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San Francisco - Embassy Suites SFO

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We (family of 4 - myself, DH and sons ages 15 & 13) are planning a trip to San Francisco in mid-August. I'm researching hotels right now and have questions…

We plan to spend ~3 days doing touristy things in & near the city (Alcatraz, Golden Gate, Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, cable cars, Chinatown) and we plan to spend a few days outside the city (Muir Woods, San Jose, Coppola Winery).

We do have a budget and the hotels downtown are a bit pricey (no surprise!). We are considering the Embassy Suites near SFO. It is one of our preferred brands and we especially enjoy the breakfast and manager's reception. The hotel website implies that we can use BART to get downtown. (We will have a rental car, but I suspect that driving downtown will be a hassle.) The Embassy Suites is ~10 miles outside of Union Square (per Mapquest).

My question is: What do you think about making the commute into the city using BART? Is there a station relatively close that we can catch a train? Are there stations we can get off at near our destinations? How much time should we allow for commuting in and out of the city? (I suspect we'd go into the city in the morning and leave in the afternoon after touring. We are not the type to go back and forth between our hotel and destination throughout the day.)

We are mid-westerners making our first trip to the San Francisco area. My boys are excellent, independent travelers. We have successfully maneuvered Chicago and DC public transportation systems.

Please let me know what you think!
Thanks in advance!!

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