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Thread: San Francisco travel advice needed

  1. #11
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    BART! From Oakland or from the south. My niece/nephew that live there use it all the time to move around the bay area.

    https://www.bart.gov/

  2. #12
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    I used to live in San Francisco so have not stayed in many hotels or other acccommodations there, but this hostel is in a GREAT location, gets great reviews, looks beautiful from the outside, and is much cheaper than most other accomodations. https://www.hiusa.org/hostels/califo...shermans-wharf I was just in SF last week and walked by it and thought again what a neat place it seems to be.

    Also, Craigslist is very active in SF and you might be able to find lodging on there, in addition to airbnb, vrbo and the like.

    I agree with previous posters about the trip to Alcatraz with the audio tour being very interesting and worth doing. Since you said you are interested in gardens, there is a beautiful botanical garden in Golden Gate Park that not many people seem to know about: http://www.sfbotanicalgarden.org/ I love just riding the cable cars from one end to the other (fyi, calling them 'trolleys' immediately IDs one as a tourist), and walking the entire waterfront from the ballpark to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, or over the bridge itself (this can be fun on a bike too, and there are several companies that rent bikes with maps to ride over the bridge; you can then ride to Sausalito and then take the ferry back -- very fun).

    Agree if you are going to leave the city and head north Sonoma is less commercial than Napa for wine tasting, and Muir Woods is gorgeous, especially if you have some extra time to hike past the main area most people go to right near the gate (but even that part is beautiful). If you go south toward the Big Sur area it would be the perfect time of year to see elephant seals and their babies, http://www.elephantseal.org/calendar.htm , and there is also Hearst Castle nearby or the aquarium in Monterey.

    Have a great time!!

  3. #13
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    have you browsed through airbnb.com? I just found a 1-bedroom apt with a sofa bed in the living room in the Haight district "steps from the bus line" for $185/night (which I think is a very good price). I've used airbnb several times and have been very satisfied. There's so much to do in San Francisco, you'll have trouble narrowing it down. But if you do take a day trip out of town, I agree that south of town on the Pacific Highway (highway 1) is gorgeous, even if you don't make it all the way south to Big Sur.

  4. #14
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    do you like jazz? Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers are terrific, and there's always live music at a club called Biscuits and Blues.

  5. #15
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    Lots of great suggestions here! I lived in SF for a year and a half and worked there for three. It's a beautiful city, but also kind of smelly I lived in the Mission District which is awesome for authentic, tasty Mexican food and Mission Dolores, one of California's original missions. It's right next to Dolores Park, which is the most wonderful place to have a picnic on a sunny day. Get bread or sandwiches and pastries from nearby Tartine and finish up with ice cream from (also nearby) Bi-Rite Creamery, and you will have died and gone to heaven.

    For shopping, check out Hayes Valley, which also has great restaurants and cute little boutiques. It's not too far from Van Ness and the theater/civic area. It's walkable from Union Square.

    I know everyone says to go to Fisherman's Wharf, but it's not that great, imho -- lots of tourists, mediocre food, overpriced shops. I would recommend the Ferry Building further down the Embarcadero instead. Beautiful views, great restaurants and bars, places to get cool souvenirs like artisan olive oil, instead of a miniature plastic gewgaws.

    Definitely check out the Exploratorium, and in Golden Gate Park, go to the DeYoung art museum and the California Academy of Sciences.

    And of course, hit up the Castro for some out-of-this-world nightlife!

    You have to tell us where you wind up going!
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  6. #16
    Senior Member awakenedsoul's Avatar
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    I just stayed with a friend in Healdsburg, which is on the Russian River. It is absolutely gorgeous. Wonderful shops and kayaking on the river. Great restaurants, too. It's across the Golden Gate Bridge and near Santa Rosa. San Francisco is VERY expensive. My dad grew up there, so we used to stay with my aunt when we visited. Prices have soared. Carmel By the Sea is gorgeous and quaint, too. You'll have a wonderful time, but bring lots of money. I hope you find an affordable place to stay. I did see some affordable cabins for rent in Russian River. Have fun.

  7. #17
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I am saving all this posts of advice and sharing them with DD2 and DSiL2. So thank you for any and all thoughts that have posted. I had forgotten about BART. Is there a part to avoid looking for accommodation taking the BART to get around. Most cities have some areas where it is wiser to stay clear when an unknowledgeable tourist.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  8. #18
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Most cities have some areas where it is wiser to stay clear when an unknowledgeable tourist.
    I'd avoid everything between west oakland and Bay Fair. Any of the three berkeley stops would probably be fine. Anything from Rockridge on out to Pittsburg/Bay Point would be fine but look at train travel times because the stations get far apart so it'll be a longer trip into San Francisco. Going south down the peninsula anything from Glen Park on out to Millbrae is probably fine. Before you commit to something that's described as being close to Bart I'd google map the walking instructions to the station. Unlike a system like the NY Subway Bart expects most people to drive to the stations, so closeness to Bart is a relative concept.

    You might also look into the Ocean Park Motel in San Francisco. I'll preface this by saying I've never stayed there or been inside. But the outside looks nice. It's at the end of the Muni Metro light rail line that I take every day to work. The trains run at least every 10-12 minutes all day and if you buy a weekly pass it would include this, plus all your other travel around town, including cable cars, which otherwise cost $5/ride. The train ride from the motel (stop right across the street) to Embarcadero station is probably 35-40 minutes. And the neighborhood is quiet and safe. Downsides, there's not much nearby in the way of restaurants or shopping other than a local coffee place and a pizzeria around the corner and a couple other restuarants and a bodega/liquor store 3 long blocks away. Upsides, it'd be quiet, it appears to be not insanely expensive, it's got good reviews on trip advisor, it's really close to the beach. It also looks like they have at least a couple of kitchenette suites with separate bedrooms that aren't super expensive during the off season.

  9. #19
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    My daughter and I were there earlier this month - stayed with family in San Leandro (by Oakland). If you want to tour Alcatraz, get your tickets 3-4 months in advance. They sell out quickly. The wait for the cable cars was over one hour each way - kind of lost its charm on me!

    My cousin drove us to Pacifica a little south of SF. We ate at a nice restaurant called Moonraker - cousin and his wife said they had the best clam chowder they'd ever eaten. It's very nice and little spendy, but I like to splurge on vacation on at least one really good meal. The booth we sat at was a half-round and faced the ocean (the restaurant is right on the beach). We saw several whales! I would definitely go back.

    Pier 39 is touristy and fun. Also had a nice lunch in China Town. Drove down Lombard Street and saw the painted ladies. DD and cousin's wife walked across the Golden Gate bridge, Cousin and I drove across and waited! The Presidio is interesting if you have time - an old military post right by the GG Bridge. SF is a great city.
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  10. #20
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    To avoid, or at least reduce, wait time for the cable cars take either the powell/hyde route from the waterfront or the california street line from embarcadero. The wait at powell/market is always the longest and the second longest is the waterfront start of powell/mason line.

    An alternative to get from downtown to fishermans wharf is to take the F Market and Wharves line. This line has antique streetcars from around the world which is pretty cool.

    edited to add: And I just looked and the cable cars are now $7 per ride. But again, you can use a daily or weekly Muni pass for them and if you're planning to use public transit as your main means of getting around a pass is probably the best deal. Otherwise you're spending $2.75 per ride everytime you go somewhere. A 7 day visitor pass is $42.
    Last edited by jp1; 8-1-17 at 11:01pm.

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