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A (two) day Trip - San Francisco

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by TheNewUnion, Jan 25, 2016.

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  1. TheNewUnion

    TheNewUnion Tourist

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    Hi

    Now that we are all booked for October, we were looking at things to do and wondered if a 2 day jaunt to San Francisco is do-able/sensible?

    We were thinking of flying out of Vegas early one morning (looks like Southwest have flights for next to nothing), arriving in SF hitting the tourist trail, probably the big red bus tour or similar. Staying the night, checking out then going to Alcatraz for the tour, grab a bite to eat and then fly back to Vegas in the evening.

    A couple of questions spring to mind really:

    Is two days enough to catch the main sights?
    Is Southwest the best option?
    Where is the best place to stay (in terms of proximity to, I suppose, the tour to Alcatraz which I would assume is a jumping on/off point on the red bus tour.)

    Obviously, you know better than I do so I'd appreciate and thoughts, opinions or guidance.

    (Apologies if this doesn't bleong in this section of the forum)
     
  2. kps

    kps High-Roller

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    For 2 days you can definitely hit the sights.

    Wife and I stayed at the Chancellor Hotel in Union Square for our 2nd leg of our honeymoon for 3 nights after staying in Sonoma for 4 nights back in Oct 2013. I lived in Monterrey for 2.5 years so I had some knowledge going in of some of the do's and dont's. Personally I like Union Square which is where the hotel is at. Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap on hotel pricing. Great place to visit but I won't stay there. The seals are hysterical at the wharf.

    Boutique hotel with the trolley line less than a block away and also where the trolley starts from. We booked the romance package they have online by calling them directly. We're true tourists when we go on trips so we're not into the high end hotels but won't go cheap. Very comfortable bed and they actually have a menu of different pillows you can request.

    http://www.chancellorhotel.com/specials.php

    We went around SF using the trolley and got the SF city pass which gave you a bunch of free entries to different places plus a week of unlimited access on the trolley. There was a killer noodle house about 2 blocks from the hotel past Victoria's Secret that was unbelievable. Reminded me of the ones in Japan I used to go to when I lived there.

    http://www.citypass.com/san-francisc...FUYTHwodmnMNtw

    We did the 3 hour city food tour through group on or living social which was very cool which was around the Little Italy section of SF. The guide was very knowledgeable and the tastings at the 6 places were great.

    We did the SF city double decker bus tour which came out of Fisherman's Wharf. Took the trolley to the end and it was a 3 block walk. I don't remember which site we found that one on. Probably Group on or such.

    Definitely do Alcatraz. I think that was the only one we paid regular price for.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    It depends on what you want to see and do to determine if 2 days are enough. Alcatraz cuts into your day so you may not have a lot of time to do much on that day. The big bus tours are neat if you want to catch a bunch of sights but many people just skip the big bus and ride the regular muni buses since the price is cheap. (couple of bucks, or was it $2.50? anyway the price is very reasonable). You also pick up a transfer when you board the muni bus because the transfer usually lasts a few hours (between 2 to 4 hours) so you can travel back and forth to different locales.

    The BB tour is good because it goes across the GG bridge and also GG park and drives past a number of tourist and photo spots. You can also pick up the Alcatraz combo with the bb tours. Beware because while you can pick up a 24 hr bb pass it is only good during the daytime, there is a separate night time tour that isn't included in the price of the 24 hr day pass. There are 2 or 3 different tour routes, red and blue and green. I think the red tour is the one more people take but the blue tour is neat because it also goes across the bay bridge (might be the night time tour).

    Best to google san fran to determine where to visit and what to do. For me I like to visit the Fisherman's wharf area (also visit Ghirardelli square), visit Chinatown, north beach and the Italian restaurants, if I have time walk on the gg bridge or walk/bus/bike around golden gate park. Go early morning and board the cable cars from downtown to fisherman's wharf.

    Note that there aren't as many sea lions on fisherman's wharf anymore so they aren't the draw like they were a few years ago. They used to be in the hundreds but nowadays usually only number in the 20s.

