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Old 10-04-2018, 05:03 PM
 
47 posts, read 15,656 times
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Hello everybody,

I'll be visiting San Jose, CA and all of The Bay Area. I have some questions.

I'm not sure what Bay Area City I'll sleep in yet. If I sleep in San Jose and want to go to San Francisco, how long will it typically take to drive there? Is traffic to and from SF bad or good?

Where is the closest BART station?

Where are all the safe areas in San Jose and Bay Area overall? What Bay Area city is the safest? Most dangerous?

Is San Jose Airport very hectic or more laid back?

Would I need a car overall in the Bay Area?

Should I expect friendly or rude people?

Thanks
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
1,600 posts, read 1,857,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOldPueblo View Post
{{ Lots of questions }}

Thanks
If I sleep in San Jose and want to go to San Francisco, how long will it typically take to drive there? Is traffic to and from SF bad or good?

It really depends on the time of day. During rush hours (maybe 7:00AM->9:30, and 4PM-7:30) it can be insane in SJ, and all along US-101. ANY freeway is going to have bad traffic during rush hour. I almost always take I-280 between SJ and SF, no matter what time of day (if after 10PM I might drive down US-101) because it skips most of the cities between the two and the drive is through the hills. I also skip US-101 because ONE idiot getting in an accident adds a hell of a lot of time to the drive. google maps will tell you how long it takes to drive any route, BTW - just type in the two addresses (well, first one, then click "directions", then the other). It takes about an hour if the traffic isn't too bad, depending on where you are actually leaving from and going to. (Going to the GoldenGate bridge from South East San Jose is going to take at least 90 minutes - it would be hard to pick places in the two cities further apart.)

Where is the closest BART station?

SF airport on the peninsula, and Fremont in the east bay. For more BART info, visit https://www.bart.gov/ . Want public transportation between SF <-> SJ, take the train (CalTrain). Info here : caltrain.com . If you think you might take public transportation ANYWHERE, you should consider getting a "Clipper Card" ( https://www.clippercard.com/ ). It can be used for transportation of most of the transit authorities in the bay area, including SJ and SF, San Mateo county, CalTrain, BART, Oakland/Berkely (AC Transit), some of the ferries, etc., etc..

Where are all the safe areas in San Jose and Bay Area overall? What Bay Area city is the safest? Most dangerous?

Frankly, I don't feel unsafe in most of the Bay Area - although I tend to stay away from the poor areas (as will you, if you are here for tourism). It is pretty obvious. When you start seeing a lot of poorly painted houses with bars on the windows and old cars, some of the, parked on lawns or up on blocks, it's time to go elsewhere.

Is San Jose Airport very hectic or more laid back?

It is rather laid back - smaller airport, not too much traffic.

Would I need a car overall in the Bay Area?

Yes, absolutely. Unless you wanted to skip San Jose, and most of the peninsula. If you just want to visit places in SF, Oakland, Berkeley - or even "places served by BART and CalTrain" - then no car is necessary. If you decide to stay in SF (or near BART to visit SF/Oak/Berkely) - only rent a car when you want to do something away from pubtrans. You can rent a car for the day, or use ZipCar ( https://www.zipcar.com/ ) to rent by the hour. ZipCar is quite present around universities, BTW.

Should I expect friendly or rude people?

Yes. Both. (Just like everywhere.)
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,166 posts, read 43,444,026 times
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Marcopolo covered most of it for ya, but I'll add my personal thoughts too...

I'm not sure what Bay Area City I'll sleep in yet. If I sleep in San Jose and want to go to San Francisco, how long will it typically take to drive there? Is traffic to and from SF bad or good? Depends on the time of day, as with most traffic patterns. If you take highway 280 the traffic is rarely THAT bad, at least once you get out of San Jose proper; without traffic you're looking at 50-60 minutes to SF city limits, but with traffic it's anyone's guess. Take Caltrain instead if you're going at/near rush hour, and if you won't need a car once you get there. Parking in SF is a nightmare, so this would also save you the hassle of that. And avoid taking highway 101 up the Peninsula.

Where is the closest BART station? SFO or Colma are about equidistant, depending on which freeway you take to get there (280 for the latter, 101 or 280 to 380 for the former). And Fremont in the East Bay.

Where are all the safe areas in San Jose and Bay Area overall? What Bay Area city is the safest? Most dangerous? Most of it is fairly safe, but the "bad neighborhoods" in a nutshell would include East Palo Alto (separate city from Palo Alto), east San Jose around Alum Rock, Hunter's Point/Bayview & Tenderloin in SF, and parts of Oakland, Richmond & Hayward in the East Bay. Just be smart and aware of your surroundings, and you should be fine just about anywhere here.

Is San Jose Airport very hectic or more laid back? Pretty laid back, in my opinion... much less crowded than SFO, and easy to navigate once you're inside. Just watch out for the parking Nazis! Whoever is doing the pickup/dropoff needs to keep circling, and don't stop for more than 10 seconds or they'll start threatening you.

Would I need a car overall in the Bay Area? Generally yes, unless you want to rely on Lyft/Uber the whole time. Getting around San Francisco can be doable without a car, but the public transit in San Jose and the Peninsula is almost completely useless. Sad but true.

