Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by shemesh, Aug 20, 2015.
Best place to stay, best things to do?
Thinking of planning a trip very soon, for a few days.
It's the best time of year to visit weather wise. Indian summers keep it warm here until late October. Your budget may dictate your options but there is lots to do for both high and low rollers. The top five SF things are probably:
Golden Gate Bridge;
Alcatraz (get passes ASAP);
AT&T park (SF Giants);
Powell Street Plaza.
If you include the surrounding cities, there is Napa valley (wine heaven), Point Reyes, Muir Woods, Stanford University.
Only caveat is that SF has lots of down on their luck homeless in some areas that you may want to avoid (Tenderloin)
The fall is a great time to visit. I think hotel prices drop some after summer.
Union square is where a lot of the hotels are. I've stayed at a few places there. Nicest place I've stayed at in SF is the fairmont on knob hill. Pricey but really nice and great service.
Definitely take a ride on a cable car.
I love SF. I like to stay in Fisherman's Wharf. The location is centralized and very convenient to the cable & street cars, Muni, Bart and Uber/Lyft. I usually book 4 star property on Hotwire, which has always been The Holiday Inn or The Sheraton. I prefer the latter because the location is a tad better and I really enjoy the fire pits outside. I plan a annual trip each year for Dungeness Crab season and usually sneak a couples extras in because airfare can be dirt cheap to SFO/OAK from LAS. If you plan to ride the cable car, buy at least a day Muni pass. It will pay for itself with a round trip ride, plus you will have access to the street cars, muni buses and trains. Uber/Lyft are fantastic. It's competitive there so you'll find car pool fares from $4 across town, we even took Uber from SFO for $10. Which was faster and cheaper than Bart.
I go to SF to eat and drink. I see sights along the way. People love Union Square and Alcatraz, but neither appealed to me. Go and form your own opinion. Check out the Cable Car museum, it's free. I love spending time in North Beach it's my favorite neighborhood. Renting a bike in the Wharf and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito is a great way to spend a morning. I really enjoy the views from Coit Tower. You could spend days at Golden Gate Park and not see it all. The Ferry Building is always a must for me. So is Petite Deli, Saigon Sandwich (worth the trip to the Tenderloin), R & G Lounge and the Crab House if Dungeness isn't in season. If going to the Castro, don't miss Hot Cookie or Twin Peaks - great views! Do not rent a car for more than a day. Parking is insanely expensive and a major inconvenience. Muir Woods is a great day trip. People love Napa, but I find a day at Russian River Brewing Company better spent. AT & T Park is great, just make sure your seats are covered. The birds really enjoy making targets out of those exposed. I used to love football games at Candlestick Park, despite the cold... but those days are over.
I'm going to be there in a little over a week. Airline prices from hnl were cheap going through Oakland, probably $200 less than going directly to LAS and I enjoy visiting san fran so it was a no brainer.
Some things I love to do in San Fran:
Visit the Ferry Building on a Saturday. They have an open market with lots of food and samples (cheeses, fruits, etc.). Highly recommended if you're going to be in the area.
I love fisherman's wharf, always have a clam chowder in a bread bowl.
Visit Chinatown and bargain with the shopowners.
Visit Baker beach and see the naked people, err, see the awesome view of the golden gate bridge.
Visit Japantown and visit the Daiso store. Lots of stuff all in the $1 to $1.50 range. Lots of neat knickknacks.
Of course if you never done these it might be worthwhile:
Walk along the golden gate bridge.
Rent a car and drive up to Napa or Sonoma and stop off in the Marin Headlands to get some nice shots of the GG bridge and San Fran.
Walk along the Castro area or Haight Ashbury area.
Go up to Twin peaks and get a great view of the city
Lombard Street, easy to take a cable car ride and stop off at the top of the hill and walk down.
If you think Vegas rooms are pricey, wait till you see your hotel bill in SF. No resort fee, but $25-$40 parking fee.
Even the dumps in San Fran are going for over $100 a night. My usual hotel by the Chinatown gate just got bought out a few months ago and they raised rates so where I was paying about $85 a night that same hotel now is charging $140 a night. I'm staying elsewhere so hopefully it will be okay but I'm a little wary about hotels. As for parking, I usually don't rent a car so I just take the bus everywhere. Good bus system, ask for a transfer and it is good in any direction for 3 to 4 hours. When I do rent a car I usually rent it for a day or drive and stay elsewhere (like Monterrey) and try to return the car so I don't have to pay for parking in town.
Last september a friend and I spent a saturday and sunday night in SF in a (nice) motel by the airport ... $400 total
Then we spent 4 nights in Vegas, 1 at MSS (rack rate), 2 at Caesars Palace tower (comp but resort fee), 1 at Aria (myvegas comp) ... $120 total
Thats the trouble with being a vegas addict. After you've been in a 4-5 star place for less than $100 a night every other major destination feels like a ripoff.
Different strokes. No one is getting all that Vegas value for free, either. Vegas is Vegas. That's a good thing. Other places aren't Vegas. That's a good thing, too.
To the OP: Just get out and explore. It is SF, kinda hard to go wrong unless you end up in Oakland. The waterfront -- all sides -- is what makes the City, so partake of it. Food too. You can throw a Big Mac -- always a good use of the item -- anywhere in SF and hit an outstanding restaurant of whatever ilk. What type of food, prices, do you like before we start sending you all over? Aside from the obligatory cable car ride, to me the one must-do is a better part of a day on foot or bike going from the wharf, to or over the bridge and back through the Presidio.
With vehicle: Marin Headlands. Point Reyes a bit more northerly. Get down to Santa Cruz and Monterey if you have a day trip going. Wine.
On wine country -- if you go that way, resist the temptation to just storm through a big swath of it. Find a part, pick out a few wineries, and enjoy. You can have Disney-like experiences up there, you can find tucked-away gems. I suggest either going with wines you've always wanted to see at the source or if you like a particular varietal and manner, you can do that, too, choosing via geography/topo/grape/climate.
Totally agree on the total vacation cost. It doesn't keep me from going elsewhere. It just makes me grumpy when I'm booking hotels
It's hard not to get the grumps. I get 'em. I've spent more on Days Inns than I did for my recent Mirage Tower Deluxe.
The hop on/off buses are an excellent and economical way to get to see San Francisco's highlights.
One of the things I love about San Francisco? Food is taken seriously there - even the airport restaurants have good food.
Wifey and I usually take a couple of cruises a year out of San Francisco. It's a good excuse to go in a few days early and stay a few days after.
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