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April_Burkhard Mar 6th, 2005 05:21 PM

Safe San Francisco neighborhoods
We're looking for safe areas/neighborhoods for lodging as well as nightlife since we will be walking during the evenings along w/ 2 foreign senior citizens.

happytrailstoyou Mar 6th, 2005 05:35 PM

You will probably want to be in the Union Square area. Parts of Powell Street and Geary are a bit scruffy, but they are safe. My impression is that some streets south of Market may be too deserted for skitish seniors to walk late at night.

LoveItaly Mar 6th, 2005 05:41 PM

Hi April. As happytrailstoyo said, parts are scruffy. Powell Street is fine, but Geary St. west of Union Square is not somewhere you would probably want to go to at night, unless you are going to a play.

Where are you staying? Or maybe a better question is where are you thinking of staying?

April_Burkhard Mar 6th, 2005 05:51 PM

We are looking for hotels w/ free parking and that would have a central location to points of interest, but for now looking into Union Square or FW. We don't plan on being in the hotel much as we'll be on the go. Our agenda is flying into San Jose on a Saturday, grabbing a rental car, driving to SF and staying there Sat/Sun leaving town late Mon headed towards Reno. We plan on hitting the highlights; FW, Alcatraz, GG Bridge etc.

pumpkin Mar 6th, 2005 06:58 PM

No hotels with a central location have free parking. Have you heard the joke?

Lady lying in street near the curb...bystanders take note and ask, "are you hurt, shall we call an ambulance?" "No, says the lady...I found this parking spot and my husband went to buy a car."

That should give you the idea.

Jean :-)

Patrick Mar 6th, 2005 07:01 PM

But Cow Hollow/Marina District also fits your description of a safe neighborhood, with lots of restaurants, trendy shops, and nightlife. And the best part is that the hotel/motels there -- Cow Hollow Inn is a good one -- provide free parking.

StuDudley Mar 7th, 2005 08:21 AM

>>>We plan on hitting the highlights; FW, Alcatraz, GG Bridge etc.<<<

I'm curious. Where did you read, hear, get info from, that says that FW is a highlight???

Stu Dudley

Patrick Mar 7th, 2005 08:36 AM

Come on, Stu. While I'll quickly agree that Fisherman's Wharf is tacky and disappointing, for a first timer to SF, I can't imagine not seeing it. That's almost like going to Disneyland and avoiding seeing Cinderella's Castle because it's too childish, or going to New York and avoiding seeing Times Square, or going to Paris and avoiding the Eiffel Tower because it's going to be crowded with tourists.

Allow an hour to see and "experience" Fisherman's Wharf. If you love cheap junk, lots of t-shirt shops, and overpriced mediocre food, you just might love it. Regardless, you will see the biggest mass of sea lions you've probably ever seen, and have a pleasant stroll along a very busy touristy area on the water with great views of Alcatrez and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

Like it or not -- Fisherman's Wharf IS a "highlight" of San Francisco.

StuDudley Mar 7th, 2005 09:45 AM

>>>Like it or not -- Fisherman's Wharf IS a "highlight" of San Francisco.<<

This person is going to be in SF for two days at the most. Alcatraz will take up 1/3 of a day, and the bridge another couple of hours. What is she NOT going to see, so that she can spend a couple of hours at the Wharf??? This person might love the tacky stuff there - don't know her tastes. In my opinion, it is a waste of an opportunity to see one of the greatest cities in the world. Visit the Noe Valley, Haight, Union St, Chestnut St, Fillmore St, Russian Hill, North Beach, Hayes Valley, GG Park instead. These places are all quite active on a Sunday, when this person has a full day here. She will have a car, so she can get killer views from Treasure Island in the morning, Twin Peaks, from the Marin Headlands at the GGNRA looking through the GG bridge back at SF, views of the GG and GG Bridge from Lincoln Park Golf Course and Lincoln Blvd in the Presidio. If she doesn't want to drive in the City, the views of the Bay are great anywhere from SBC park to Ft Point. If she stays on Lombard St, the views from the Marina Green (close by) are just as nice as from the Wharf.

Missed opportunities.

Stu Dudley

crefloors Mar 7th, 2005 09:56 AM

Well, there is a lot of maritime history at FW but if that doesn't interest the OP, then as much as I find the wharf a fun place to wander around, with the limited time they have they could probably easily skip it. Could drive across the GG Bridge and drop down into Sausalito for lunch maybe..I guess SF is like other my to do and so little time. My girlfriend and I used to stay at a little hotel called the Buena Vista, on the corner of Lombard and Gough. Good rates, very clean, free parking. There were several good restaurants withing easy walking distance from the hotel, and a wonderful little cafe for breakfast a couple of blocks up the street toward Van Ness. There are a lot of apartments in the area and even at night walking back and forth from the hotel to the reastaurants we felt very safe. This hotel is also close to Union street..shops and restaurants. The down side of this hotel is, you would have to take a cab to the wharf or Union Square etc. Union Square would be more central for you but free parking there is NOT too likely.

Patrick Mar 7th, 2005 10:16 AM

Stu, you mention going to Alcatrez. Doesn't that normally mean going from Fisherman's Wharf? So they can arrive an hour early or spend an hour afterwards. Not exactly giving up a lot of their time or going out of their way to get there.
I think people should form their own opinions. And think how hard it will be to tell everyone they run into back home they didn't see Fisherman's Wharf.

