san francisco with parents

Old Apr 16th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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san francisco with parents

I apologise in advance for a question on where to stay but I have read so many posts and cannot find the right answer. Many votes for Union Square, F/Wharf, Embarcadero AAhh!

We have 2 and a half days in SF in July and travelling with 70yo parents. No car.

Our wish list is.
Tour Alcatraz
Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
Tea in Sausalito
Ride the Cable Cars
See Lombard Street and Ghirardelli Square
Crab at Fisherman's Wharf
Alamo Square

Not overly interested in shopping...and parents are not particularly into fancy restaurants so a few hours in Union Square to look around would be enough. No need for museums etc...just the quintessential tourist run through San Francisco. If this was your list would you choose Fisherman's Wharf even though many say it is overly touristy (which of course we are!) or Union Square?

Thank you.
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 08:34 PM
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Given your sightseeing plans, I see no reason for you to stay in Union Square -- it's the main shopping district in San Francisco - full of stores, shopping centers, hotels and some restaurants, as well as the square itself. I like the area, but it's "retail heaven" and there's no reason to base yourselves there if shopping is not your "thing".

Between Fisherman's Wharf and the Embarcadero, I'd personally choose the Embarcadero. FW is fine (although Stu Dudley will vehemently disagree with me) -- our cousins stayed there with their three daughters and thought it was a great location to be in. However, there's nothing really "San Francisco" about it. It's more like staying in theme park!

The Embarcadero, on the other hand, while fairly convenient to FW, is real San Francisco, where people live and work (I work in the Embarcadero Center, next door to the Hyatt Regency, across the street from the Ferry Building). Therefore, while staying convenient to sightseeing, you also stay in a really nice neighborhood, with great restaurants, lovely bay views, excellent walks, etc. If you're good walkers, Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Coit Tower -- are all in walking distance.
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 08:43 PM
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Given your parents and your plans, I'd vote for the Embarcadero too. I LOVE the ferry building and it's shops and markets and it's an easy (flat) walk around there. You really should take the CityWalks tour of the Ferry Building too.

cmcfong just got back and wrote a wonderful trip report. Be sure to read it.

You may want to take the ferry over to Sausalito too. I'm thinking of enjoyable, scenic, and mostly flat options for you and your parents.

One of my favorite experiences was a night ride combo of the cable car and streetcars. You could do the same - up via streetcar to Union Square, the magic carpet ride of being on the cable car at night up and down the hills, to Fisherman's Wharf and catching the streetcar back to your hotel near the Ferry Building. Delightful!
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 08:44 PM
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Read this great trip report!
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...k-in-april.cfm
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Old Apr 17th, 2011, 06:50 AM
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To me, the Union Square area is uninteresting as a "sight," but it is full of that San Francisco energy. A number of theaters are there if you are interested in seeing a live show. If you are good walkers, it won't matter so much the location of your hotel as the City is small, walkable even with the hills, and public transportation is easy. The Embarcadero area is great (#1 choice). But if you stay Union Square, Embarcadero or Fisherman's Wharf, you can use the "F Line" trolley easily to connect to all 3 areas.

For the Fisherman's Wharf area, I'd choose Hotel Argonaut for it's location - plus the rooms are very nice. You can walk easily to the dock for the Alcatraz tour and enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge as much as you like. Hyde Street Pier is there and ample opportunities to walk along the water. Not sure about restaurants there; we'd usually walk over to North Beach or Chinatown for dinner. But you could get a sourdough bagette and some fresh crab to enjoy on a bench nearby.

You could also check out Hotel Triton at the gate to Chinatown. It's sort of trendy but well-located near great restaurants and not far from Union Square, Financial District, and still walkable to Embarcadero.
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