all over the world. It was a wonderful experience.
Bathroom with a view
Loews Regency has done good job with the 2015 takeover from the Mandarin Oriental and is highly recommended.

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