Fisherman's Wharf

Jan 17th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Fisherman's Wharf

Was wondering if someone out there knows a lot about Fisherman's Wharf, I have a reservation with the Sheraton and I understand the parking in that hotel is $36.00 per night, someone suggested that they have parking around the area that may be cheaper can someone help?
colombiana is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Change your reservation. You don't want to stay in Fisherman's Whart and you certainly don't want a car while staying in San Francisco, parking is $30 to $60 per day.
SassTraveler is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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I agree about not staying at Fisherman's Wharf, but my biggest concern is having a car in the city at all. There is excellent transportation all over the city and if you are planning on day trips out of the city, I would just rent a car for those. Trying to find less expensive parking would just be a hassle for you, and I am not sure it exists.

If you look into the Union Square area you will find that from there you can get city buses, BART and cable cars to take you wherever you want. It is also within walking distance of Chinatown and the Museum of Modern Art. A good discount reservation site for San Francisco You can search by area and they give you pictures, a map, and a list of amenities for the hotels.
jtrandolph is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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Responders - colombiana may have a car because San Francisco may not be the starting or ending city on his/her visit!!!

What if his/her plans are LA, SF, Portland, with a heavy dose of coastline between these cities. If someone already has a car in SF, you can get to some outlying areas and some scenic drives that you can't get to by public transportation (unless you want to walk a lot). The beautiful views from the Palace of the Legion of Honor, east on El Camino del Mar, into Sea Cliff, China Beach, to Lincoln is not easily accessible by public transportation. What about Twin Peaks - you can take the bus there, enjoy the views, and then wait ??? for the next bus to take you elsewhere - not very efficient use of time.

The best view in the Bay Area, IMO, is on the opposite side of the GG Bridge up in the GGNRA. I've never seen a bus go up there.

Cars are sometimes helpful in The City

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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If possible, don't rent your car until you are ready to leave SF because the public trans/taxis are much easier to use than driving yourself. Consider spending a night or two in Sausalito and taking the boat shuttle over to Fishermans Wharf (travels many times daily). Great hotels in much less congested area. Walk the beautiful waterfront and dine in great restaurants. A short walk from the hotel gets you to the dock where you travel by boat to Fisherman's Wharf and all SF has to offer. Take public trans or taxis to your destination of the day and when the hectic day of touring is over, simply board the ferry back to Sausalito and chill.
mvinson120 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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I would not recommend basing in Sausalito.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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we live in LA and drive the crazy freeways here every day, and when we visit San Fran we HATE driving in that city. Its so nerve-racking and the one-way streets are SO confusing. And everyone's right..the parking is outrageous...we paid 26.00 to go to Gheridelli Square and have a hot fudge husband almost flipped!
tennislvr1 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 06:00 PM
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If one is going to visit San Francisco I agree with Stu Dudley, why stay in Sausalito? Also agree with Stu that there are some, many actually, places in San Francisco that cannot be enjoyed without a car.

Colombiana, I personally do not know about less expensive parking around Fisherman's Wharf as I don't stay at Fisherman's Wharf. Perhaps contact the SF Chamber of Commerce for information if noone here can advise you.

And do have a wonderful trip!!
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 06:06 PM
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The only people I'd recommend Fisherman's wharf to are families with young kids. Else, if you can, choose another place.

Re parking, think twice on a rental car if you don't plan to drive outside the city much. The issue is not only the price of parking at the hotel, but the price of parking (and looking for parking) and rental car from hotel to other city locations. SF, especially for visitors, is better explored via pedestrian, public transit, taxi mode.
Betty4 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 05:00 AM
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Stu Dudley and loveitaly I have to agree with you both I really can’t think of using public transportation, unless I am in New York. I was in San Francisco before and did not have a problem with the drive, besides, I rented a mini van for $409.00 including taxes for 12 days and I don’t think I can beat that price.

I thought staying in Fisherman’s wharf was “the place to be” I really can’t remember where I stayed last time (back in 1997) anyways if anyone has suggestions as to a central place to stay I would appreciate it. Thank you all for all your comments.
colombiana is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 05:14 AM
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We loved the Warwick Regis. Small rooms, but really cute and charming and great location and cheap!
kelliebellie is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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>> I thought staying in Fisherman’s wharf was “the place to be” I really can’t remember where I stayed last time (back in 1997) anyways if anyone has suggestions as to a central place to stay I would appreciate it. Thank you all for all your comments.<<

Most hotels along Lombard St have free parking, and Lombard is closer to the San Francisco areas I enjoy the most. Gough is a main route south, and Franklin is the main 1 way road north. Van Ness is very slow. Dividadero is also a good two-way street to take north & south. Lombard is 5 mins from the Golden Gate bridge.

Here, again, is a general description of our main hotel areas.