    Also note that hotel prices are very expensive. You probably will pay at least $200 a night for a hotel if not more. The Chancellor hotel is centralized and highly recommended but there are other hotels in the same area that may cost less. Downtown (union square area) is more central and there are more nicer hotels downtown than fisherman's wharf. Plus it is easy to catch the BART to get to and from SFO and OAK airports. Usually only costs less than $9 each way on the BART. Airport shuttles to SFO costs close to $20 each way while shuttles to OAK isn't recommended, very expensive. It takes longer if your hotel is closer to fisherman's wharf so maybe best to stay near union square. (plus the stores are all located in that area, lol). Also note that OAK might be cheaper to fly into than SFO and you can take the BART into san fran town from OAK. Before you make your airline reservation best to check the BART schedule if you are taking it because they run on different hours depending on the time of day or day of the week.

    For me, 2 days are perfect but for some 3 days might be more comfortable. I like to fly on SW because bags are free so you don't have to worry about paying bag fees. There are many airlines though, virgin, UA, etc so you have lots of options on flying to and from San fran. I would probably recommend 3 days in san fran, 1 day for the bb tour, just riding the bus all day to get a feel of san fran, 1 day for Alcatraz and fisherman's wharf area and the last day to ride the cable cars and muni bus to hit some sights that you saw from the BB tour (and wanted some time to cruise).
     
  4. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    I love San Francisco! We travel a few times a year. I enjoy it for 1-2 nights; the husband likes to go for the day - first flight in, last flight in. Most often we fly Southwest. I also like Virgin. Frontier and the like don't have as good of schedules. I will fly in OAK or SFO. I actually prefer OAK, because I like to stay in Fisherman's Wharf and it's faster via Bart. We've used Uber/Lyft from SFO. I'm in the minority, but I do not like Union Square. It's pricey, congested and we almost always get harassed in that area. FW is touristy too, but it's a great hub for catching all modes of public transit, and ride sharing fares are frequent and reasonable. I'm a big fan of the multi-day MUNI pass good for street cars, cable cars, bus or metro trains.

    Since I adore the Ferry Building and North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf as a home base is ideal. I will usually book on hotwire, 4 star properties in the wharf are most often the Holiday Inn or Sheraton. I prefer the latter, but both are comfortable. I've never paid more than $125/night. That was only during a major event. I really enjoyed renting a bike and riding across the GG bridge to Sausalito. I also love the view from Twin Peaks and/or Coit Tower. So much to see and do. Happy to help with specifics or I've written extensively on my favorites, which can be read here.
     
  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I agree with Kellee on Union Square. Retail and buildings you can find anywhere -- and I live in a small town with nothing along these lines and still see no need to do this on vacation. Though there is a great adult shop just a few blocks away. For stay we're Fairmont fans.

    We've kicked this around several times here and there are some very informative threads in the archives. To us, SF is about just getting out, on foot, on bike as suggested above, about eating and just seeing what is around the next corner. The parks are great, the museums are great, and in a trip of this short duration I'd not try to get too far off the end of the peninsula; save the many great sights and sites north and south for a dedicated trip.

    Have fun!
     
  6. Krh2o

    Krh2o MIA

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    Southwest is your best option.

    Are you going to rent a car? If so Oakland airport is pretty close to downtown SF and offers a lot more non stop flights.

    If you are planning on taking a taxi both airports are far from where you are staying.

    Yes the hotels are expensive. There are cool museums and stuff in the downtown area. You can also stay by the Warf. There are some nice hotels there, great super fresh seafood within walking distance and it's by Alcatraz.
     
  7. UTE

    UTE Plastics

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    My wife and I enjoy taking a taxi up to Coit Tower and then walking back down to the piers on the South side stairs. You'll see some of the local parrots and some interesting gardens on the decent.

    Bill
     
  8. TheNewUnion

    TheNewUnion Tourist

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    Thanks guys, some really useful information here. I've been taking a look at Union Square and there are some nice looking hotels there, it also seems like an ideal location. Pretty set on going now, just need to find the flights etc (but might be a bit early at the moment)
     
  9. Snidely

    Snidely VIP Whale

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    We did Vegas/SF on a trip and took the ferry boat and wine train. Lots of fun. Beware the hills of SF. They are some steep hills! Have fun. SF is a great place.
     
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