Safety in San Francisco - advice please?

Old Nov 24th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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Safety in San Francisco - advice please?

Hi, My wife and I and my brother and 21 year old son are visiting the city in mid May next year for three nights. This is our first visit from England and reading various forums I get the feeling (like any city) there are areas to avoid. Bearing this in mind could you please recommend an area to stay that we can walk to and from in the evening without undue concern. From what I have read, the Fishermans Wharf area is a non starter simply due to being 'too touristy'. We're not millionaires so a sensible alternative would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 11:19 AM
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When we stay in SF we usually stay on the Embarcadero because we love the water views and dining. Transportation alternatives are readily available. We also like the Union Square area. Our favorite getaway hotels are Harbor Court, Omni, Fairmont, and even hotel Nikko when we are in Japantown or in for jazz. I never feel totally comfortable in the the Civic Center area, but when necessary have had no problems with due caution. SF is a wonderful place. You will love it!
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Thank you applejacks!
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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I live in the Bay Area and work in the Embarcadero area (right across from the Ferry Bldg): and agree with the previous poster that the Embarcadero area is great - many restaurants in walking distance, safe, not crowded (but people around). I also like Union Square which is much busier as it's the primary shopping area. One caveat about the Omni is that it's in the Financial district which is safe, but empty at night (easy walk to other areas though). I personally wouldn't choose the Fairmont or any other Nob Hill hotel - I like my hotels on flat ground, and like to be somewhere when I walk out the door, rather than having to take transportation to get somewhere (even a cup of coffee).
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Also check out the Marina area - super area - and motels/B & B's along Lomnbard and Cheastnut and Union Sts, and the bonus of the nearby Palace of Fine Arts, views from the Marina Green of the Bay/Alcatraz/Sausalito/Golden Gate Bridge, etc etc.

My favorite is the Chelsea Inn and it's "sister" hotels, but there is a nice/newish B & B in the Presidio also.

http://www.chelseainn.com/
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 03:02 PM
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We visit San Francisco every several years, mostly during a conference that my husband attends. Because his conference is in the Moscone Center, we end up staying in the Union Square area, even though neither of us likes shopping.

We've stayed in sevearal hotels on the Chinatown side of Union Square, most recently the Donatello, and have been happy with the location and the hotel; I think on a previous trip, we stayed at Hotel Rex, or something right on that street. I like walking or running in the morning, and can do that from there (though the Embarcadero is better if you're a runner), and usually end with a stop in Chinatown for breakfast items that I take back to our hotel room. From that part of town, it's easy enough to catch a bus or the cablecar to other parts of the city.

As mentioned before, Union Square is safe at night, or as safe as any other big city.
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Old Nov 24th, 2012, 03:41 PM
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>>Union Square is safe at night
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Old Nov 25th, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Thankyou all so much. I hadnt heard of the Embarcadero area prior to the post and it seems to be just what we're looking for. Job done!
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Old Nov 25th, 2012, 05:24 PM
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We visit SF fairly often and prefer the Embarcadero area. There are some great restaurants that you can walk to. Second choice would be Union Square. The hotel that we stay at most often is the Hyatt Embarcadero. SF can be pricey because it is so popular year round. Once you make a reservation, keep checking on line periodically. Sometimes you can get lucky and come across a good deal. Most of the big hotels, like the Hyatt, have liberal cancellation policies. If you find a better deal, just cancel the first reservation.
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Old Nov 25th, 2012, 06:08 PM
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I stayed at the Hyatt Embarcadero this past June (my very first visit to SF) and loved the location and the ease of getting there from the airport (BART -- direct to the "front door" of the hotel!) I had checked rates online and didn't think I could afford it, but then a AAA rate appeared that was only $50 more than a Fisherman's Wharf hotel that I had considered. AND it included the incredible breakfast buffet! I liked the activity in the area, including the shops in the ferry building, and the Saturday morning market. I would definitely stay there again.
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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The only reason I can think of to stay in Union Square would be if you were there to shop, shop, shop at the department stores. There are very few "local" type restaurants or coffee houses in that area.

The Embarcadero is very nice if you can get a deal on a hotel. Ditto any of the hotels in the Financial District - these are more oriented to the business traveler, but sometimes they get a little anxious and lower their prices on weekends. And yes, the Financial District is kind of dead after office hours, but there is enough foot traffic on major streets like Montgomery and California; plus, in May, it will be light till mid-evening.

The Marina has the advantage of countless good dining choices on Union Street and Chestnut Street. This neighborhood is active into the wee hours - a very youthful demographic with a liking for the bars is out in force, especially on weekends. The accommodations there, however, are more motel than hotel by far. I have a friend who travels to San Francisco on business regularly who stays at the Pacific Heights Inn on Union Street and recommends it - try to get one of their small suites with a kitchen.

You notice I didn't even mention Fisherman's Wharf. There's a reason for that!

Anyway, keep in touch as your vacation takes shape!
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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I stay near Union Square because it's where I know of a decent cheap-ish hotel (Andrews). I think Embarcadero is a great suggestion but will be more money. I also don't think there's anything wrong with Fisherman's Wharf. I think that's a fun area too. None of these are too far apart from the other.

The thing about SF is that things can change very quickly. You just need to keep your eyes open. Walking around from the streetcar one time we headed the wrong direction (I think towards the Tenderloin) and it was obviously NOT the neighborhood we wanted to be in. Suddenly instead of a business district there were loads of homeless people camped out on the sidewalk, etc.
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