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San Francisco Sights and Hotel Stays

Travel Forums North America San Francisco Sights and Hotel Stays

1. Posted by yowyow81 (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y

Dear All,

My Intention is to stay a couple of days (3-4 days) in San Francisco, as i will be in the California for 2 weeks. Well, i have a dilemma here with the hotels stays. There are so much variety of hotels over there, it's driving me nuts by choosing the right hotel. I have narrowed down to 3 hotels for my stays :

1. Union Square Hotel
2. King George Hotel
3. The Andrew Hotel

These hotels have met my budget constraint of $140-$150 per night

Perhaps, any travelers who have been there and done that would kindly advise/comment on any recommended hotels andr the ones i have mentioned

Also, please advise on the preferred mode of transportation. Likely destinations would be Fisherman Wharfs and the island prison. (Forgotten what's it called). If there's any "not to be missed" destination that i cannot avoid, Please do highlight it ! I am clueless in SF area. Oh yeah, before i forget, what is a great place to catch a view of the golden gate bridge ?

Note :Personally, do not mind visits to a few galleries and stuff. Any great bargains for shopping. Sights and Scenic places. That's all i can think about at the moment. Any great Restaurants to recommend ?

Looking forward to your kind replies.

[ Edit: Edited on Jun 23, 2008, at 11:11 PM by yowyow81 ]

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

All three of these are pretty good hotels in pretty good locations, but if I were picking one, I'd go with the Union Square Hotel (it's actually called the Handlery Union Square hotel) first, then the Andrew hotel second, and the King George hotel third.

For transportation, it depends on when you are going--and where. The most fun is the cable cars, but they have a long wait during the summer months--and to get on it at its beginning spot (so you can guarantee a spot), go two blocks south from the Handlery and wait in the line (which will probably take 20 to 30 minutes to allow you to get on). If you just want to get there (to Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry over to Alcatraz prison--which is a short walk from Fisherman's Wharf) quickly, then take a taxi. Taxis are quite reasonable to go from Union Square to the Fisherman's Wharf area--like maybe 8 to 10 dollars tops one-way. (Cable cars are I believe $3 per person one-way). Oh, and to get to your hotel you can either take a bus from the airport, or take the BART subway system and then walk the three fairly short blocks or get a taxi from the Powell Street subway stop to get to the hotel. (P.S. Once you pass Union Square the hills get LARGE--so anybody reading this who plans to stay at a hotel farther north than this, recognize that walking there with luggage is impossible.

The great thing about staying at Union Square is that it is the center of all the shopping. Macy's, Tiffany's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, and other top stores are either on the square or in the two blocks just east of the square. To find more deals go the the shopping mall across the street from where you get on the cable cars (two blocks south).

For a great view of the Golden Gate, get a taxi over to the Palace of Fine Arts and then walk towards the beach--or have them take you right to the base of the bridge--which you can walk across on your own. There are many city buses and tour buses which will also take you there.

Great restaurants will be close to your hotel, and at Fisherman's Wharf and in Little Italy and Chinatown (both of which you will pass through when you go from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf). For a great view of downtown and the Bay bridge, go to the restaurant at the Hilton at night (this is about 1 1/2 blocks from your hotel, so you can walk it if it's not too cold), and then go to the restaurant which is on the 44th floor. Call ahead and ask for something on the Bay side, which is the east side (not the ocean side, which is the west side), and you'll see what I consider the best view in all of San Francisco. The only great view is to take a tour bus across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island and get the view looking back towards San Francisco itself.

Other great things to see are the Boudoin bakery at Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square (just a few blocks west of Fisherman's Wharf), the Ferry Building on the east edge of town, and, of course, there are tours to either the Napa/Sonoma wine country, the Muir Woods, or south to Monterey and Carmel.

P.S. The only areas to avoid will be going west from your hotel about 4 blocks or more, or if you go south past the shopping mall I mentioned earlier. Once you get into those areas, then you'll run into quite a few homeless or vagrant people, who reside in these cheaper areas because it's all they can afford.

Enjoy

3. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Oh, I forgot to give you some names of some good restaurants:

First, the one at the Hilton is called Cityscape--which you'll need to book ahead if you want the great view. They also have a band and dancing later in the evening.
www.cityscaperestaurant.com

Then in Chinatown, there are a bunch of good ones, but I like Empress of China best.

In Little Italy, most anyplace on Columbus Avenue in north beach is great. I highly recommend the Crab Fettucini at Calzone's with a glass of Chianti. And down at Fisherman's Wharf, try McCormick and Kuleto's at Ghiradelli Square or (for the people that want the best lobster dinners and don't mind the price, there's Scoma's).

And there are lots of bars and pubs all over town--so I won't recommend just one or two.

Enjoy

4. Posted by yowyow81 (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y

Thanks for prompt reply. Appreciate it greatly. Will be in SF in Sept 2008.

Was surfing the web and found this CityPass at $54 for 7 days ! Do you think it is wise to purchase it ? What is the best way to see Alcatraz ? Do you think that visiting it with a cruise package would be great ?

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Go to this earlier post of mine which discusses the advantages of the Citypass:

http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=48678

Oh, and the cable cars went up to $5 per person--I had forgotten this.

Enjoy

6. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

I prefer these small hotels in the Union Square/Nob Hill area:

the Beresford Arms at Post and Jones -or- the Cornell Hotel at Powell and Bush

I have personally stayed at both places and they're very good. The Cornell is French owned and breakfast is included. The Beresford provides an afternoon wine and cheese hour. These are boutique hotels in the same price range - very European (I dislike large convention hotels like the SF Hilton!)

You will love SF, it is tiny and much of it can be explored on foot. Do not overlook the terrific views from Twin Peaks lookout (360 degree) or the view from the top of Buena Vista Park on Haight St. You can also rent a bike and ride it across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito in Marin County.

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Daawgon,

I'm agreeing with you on not staying at the Hilton--a smaller hotel is better.

My point was just that the restaurant at the Hilton (Cityscape) has the best view in town (and pretty good food, entertainment and dancing).

8. Posted by yowyow81 (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y

Guys,

Once again, i like to thank you guys for provision of these helpful information. But, i would like to enquire about the dangers in traveling in SF. Perhaps, if you could name some places to avoid when you are traveling in the night. Are the public transportation like trains and buses safe during nighttime ?

I have been reading about the high violent crime rate happening in SF. Likewise, i have also read alot of fun and great stuffs about SF too. So it would be a great help if anyone can provide information on the crime scene in SF .

Thank you

yowyow81

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

Dont miss Alcatraz. I loved Alcatraz! Try and take the last boat out there so that dusk is starting to fall. Not only does it lend atmosphere to the trip, but also you get to see the lights of San Fran and Golden Gate Bridge by night on the trip back which is really beautiful.