San Francisco Hotel Areas
It seems that about once every week, there is a discussion about “where to stay” while visiting San Francisco – especially for first timers. Most people ask about either the Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, or the Marina hotel areas. Here are some thoughts, with a little of my bias thrown in:

1. Union Square - This is downtown’s fashionable shopping/dining/hotel area. The “Grand” hotels are here, and a few blocks north on Nob Hill (very steep to walk there, however) The big department stores are close by, along with many smaller shops and “boutique” hotels. It is also next to the theater district. Perhaps our most “elegant” restaurants are in this area (Fleur de Lys, Farallon, Masa’s, Ritz Carlton, Postrio, etc). There are fewer “simple”, “Mom-n-Pop”, or ethnic restaurants than you will find in other parts of the City. The Cable Cars run by Union Square, so you can get to the Wharf area quickly. You can get off the Hyde St C.C. line at Union St for a walk downhill to Union St/Chestnut St (Cow Hollow/Marina). The major drawback is it’s proximity to the gritty Tenderloin, which is immediately west & south of Union Square. I don’t know if crime rates are higher, but you will feel a little more threatened than you will in the other two districts I’ll describe. There are many high-rise buildings, so there’s a little less sunlight than you will find elsewhere. Union Sq. is perhaps not as “family oriented” as the other two hotel areas. It gets more business travelers, and people who want a little more “luxury” in their hotel. Union Square is a bit “dead” on Sundays, and not as lively as the other places in the evening. I don’t enjoy strolling after dinner in this area as much as I do on Union St/Chestnut St. If you have a car, you will regret it. Parking is very expensive ($50 per night or so), and driving is difficult.

2. Fisherman’s Wharf. The Wharf is mostly inhabited by tourists. Plenty of souvenir shops selling T-shirts & other things to remind you of your visit to SF. Local entertainment includes a wax museum, Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not, and now a Hooters – things kids might enjoy (except for the Hooters). You won’t find many locals in this area (and if you did – they wouldn’t admit it). Most restaurants are tourist oriented, and most locals feel they are mediocre at best. Good proximity to the Cable Cars, which is a plus. Nice views out into the Bay. It’s also within walking distance of North Beach, which should be on everyone’s agenda for at least one Italian dinner and “people watching” evening. With the Cable Cars, it’s quick to get downtown, but you might have to wait in line for 30 mins or so at peak times. It’s about a 30 min walk to the Union St/Chestnut St areas (see 3rd option for description). The Wharf is a perfectly safe area (from crime, vagrants, etc). Hotels usually charge $25-$40 per day for parking. Lively (with tourists) every day. If you want to stay in a typical un-San Francisco environment, this is a good choice.

3. Marina. There are many motels along Lombard St, which are (in general) cheaper and much more simple than the ones you will find in the other two districts. The main advantage to this area, in my opinion, is that it has more typical SF “flavor” than the other spots. Lombard St is one block from Chestnut St, and two blocks from Union St. Both these streets are loaded with boutiques, restaurants, and buildings with unique architecture (Victorians on Union, Art Deco on Chestnut). When we first moved to San Francisco almost 30 years ago, I remember a poster that said “If you left your heart in San Francisco, you will probably find it on Union St”. This is a residential area and you will find many locals doing their daily “stuff.” On a Sunday morning (especially if it’s sunny) you will see many folks going to the exercise studio, having breakfast at one of the many outdoor café’s, and standing on the street with their “lattes” and chatting with friends. There are no “elegant” restaurants in this area, but many of the type that locals enjoy (Isa, Betelnut, PlumpJack, Balboa Café, A19). There are probably 40 restaurants oin the Chestnut/Fillmore/Union street corridor. This is a good area for strolling during the day, before dinner, and after dinner – it is quite lively, especially on weekends. It’s about a 30 min walk to the Wharf, where you can catch a Cable Car (or walk up Union St to catch the CC). East of the Union St shopping area, (just past Van Ness) is Polk St, where there are more nice shops & restaurants. Also on Polk St is La Folie, which is one of my favorite restaurants (if someone else is buying) and also one of the highest “rated” in the City. This is a perfectly safe area. One of it’s best advantages, is that you can park a car free at many of the Motels. Also, it is an easy area to drive in (although there are steep hills just south), and it’s a quick trip across the Golden Gate bridge to my favorite view in all the Bay Area (GGNRA, just north and to the west of the Bridge).

Here is a description of The Wharf:

I'm not a fan of the Wharf at all. I advise vacationers to visit other spots instead. The Wharf is OK for a place to stay, but IMHO it's the tackiest place I've ever seen (I vacation in Europe & other places 2-3 months each year). I was down there recently for a survey. It's worse than I remember from my last visit (I’m a SF native, and have lived in SF or very close by, for 31 of my 58 years). The storefronts were loaded with bracelets, hair bands, key chains, placards, etc with people’s first names on them. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I claim that more than 50% of the shops are T-shirt stores. On the main “Boardwalk” (on Jefferson between Leavenworth & Taylor) there are the trinket shops, the T-shirt stores, a McDonalds, In-N-Out Burger, Hooters, Wax Museum (featuring a wax statue of Brittany Spears out front), a Ripley’s believe-it-or-not , a place called “Rainforest Café” that looks like a theme restaurant but when I looked in, all I could see was t-shirts. I’m not just “cherry picking” the most “gawd-awful” places and describing them – what I just mentioned accounts for probably 85% of the stores along the Wharf Boardwalk. I did not make it over to the Ghirardelli Sq – I hopped on a cable car & got away from the Wharf as fast as possible. Also, there seems to be a lot more parking lots right in the middle of the Wharf than I remember – not very scenic at all.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Stu's description of FWharf and why he dislikes it are as accurate as can be. I live in San Francisco and I never - really truly never - find an occasion to go there. It depresses me. The last time I had a guest who wanted to go there, I loaned them my Muni Fastpass for the day and waved goodbye.

