Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Being a Photographer > Travel

Travel This is the place you ask for travel advice, or share your own tips. Topics include destinations, sight seeing, and best / smartest ways for traveling with a camera.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

San Francisco: Best area to stay in??
Old 07-14-2010   #1
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
San Francisco: Best area to stay in??

I'm going on a trip to California with my girlfriend in late August/early September and am looking at some hotels to stay at. We'll be staying in San Francisco for a couple of days and I'm wondering what area of the city I should look at for hotels.
So my question to you SF residents is this: If you were vistiting SF for a couple of days only, what area would you want to stay at? And please look at it from a tourist perspective.

Thanks in advance everyone!
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #2
wilonstott
Wil O.
 
wilonstott's Avatar
 
wilonstott is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA
Age: 36
Posts: 454
North Beach
__________________
LEICA M
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #3
tim_n
Registered User
 
tim_n is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 23
SF is a quite small city, with interconnected bus, streetcar, and subway systems, all of which can be mapped and tracked in real time on your cell phone, so you can plan your connections to the minute, find the nearest stop, etc.. The reason I say this is that it doesn't really matter which part of the city you stay in, you are always have quick access by foot or transit to the entire city. In addition to hotels, you might consider the extensive listings of B&B's throughout the city, at all price levels. You can find what's available online. My preference is to stay at a B&B in a quiet neighborhood (e.g., Cole Valley) with easy bus and streetcar access to more busy parts of the city.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #4
ampguy
Registered User
 
ampguy's Avatar
 
ampguy is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 7,038
If it's your first trip, and/or if you're with older folks, I'd recommend around Union Square, but North of Market.
__________________
My photo blog

  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #5
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_n View Post
SF is a quite small city, with interconnected bus, streetcar, and subway systems, all of which can be mapped and tracked in real time on your cell phone, so you can plan your connections to the minute, find the nearest stop, etc.. The reason I say this is that it doesn't really matter which part of the city you stay in, you are always have quick access by foot or transit to the entire city. In addition to hotels, you might consider the extensive listings of B&B's throughout the city, at all price levels. You can find what's available online. My preference is to stay at a B&B in a quiet neighborhood (e.g., Cole Valley) with easy bus and streetcar access to more busy parts of the city.
I appreciate the advice but I'm really looking for the best areas to stay at, not the cheapest. We're only there for a couple of days so a quiet neighborhood is not what I'm looking for. Like I said, I'm looking at this from a tourist perspective. If I were to stay there for an extended period I'd certainly consider this.
Planning connections with a cell phone is not really an option as the providers in Switzerland (where I'm from) have such high roaming charges that a few minutes of web usage overseas could easily run you $50 or more. Or does SF have free wifi?
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #6
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
If it's your first trip, and/or if you're with older folks, I'd recommend around Union Square, but North of Market.
Although I sometimes feel like I'm getting old, I suppose at 26 I'm not quite yet considered to be one of the older folks . My girlfriend's 23 so she's should be fine aswell

Anyways, Union Square and North Beach, as has been suggested by wilonstott, sound good. I'll have a look at what I can find there. Thanks guys!
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #7
thegman
Registered User
 
thegman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Age: 37
Posts: 3,826
Hi Jamie,
I stayed in the Westin St. Francis in Union Square, it's a great location, but the hotel was not that great really, but a friend of a friend stayed here:

http://www.argonauthotel.com/

and said it was very nice.

Garry
__________________
My Blog
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #8
OurManInTangier
An Undesirable
 
OurManInTangier's Avatar
 
OurManInTangier is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 2,057
Hi Jamie,

I stayed in The Chancellor Hotel off Union Sq last August when I was in SF for a few days work. It's neither the most expensive/deluxe nor the cheapest but I found it to be very well situated. A short walk through the Chinese and Italian districts had me down by the waterfront, where some friends live. The travel links seemed pretty impressive to me whilst I was there and it is a small city with all of the joys of a smaller city.

By the way, if you like good beer seek out some of the micro brewery bars. I had the very English assumption that American beer was pretty much only the big names that are exported around the world. This is very much NOT the case. Infact I think the American micro breweries are making some of the best beer I've had in years.
__________________
Cheers
Simon

| SLP: Work website
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #9
wilonstott
Wil O.
 
wilonstott's Avatar
 
wilonstott is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA
Age: 36
Posts: 454
Union Square is okay. Great if you need to run to Macy's for something.

