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Date Night: Post-New Year's Bliss in North Beach

Inside San Francisco's one-and-only Cable Car Museum. [Photo credt.]

If you want to have a successful excursion in this town, you need a plan—and it better be a good one. Since it's not always easy to strike that perfect balance between "pre-game" drink, food and a show, we bring you the Date Night series — a block-by-block guide to weekend itineraries that only require one parking space. Today, we guide you on a walking tour  

See: After the craziness (and possible excessive drinking) of New Year's Eve parties and New Year's Day brunching, the rest of the long holiday weekend is going to be pretty dead just about everywhere but the Kabuki Theatre and AMC Van Ness.

Save yourself the $10 plus you'll spend on a movie ticket and kick off a mellow Monday at the Cable Car Museum (1201 Mason Street), which was built in the 70s near the border between Chinatown and Nob Hill. The exhibit includes everything from old-time pictures of the system's founding fathers to diagrams of how the actual gears work. Best of all, it's free and no one really bothers you as you take it all in. When you're done, enjoy a fifteen minute walk downhill via Mason Street toward North Beach to complete the afternoon or evening. 

Drink: If a Monday cocktail sounds right, continue your homage to all things old-school with a classic Martini or a Sidecar at Bottlecap (1707 Powell Street). On the flip side, if you're trying to cleanse a bit, stroll a few blocks to Columbus Caffe (562 Green Street) for a fresh-squeezed juice or a strawberry-banana smoothie.

Eat: Keeping the day casual, cheap and cheerful, Caffe Sapore (790 Lombard St.) has a great "Fattoush" salad sprinkled with housemade zatar and creative sandwiches on fresh foccacia bread.  The fancier, spendier option would be Park Tavern (1652 Stockton St.), where we recommend sitting at the bar, and sharing the cult-followed, bacon-topped burger or the "Poulet Rouge," a roast chicken that arrives upright, speared through the base with a spit. Fill out your meal with sides like the wonderfully salty whitefish dip, brussels sprout chips and pork belly bites. Those resolutions can wait until tomorrow. 

Got another great holiday weekend itinerary to suggest? Do tell us about it in the comments.