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Shandy1977 Sep 12th, 2008 08:52 PM

San Jose to San Francisco drive
I will be in San Jose next month for business. I arrive on the weekend, giving me Sunday to myself with a rental car. My business is done at about 3:00pm on Monday and Tuesday before I depart on Wednesday.

I am interested in seeing San Jose since I have never been there before, but I am also thinking of a trip into San Francisco. I had a short trip there once and really enjoyed the visit... especially Fisherman's Wharf with the sea lions, Muir Woods, and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. The appreciation for Muir Woods and the sea lions should indicate my enjoyment of "natural sites" as well as the city scene.

Anyway... I am sure it is reasonable to drive into San Francisco on Sunday while I am there. What about on Monday or Tuesday night, for dinner and brief "look around"? How long would it take, generally, to go between the two cities on a late weekday afternoon? Is it too much of a hassle to bother with?

I am looking forward to this little trip, and I do not want to discount my willingness to see the area around San Jose, but getting in at least a brief return to San Francisco would be nice. Reading through some of Stu Dudley's postings on the city got my interest up, too. =)

Also, if there are any of those more "natural" type of sites like Muir Woods that are close to San Jose and recommended, I am eager to hear about that, too.


mjs Sep 12th, 2008 09:13 PM

If you are interested in nature why not consider the coast to Monterey and Big Sur?

easytraveler Sep 12th, 2008 09:35 PM

Driving into San Francisco on a Sunday would be a breeze, traffic-wise.

There are plenty of wonderful nature spots in San Francisco. I'd suggest the Presidio, drive along Crissy Field to Fort Point, you can hike up to the battery point (stairs near the Warming Hut). Just before Crissy Field is the Marina where you can park for a few moments for free and look across the Bay to Alcatraz and up at the Golden Gate Bridge.

There's also the Golden Gate Park with the DeYoung Museum, the Arboretum, Japanese Tea Gardens, etc.

You could also loop around after the Presidio to Lincoln Park and the Legion of Honor, then down to street level and westward on Geary Street to the Cliff House and down along the beach.

You can certainly drive up to San Francisco for dinner, we do it all the time. What type of cuisine would you prefer? Do you have a price range? San Francisco is a dining paradise, so you'll have to give us some idea of what your preferences.

I live in the Greater San Jose area and would recommend that you skip San Jose and just spend your free time in San Francisco. There's only one thing that may interest you in San Jose and that would be the Tech Museum.

How much time do you have on Wednesday?

johnthedorf Sep 13th, 2008 03:21 AM

You may also consider driving to Santa Cruz then down to Carmel. I might do that instead of SF if you like scenic (like the 17 mile drive)in Monterey. Sunday's drive into SF is pretty easy too but the train is easier (no parking problems)and Public transportation in SF is pretty good and would be better for those late afternoon days and dinner out.

Curious Sep 13th, 2008 06:56 AM

I agree with the others. There is really nothing worth seeing in San Jose. San Francisco on sunday and over to the coast around Santa Cruz for another short trip.


mlgb Sep 13th, 2008 07:19 AM


NeoPatrick Sep 13th, 2008 07:25 AM

What is that scenic route around and through SF marked with the signs with a seagull on them? I seem to recall that it is a great overview of the sites of the city. How long is that route? How long might it take? It seems that might be a nice choice for Shandy. It's been years since I've done that drive, but I recall enjoying it very much -- and I know I still see those signs all around.

dmlove Sep 13th, 2008 09:15 AM

It's called the "49-mile Drive". I've never tested it, but I assume it's 49 miles long! Stu? SAB? EasyTraveler?

Shandy1977 Sep 13th, 2008 09:17 AM

Thanks so much for the tips you've already provided...

I had not even thought of Santa Cruz but will likely look into it now.

As for cuisine and budget. I am a big fan of seafood, all types except salmon really. Also, anything that the local area is famous for I usually like to try. You know, making sure I get a cheesesteak in Philly, some crabs in Maryland, lots of good southern meals I got in Charleston, and so forth. The budget is usually tight, though. I can certainly do better than fast food, but don't usually get into the pricier places. Also, when I make these solo trips, I often choose places where I can sit and eat at a bar rather than get the table for one.

On Wednesday I fly out at noon, so I have almost zero time that day. I finally booked my flight, though, and I am scheduled to arrive in San Jose at 11:30am. So, I will be tired, but I'll have Saturday afternoon available too.

Thanks again for these suggestions and any others that might be coming along!

november_moon Sep 13th, 2008 11:40 AM

The Santa Cruz mountains are a good choice for seeing redwoods - closer than Muir Woods. Big Basin and Henry Cowell state parks are good choices.

Betsy Sep 13th, 2008 02:37 PM

If you decide to go to Carmel, stop by Phil's on your way there and/or back. You'll be glad you did!

SAB Sep 13th, 2008 04:03 PM

If you go south to Santa Cruz or the Monterey Penninsula be sure to try sand dabs--a Monterey Bay fish. Second the recommendation for Phil's.

Re: 49 mile scenic drive, it does cover some scenic areas and some not-so-scenic. It goes through the Presidio, along the Great Highway, through Golden Gate Park, along Dolores, and around Twin Peaks for example. But it also sends drivers through Chinatown, which is not driver friendly and is best seen on foot, and it also sends drivers onto Cesar Chavez Street, a distinctly non-scenic road filled with fast-moving cars furiously changing lanes to get to the on-ramps to Highway 101.

The drive is difficult to follow without a map because many of the signs get taken.

traveldawg Sep 15th, 2008 03:36 PM

Prepare for some confusion at San Jose Airport. We have a lot of construction going on. The situation changes daily.

easytraveler Sep 15th, 2008 05:29 PM

The 49 mile scenic drive is a great suggestion.

Here's the best link that I could find.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the "External Links" for lots more information.

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