I never really have to.

Stay at Hotel Boheme at 444 Columbus.
Right off of Washington Square.
No cooler neighborhood in San Francisco.
Have Breakfast at Mama's. It's around the corner. Get there before 8.
__________________
LEICA M
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Hotel Triton
Old 07-14-2010   #10
dbarnes
Registered User
 
dbarnes is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 301
Hotel Triton

Although I haven't been there in a couple of years, I recommend the Triton, near Union Square and the dragon gate to Chinatown. It's a small hotel, upscale but not extravagant, funky and arty but not weird. (No connection other than being a happy customer.)

http://www.hoteltriton.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #11
tim_n
Registered User
 
tim_n is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 23
I wasn't trying to direct you to cheapest alternatives: there are some quite luxurious B&B's. Rather, if you stay at a tourist hotel near Union Square or North Beach in August or September, you will mostly be in contact with other tourists and travelers, not San Franciscans. At a B&B, you have contact with local residents, with their suggestions about what to do. Likewise, taking transit puts you in contact with residents. About the transit data, most SF bus kiosks have real time info about arrivals, and if you have a WiFi-capable cell phone, most coffee shops have free WiFI that gives you access to the same transit data. No need to turn on the phone roaming. BTW, if you like coffee and coffeeshops, check out this site for coffee in SF:
http://www.coffeeratings.com. You can find best coffee (espresso) by neighborhood.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #12
Steve M.
Registered User
 
Steve M. is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,183
North Beach. Look for one of the smaller, family run hotels, and you'll be right next door to Chinatown. You shouldn't have any trouble finding one. Expect to pay a premium this time of year. This is the area where the night life is happening, and plenty of great restaurants (try the cheese and garlic pizza at North Beach Pizza). During the day head out to the Mission district. Best coffee houses in San Francisco. I never cared for those yuppie/tourist trap places in North Beach.
  Reply With Quote

here
Old 07-14-2010   #13
Darshan
Registered User
 
Darshan's Avatar
 
Darshan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 901
here

Homewood Suites by Hilton-SFO/North

2000 Shoreline Court, Brisbane, CA, 94005
Phone: (650) 589-1600

gorgeous view of the bay, the best hotel we stayed in during our entire 25 day CA trip and also the one with the best free breakfast.

the best part-i only payed $85/night through hotwire.

try it out, guarantee u won't regret it.

dan.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #14
35mmdelux
Fight On!
 
35mmdelux's Avatar
 
35mmdelux is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4,236
Nob Hill and/or around Union Square is where I prefer to stay as former resident. A few blocks from Powell St cable cars. The heart of San Francisco. I walk everywhere, except Coit Tower, Twin Peaks, Cliff House and Golden Gate Park where you need private or public transportation. Washington Sq I like too and also close to cable cars.

Much depends on your budget and what days of the week. Make reservations early as possible.
__________________
M-E │ 21 asph │ 35 asph │ 50 apo-classic │ 75 apo │ Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #15
35mmdelux
Fight On!
 
35mmdelux's Avatar
 
35mmdelux is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4,236
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
If it's your first trip, and/or if you're with older folks, I'd recommend around Union Square, but North of Market.

Always north of Market, the farther north the better.

EDIT: Having grown up in S.F. I can tell you most everybody is from somewhere else. Dont expect to meet too many "local folk."
__________________
M-E │ 21 asph │ 35 asph │ 50 apo-classic │ 75 apo │ Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Last edited by 35mmdelux : 07-14-2010 at 06:16.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #16
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_n View Post
I wasn't trying to direct you to cheapest alternatives: there are some quite luxurious B&B's. Rather, if you stay at a tourist hotel near Union Square or North Beach in August or September, you will mostly be in contact with other tourists and travelers, not San Franciscans. At a B&B, you have contact with local residents, with their suggestions about what to do. Likewise, taking transit puts you in contact with residents. About the transit data, most SF bus kiosks have real time info about arrivals, and if you have a WiFi-capable cell phone, most coffee shops have free WiFI that gives you access to the same transit data. No need to turn on the phone roaming. BTW, if you like coffee and coffeeshops, check out this site for coffee in SF:
http://www.coffeeratings.com. You can find best coffee (espresso) by neighborhood.
Understood, but it sounded a little like a New Yorker suggesting to stay in Brooklyn because it's cheaper than touristy Manhattan and has good subway connections
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #17
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilonstott View Post
Union Square is okay. Great if you need to run to Macy's for something.

