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Thread: San Francisco

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    San Francisco

    San Francisco: anyone been, where's good to stay (both District/region wise and also specific hotels) and good things to do for a very short visit? Only there for two days as we transit through so would be good not to waste them. Some reviews make SF sound pretty grim and felonious!

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    Re: San Francisco

    I've been there!

    It's a California city, so yes, much of it is pretty grim (and expensive), but don't let that put you off!

    There's a lot of touristy stuff to see and do, like riding the street cars, Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf.

    Personally, with only a short period of time, I'd rent a car, preferably a convertible, and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, and head north on the Shoreline Highway. Northern California, away from the cities, is absolutely beautiful!

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    Re: San Francisco

    I like it.

    I stayed in an Airbnb in Haight-Ashbury which is a pretty cool neighbourhood and saved a fortune over the city centre hotels.

    Alcatraz was great (been there three times now so maybe I have stockholm syndrome), but also as TeePee said I also rented a convertible (Turo!) and drove over the Golden Gate and also down to Santa Cruz along the coastal highway.

    There are some dodgy areas, for sure, but I walked pretty much everywhere and (at least during the day) it was fine. The guidebooks do make it sound horrific. It really depends on what you want to do. For me, we found a great seafood place near the piers, a couple of great Mexican restaurants in the latino districts, and just walking up and down the streets was a pleasant experience in itself. And the cable car museum is one of the best "live museums" I've been to.

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    Re: San Francisco

    If you're getting a car, you have to drive down that really wavy street, can't remember what it's called.

    Also, is Scoma's still there? That's really good for seafood. OR it was in 1990, the last time I visited.

    Make sure you take a jumper. We went in August and had to go and buy jumpers - it gets chilly sometimes.

    Edit - you also have to get a 70s v8 sedan and drive around like you're playing Driver. It's the law.

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    Re: San Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by Smudger View Post
    If you're getting a car, you have to drive down that really wavy street, can't remember what it's called.
    Lombard Street

    Quote Originally Posted by Smudger View Post
    Also, is Scoma's still there? That's really good for seafood. OR it was in 1990, the last time I visited.
    Still excellent!

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    Re: San Francisco

    Just booked a trip to Alcatraz. Cancelled a stay in the tenderloin area which apparently is red light and gritty and now being put up in sunnyvale. A bit of a way out but on train line and saves us hotel money. Probably do the pampanito submarine, wharfs and Alcatraz. No car and won't be able to drive out (this time).

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    Re: San Francisco

    No car will eliminate a some of my favourite things aboyt San Fran, though technically they're 'near' rather than 'in'. The first would have been to drive up into the Presidio for the famous 'bay and bridge' view of the GG bridge. Personally I prefer that view to driving across it which, yes, means you can say you have but otherwise is rather like driving across any large bridge.

    The second would be a drive south of SF along the Pacific Coast Highway. Fabulous coastal views, do to and some way part Carnel, among the most beautiful anywhere, IMHO. I had my eye on a property there .... until I found out what it cost.

    Third, and this is my personal favourite, is a bit north of SF .... Muir Woods. It's a bit like our national parks, but is a Giant Redwood (Sequoia) forest. the spectacle and majesty of those magbnuficent trees I found to be ... well, hard to describe but, somehow mystical, made me feel very small and insignificant, it's almost a religious experience. A soul-recharge, fro the sheer peacefulness of it.

    Alcatraz is interesting, and certainly worth it if that kind of thing floats your boat. Fishernan's Wharf was, again IMHO, outrageously touristy and, to me, an utter waste of time.

    Which brings me to my main point.

    There is a LOT you can do, even if you have several weeks. SF is probably my favourite city, certainly in the US (though Vancouver, and yes I know it's not in the US, comes very close). That said, generally I hate cities. You'd have to hold me at gunpoint to get me to live in New York or LA. Or, for that matter, London or Paris.

    If you like museums, or galleries (or antique shops, like in Carmel) then hunt those out, but for me, it's those views.

    Oh, and some damn good restaurants too, especially out among the vineyards. But for those, well, this is California so don't expect cheap. And for some, they don't even descend to merely expensive. They're firmly in "eye-watering" territory.