That being said, colombiana, I'm sure you have your reasons for having a car during your visit, but $36.00 per night for parking seems awfully high.
dovima is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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we just paid $45 to park at the w over by the metreon so $36 seems better!
i actually have stayed at that sheraton and it's not bad and parking is expensive all over the wharf so i don't know if you'll do better if you go to one of the lots
toncasmo is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 12:59 PM
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Stu Dudley:
WOW it’s all I can say thank you very much for taking the time to give such great description. I will definitely change my plans for hotels, I was just curious and really wanted to known my options will without a doubt change hotel locations. Thank you all again for the great advise.
colombiana is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 01:39 PM
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This has been helpful so far.

Some dumb SF questions:

1) What about staying in the Castro? Is it overwhelmingly noisy with all the bars? I have no objections whatsoever to the local community- be out, loud, and proud- but I WOULD like to get some sleep. Any good hotels there? It looks to have excellent pubic transportation with both MUNI Metro and BART stations and a good selection of local restaurants. Yea or nay?

2) Oakland. It it a nightmare to 'commute in' on BART but save some hotel fees? Seems like a good idea on paper, but...

3) MUNI's web page is confusing and poorly designed. What's the scoop on multi-day passes- worth it? Are there any passes that allow BOTH MUNI and BART travel? BART's page seems silent on MUNI.

4) What's at the end of the N-Judah line? Is it really a beach? As in- take the streetcar to the end, walk to beach, enjoy beach, take streetcar back?

QC is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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QC: 2)it's a perfectly easy fool-proof commute to/from OAK airport - just make sure the line goes close to your hotel, BART doesn't serve all hotel areas.

Also check out if the AirTran and BART work at the time of your arrival/departure, for example, on Sundays BART opens at 8 am.

If not, you can take a shuttle, about $35 per person. Check for on-line coupons.

3) there are no combined passes for muni and bart. You can get passes for muni, if I am not mistaken, 3-, 5-, 7-, 10 days either from muni or visitor's beaureau, at the same place, Powell @ Market cable car turn-around. Muni booth (and they sell great maps there with bus lines in color!) at the street level or go down to the glass building of the visitor's place.

Yes, you can take N to the beach, walk along it, take bus 28 back to down-town. Same passes/price for buses and metro, both are MUNI.
FainaAgain is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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Stu's hotel areas leaves out the Embarcadero, which is in my opinion the best place to stay. It is right in the perfect spot for taking any of the many choices of public transportation; BART, Muni, the trams along the Embarcadero, and the uncrowded California Street Cable car line. It's an easy walk to Chinatown and North Beach. And the Embarcadero is a great place to walk and look at the Bay. The newly refurbished Ferry Building is right there as are the Ferry boats to Sausalito and Larkspur. I've seen people get great deals on the Hyatt Regency and the Omni Hotel. The new and popular Vitale Hotel is right there as well.

I love riding my bike through Fisherman's Wharf. It's just about the right speed to see what there is to see. And I go faster than the cars can go. Locals bash it, but it is fun to see once (or once in awhile). I have a friend who has an annual tradition of taking his daughter to Pier 39 and they love it. So, to each his/her own.
Catbert is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 02:16 PM
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Ummm... to add to Stu's description, and to alert the locals, there is a Trader Joe... 2 buck chuck, cakes, and the whole enchilada
FainaAgain is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Faina - I think QC was considering staying at a hotel in Oakland and commuting to SF during the duration of his stay - not just commuting once from the airport. That's certainly possible, but I sure wouldn't do it just to save money. You may want to tour a little, drop back by the hotel mid-day to take a break/drop off packages/use the toilet/etc which is hard to do from SF if your hotel is in Oakland. Also, it's wquite charming to have a wonderful dinner/drinks in The City & wander back to the hotel on foot late in the evening (or take the Cable Car back).

The Castro is quite active - lots of bars, street activity, etc. Don't know if the noise is that bad at night because I've never been there then. We used to live in the Noe Valley - 1/2 block off Castro & & over a hill from The Castro. I've driven through the Castro thousands of times. In fact, I drove through about 45 mins ago. It does have good transportation - to downtown, to the Fillmore district, etc. Don't know any hotels in the area, however. There many be one on market, which would be quite noisy, I think. There are many B&Bs in the Noe Valley.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  

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