I never really have to.

Stay at Hotel Boheme at 444 Columbus.
Right off of Washington Square.
No cooler neighborhood in San Francisco.
Have Breakfast at Mama's. It's around the corner. Get there before 8.
Sounds good. I'll look into it.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #18
Bingley
Registered User
 
Bingley's Avatar
 
Bingley is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 5,199
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
If it's your first trip, and/or if you're with older folks, I'd recommend around Union Square, but North of Market.
As an S.F. native who occasionally stays overnight in the City (I now live in Sacramento), I tend to agree. I've stayed at the Hotel California on Geary, near Union Square and almost across the street from the American Conservatory Theater, and can recommend it. It's a Best Western property, an older hotel that's been completely renovated, and the decor is charming. The immediate neighborhood is a bit sketch, but you're close to key sites downtown.

My other strong recommendations are the Griffon Hotel or the Harbor Court on Steuart Street (I think) very close to the Embarcadero. Great location, close to the Ferry Building. A terrific restaurant, Boulevard, is on the corner. Rooms at the Griffon are small, but well appointed, and it's a great location for seeing SF's waterfront. Highly recommended.
__________________
Steve

M2, R2A, IIIc, IVSB2, & T, and assorted LTM & M lenses
Minolta XD11, Pentax ME Super, and assorted MD Rokkor and Takumar lenses, Rolleicord III, Rolleicord Vb, Rolleiflex Automat MX-EVS




My Flickr
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #19
bob338
Registered User
 
bob338's Avatar
 
bob338 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sausalito, CA
Posts: 1,204
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbarnes View Post
Although I haven't been there in a couple of years, I recommend the Triton, near Union Square and the dragon gate to Chinatown. It's a small hotel, upscale but not extravagant, funky and arty but not weird. (No connection other than being a happy customer.)

http://www.hoteltriton.com
i'll second the triton, it's a safe neighborhood and right around the corner from north beach, chinatown, union square and the embarcadero.
if money isn't an issue check out the marc hopkins, sir francis drake, or the fairmont.
i wouldn't stay anywhere south of market or west of powell, neighborhoods are pretty hit and miss. also, staying in the suburbs will be really dull unless you have a car.

good luck.

bob
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #20
coelacanth
Ride, dive, shoot.
 
coelacanth's Avatar
 
coelacanth is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,181
There are apps you can download if you use a smartphone. If your phone has GPS it's even better. No matter where you stay I'm sure those apps come in handy. Many apps can store data like map, transportation system, etc on the phone so you don't have to use data. I used apps that I can see where to get on/off trains based on the destination and where you are using GPS and built-in map when I went to Paris. If you can tell us what phone you use, probably people here can recommend some apps.

And as someone said, SF is full of wifi spots. All Starbucks, most of independent coffee shops, even the entire Union Square are free wifi enabled.

As for the area to stay, north of market is a safe bet. If you get close to east, close to market is fine, if you go west side, farther north is better. Avoid the are in north of market marked 'Tenderloin' on the map.
__________________
- Sug

b/w guy.

flickr | RFF Gallery | @SuguruN | Instagram | Portfolio

  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #21
kdemas
ʎlʇuǝɹǝɟɟıp sƃuıɥʇ ǝǝS
 
kdemas's Avatar
 
kdemas is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,699
For a first time tourist I'd definitely stay near Union Square. The St. Francis or the Hyatt on Union Square would be my recommendations.

Again, for the first time tourist, this location puts the cable cars right outside your front door (literally). You also are in the middle of the shopping district, a short walk from the water and Ferry Building and just blocks from Chinatown.

If you return again and have already seen "the sights" then there are some great other places to stay, as outlined above.

Regardless of what you choose, enjoy!!

