Voyage Archives - Civic Couch

March 6, 2017 civiccouch0

In this episode of Civic Couch we turn our eye to travel.

I recently took a family weekend trip to San Francisco. It was a quick trip; we flew in Friday morning and left Sunday evening.
That’s not a lot of time but we were able to jam in many family fun activities. My wife is the planner and had all of our activities mapped out months in advance. My 7-year-old daughter and I are the adventurers, we seek fun. It’s a good combination.

After checking into our hotel in Union Square, we jumped on the Powell St. Railway Car. I’ve been to San Francisco many times in the past but never rode one. My daughter was excited to ride one and there was a stop right outside our hotel. We rode it down to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Fisherman’s Warf is one of the busiest and well-known tourist attractions in the United States. Seafood restaurants are everywhere but we were saving our hunger for our next stop, Ghirardelli Square, home of the “Original” Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. It’s a short walk from fishermans warf, even in the rain. It’s a bit expensive but my wife and I enjoyed our milkshakes while our daughter had a chocolate bar.

The next day we got up early for our first adventure, a treasure hunt through Chinatown and North Beach / Little Italy. Beth at City Clues was our guide. The hunt begins in Chinatown. We had a list of things to find, Chinese menus, our Chinese zodiac sign etc. We even tried Thai Chi! The tour includes the discovery of how fortune cookies are made and a visit to a hidden temple. From ChinaTown we ventured to North Beach, where Beth gave us a new list of things to find. My daughter loved being in charge of reading the list and being the first one to find the clues. In North Beach we visited the Molinary delicatessen. This landmark deli was founded in 1896 and is still family owned. The treasure hunt then lead us to Z. Cioccolato, a sweets shop specializing in award winning fudge. My daughter was excited about the free fudge samples while my wife was more interested in the salt-water taffy. The tour concluded with an uphill walk to the famous one block section of Lombard Street, claimed as “the most crooked street in the world”. At the top you have a great view looking towards Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower

From there we purchased tickets for the Big Bus. This is an open top bus with hop on hop off stops all throughout the city. We opted for the 2-day pass that cost $54 per adult and $36 for my daughter. No matter rain, cold or wind my daughter wanted to sit up top and I didn’t mind either. It’s a great way to see the city, no obstructions. They also supply headphones to listen to a tour guide and ponchos to stay dry. We took the bus throughout the city… Fisherman’s Warf… Haight Ashbury but by far our favorite part was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with the cold wind blowing us around!

Our final day started off back on the big bus… in the rain. A morning ride around the city with a special lunch destination, Tony’s Pizza in North Beach. They open at noon but the line starts forming around 11am. The interior has an old school Italian feel to it. The menu offers more types of pizza than I knew existed with different cooking styles and temperatures. We played it safe, one Margherita and one half-cheese/half pepperoni with and order of Garlic bread. It’s definitely worth waiting in line for.

Our last stop before heading home was the Walk Disney Family Museum. This museum features the life and legacy of Walt Disney. The museum’s galleries are designed so that they can be taken in quickly or slowly, at a high level or a detailed level, depending on how deep you want to go. I was worried that my daughter would get bored but they have interactive displays that she had fun with. Our favorite display was the huge model of Disneyland properly named The Disneyland of Walt’s Imagination.

So there it is, Family Fun Things To Do in San Francisco. Yes, there are a lot of places we missed, the largest being Alcatraz. This was a weekend trip and we just didn’t have time to hit them all.

Thanks for watching!


March 23, 2015 civiccouch0

by Brad Jacobson

I made my way to Indian Wells for the 2015 BNP Paribas Tennis Open on Friday March 20th for the final weekend of the tournament.  The tournament ran from March 9 through the 22nd and featured most of the top players in the world. This year marked the 40th anniversary for the tournament and set a record attendance of 456,672 fans.

I consider myself an avid tennis fan and have travelled numerous times to New York to watch the US Open of tennis.  The US Open is one of four “majors” of the ATP tour and is the only one in the States.  It is a larger event, with last years attendance at 713,642.  I like the Indian Wells event better.  It’s much easier to get to.  The crowds are smaller. The stadiums are smaller which gives each seat a great view no matter where you are.

There is more to do than watch tennis.  The grounds feature stores, restaurants, bars, live music and more.  I have gone three different years now and have had a blast every time.



October 16, 2014 civiccouch0

I recently took a trip to the New Jersey Shore (yes, Snooki’s old stomping ground) and took along my DJI Phantom Vision 2 plus drone and took a few clips.  The Jersey Shore is a nice beach town.  Yes, the summer nights can get crazy down by the pier but otherwise its a great beach.  The pier is a fun place to take the kids during the day as there are tons of rides for all ages and plenty of arcades.  This video will give you a decent idea of what the area looks like from a couple hundred feet up.

July 9, 2014 civiccouch0

We headed down South to Orange County for a new south swell on July 7th.  The Wedge, located in Orange County, provided an exciting show for the onlookers lining the beach.  Surfers, bodyboarders, skimboarders and body surfers attacked the south swell that arrived in Orange County early July.  While it’s not the biggest swell that has hit the wedge, there were a few decent sized sets that rolled through.

The waves at the Wedge are world renouned and are incredibly dangerous.  The waves literally wedge up from the jetty and form a huge peak, breaking very close to the shore.  It breaks biggest when a Southern Hemisphere storm send their energy from the SSW direction.

June 19, 2014 civiccouch0

In this episode we take the show on the road. We take a trip from Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles to New York to share the sights and action of the 2013 US Open of tennis. The ATP rolled into Flushing Meadows, New York bringing with it the largest tennis tournament in the United States. The event is projected to bring in close to 700,000 fans throughout the tournament including many celebrities. Celebrities seen through the early rounds included former US President Bill Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ben Stiller, Sally Fields, Warren Sapp, Jessica Biel, Rainn Wilson, Kevin Spacey, Tiffani Amber Thiessen, Dakota Fanning, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Buffett, Katie Couric, Kelsey Grammer and others.

June 18, 2014 civiccouch0

Johnny Jet (born John Einar DiScala on May 31, 1969) is a Manhattan Beach -based travel expert and the Editor in Chief of, a leading travel information website. He has visited over 70 countries and chronicles his experiences around the globe on Johnny has appeared over 1,800 times in numerous publications,including The LA Times,Outside Magazine, USA Today, and Travel and Leisure Magazine among others. He has made television appearances on CNN,Tech TV, Fox News, and various media outlets worldwide. In addition, Johnny frequently contributes articles to Frommers and is a regularly featured guest on Peter Greenberg Worldwide.