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San Francisco suggestions
Old 06-26-2019, 12:20 AM   #1
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San Francisco suggestions

Our niece will be doing a long weekend with her mom in SF and they asked for advice re what area to stay and things to do. We had several ideas of what to do, but it’s been a decade or more since we stayed in SF and not sure what areas have deteriorated vs are now good.

- What areas do you recommend? Priorities are safe, convenient and decent prices for lodging.

- We recommended Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Muir Woods, 17 mile drive, Harbor Tour/Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, streetcar, Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, Chinatown, Lombard St., North Beach for Italian food, and Beach Blanket Babylon. They only have 3-4 days so probably not enough for wine country. Any other worthwhile sights we missed? This is their first visit.
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Old 06-26-2019, 03:46 AM   #2
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Scratch Lombard St. Lines too long. But I like the ferry building. Beach Blanket Babylon is closing NYE
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:12 AM   #3
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My experiences with SFO have been horrible, so we fly into Sacramento and drive west, if we visit SF. We spent over 3 hours, just trying to get luggage, rent a reserved car, travel via shuttle, in time to hit rush hour traffic. Maybe, Oakland would be a better airport but I have no experiences there.

Being foodies, we love Fisherman's Wharf, but I'm sure there's good food elsewhere, without the crowds.
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:13 AM   #4
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Coit Tower has a nice view.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:17 AM   #5
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You might want to have them bring along the google poop map:
https://www.openthebooks.com/map/?Ma...=Pin&Zip=94103
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:33 AM   #6
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I'm usually there just for lunch down on the docks. Then, we hit the road south to Monterrey, Carmel and down US Hwy 1 to the Hearst Castle area.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:42 AM   #7
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Have them take the double-decker bus tour. Go to Alcatraz (need to book far in advance). Check out Pier 39 and the Sea Lions.

If they stay somewhere in the Fisherman's Wharf section, lots of good things are within walking distance (San Francisco is a great walking city). We've stayed at the San Francisco Marriott at Fisherman's Wharf more than once. Very nice.

If they are in the Washington Square area early in the morning, have them eat at Mama's. They won't be sorry, even with the long lines. Best breakfast in San Francisco, IMHO.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:50 AM   #8
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In addition to your suggestions, Scuba, if they like seafood, lunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Ferry Building can give them a nice view of the bay; or if they're there on a Thursday, some of the best food trucks in the city park at the plaza/farmer's market in front of the Ferry Building. I'd also ride the cable cars a bit, as you get to see some of the city that way.


And Top of the Mark, on the top floor (natch!) of the Mark Hopkins Hotel, is a nice (although pricey) place for cocktails and a view of the city.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:18 AM   #9
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I love Golden Gate Park, especially if the weather is good. The park is the location for the De Young Museum and the Academy of Sciences. Lots to see and do in this one location.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:38 AM   #10
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One thing about San Francisco is that hotel pricing varies a lot from week to week depending on what's going on. There are no reasonably priced hotels during conventions like Oracle World or Dreamforce or if there's a big athletic or public event, so if their dates are flexible, they should compare hotel prices for the weekends before and after their first choice. They may save a lot by shifting their dates a little bit.

If the hotels in Fishermen's Wharf are too pricey, then Cow Hollow is a walkable neighborhood with a lot of restaurants and boutique shopping. Lombard St is Hwy 101, so it's busy, but a block or two south is much quieter. Other places I'd look would be Nob Hill (I've sometimes seen ridiculously low rates at the Fairmont), Russian Hill, Japan Town, or anything along Columbus or Embarcadero. They could even look at the big business hotels in the Financial District and see if they can get a good weekend rate.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:45 AM   #11
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You'll need to make advance ressies for the Alcatraz tour. Last summer, it was about 6 weeks out. We learned the hard way when we had out of town guests!!! Muir Woods has instituted a reservation system for parking...I don't have add'l details.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winemaker View Post
My experiences with SFO have been horrible, so we fly into Sacramento and drive west, if we visit SF. We spent over 3 hours, just trying to get luggage, rent a reserved car, travel via shuttle, in time to hit rush hour traffic. Maybe, Oakland would be a better airport but I have no experiences there.

Being foodies, we love Fisherman's Wharf, but I'm sure there's good food elsewhere, without the crowds.
I prefer flying in / out of SFO but then I use Bart / mobile passport. Pick luggage up, walk to Bart, I'm in Walnut Creek for Uber in a little over 1.5 hrs.

I'll 2nd Mama's!
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:53 AM   #13
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Hotel Kabuki in Japantown is very nice. Price can vary between 150-400 for the same room depending on what’s going on in the city.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:57 AM   #14
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Don't use a car in San Francisco, not only is parking a challenge but they have a car prowl problem (think broken window). DD had her car broken into in SF when visiting their office there. Use Uber or Lyft if walking or transit doesn't meet your needs.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:13 AM   #15
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Fort point gets you a very unusual perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge.
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San Francisco suggestions
Old 06-26-2019, 09:58 AM   #16
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San Francisco suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
Don't use a car in San Francisco, not only is parking a challenge but they have a car prowl problem (think broken window). DD had her car broken into in SF when visiting their office there. Use Uber or Lyft if walking or transit doesn't meet your needs.

+1

And parking is $$$$, especially at hotels.

If they plan to take public transit, they should pick up a Clipper Card for fare payments. They work across all Bay Area transit systems—BART, SF Muni (bus, light rail & CABLE CARS), Caltrain, the ferries over to Marin or Oakland, and more.

You can buy them at transit centers (probably at SFO too), most Walgreens, among other places.
www.Clippercard.com

Edit to add: we found public transit easy to use with google maps. It will display all of the bus schedules you need
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:25 AM   #17
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Fort point gets you a very unusual perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Well worth the trip. However, if you want to go inside the Fort, it's only open Fri-Sundays. The GG Bridge perspective from inside the Fort is one of a kind .
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by copyright1997reloaded View Post
You might want to have them bring along the google poop map:
https://www.openthebooks.com/map/?Ma...=Pin&Zip=94103
What exactly does it show ?
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:19 PM   #19
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I suggest starting at Market street, walk through Chinatown, into North Beach for great Italian restaurants. Also neat local bars to grab a rest and enjoy a drink. Continue on to Pier 39. Lot of walking but SF is a great place to experience on street level.

You can walk from Pier 39 to Fisherman's wharf and then continue to Ghirardelli square.
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:55 PM   #20
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I hope it goes without saying but walking is safer (not totally safe of course) in the daytime. So they aren't disappointed, SF isn't the city it was 20+ years ago. However, with that understood, just try to ignore/avoid the bums and dirty streets that are many areas. While I agree, parking can be a hassle, it's not impossible, and a you can see a lot with a driving tour of the city. Just driving up and down many of the very steep streets can be "interesting".

I do agree with many of the suggestions of things to see and do. One thing I remember seeing, that I don't think has been mentioned here, is to go to the end of the cable car line and watch them as they turn cable cars around. Very low tech and simplistic but neat to see. You also might consider walking across the Golden Gate. (very wide sidewalk and a long walk) I did it once. Great views of the actual Bay, the city and Alcatraz.
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