Kent
__________________
------------------------------------------------------------
Open Iris. Life, Captured.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #22
retro
-
 
retro is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 325
Union Square is a good central location. Fisherman's Wharf
is a good place for photo ops if you like people pics and
boats, etc.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #23
tim_n
Registered User
 
tim_n is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie123 View Post
Understood, but it sounded a little like a New Yorker suggesting to stay in Brooklyn because it's cheaper than touristy Manhattan and has good subway connections
Nope, I'm a SF native, and love almost all the neighborhoods of the city. I like different things from travel perhaps than some of the other posters. To me, it's contact with local life on the streets and buses and coffeeshops that's most interesting. Chinatown, Union Square, the Embarcadero, the GG Bridge, are pretty standard tourist fare, if that's what you want, but you asked what a local would recommend. Since you are European and in your 20's, I think that neighborhoods like the Mission, Hayes Valley, Russian Hill, and the like will be more lively and edgy and different for you, and more memorable than the cable car tourist zone. For a real experience, ride the N-Judah Muni streetcar out to Trouble Coffee near the ocean (Judah near 46 Ave), and chat for a while with the local guys who come and go.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #24
ferider
Registered User
 
ferider's Avatar
 
ferider is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,967
Since I assume you have a car, I would not stay in San Francisco, but in the neighborhood. For example Half Moon Bay or similar. Good food and hotels, and easy to get into the city, which - I find - gets tiring after a while. In particular if you are used to European cities.

Roland.

Last edited by ferider : 07-14-2010 at 07:29.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #25
Bingley
Registered User
 
Bingley's Avatar
 
Bingley is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 5,199
I've heard good things about the Hotel Boheme, although I've never stayed there. If you're looking for a place near Union Square, another possibility is the Hotel Monaco if you're a fan of the Kimpton Hotel chain. It's also near the Powell St. BART station. Very convenient.

The NY Times Sunday travel section had an article several years ago on smaller SF hotels, which you may be able to find online.

Having said all that, I'd still stay down by the Embarcadero and near the Ferry Building.
__________________
Steve

M2, R2A, IIIc, IVSB2, & T, and assorted LTM & M lenses
Minolta XD11, Pentax ME Super, and assorted MD Rokkor and Takumar lenses, Rolleicord III, Rolleicord Vb, Rolleiflex Automat MX-EVS




My Flickr
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #26
RayPA
Ignore It (It'll go away)
 
RayPA's Avatar
 
RayPA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The GOLDEN State
Posts: 4,579
If you want to do the touristy stuff (Alcatraz, GG bridge, the Wharf) then North Beach or Fisherman's Wharf area are probably your best bets. Union Square is more of a shopping area. but it's centrally located and close to Market St, where you can catch rail cars and easily get out of downtown and into the other neighborhoods (Mission, Castro, Haight, beach, etc.).

Personally, I'd stay in one of the hotels along Market St. (north or south of Market). I'm not sure why folks are saying stay away from the south of Market area. It's safe, easy to get around and it's FLAT. SF's dirty little secret are the hills, so if you decide to spend all your time in the northeast part of the city (e.g. encompassed within Van Ness-Market St-Embarcadero-Bay St), staying in a hotel that sits atop one of the city's many hills is grand, but if you're on foot (probably the best way to see the city) then that trek back to the hotel at the end of the day could be painful or costly (in cab fare). I live on the peninsula, but when I come into the city, I park near Yerba Buena Center (4th and Mission). From there I can get to SF MoMA, Union Square, Chinatown, and North Beach on foot with no problem at all.

I agree though, I would avoid anything in the Tenderloin. It's relatively safe, but it's probably the least desirable area in the city, just kind of a bummer to have to deal with.


/
__________________
Ray, SF Bay Area
My Blurb Books.
RFF Gallery
I'm ~quinine~ on Flickr
blogged
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #27
Austerby
Registered User
 
Austerby's Avatar
 
Austerby is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fircombe
Posts: 1,047
For our first visit to SF last year we stayed in Hotel Frank on Geary St near Union Square - it was a great location as easy to get everywhere in the city from there using the fantastic public transport, or cheap cabs, and plenty going on nearby. Rooms funky, staff friendly, good rates.
__________________
Austerby
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #28
coelacanth
Ride, dive, shoot.
 
coelacanth's Avatar
 
coelacanth is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,181
SF is definitely more tourist friendly compared to other major metro tourist destinations like NYC or Paris or Tokyo. Bus drivers, locals, shops will help you find things. But of course don't be too relaxed when you are in busy area. It's still a city full of thieves, muggers and crazy drivers including bus operators.

It's also good idea to have map on your phone so you don't have to have your guide book map wide open on streets promoting you are a tourist with full of cash and camera gears.

