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Truth about Union Square...

Old Feb 15th, 2003, 03:41 PM
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Truth about Union Square...

We are planning a trip to San Franciso in August. Many posters have said to NOT stay in Union Square - where a few others seem to think that it is fine.

Is it really that bad? It seems to be the central location for first time visitors, but I do not want to be afraid or uncomfortable at night. And I do not want to be up all night do to excessive noise. We plan on using Priceline and it seems people are getting good deals on nice hotels. We will not have a car and would like to be close to most attractions/restaurants/etc... Should we bid on Union Sq. West - Embarcado rather than Union Sq. East?

10273eko is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2003, 05:26 PM
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I personally think that most of the bad stuff that you are reading is mostly by the same person, someone with a vendatta against San Francisco in general. Yes you will see homeless people in the area, I have since I first visited in the 70's, but I have never found it a problem. The Union Square area always has loads of people in the area, so I don't know how it can be so unsafe. As far as the area to bid, I see the most convenient hotels in the Union Square East-Embarcadero area. I just recently got the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero (3*) for $50 a night through Priceline. I have never stayed in this area, but have read that it is a very convenient location with really good access to the cable cars, subways, ferries and public transportation. I also think, unlike several posters here, that the Fisherman's Wharf area is a good location to stay for first time visitors.
don512 is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2003, 05:29 PM
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You can get into trouble on a dark deserted street in any small town in America. Union Square is just fine. Be smart and aware and you will be fine. It may be safer than most because a lot of people tend to be out on the streets at night. Ask your hotel for advice and enjoy your visit.
lahainaluna is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2003, 05:35 PM
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Union Square's fine. It's a great location to stay, and you'll be quite comfortable there.
bookhall is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2003, 05:48 PM
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I live in the Bay Area and would recommend staying in Union Square, especially at one of the nicer hotels. Very centrally located, with many good shops and restaurants within walking distance. Have fun!
tpl is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2003, 10:40 PM
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OP another voice for not bad. Don--The Hyatt Embacadero is located at the foot of Market Street and overlooks the Ferry building and Plaza. The California street car ends in front of the hotel and there is also a BART and MUNI station next to it. The surface streetcar that goes to the Wharf also stops in front of the Hyatt. So it is easy to get everywhere. I think the Hyatt is a big business/convention hotel and it may be a little more impersonal than a conventional tourist area hotel. It is pretty busy area during the day because it is part of the financial district and is next to a large shopping/dining complex--the Embarcadero Center. As with most of the financial area it is much more quiet at night with no nighttime street life i.e. cafes, etc.
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Old Feb 16th, 2003, 03:38 AM
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I have stayed at the St. Francis hotel on Union Square several times and never felt intimidated or afraid. It is now a Westin but it is one of the big old hotels. If you have a room in the new tower you will have a spectacular view of the city and the bay . Afternoon tea at the Compass Rose, one of the most beautiful rooms in the city, will make a fine memory.

Walk up the street to Sears (a small restaurant) for breakfast with the locals.

LilMsFoodie is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 05:48 AM
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There is nothing that bad about the Union Square area. However, the neighborhood does deteriorate a few blocks to the southwest of the square (just past the Hilton). Recommendation: Grosvenor Suites a few blocks north of Union Square near the Ritz Carlton. It's a 60's high rise apt. building converted into a hotel. Huge rooms with kitchenette, nice views and includes breakfast. Was there 2 weeks ago. Great bargain.
itswoody is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 06:28 AM
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Thank you to all for the great replies! You have all been very helpful!

10273eko is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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I live in the SF area and head into town on a frewuent basis. I think a lot of the posters who recommend Union Suare do not live in this area, and as such are not too familair with it. I would not recommend Union Square to someone who is not so familiar with the area. As one posted mentioned, all it takes is going a few blockes in the wrong direction and you will be in a not so good area. The city has made an effort to fix the area up and clean it up, however, I see that is has not helped much. The day times is not so bad, but at night some of the derelicts that usually stay away from Union Square proper can be see milling around. The Wharf are or Nob Hill would be a much better alternative.
kam is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 10:51 AM
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I made a horrible mistake apparently. Last Christmas we stayed at the Hyatt Union Square for several nights. We wandered the area day and night, going to restuarants and theatres in the area. We passed through all the main intersections around Union Square. Like in any city we did see a couple of panhandlers with signs or hands outstretched. We thought it was a wonderful, vibrant area with great restaurants, lots of upscale shoppers and business people and obviously lots of well-heeled tourists as there are a bunch of major hotels in the area which were all filled to capacity.

Then I came home and read on here what a horrible, unsafe, disgusting place it is. I wish I had known that first, because then I could have been looking for that instead of enjoying myself and not seeing anything unsafe or unsavory about the area. It's amazing how blind we must have been not to realize how horrible that area is. Thank goodness we know now!!!

(And yes, for those of you who can't figure it out, I am being very tongue-in-cheek.)
Patrick is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 10:55 AM
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I agree, Patrick! I'm shocked that I had no idea of the urine/feces-filled streets just outside of my hotel. We had a wonderful trip and a beautiful room at the St. Francis, yet I wonder if all the illicit drug activity just outside my window somehow clouded my memories???
Dan is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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During the most recent SF trip with my husband and his parents we stayed in Union Square at the Westin Hotel. The hotel was nice but little did we know before booking it that the area was not that great. We had stayed in SF before and Unio Square was fine, but that was 10 years ago. When we checked into the hotel and went up to the room, we noticed a pamphlet in the with precautions to take when walking around the vicinity of the hotel in Union Square and along Market Street. At first we didn't think much of it until we started walking aroung the Square. Boy they were they right. We saw a lady who had her purse stolen in broad daylight in front of Macy's. That was enough for me.

Livesincali is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2003, 12:14 PM
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How shocking. A woman had her purse stolen in the middle of a major city during broad daylight? I bet that could never happen in New York, or Boston, or Chicago, or Paris, or Rome, or anywhere else.
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