San Francisco - Recommeneded areas to stay

Old Jan 19th, 2010, 02:27 AM
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San Francisco - Recommeneded areas to stay

We are looking to stay in San Fran for a few days with no real particular things on our itinerary yet. We are completely open as far as where to stay. I figure I will take advantage of this and use priceline to get a good but cheap hotel. Priceline identifies 11 neighborhoods to choose from. Can anyone give me guidance on what areas are recommended and which might be good ones to avoid?
1. Civic Center
2. Financial district Embarcadero
3. Fishermans Wharf
4. Marina - Lombard st.
5. SFO North - San Bruno
6. SFO Airport - Burlingame
7. SOMA - Moscone center
8. San Mateo
9. South San Francisco
10. Union Square East
11. Union Square West - Nob Hill

I know these are broad...dont need horribly detailed opinions, but would like to know if an area is a gem or if i should bring a bullet proof vest kind of thing.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 05:13 AM
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The Union Square area is the primary shopping destination. China Town is nearby. The waterfront and Terminal Building are maybe a 10 block walk. There is a BART station in Union Square.

Fisherman's Wharf is the primary tourist destination. There are a lot of rooms in the neighborhood. You are on the cable car line. Easy walk to Ghiradelli or Pier 39.

Airport, South San Francisco and San Mateo are too far out of town in my opinion.

I don't like the neighborhood near Moscone Center. San Francisco has homeless everywhere, but this area has an abundance.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 07:30 AM
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Staying in Union Square gives you easy access to all of the city sites, with Fisherman's Wharf not far away. Agree, you are too far away from the City in San Mateo or San Francisco. Agree also with Moscone Center and alot of homeless!
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 08:05 AM
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We found Nob Hill a pleasant location - if you do not mind a little walking uphill.

The neighborhood is definitly good, with several luxury hotels and their bars and some nice little restaurants. It is a 10-minute walk down to Chinatown and a few minutes more to Union Square.

If you are footsore, you can take the cable car up to Nob Hill (we didn't - we always enjoyed the little walk).
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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We have stayed all over town, and I usually recommend the Union Square area for first time visitors.

One of my other favorite places to stay is Japantown. The Best Western Tomo there has reasonable rates and is convenient to various kinds of ethnic restaurants.

HTTT
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 09:41 AM
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There is no hotel "in" Union Sq - it is about 2 blocks away on Market St.

My choices would be
Union Square east
Financial district/Embarcadero
Marina if you have a car & want to stay in a Neighborhood (vs "downtown)

OK areas
Nob Hill
Union Sq west - but not too far west
SOMA/Moscone (it is getting more upscale every year)

I would not stay:
Fisherman's Wharf
Civic Center

The remainder are not in San Francisco

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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Geeze
>>There is no hotel "in" Union Sq - it is about 2 blocks away on Market St
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Stu, I was wondering what you meant!!

My take (I have lived and worked here for 37 years, don't stay in hotels, but obviously know the area):

Do NOT pick the Civic Center area. Although the actual Civic Center (city hall, library, opera house, symphony) are perfectly nice, and you'll want to see the buildings there, the hotels are not that close, and part of Priceline's Civic Center area is pretty seedy.

Same goes for Union Square West-Nob Hill (packaging those two together is absurd). There are good hotels in the area but also some in parts of town you wouldn't want to be staying in. By the way, I would never stay on Nob Hill anyway -- although there are some luxury hotels, the hills are far from "little" -- they are very steep and it would be unpleasant to have to walk up and down them regularly (great exercise, though). The hills in San Francisco would be mountains in Nebraska.

Completely agree with Stu's "first choices". However, lots of people like staying in Fisherman's Wharf and it would be fine if you want to see the wharf, Pier 39, Ghirardelli, etc. It's not quite as easy to get around from there, though.

I think SOMA/Moscone is fine, with some excellent hotels, but I realize I am much less sensitive to the "homeless situation" than most tourists are (we've had that conversation on here before).

I would not recommend staying outside the city.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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I agree with Stu's rankings--with one exception. I'm not a big Wharf fan either, but if you have them the Wharf works well for people with kids.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Union Square or Embarcadero would be my picks for a first time visitors.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 01:14 PM
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Union Square, yes, but on priceline, that should be Union Square East.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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Is the Sir Francis Drake and the St Francis considered to be in Union Sq west?? If so, I think those would be good choices.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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You need to choose based on the PL zones. Not by which have the nicest neighborhoods. While Union Square/Nob Hill is terrific - PL breaks it into US West and US East. I'd NEVER ever bid US West because some of the hotels are too far west near/in the Tenderloin.

I only bid US East, or Financial Dist/Embarcadero (you'd most often get places on/near the Embarcadero), or if those fail - then Fisherman's Wharf.

Every other zone has something going against it PL-wise.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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Both the Sir Francis Drake and the Westin St. Francis are in Union Square East. But even if they weren't, I agree with Janisj that although those would be great to "win", you'd be taking a chance with the other hotels you might win instead if you bid in Union Square West. With Priceline bidding, you always have to avoid areas that contain hotels you would NOT want to win.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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>>Both the Sir Francis Drake and the Westin St. Francis are in Union Square East.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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That's why sometimes locals aren't the best resources re priceline

Their zones often are fairly 'quirky'. A local would easily assume the St Francis and Sir F. Drake would be "west".

Of the 4 times I've pricelined in SF, I got the Embarcadero Hyatt three times and the St Francis once.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 04:06 PM
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>>

Not on the "name your own price" part of priceline, which is the part that gets you great deals, because they're anonymous. (Priceline also has a part that's just like expedia, hotels.com, etc., which is transparent, but also much pricier).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:28 AM
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Update. Thanks to your guidance, I ended up getting a hotel in East Union Square, just a few blocks from the Square itself. I got the Galleria Park Hotel for $76 (pre-tax). It was a pretty good hotel in a great location. Of course part of getting a hotel in this area was the hefty parking fee of $35, but that appears to be directly on par with all the other garages here in town. Such is life.

Had a great time!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Actually that is pretty good for parking. Some are approaching $50 now. Crazy.

Congratulations in your PL win, Its a nice hotel -- ESPECIALLY at the price . . . .
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