Even Gekko from NYC who HATES Times Square admits that all visitors should at least see it.

mcmckissic Mar 7th, 2005 11:39 AM

I have got to agree with Patrick for sure, how can you go to SF and not at least make a brief visit to FW. If only to see all of the sea lions on the docks, I will never forget that!! That WAS a highlight and you don't even have to spend more than an hour or two but you have to see FW, we had some great clam chowder there too!!!

StuDudley Mar 7th, 2005 02:40 PM

Like I've said many times, I would only recommend going to FW to take a boat ride to Alcatraz, or a cable car downtown. If this person plans to do either, then the walk through is just fine for getting a taste of FW. However, many people just hang around the wharf because this kind of stuff appeals to them, or they have not done a lot of research and don't know what to expect and many (not all) don't like it when they get there. I've read reports in the paper that say most FW visitors are first timers - they don't return on their second visit.

That's our job, I guess, to try to describe what to expect, and possible alternatives. The last person I took to the Wharf wanted to go because she had "heard" about it. She was disgusted - thought it was unbelievably tacky. Lucky for us, I was driving & she never even got out of the car - just went on to the next venue, which was "Postcard Row" then through GG park & views of the Golden Gate and the Bridge from the Presidio.

An informed visitor is a "better" visitor. When I was in my early 20s & living in Southern Cal, I was not an informed visitor to SF. My wife & I went to the Wharf & hung out there several times - with a trip to Union St thrown in. Our best friends then moved to SF a couple of years later. When we visited them, they showed us the "real" San Francisco. That was in the early 70s, and in 75 we moved to the Noe Valley. Bought & restored an old Victorian, and we've never wanted to live anywhere else, other than the Bay Area - in SF or within 15 mins of it. I'm still finding new and interesting things to do in SF. There was an article in the paper last week about a 5th generation SF native, and her young son was a 6th. She said that she had never been to FW.

In another thread, someone has digested a lot of comments, and plans to spend an entire day at FW. I would think that someone who comes this far for a visit, would want to see something that is unique to SF & what makes is such a popular place to live. The Believe-it-or-Not, Rainforest restaurant, Hooters, Brittany Spears wax statue, and t-shirt shops are not that unique (except uniquely tacky when put together). If someone wants "crab legs" (we don't call them that here) I would suggest that they take the Calif St Cable Car to Van Ness, walk 1 block, buy a Dungeness Crab at Whole Foods, & have then crack it. Then walk to Lafayette park, sit on a bluff with a great view out into the bay, and have a nice lunch with a bottle of wine. After Lunch, if it a Sunday, take a free SF City Guide walking tour of Victorian houses in the area. Or perhaps before lunch, take the Haight/Ashbury tour by City Guides.

There, I've said my piece. "Different strokes for different folks" (I've already given away my age).

Stu Dudley

April_Burkhard Mar 7th, 2005 03:56 PM

Author: Patrick
Date: 03/07/2005, 11:36 am
"Regardless, you will see the biggest mass of sea lions you've probably ever seen".

Seeing the seals & sea lions seems like the highlight of FW; I've seen tacky shops far and abroad so I'm not looking so much for that. But just to go there and move on to the next sight, it's a must I agree.

Author: StuDudley
Date: 03/07/2005, 12:45 pm
..."try to describe what to expect, and possible alternatives".
It's difficult to cram this trip in 3 days along w/ acting as a tour guide to inlaws that don't speak I'd like to take them to places they will be able to relate to. I like nostalgia, but for someone who's not from the US, not to mention in their 70's, it's challenging to create an informative but casual trip.
Thanks all for your input. Interesting.

LoveItaly Mar 7th, 2005 06:54 PM

Hi Apri. I too would suggest the Union Square area for lodging.

As far as bad areas, as like most cities you can be on one block and everything is fine. Walk a block or two elsewhere (such as west on Geary St. away from Union Square) and it is not pleasant.

You will no doubt be able to tell immidiately when you have wandered into an unsavory neighborhood.

sha Mar 8th, 2005 02:01 PM

Stu: What a pleasant surprise to find you on this forum! You have been so helpful with our plans for the Dordogne and Languedoc this summer.

I'm coming out to visit my adult children in a couple of weeks. I love the wine country. It makes me feel that I'm in Italy or France. Any suggestions for an overnight trip from the city.

By the way, it's always fun for us to make fw our 1st stop in SF. We head right to tackyville, have some wine, sourdough bread and crab. Then we know that the cross country has ended and here we are!

Leely Mar 8th, 2005 02:15 PM


This is off topic. Sorry, I don't have any wine country trip suggestions for you, but since your children live here, and since you mentioned liking to feel as if you're in Italy or France...

I finally made it to a small neighborhood restaurant called Chou Chou off Laguna Honda in the West Portal area. Very, very much like being in a French bistro.

It's quite out of the way, so I wouldn't recommend it to tourists. But it was gooood. Waiters are all French. They're easy on the eyes, too. Reasonably priced with a nice (not as reasonably priced) wine list.

StuDudley Mar 8th, 2005 02:28 PM

>>>Any suggestions for an overnight trip from the city.<<

Click on my name & try to find a post I did a couple of weeks ago titled "San Francisco - North along the coast & into the Wine Country" or something like that. You will have to modify it to fit an overnight plan. After going over the bridge & taking in the view, head to Healdsburg on 101 & start the itinerary from there.

Stu Dudley
San Mateo (San Francicso), Ca

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