5 and 1/2 hours layover at SFO

Old Dec 18th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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5 and 1/2 hours layover at SFO

Hi,

I have a five and 1/2 layover this Wednesday at SFO. What is there to do? Do I have enough time to do a quick trip into San Fran?

Thanks
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Old Dec 19th, 2009, 06:29 AM
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the airport is pretty far out. If you do decide to go in, it might be easier to take BART than a taxi. I think it is about a 30 minute trip. You might have time for two hours worth of something. Maybe head to Chinatown and eat or something like that.
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Old Dec 19th, 2009, 07:04 AM
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1) From the airport terminal, you have to take the AirTrain to get to the SFO BART station. This takes at least 15 minutes from the time you get off the plane to arrive at the BART station.

2) BART runs every 15 minutes, so add that in, in case you just miss the train.

3) It's a 30-min ride from SFO to downtown San Francisco.

Therefore, you're looking at 1 hour transit time. Assuming you want to be back at the airport at least 1 hour before your next flight, you'll have about 2.5 hours max in the city.
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Old Dec 19th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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Are either of your flights international? That can make a big difference because of passport control/your country of residence/etc.

If both are domestic - then you could BART to the Embarcadero station, walk through the ferry bldg, check out the views of the Bay, see the Bay Bridge, eat lunch, BART back to SFO -- that is about it.

If either flight is international - just stay put at SFO. There are decent places to eat/shop.
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Old Dec 19th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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And besides janisj's good thoughts even if your next flight is a domestic flight I would also suggest that you be prepared to taxi back to SFO just in case for some reason BART is closed down as it does happen. You don't want to miss your next flight, jyoung.
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Old Dec 19th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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thanks all for the suggestions. my incoming flight is int'l and my outgoing flight is domestic. so i guess i'll play it by ear as to how long customs takes.
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 04:50 AM
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If you do not have time to visit the city, the Milbrae/ Burlingame area has a nice path along the Bay and several good restaurants. 15 minute taxi ride or less. You should be able to get a taxi at any of the hotels for your return.

Even though your outbound is domestic, SFO can have lengthy TSA lines. Consider if you are at a peak time or day to allow plenty of time for your return.
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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The airport hotels along the bay in Burlingame have free shuttles to/fro the airport.

I've stayed there many times and would not characterize the path along the bay as a destination. If I was really bored and wanted to take a 15min stroll maybe, but I certainly would not go out of my way to get there.
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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I arrived at SFO from an international flight yesterday around 2:45PM I've lived next to the airport for the last 28 years, and 7 yrs in San Francisco before that. From the time my plane landed, passed passport control & customs (about a zero wait in each), got my bags, till I hopped into a cab, it was about 30 mins (Air France). The international terminal is much faster to travel through than the domestic terminal, IMO. Add about 15 mins to transfer your luggage for your next flight.

Taxi will get you to Union Sq in 20 mins, and to the Ferry bldg is 25 mins in non-rush hours.

I would catch a cab back to SFO from a Union Sq hotel or the Hyatt Embarcadero about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs before your departure time (I assume you have a boarding pass & no luggage - just security to deal with).

So:

1 1/4 hrs from gate arrival to downtown SF.
1 1/2 to 2 hrs from Dountown to departure gate.

This leaves you with about 2 1/2 hrs to play in The City.

Why waste time with BART - a taxi is much simplier & quicker.

Stu Dudley
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Old Dec 20th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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I live very near Stu, and therefore travel into and out of SFO regularly. The longest security line I have ever encountered in San Francisco turned out to be 45 minutes, despite looking like it would take at least an hour.
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Old Dec 21st, 2009, 12:19 AM
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thanks. what do you recommend i do during my 2.5 hrs of play time in the city?
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Old Dec 21st, 2009, 06:59 AM
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>>The longest security line I have ever encountered in San Francisco turned out to be 45 minutes, despite looking like it would take at least an hour.
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Old Dec 21st, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Stu's plan is fantastic. The only addition I would make is that if you are hungry BEFORE you get to Chinatown, get a meatball sandwich at Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store before you leave Columbus/North Beach.

http://www.zagat.com/Verticals/Menu....47789&HID=2984
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Old Dec 21st, 2009, 06:12 PM
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thanks!
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Old Jan 7th, 2010, 01:00 AM
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wanted to let you know how things turned out. customs was a breeze, but it took awhile for my bags to come out (i had to transfer them since i was coming from int'l destination). so i would say it was abt. 2 hrs after i landed before i got into downtown sfo. i followed stu's plan and had the taxi driver take me on the scenic drive. and then i walked through chinatown to union square. i spent abt. an hour and half in union square before heading back to the airport. instead of taking a taxi back, i hopped on the bart abt. an hour and half before my flight. security was no problem.

oh, and on my return flight, i had another 3.5 hrs layover in sfo. i had a friend meet me at the airport and we headed to burlingame for brunch. i thought security on an int'l flight would be long, so i got back to the airport an hour and half before my flight. i was wrong. security took no time.

thanks again all for your tips/advice.
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Old Jan 7th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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Where'd you eat in Burlingame?
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Old Jan 7th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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alanas cafe.
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Old Jan 7th, 2010, 11:00 AM
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Good choice! We were going to have dinner there the other night, but it was closed (as were a lot of the restaurants -- early January vacations for the owners, I suspect)
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Old Jan 7th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Has alanas always been open for dinner???

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 7th, 2010, 11:07 AM
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I think it has, although I've only been once. Maybe it no longer is?

(Stu, we ended up eating at Broadway Grill, as Alana's, Copenhagen and others were closed. I was very disappointed in my meal, and in the service).
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