San Francisco - how to get around?

Jan 29th, 2013, 10:58 PM
Original Poster
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San Francisco - how to get around?

We'll be spending 6 days in San Francisco - based in Union Square. Id like to avoid hiring a car and instead try the public transport system and walk as much as we can too...

does anyone have any tips for us? is there a bus system or metro?or hop on hop off for tourists?
Also we love the cable cars we are a family with 2 young boys aged 8 and 10, I think they will enjoy the ride!!

ac291 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 03:38 AM
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Start here:

Yes there are busses, streetcars, subway-surface routes, in addition to the cable cars. You will not need a hire car IMO.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 03:49 AM
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Depending upon your timing cable cars could have lineups to get on.

We spent a few days there years ago and we bought a bus pass for a day and kept getting on and off as we wanted.
Myer is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Cable cars are expensive per ride and aren't really for getting to most places tourists want to go.

The muni pass is the cheapest way to get around (next to walking) and it lets you jump on a ride whenever you are tired and want a ride.
DebitNM is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 07:26 AM
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The cable cars are fun (I used to commute via cable car), but you really don't need to take one more than once. The rest of the time, use Muni (which, as the others said, has all kinds of buses, trolleys, streetcars, etc.) Although it's definitely easier to get some places in San Francisco by car (for example, Land's End), driving the first time here is not for the faint of heart because of the hills and the amount of traffic (especially around Union Square - awful).
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 07:28 AM
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Meant to add, if you decide to take a day or two outside the city, you can always rent a car or use zipcar. Berkeley is also accessible via BART (subway) and Stanford is accessible via Cal-Train (commuter rail).
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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You can buy a Metro map at the Visitor Center (900 Market) and, if you are a senior, bus fare is $.75 (get a transfer and hold on to it).

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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DebitNM has the link to San Francisco's transportation system and the muni passport or city pass will include bus, streetcar and unlimited rides on the Cable Car
Suzie is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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I second the Muni Pass idea. You'll be here 6 days, get the 7-day pass. It allows you unlimited rides on all the modes of transportation, even the cable cars. One ticket for one ride on the cable car is $6 - unless the price has gone up, so the Pass is really worth it.

Where to get the Muni Pass depends on where you're staying, but I like the kiosk at the corner of Powell and Market. You can also get the Transportation Map at the same kiosk for about $2. This map will show you the routes of all the different modes of public transportation in SF. It's pretty essential if you want to get around SF by public transportation.

Welcome to California!
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Thanks so much everyone, great info! the Muni pass sounds like the way to go. Will take a look at all the links...

Where is ‘Lands End’ is that worth checking out?
ac291 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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We used Cable Cars for fun and taxi's for speed. Walked otherwise. Took Bart to/from airport.
TDudette is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Land's End is at the ocean (Great Highway) end of Golden Gate Park -- it's a beautiful walk with spectacular views, and you can eat nearby one end of it at the iconic Cliff House. The other end of the trail is at the
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Stop by 900 Market St.
tomfuller is online now  
Jan 30th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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You can take BART train to San Francisco from SFO or OAK (MUNI passes don't work on BART)

MUNI passes cover cable car rides.

To go to Lands End take bus 38 on Geary - just read on the top of the bus where it goes, they have routes ending in different places.

TOM FULLER - information center moved long time ago. It's now on Powell and Sutter (or Post?) When was your last visit to San Francisco?
Dayenu is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 07:09 PM
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Thanks - Lands End sounds like a must!
ac291 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 09:14 PM
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Land's End is NOT at the end of the Golden Gate Park! It is north of that.

It is the extreme NW corner of San Francisco. If you look at a Google map of San Francisco, you will see the USS San Francisco Memorial. That's the upper part of Land's End. The upper part is a dead end.

Lower down, just above Sutro Baths, you will be on the hiking trail for Land's End, the Coastal Trail. You can hike as little or as much of the Coastral Trail as you'd like, it's beautiful there.

sf7307 is correct about the Cliff House. Lunch there and try their popovers. The Bistro side has a gorgeous view of Ocean Beach.

If you want something less expensive, there's a "shack", a "coffee house" just above Cliff House. It's called "Louis"

BTW, there are free city walking tours run by the SF City Library and led by volunteers. Click on the tour and it'll tell you where to meet up with the tour guide. At the end of the tour, you give a small "donation'. These are a much better introduction to SF than the commercial tours. There's even one of Land's End.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 03:12 AM
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San Francisco has so many fun places to explore - and is really fairly compact for the most part, easily accessable from the muni bus/cable car system - and/or a taxi if needed.

Agree the Muni 7 day pass may be the way to go - and I believe you want to take the 38 Geary Express (vis a vis the slower/regular 38 Geary) - if you are going from Union Square to "Lands End" and the Cliff House, which have beautiful views.

While out there - suggest you also visit the Museum of the Legion of Honor - off 34th and Geary. and pics:

If you walk over to the grassy area - there is a magnificent view looking back at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Also check out taking the bus (going from memory - but see the schedules/stops for the 30 Stockton, 41 and 45 Union lines - and this also lists the lines: ) - down to the Marina area ( )

You can walk around Chestnut St and/or maybe the more upscale Union St,, walk along the Marina Green with views of the Bay and Alcatraz, visit the Palace of Fine Arts and maybe walk from Crissy Field out to Ft. Point.

We used to jog out to Ft. Point from our place on Union St - (7 mile round trip) - ) - and Ft. Point is underneath the SF side of the Golden Gate.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 04:48 AM
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There is a trolley that takes a very interesting route past the Medical Center to the Pacific. In nice weather, it is a good walk up to Sutro Baths and (I suppose) on up to Land's End, though I haven't been there.

In general, public tranportation in San Francisco is so good, including the East Bay communities and the ferries to Tiburon and Sausalito, you could spend the whole time riding through interesting places and doing nothing else but getting off from time to time to eat.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 07:24 AM
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Just a word of caution: It can be difficult to catch a cab in San Francisco especially around "prime time" (eg Friday or Saturday evenings). Also, not much cab service in areas away from downtown. We visit The City often from our home in Sonoma County and have been stranded a few times being unable to get a cab back to our hotel.
Wm is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 07:25 AM
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Ackislander, this is very vague -- what medical center (UCSF? SF General?) what trolley line?

And as for Land's End's location - it's exactly a half-mile north of the park once you hit the Great Highway. To me, that's the ocean end of Golden Gate Park. Just look at googlemaps and you'll see what I mean.
sf7307 is offline  

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