Oh and if you want to go Alcatraz, book as soon as possible. Tours that actually dock to the island will be sold out often a month or more in advance. Most of short notice/drop in tours are just cruse around the bay and you can't actually land on the island.

Oh one more thing. Don't be fooled by the sound of "California weather" SF can be quite chilly even summer time. Bring a thin jacket that cuts winds and you can tack into your bag when you don't need it.
__________________
- Sug

b/w guy.

flickr | RFF Gallery | @SuguruN | Instagram | Portfolio


Last edited by coelacanth : 07-14-2010 at 10:00.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #29
ornate_wrasse
Registered User
 
ornate_wrasse's Avatar
 
ornate_wrasse is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 960
Quote:
Originally Posted by coelacanth View Post
Oh one more thing. Don't be fooled by the sound of "California weather" SF can be quite chilly even summer time. Bring a thin jacket that cuts winds and you can tack into your bag when you don't need it.
I could not agree more with the above statement. I was in San Francisco for 3 weeks many years ago in August. Since it was August, I was expecting the typical hot weather that is normal for most parts of the US that time of the year. However, the weather I experienced was far different than what I expected. It was quite chilly and never seemed to get warmer than about the mid 60's F.

If you want to be comfortable, bring a jacket or sweater.

Ellen
__________________
Images

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

Leica M9, Leica M6, Leica M3 - 21mm 3.4 Super Angulon, 28mm 2.8 Elmarit, 35mm Summicron, Nikkor SC 50mm 1.4, Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm 1.5, CV 75mm 2.5, Nikkor 8.5cm 2.0

Mamiya 6 - 50mm f4, 75mm f3.5, 150mm f4.5

Fuji X-Pro1
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #30
marcr1230
Registered User
 
marcr1230's Avatar
 
marcr1230 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,266
I'm in SF now, staying in union square at the hotel nikko.
Very centrally located, I've walked all over from here.my favorite for street photos has to be Chinatown. Lots of character and dynamism.
Fisrgermans wharf and the Ferry building are very touristy. The GG bridge is a must see, but hard to beat the postcard photos.
__________________
Too many cameras, too little time
Gallery: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffg....php?uid=25736
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #31
majid
Fazal Majid
 
majid's Avatar
 
majid is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 542
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob338 View Post
i'll second the triton, it's a safe neighborhood and right around the corner from north beach, chinatown, union square and the embarcadero.
if money isn't an issue check out the marc hopkins, sir francis drake, or the fairmont.
i wouldn't stay anywhere south of market or west of powell, neighborhoods are pretty hit and miss. also, staying in the suburbs will be really dull unless you have a car.
+1 for the Triton - that's where my wife stayed when she first came to meet me in SF before we got married, and she still has very fond memories of it. A bit eclectic, like all the Kimpton hotels, but very nice. You could also try the "Joie de Vivre" local chain.

The Omni Hotel on California St is very good as well, as it was entirely renovated a couple of years ago. I would recommend against the Hilton on O'Farrell - tiny and dirty rooms, or the Marriott on 4th & Mission (also tiny rooms).

Last edited by majid : 07-14-2010 at 11:42.
  Reply With Quote

Great Hotel and a list of some places to see
Old 07-14-2010   #32
ampguy
Registered User
 
ampguy's Avatar
 
ampguy is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 7,038
Great Hotel and a list of some places to see

SOMA is fine if there's something there that interests you. By all means, go check it out. But don't expect to find many 4 star tourist hotels here, or in the FIDI, though that is close to the Ferry bldg.

There are a few hotels, but mainly catering towards the convention center folks - Four Seasons, The Palace, and W. Lots of tech growth, with some companies owning entire blocks, and serving in-house cafeteria foods, but still some OK restaurants and bars around here.

Here is my official tourist list for 15 places I think most folks visiting the city for the first time will enjoy seeing in 3-4 days, all easily accessible by walking, bart, or muni from most of the city:

1. GG Park (and associated lakes, museums)
2. Chinatown
3. GG Bridge
4. Crissy Field
5. North Beach
6. Haight Street
7. Union Square
8. Mission District
9. Pier 39 (and adjacent piers)
10. Ferry bldg., (esp. if Farmers Market is going on)
11. AT&T or Candlestick Park (if baseball fans)
12. Metreon (shopping, movies)
13. Steinhart Aquarium
14. Fleishacker Zoo (kind of a min. 1/2 day thing, near beach)
15. Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcr1230 View Post
I'm in SF now, staying in union square at the hotel nikko.
Very centrally located, I've walked all over from here.my favorite for street photos has to be Chinatown. Lots of character and dynamism.
Fisrgermans wharf and the Ferry building are very touristy. The GG bridge is a must see, but hard to beat the postcard photos.
__________________
My photo blog


Last edited by ampguy : 07-14-2010 at 12:44.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #33
maggieo
More Deadly
 
maggieo's Avatar
 
maggieo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 3,498
You really can't go wrong with a Kimpton hotel, IMO. I personally like the Triton and the S.F. Drake, depending on what vibe you want.