    So wbat interests me, in large part, is natural things .... like Muir Woods, of the PCH drive.
    Given that there's so much, you have to decide what YOU find interesting.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: San Francisco

    Thanks all. On my way there now so I'll see how it goes. Do keep suggestions coming as it will help to head off any dud suggestions from my hosts when I get there.

    Saracen I saw the forests last time I was in San Jose for a wedding They had the butterfly migration too. Really breath taking. This time I'm hoping to see some of the city as it's weird having flown into it but seen none of it. We will just do a day trip now and use the rest of time out of the centre.

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    Re: San Francisco

    Asia SF is... err... interesting
    If Wisdom is the coordination of "knowledge and experience" and its deliberate use to improve well being then how come "Ignorance is bliss"

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    Re: San Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    Thanks all. On my way there now so I'll see how it goes. Do keep suggestions coming as it will help to head off any dud suggestions from my hosts when I get there.

    Saracen I saw the forests last time I was in San Jose for a wedding They had the butterfly migration too. Really breath taking. This time I'm hoping to see some of the city as it's weird having flown into it but seen none of it. We will just do a day trip now and use the rest of time out of the centre.
    Pretty much the reverse of my trip. I was there to see Apple (managed to wangle a trip into their secure prototypes lab, not some thing that hzppens often for journalists) but I had some appointments in SF (and Redwood city) too so I stayed in SF and travelled south to Apple.

    Hint - don't forget your driving licence as I managed to (duh!!) though you do at least get to find out how easy the Californian driving test is. ) Which explains why I have a Californian driving licence.

    Talking about driving, personally I wouldn't bother to drive down Lombard Street, as there's often a huge queue. But it is worth a visit. I did it on foot,, as it was fairly brief walk from one of the big department stores (Macy's, Bloomingdales, whatever, can't remember which) but I saw all I needed to at Lombard Street in about 5 minutes.

    Hope you enjoy your trip.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: San Francisco

    San Francisco sounds great. So jealous!

    Have a great time

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    Re: San Francisco

    Yeah I can now see what you mean about Lombard Street. I wouldn't bother driving it either. The fun part is very short, very busy and very tedious by the looks of it. The rest of lombard Street is just straight and a bit steep like any other San Fran road.

    Today we did Alcatraz, fisherman's wharf (tourist trap as others said) saw the sea lions or seals or whatever they were, walked to lombard Street then down Lombard and up the steps to Coit tower which is well worth a visit for the stunning views for not too much money. By that point daylight was fading so we got the train back out. Have to say I'm glad we're not staying in the centre. I think that was the right call

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    Re: San Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    Yeah I can now see what you mean about Lombard Street. I wouldn't bother driving it either. The fun part is very short, very busy and very tedious by the looks of it. The rest of lombard Street is just straight and a bit steep like any other San Fran road.

    Today we did Alcatraz, fisherman's wharf (tourist trap as others said) saw the sea lions or seals or whatever they were, walked to lombard Street then down Lombard and up the steps to Coit tower which is well worth a visit for the stunning views for not too much money. By that point daylight was fading so we got the train back out. Have to say I'm glad we're not staying in the centre. I think that was the right call
    Well, driving in and out of central SF is an ..... experience. A bit like swi ming with wild alligators is an experience.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: San Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    Well, driving in and out of central SF is an ..... experience. A bit like swi ming with wild alligators is an experience.
    Yeah our drive to the airport this evening was... Interesting. Is that the diplomatic term? Also as well as random driving the lanes had chicanes marked on the freeway. Like proper waves and bows on the white lane markings kicking everyone sideways over one way then the other. At 70mph. Wtf!?! I've seen some dumb things but that is just asking to cause problems surely. Now at the airport and it's surprisingly dull and very overpriced. Duty free is really not worth it (unlike when I was last here several years ago) and even things like toblerone are extortionate. Best (worst) deal I've found is 400g of lindor chocolate balls for 28usd (£21) and 200g starburst for 5usd approx £3.75. at least it isn't too crowded this evening. (So far anyway)

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