Another question about San Francisco.

Jul 7th, 2008, 09:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 868
Another question about San Francisco.

We are a family of three, with an 11yo boy and will be in the bay area Jan 1-4, 2009, using a relative’s discount (coastguard) somewhere near San Francisco, I’m sure he said Novato. (I had to google it). We’d like to spend two days maybe three touring San Francisco. We will have a rental car. We would like to use BART to get to the city and cable car to get around. Is that possible? Where is the best place to park all day and how much does it usually cost? Is there a BART station close to Novato? What activities, sites are there to do/see in San Francisco besides Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park (suggestions of friends here on Kauai)? We’ve never been there except the airport. I’ve already cut/pasted the restaurants recommended on this site and like to check out when I get there. My son is into futuristic techno gadgets, is there a museum with interactive exhibits? Any suggestions on other activities would be appreciated.
kauai_aka is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 09:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 379
Novato is in Marin County, on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge from the city. Bart doesn't go there. You can drive to a ferry and take it to a couple of different locations in the city though. Check out the ferry schedules for times and locations.
margyb is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 08:32 AM
Posts: n/a
And if you do as margyb suggests, once you get to the city, you will have easy access to both BART and other means of public transportation. There are also plenty of places to walk from the ferry terminals. Alternatively, you can park all day for less than $30 weekdays, and on weekends, cheap with a validation.
Jul 8th, 2008, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 18
Your techno gadget interested son should enjoy the Exploratorium.

The new Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park will be open by the time you visit in 2009.
The exterior already looks interesting, and there's a lot of anticipation building to see the interiors and the "living rooftop."

As a child, I loved walking through Chinatown with my family. Fascinating sights, sounds and smells (fish, mostly!). Each of us kids would get a few dollars to spend on trinkets, and we'd take our time deciding what to buy.

Regarding public transportation in the City, your best bet would be MUNI cars and buses.

You can take cable cars between Union Square (shopping, restaurants) and the Wharf area.
Italy4me is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 173
Do a search for "Stu Dudley" on this forum and read his recommendations. I hope you enjoy your stay in our area!
Wellvis is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
BART connects the city with the East. Novato is in the north. There is a good connection by Golden Gate transit bus that has many stops in the city - you don't need BART.

I know route 70/80 runs daily, there will be winter schedule later on this website.

To get around in the city, you will need MUNI buses. They sell one or 3-day passes, check the website where to buy. Those passes include cable car rides.

One bus ride is $1.50, and you can use the same ticket (transfer) till the time at the bottom of the ticket. Children 50 cents.

Techno gadgets are in San Jose if you go that far south

or maybe Exploratorium in the city?
FainaAgain is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Techno-stuff, the Exploratorium is a good suggestion. Also try the Metreon.

With only a couple of days to visit San Francisco, I'd suggest driving your car in and parking it. Much easier to get around and see everything you'd like to see. Get a good map - San Francisco isn't that big.

If you are going to the Exploratorium, you can park all day for free along the Marina (look for the yacht club on the map). There's plenty of parking there and then you can just cross the street and go to the Exploratorium.

The Metreon is right across from a huge parking garage where the rates aren't too bad.

If you go to Chinatown, there's parking under Portsmouth Square. Again, rates aren't too bad.

If the new Academy of Sciences is open when you come, you'll find plenty of free parking inside Golden Gate Park. Try and find the Japanese Gardens and park close by, then walk over to the Academy.

If you go to Fisherman's Wharf, there's free parking at the very top end of Van Ness Street - four hours max. You could walk along the shore from the parking area to FW, see some of the sights, and get back to your car within the four hours. At FW, go to Ghirardelli Square and have an ice cream at the Chocolate Factory. All that machinery grinding away to make chocolate isn't the latest and greatest of hi tech, but it's always fun for kids to see how chocolate is made.

If you park in that free parking area at the top of Van Ness and you're walking to Fisherman's Wharf, the first thing you'll pass is the Maritime Museum. It's due to reopen in 2009, but not sure the exact month. Going further along is the Hyde Street Pier where a bunch of boats and ships are tied up. Kids love to run around and explore those ships.

If you go to Pier 39 to see the barking sea creatures - another non hi tech but fun thing for kids to do - there's a huge parking garage across the street from Pier 39. If you buy something at Pier 39, you can have your parking ticket validated and save a few bucks.

If you had a lot longer time in San Francisco, then taking pubic transportation would make sense. But with only two days, trying to save the $10-$30 parking fees is really not worth the money. Think of how much you spent just to get here!

Another way to save time and money is to use Priceline and get a really nice hotel for around $100 which would include parking and other fees. Do you Priceline? If not, come back and there are a number of very experienced Priceline users on Fodors who can help you. Just don't bid until you've read their postings!

Have a great trip and welcome to California!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
ET, I read your post and went to see when they will open. Guess how much the admission will be.

$24.95 adult.

FainaAgain is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
I meant academy of science
FainaAgain is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,615
Hey Faina, the Academy has to pay for the new building some way Membership also went up, but at least SF school kids will get in for free.
SAB is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,766
Eeeek! 25 bucks!

Oh wait - that's what they charge for a tour of the Winchester Mystery House now. I guess with that in mind, it doesn't sound so bad - LOL.
november_moon is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Faina: but think of those marvellous snakes they have!

There's also the gila monster.

You can get a family membership for $159 and that'll allow you to go in with your entire family for an entire year.

Looks like they'll have a green roof, which alone is worth the price of admission.

I also thought of another wonderful place for kauai_aka's son - but after mucho wine tonight, I can't remember what was so wonderful. Maybe tomorrow morning...
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 10th, 2008, 01:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 868
Thanks everyone, this is great. i'm sure i'll have more questions as we get closer to the dates. easytraveler, if you can remember the other place, let me know. Thanks again.
kauai_aka is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,063
jumping in late but I highly recommend the Tour of Alcatraz. It is a blast and the views back to the city are fab. I Live in the Bay Area and always take my tourist friends on this tour. Just a note that cable car is $5.00 per ride so it would be $10.00 per person to get from downtown to wharf and back - yipes. Take the "F" car ($1.50 each way - exact change only) down the embarcadero to get to the wharf. The F car is a wonderful old trolley car - actually many old trolleys from around the world. Also the Ferry Building is a great spot to walk around especially on Saturday when they have the Farmers Market.

We have Great Museums like MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) The deYoung at Golden Gate Park, the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, the Asian Art Museum to name a few. There is theatre, ballet, symphony, (don't believe Opera is going in January) Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is wonderful. I'm sure the new aquarium will be open as well...Love this City!
Shar is offline  
Aug 15th, 2008, 02:31 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
Adding my 2 cents worth..

In addition to the great advice above, note that you cannot "get around" SF using Cable Cars. There are only 2 routes and will not get you everywhere you may want to go.

Muni pass is the least expensive way to go.

Alcatraz would be great for you son, to see that is! Do a scary night tour; really neat.

DebitNM is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
May 28th, 2018 08:53 AM
United States
Jan 29th, 2014 09:31 PM
United States
May 19th, 2013 09:26 PM
United States
Aug 23rd, 2011 07:33 PM
United States
Aug 28th, 2009 11:23 PM

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

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:04 PM.