When I first came to SF, I lived in the Cornell Hotel de France, which has one of the best restaurants in The City in its basement.

If you're driving, you might want to look at some of the motels on Lombard, as they have parking lots and are right between Cow Hollow and the Marina.

Man, I miss living in The City.
__________________
My Flickr Photostream & My Photo Blog
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #34
RayPA
Ignore It (It'll go away)
 
RayPA's Avatar
 
RayPA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The GOLDEN State
Posts: 4,579
My revision of Ted's list :
- GG Park (and associated lakes, museums)
- Chinatown
- GG Bridge/Fort Point
- Crissy Field/Marina area
- North Beach/Coit Tower
- Haight Street
- Union Square
- Mission District (it's a pretty big with some undesirable areas, but parts of Mission street, 24th street, 16th street, and Valencia street will give you the flavor)
- The Embarcadero from AT&T Park to the Ferry Bldg. to the F. Wharf
- Castro District and Mission Delores
- Fleishacker Zoo (kind of a min. 1/2 day thing, near beach)
- Sutro Bath ruins/Cliff House/Ocean beach (not sure if the Giant Camera at the Cliff House is open, but it's still there)
- Any of the District Street Fairs that occur throughout the summer
- Anchor Steam Brewery Tour
- Yerba Buena Park/SF MoMA/Jewish Museum
- Twin Peaks/Sutro Tower (great view of the east side of the city)
- Any of the main streets in each district will give a flavor of the 'hood and are good for short casual walking, shopping, eating, drinking (e.g. in Mission st in the Mission, in 24th st in Noe Valley, Fillmore st. in the Filmore and Pac. Heights, Castro st and 18th street in the Castro, Clement st in the Richmond (more Chinatown than Chinatown?), Irving st in the Inner Sunset, Union st in Cow Hollow, etc).
- If you can time it, Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass Festival is a free weekend music festival with several stages and LOTs of top acts. Lots of fun! This year is the 10th anniversary.

next to revise?

/
__________________
Ray, SF Bay Area
My Blurb Books.
RFF Gallery
I'm ~quinine~ on Flickr
blogged
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #35
pagpow
Registered User
 
pagpow is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 918
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_n View Post
Nope, I'm a SF native, and love almost all the neighborhoods of the city. I like different things from travel perhaps than some of the other posters. To me, it's contact with local life on the streets and buses and coffeeshops that's most interesting. Chinatown, Union Square, the Embarcadero, the GG Bridge, are pretty standard tourist fare, if that's what you want, but you asked what a local would recommend. Since you are European and in your 20's, I think that neighborhoods like the Mission, Hayes Valley, Russian Hill, and the like will be more lively and edgy and different for you, and more memorable than the cable car tourist zone. For a real experience, ride the N-Judah Muni streetcar out to Trouble Coffee near the ocean (Judah near 46 Ave), and chat for a while with the local guys who come and go.
I used to be a tourist, and now live here. I think Tim-n hits it right on the head when he points out your interests will help define the best area.

My first trips were all in the Union Square area and Financial District, but the neighborhoods are much more diverse in a number of ways.

San Francisco is really two cities in one -- a cosmopolitan city overlaid on a set of small villages, really.

I would avoid Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, etc if you want a sense of the living, breathing San Francisco.

On the other hand, I also agree that transport in the city gives you quick access to a lot of areas.

If, like Tim N and me, you like to mingle with real folk, or have special activities that define your tourist perspective, let us know and people can be helpful in pointing out what gets you best access.

What sets San Francisco apart from a lot of cities is our diversity -- in terms of population, food, and neighborhoods.

