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  1. Default Seatttle to San Francisco

    Hi to all,
    I am a first time user of RTA forums. Please feel free to correct me if I am using this forum incorrectly.

    We are in the beginning stages of planning a road trip from the Seattle area, down the Oregon Coast (spending a couple of days in Seaside, OR) then going into California with the final leg of our trip spent in San Francisco for a couple of days. I need advice on how to find good lodging, restaraunts and things to do, especially in San Fransisco.

    Personally I am not a big city kind of guy, but my wife wants to spend some time in San Francisco. Can you tell me another city or area in northern California that would be good alternative to San Francisco?

    Thank you
    travelron

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Coast and SF

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    The west coast RoadTrip has come up fairly frequently of late. For starters, check out these threads: Thread_1, Thread_2, and Thread_3, as well as the suggested links at the bottom of this page. Those should give you an idea of what's generally available. Like you, I'm not a big fan of cities, but I have had to attend conferences in San Francisco over the years and have found it to be something of an exception. There's really nothing like it in northern California (or elsewhere, for that matter). Between the Presidio, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fisherman's Wharf, the trollies, etc. I think you'll enjoy it if you give it a chance.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default San Francisco

    Quote Originally Posted by travelron
    We are in the beginning stages of planning a road trip from the Seattle area, down the Oregon Coast (spending a couple of days in Seaside, OR) then going into California with the final leg of our trip spent in San Francisco for a couple of days... Can you tell me another city or area in northern California that would be good alternative to San Francisco?
    San Francisco is pretty darn fun. There is so much to do and I would urge you to relax and spend your time there. However, since you asked for an alternative -- Santa Cruz would give you a similar bay-area experience and you could go to the Monterery Bay Aquarium, take the 17-mile driving tour of Carmel and kick-back. Places to stay -- my favorite Santa Cruz spot is actually in Aptos -- it is located on the bluff overlooking Seacliff State Beach and it is an easy walk down to the beach.

    San Francisco -- a good place to decompress is the wave organ and be sure to take the drive up into the Marin Headlands. Take the road just north of the view point on the south-bound US-101 (before it crosses the bridge) awesome, awesome views of San Francisco!

    Mark

  4. Default Seattle to San Fransisco

    Thanks for the great advice!!
    So, if we stayed in San Fransisco, do you have any personal hotel favorites?
    What about transportation? I've heard that you shouldn't drive in downtown San Fransisco, is this true? What would be the best mode of travel to see the sites in the main downtown area?

    Thanks
    travelron

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default SF driving & lodging

    I've heard that you shouldn't drive in downtown San Fransisco, is this true? What would be the best mode of travel to see the sites in the main downtown area?
    I think driving in San Francisco is fairly easy with a great map. However, a great way to travel through the city is the BART subway system. I found the regular bus system to be unreliable but I've only been in SF once, maybe it was a bad day.

    So, if we stayed in San Fransisco, do you have any personal hotel favorites?
    I've only stayed with friends in SF but I heard the San Remo Hotel was a very nice and unexpensive place (55-75$). It is convieniently located in the heart of North Beach, close to many attractions, restaurants and boutiques.

    Have fun!
    Gen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Driving in SF

    You know, I've heard the "don't drive in SF" type warnings too, but the one time I was there, I didn't have any problems getting around. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, and on the expensive side, but if you're willing to walk a few extra blocks its not too bad. Honestly, of all the major cities I've driven in, I'd say its one of the easier ones to get around in.

    However, I have also heard very good things about the Bus system. I have not used it myself, however, so I'm not well qualified to say if it is actually as good as advertised. The one tip I would advise if you go the public transportation route is don't plan on using the trolley's for getting around. They are much more of a tourist novelty than an actual mode of transportation.

    As far as hotels, During my trip there, I found a $50 a night place by the airport via a priceline/hotwire-type service and then just drove into the city. The one thing I would watch out for is parking fees. Most hotels, particularly downtown, charge extra parking fees that can be very expensive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Afraid of steep hills?

    Quote Originally Posted by travelron
    What about transportation? I've heard that you shouldn't drive in downtown San Fransisco, is this true? What would be the best mode of travel to see the sites in the main downtown area?
    If you are driving a manual transmission vehicle and/or you have a fear of steep hills, some parts of San Franciso can be darn right terrifying. But, if you love the challenge of that type of driving -- you will have a blast! I love driving in San Francisco and for the most part you never have to drive on the really steep hills unless you want to. US-101 goes right through the heart of the city -- with full-size trucks and busses so it really isn't that bad.

    On the other hand, the muni-bus/BART sytem in San Francisco could be one of the best in America. I have never waited more than about five minutes on any route and if you really want to relax -- the public system would be the way to go.

    The Holiday Inn Golden Gateway -- on Van Ness would be our choice -- if you can get a corner room -- up high- the views will astound you. Prices are reasonable and the location is just about perfect.

    Mark

  8. #8

    Default

    We live on the East Bay and take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to get into San Francisco. BART is a regional transit system that covers large portions of the Bay Area.

    The actual city of San Francisco is not that large, roughly 7 sq miles.

    Here's the wikipedia link for SF:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fra...hy_and_climate

    Within SF, we like to walk or take the bus (Muni). Bus fare is $1.50.

    The biggest problem with a car in SF is parking. Street parking is difficult and parking in lots can be expensive.

    It's helpful to purchase a bus map to familiarize yourself with the system.

    One cool thing about the Muni system is that they run some great restored historic trolley cars along Market Street:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F_Market

    Cable cars are always fun, but there's always a line of people waiting to board them, especially at Powell and Market. I believe the fare for cable cars is $5.00.

    One thrill of driving in SF is Lombard Street, purported to be the crookedest street in the United States.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombard..._San_Francisco

    It's quite steep, especially the uphill approach to the top of the hill that often has a line of cars waiting to descend the crooked part of the street. You need to be pretty good with your hand brake if you're driving a manual transmission.

    Give SF a chance, for a major city, it's very accessible.

    Check out this link for first time visitors:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...=travelbayarea

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I like those horizontal parking spaces!

    Quote Originally Posted by roadie
    We live on the East Bay and take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to get into San Francisco
    . Nice post, with good links. Thanks! In my view, it isn't Lombard Street that affords the biggest thrill for drivers... #1 would be when the cable car is behind you at an intersection where you are stopped for a light the cable car operator gives no impression of any intention of ever slowing down.. A close #2 would be trying to to pull into those so-called horizontal spaces where the ambient slope is 30+ degrees -- actually, backing out of the spaces (blind) is even better!

    For all of that, I love driving in the city by the bay it is quite a hoot!

    Mark

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