Should I expect friendly or rude people? I think we're pretty friendly! But of course there are rude people everywhere, especially on the roads... watch out for crazy drivers, lol. If you need help with directions or recommendations while you're walking around, however, most locals will gladly offer their assistance if you ask politely.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,166 posts, read 43,444,026 times
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P.S. Since this might not be obvious to non-locals, when I refer to "The Peninsula," that encompasses the cities between San Jose and San Francisco; basically north Santa Clara County and all of San Mateo County.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:12 PM
 
47 posts, read 15,656 times
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If it takes 1 hour to go to SF each time, I may just use San Jose Airport, rent a car, and drive to SF. I was wanting to explore San Jose, but it seems like it's way too far from the rest of the Bay Area and may be its own city. I really don't want to deal with the heavy California traffic and being stuck for 2 hours. I'm coming from Tucson, AZ, a small city. We have traffic, but nowhere near as bad as anywhere in California.

LA I imagine has much worse traffic than the Bay Area. I'm using San Jose Airport because I got an excellent deal for such a cheap price to go up to a World Class City.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
16,701 posts, read 20,456,636 times
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Where is the closest BART station?

Fremont - so, getting around by BART is not convenient from San Jose.

Where are all the safe areas in San Jose and Bay Area overall? What Bay Area city is the safest? Most dangerous?

This is too difficult to answer. Most cities have good and bad areas. Some cities, however, are safe overall. For instance, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale and Los Altos don't have reputations for having any areas that are not safe. But, this is not inclusive.

Is San Jose Airport very hectic or more laid back?

More laid back.

Would I need a car overall in the Bay Area?

YES!

Should I expect friendly or rude people?

Friendly. I teach ESL conversation classes, as a volunteer, and all of my students regularly mention how surprised they are at how friendly Americans are - from everywhere including Russia, Brazil, Germany, China, Japan, Taiwan, etc. This is also my personal experience. If you are friendly, then you will encounter friendly people here. The culture is very friendly and helpful.

Welcome!
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:03 AM
 
40 posts, read 21,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOldPueblo View Post
If it takes 1 hour to go to SF each time, I may just use San Jose Airport, rent a car, and drive to SF. I was wanting to explore San Jose, but it seems like it's way too far from the rest of the Bay Area and may be its own city. I really don't want to deal with the heavy California traffic and being stuck for 2 hours. I'm coming from Tucson, AZ, a small city. We have traffic, but nowhere near as bad as anywhere in California.

LA I imagine has much worse traffic than the Bay Area. I'm using San Jose Airport because I got an excellent deal for such a cheap price to go up to a World Class City.

There is not much to explore in San Jose proper. It's a suburb. All of the bay area is a suburb.



If you are mainly going to visit SF, then stay in SF. If you are going to drive to Santa Cruz and/or Monterey and/or get out of the bay area, then Fremont may be a good choice (good access to BART to places north and freeways to places south). If you want to go to wine country (places north), then SF is a much better base.



Do not drive to SF. Parking is atrocious. Drive to a bart and ride in.
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:06 PM
 
47 posts, read 15,656 times
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Thanks for all of your answers. I'd say most likely I'm gonna stay possibly in Dublin, CA and take BART into the city. I don't think there is much to do in San Jose, except maybe go to malls. Everything seems to be within the BART stops.
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:29 PM
 
2,489 posts, read 4,555,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOldPueblo View Post
Thanks for all of your answers. I'd say most likely I'm gonna stay possibly in Dublin, CA and take BART into the city. I don't think there is much to do in San Jose, except maybe go to malls. Everything seems to be within the BART stops.
One could not make a worse choice for visiting the Bay area. If you drive to SF you will be jammed on the Bay Bridge. 80% of the interesting neighborhoods and SF sights are not near Bart. Examples include Golden Gate Park, de Young Museum, Lands End Trail,Legion of Honor,Ocean Beach, Twin Peaks, Inner Richmond & Clement St., Marina, Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, Pacific Heights etc.etc.

Even San Jose would be a better choice than Dublin since one could visit Mountain View downtown,Palo Alto downtown and Stanford Univ.

A better choice would be a mid-peninsula choice like Redwood City. One could easily drive up the 280 to see all the interesting western SF sites and still be able to take the train to dt SF.

I recommend staying at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica. One could visit downtown SF by taking the Bart at Colma and drive to Golden Gate Park and the other western areas of SF. One could also easily drive down the coast highway to visit Half Moon Bay.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:42 PM
 
47 posts, read 15,656 times
Reputation: 18
Do people honk their horns in the Bay Area? Like for everything you do in your car, do people just honk for no good reason? Like if your turning and there are so many cars, like tons and tons of cars, do people honk over and over again and expect you to get hit by a car? How bad is the horn honking over there? If your polite and you let someone into your lane, will the driver behind honk? If you don't go right away at a green light, do people honk after a fraction of a second the light turns green?

I'm asking because when someone honks at me, I get very offended because I'm a good defensive driver and those who honk are so rude in my opinion.
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