We are at the center of a food revolution that lets you eat fresh and interesting food at prices my European visitors find incredibly low, we have an explosion of food trucks and street food, we have a cults around differences in coffee, and baristas have rock star followings, we are experiencing a flowering of interesting, unusual, and downright peculiar artinasal ice cream. But you can reach those from anywhere in the city -- the question is taking a bit of time to decide what you care about and then checking up where they are and how to get there.

Also unusual is the diversity of Asian cuisines -- not just Chinese, but regional Chinese, and Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, etc.

You can spend all your meals seeing how these different cuisines treat fish.

But maybe food isn't your main travel attraction. What is?
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #36
ampguy
Registered User
 
ampguy's Avatar
 
ampguy is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 7,038
Thanks Ray, those are all great additions. I forgot about the Strictly Bluegrass Festival, but that's on my list now, missed the last two or so, but where else can you see Gillian Welch for free!!

There's some other free concert series, Radiohead was at one a couple of years back, can't remember the name.

I also have lists of just Bay Area places to go, in general, but many are secrets
__________________
My photo blog

  Reply With Quote

Old 07-14-2010   #37
bob338
Registered User
 
bob338's Avatar
 
bob338 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sausalito, CA
Posts: 1,204
you didn't mention if you have kids or not. if you do, go buy this book and take them to some of the locations in it. i've been doing this with my son for a few months now and he really likes seeing the real stuff in the drawings.

bob

http://www.amazon.com/Night-Francisc...9150016&sr=8-1
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 16933_1333879504562_1158291452_1045693_6364052_n.jpg (35.4 KB, 6 views)
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-15-2010   #38
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_n View Post
Nope, I'm a SF native, and love almost all the neighborhoods of the city. I like different things from travel perhaps than some of the other posters. To me, it's contact with local life on the streets and buses and coffeeshops that's most interesting. Chinatown, Union Square, the Embarcadero, the GG Bridge, are pretty standard tourist fare, if that's what you want, but you asked what a local would recommend. Since you are European and in your 20's, I think that neighborhoods like the Mission, Hayes Valley, Russian Hill, and the like will be more lively and edgy and different for you, and more memorable than the cable car tourist zone. For a real experience, ride the N-Judah Muni streetcar out to Trouble Coffee near the ocean (Judah near 46 Ave), and chat for a while with the local guys who come and go.
Don't get me wrong, I do like contact with local life but since I'll only be there for a couple of days I'd rather concentrate on the city instead of the people. I'm sure the citizens of SF are wonderful people but I'm afraid on this particular occasion sitting in a coffeeshop and chatting to a local for a couple of hours isn't exactly high on my list of activities.
I'll defninitely have a look into what those different neighborhoods hold in store. Not sure what edgy means in this regard, though. Higher crime rate? Lots of Emos running around? Homeless people?
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-15-2010   #39
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampguy View Post
SOMA is fine if there's something there that interests you. By all means, go check it out. But don't expect to find many 4 star tourist hotels here, or in the FIDI, though that is close to the Ferry bldg.

There are a few hotels, but mainly catering towards the convention center folks - Four Seasons, The Palace, and W. Lots of tech growth, with some companies owning entire blocks, and serving in-house cafeteria foods, but still some OK restaurants and bars around here.

Here is my official tourist list for 15 places I think most folks visiting the city for the first time will enjoy seeing in 3-4 days, all easily accessible by walking, bart, or muni from most of the city:

1. GG Park (and associated lakes, museums)
2. Chinatown
3. GG Bridge
4. Crissy Field
5. North Beach
6. Haight Street
7. Union Square
8. Mission District
9. Pier 39 (and adjacent piers)
10. Ferry bldg., (esp. if Farmers Market is going on)
11. AT&T or Candlestick Park (if baseball fans)
12. Metreon (shopping, movies)
13. Steinhart Aquarium
14. Fleishacker Zoo (kind of a min. 1/2 day thing, near beach)
15. Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods
Thanks for the list. That's great! I'll defniitely keep those in mind!
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-15-2010   #40
Jamie123
Registered User
 
Jamie123 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob338 View Post
you didn't mention if you have kids or not. if you do, go buy this book and take them to some of the locations in it. i've been doing this with my son for a few months now and he really likes seeing the real stuff in the drawings.

bob

http://www.amazon.com/Night-Francisc...9150016&sr=8-1
I don't have kinds...at least that I know of

Thanks for the suggestion, though. Much appreciated!
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 00:20.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.