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Old 07-29-2009, 10:49 AM
Status: "Happy Thanksgiving!!!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Miami
6,467 posts, read 13,030,162 times
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Needs some help! Where to stay that is centrally located? We are going to be visiting the San Francisco Bay area in a few months. Been to San Fran a couple of times and done all the touristy stuff, so don't need to do any of that. We are considering a move to the area, this trip is going to be a scout trip to see as much of the bay area as possible. We aren't set on a number of days yet. Here is what we would like to see, Santa Cruz County to the south, San Mateo County, San Jose, cities up and down each side of the San Francisco Bay, Walnut Creek and Southern Marin County. Its a huge area I know, is there a central place that we could stay? Or should be break the trip up and stay in two different hotels, one on the southern end and one in the northern part? If this is the case, what city/areas would you suggest staying? Any advice is helpful.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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I'd break the trip up---that's a *lot* of driving otherwise! You might look for someplace to stay on the Peninsula for the first chunk---then you can head down to Santa Cruz one day and potentially use Caltrain to check out various cities on that side of the Bay. Then stay somewhere in the inner East Bay for the second half; it's an easy (non-rush-hour!) drive to Marin from I-80, and you can also get over to Walnut Creek easily and explore the other East Bay cities fairly readily.

I don't have any good specific recommendations on places to stay, except that you may want to look for hotels close to Caltrain and BART in case you want to go into San Francisco for a break. Redwood City on the Peninsula, maybe? Or Palo Alto? In the East Bay, maybe Berkeley or Emeryville? Since you're just using it as a home base, I'd go for someplace relatively cheap and central to transit and freeways.

Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:27 AM
Status: "Happy Thanksgiving!!!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Miami
6,467 posts, read 13,030,162 times
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^^^Do any of the areas you mentioned have a place to walk around with restaurants and shops, not a mall per se, but more of a small downtown that has become/or is a hip place to hang out with restaurants, bars, shops, etc?
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Both Redwood City and Palo Alto have nice small downtowns (I prefer PA's but I also imagine it's more expensive to stay there---RC's is fairly new so there are still a lot of empty storefronts, but some great little spots are emerging there). I don't know the hotels there, though, so you'd have to see how close to downtown they are (but I'd guess they're pretty close).

In the inner East Bay, Berkeley is probably the better bet. Places close to the university (or ideally just north of it along Shattuck Avenue, the area known as the "Gourmet Ghetto") are walkable to restaurants and shops, although the area is a bit student-y. (Also beware of super cheap rates at motels there---read reviews first!) Some friends who visited recently got a great rate at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, which just reopened after an extensive renovation and is pretty convenient to the downtown area. They were impressed, since it used to be a very mediocre spot. The Claremont Resort is also a nice spot that often has cheapish rooms if you book far enough in advance---it's walkable to Berkeley's Elmwood neighborhood and not far from Oakland's Rockridge area, which are both more upscale stretches of restaurants, bars, and shops, and are close to Highway 24 to get to Walnut Creek and Lamorinda. It really depends on how much you want to spend, though. (The "cheap" rates for those two hotels are still in the $150 range---you can find much cheaper rates at Best Westerns and the like if you go further out, but there aren't too many that are walkable to the nightlife/shopping.)
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:34 PM
Status: "Happy Thanksgiving!!!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Miami
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Thank you for the insight. What do you think about staying in San Jose close to Santana Row?
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
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I'm going to suggest something else. How about Half-Moon Bay? It's close enough to San Francisco and a leisurely drive along 1 to the Santa Cruz area. You could take 17 from there to Los Gatos and San Jose.

It would include more driving but you might enjoy the quiet in this peaceful, quaint little town. And walk along the ocean shore.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:02 PM
Status: "Happy Thanksgiving!!!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Miami
6,467 posts, read 13,030,162 times
Reputation: 2493
I thought about Half Moon Bay, its really cute, we stopped their once for lunch on a trip. Staying east of the 280 in Palo Alto south to San Jose might be a more central spot for this part of the trip. But maybe a peaceful retreat in the morning and the evening in HMB may be nice.
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