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San Francisco: preliminary itinerary advice needed

San Francisco: preliminary itinerary advice needed

Dec 25th, 2008, 01:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 105
San Francisco: preliminary itinerary advice needed


Im in the early stages of planning a trip to San Francisco next spring, and while I do not have specific dates set yet for my trip I do have some ideas for what I would like to do.

I have thought of visiting for 5 days/4 nights. My flight will arrive around noon time on the given day of my trip and depart around 2pm the day I leave (Ive done some research on various flights).

There are countless things to see and do in San Francisco, but Ive narrowed it down to 10 things Id like to see and do:

1. Chinatown (enter at Bush street, "Dragon gate" entrance, and peruse the length of Grant Avenue)

2. Japantown

3. Asian Art Museum

4. Japanese Tea Garden

5. Golden Gate Bridge

6. Fisherman's Wharf/ The Cannery at Anchorage Square

7. Pier 39 & Hard Rock Cafe

8. Lombard Street (between Hyde & Leavenworth

9. TransAmerica Pyramid

10. Haight & Ashbury

Ive looked into also getting a "GO-San Francisco" 3-day pass for $99.00, since it appears it will get me into many attractions for free, namely the Asian Art Museum, in addition to various discounts and riding some cable cars for free.

Theres a new club I would also like to check out called "Infusion Lounge", as well as another club called "Suite one 8 one".

I have thought about going to Pier 39 my first night there (the same day I fly in)

The next day, I have thought about taking a 5 hr bus tour that includes going on the Golden Gate Bridge then taking a ferry back to San Francisco (the ferry fee is inclusive with the tour fee)

The remaining two days I would spend visiting the other attractions, but I dont know exactly how to go about seeing all these attractions to best maximize the time in my day and avoid any excessive waits in lines.

I do expect lines/waits, etc..but any advice to help maximize my time to see and do the most is appreciated.

Im not sure what attraction to pursue my first day after the tour is over.

As far as hotel accomodations, I do believe I may want to lodge in Union Square (East or West). I will use Priceline for try to get the best deal. I have briefly searched on various others sites such as (Hotwire, Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity)

I am basically wanting to get the best room deal I can for about $100 a night. Im think a 3 star will do me just fine, but no lower than a 2 star. a 4 star would be bliss, but doubtful if i can find that for the price Im wanting to pay.

When I arrive at SFO, I will take the Bay Point Rail to and from the airport, but am wondering what train stop I would want to get off at that would be nearest to Union Square. I dont mind walking a bit since, but dont want to walk too far to and from my hotel with me carrying luggage.

I have thought about visiting in either April or May, and since my travel dates are open, was wondering if there are any benefits to travelling in one month over the other (whether it be crowds, weather, cheaper hotel rates, events, etc).
osakaorchid is offline  
Dec 25th, 2008, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
There is no such thing as "Bay point rail" at least not in San Francisco. This is BART. When you know the hotel's name we can help you with the closest station, may be anything from Civic Center to Embarcadero.

Reading the list of attractions: only Japanese garden and Asian art museum have entrance fee, why is the Go Card so expensive? $99? Is the city tour included?

The city system of buses is MUNI, they should have 3 and 5 day unlimited passes (including cable car and street car F) much cheaper. I advise you to buy the MUNI San Francisco map - all bus lines in color are on this map only.

Of all things listed, I would expect a line only to board a cable car, well, maybe the cafe at peak time.

TransAmerica pyramid is closed to visitors, you can only see the building. Wells Fargo museum (free) is 1.5 blocks away.
FainaAgain is offline  
Dec 25th, 2008, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,938
>>1. Chinatown (enter at Bush street, "Dragon gate" entrance, and peruse the length of Grant Avenue)

2. Japantown<<

San Francisco City Guides (part of the SF Public Library) offers free walking tours of both of these attractions. See
www.SFCityGuides.org for schedules & details. I think the most interesting section of Chinatown is actually 1 block west of Grant on Stockton. Grant is a little too touristy, IMO.

>>5. Golden Gate Bridge<<

You can walk across it, bike across it, and observe it from multiple points in the City. City Guides offers a tour of this also

>>6. Fisherman's Wharf/ The Cannery at Anchorage Square

7. Pier 39 & Hard Rock Cafe<<

no comment !!

>>8. Lombard Street (between Hyde & Leavenworth<<

Take the Hyde/Powell cable car from Powell & Market, get off at Lombard & walk down the squiggly section - then head to North Beach and/or Chinatown & tour that region.

>>9. TransAmerica Pyramid>>

Like Faina indicated - there is not much to see inside, except for some mildly interesting stuff on the ground floor.

>>10. Haight & Ashbury<<

City Guides offers a free tour of the Haight also.

On the Fodors USA forum, do a search on "Stu Dudley" and you'll see some recent posts about stuff to do in the City. I also posted a long thread about some of my favorite attractions

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is online now  
Dec 25th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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Posts: 25,502
Try to stick to Union Square East when bidding on Priceline. Union Square West is a somewhat "dicier" neighborhood.

sf7307 is online now  
Dec 26th, 2008, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,853
In the fall of 2007 my husband and I were in SF for 5 days (3 1/2 days with actual time for touring anything). He had a convention for most of that, which left me on my own for 2 whole days.

1.Day 1--After our flight from Texas, in mid-afternoon we caught a cable car (yes there was a pretty hefty line) and saw some of the wharf area and got chocolate at Ghirardelli. It was a great quick intro to the city. We got the MUNI passport which I think ended up being a savings for me but not for my husband. Check out the costs/your plans.

2.Day 2--The next day I took a tour of the city. It was fantastic. I'd highly recommend you catch some tour. There are lots, they fill up, and they have different costs, but I did like "mine"--San Francisco Comprehensive Shuttle Tours. "Saw" a bunch of stuff (not long anywhere but great overview); did get out and walk near Lombard Street which most tours don't, I think; started and finished at the Ferry Building which is worth a trip by itself; did optional tour of Japanese Tea Garden which was short but nice; went across the Golden Gate and got pics from park. I also added to the morning tour the optional afternoon thing--saw Sausalito and went to Muir Woods--HIGHLIGHT! Lovely views of Pacific fromm Muir Beach Overlook--HIGHLIGHT! And caught ferry back for great ride.
This is a great way to spend a day.

3.DAY 3 for me was a tour all day down the coast to Monterey and Carmel. Again there are different touring companies. This was also something I'd highly recommend, but you may rather spend the time in SF.

4.DAY 4 I went to Union Square area for a bit by myself and then when my DH was done, we caught a bus (not a terrific experience but it worked) across town to Sutro Heights and Lincoln Parks so he could see the Pacific.

That evening we caught an evening tour of Alcatraz. This was way cool (in both senses of the word--bundle up!).

So I'd recommend a tour for one day, maybe the one I did which includes Muir Woods and the ferry ride back. I'd also recommend a tour down the coast, but you might rather actually walking around some areas you listed which I only "saw" like Chinatown and Japantown. You don't have cable cars or Alcatraz on your list; they're both so iconic and fun that I hope you consider adding them.

You're right about the countless things; but I'd also urge you to pick now and make some reservations asap.
texasbookworm is online now  
Dec 26th, 2008, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Oh, I know where you train's from SFO error is coming from! You were talking about the train going to Bay Point! Just take any BART train, don't bother with destination, they all go through San Francisco, they all stop at the same stations in the city.

It's going back you should be careful to take the train going to SFO airport.
FainaAgain is offline  
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