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Old 03-20-2012, 10:30 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
650 posts, read 1,737,714 times
Reputation: 621

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New Yorker thinking of visiting SF for the first time and I'm not sure where to visit. I'm thinking of coming the first week of June for 4 days. I love dim sum so I'm thinking of renting a hotel at Hotel Nikko by the SF chinatown and try a different restaurant each morning.

I'm thinking of visiting Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge/park, ride the cable cars, walk the bridge, SF zoo, Fisherman's Wharf, Union sq, and maybe visit Alcatraz. Here are my questions:

-Is there anywhere else I should visit?
-Is 4 days too much or too little? I was thinking maybe spend 3 days at SF and then fly to Vegas for 2 days.
-Is $950 for 4 days, 3 nights for two people at Nikko Hotel (financial district) too much?
-What are the dangerous areas to avoid? Should I even bother visiting Oakland?
-Do I need to rent a car or is the Bart and cable cars enough to travel the city?
-Is there any other places to visit outside of SF? Palo Alto? San Jose?

Thank you!
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:47 PM
 
203 posts, read 411,048 times
Reputation: 214
no wine country?
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:49 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 12,481,672 times
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- Fisherman's Wharf is a total tourist trap, I wouldn't bother with it.
- $950 for 3 nights is pretty expensive, see if you can find hotels that are more like $200 a night. Maybe check out the Tomo in Japantown.
- In my opinion the food in Chinatown is usually not that good and a lot of the dim sum places are really dirty and low quality. Lots of people like Yank Sing for dim sum, but they're in downtown. House of Nanking and Hunan Homes are both good Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, but they aren't dim sum joints.
- The main crappy areas of SF that tourists risk running into are the Tenderloin and the Mission...the crappy part of the Mission is mostly anything on or east of Mission. Valencia Street or further west in the Mission are way less grimy though still very urban and might unduly frighten suburbanites.
- Oakland is a great place to live but not very touristy compared to SF. SF has more tourist sites, more restaurants, and is more walkable. The San Jose area is not really worth a trip either. If you want to do any travel outside of SF you could get a car and drive up into some of the nature parks in Marin like Muir Woods. Downtown Berkeley might be worth a BART trip too if you're interested in the town at all, though it's not very touristy either.
- You won't want a car in SF, except for a few areas it's very hard to find street parking and garages are very expensive. BART is great and very fast but only serves a small part of the city. Muni buses and light rail are the main way to get around and cover pretty much all the city. You can use nextbus.com to see when the next bus is coming. The cable cars only serve a very small part of the city and so they aren't really useful except for getting to Fisherman's Wharf from downtown, plus they're $5 a ride now I think. Also try and get a Muni day pass or 3-day pass to save yourself from digging for change:

Muni Visitor Passports and San Francisco CityPASS
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Northern California
3,704 posts, read 14,093,346 times
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Hotel Nikko (at Mason & O'Farrell) is on the edge of the Tenderloin and is run-down with lots of homeless. Safe during the day, but be careful at night. If you can get a good deal at the Nikko, go for it! $950 should be plenty. It depends what kind of hotel deal you can get.

You don't need a car - no where to park! You can get a 3 day pass for the light rail, cable car and buses - cheaper than paying per ride. Use the light rail (Muni Metro) to get around the city. Here's a map: http://www.transit.511.org/static/pr...2200722226.pdf You can use it to go to the beach and zoo. The eastern half runs underground in subways. Most public transit shuts down around midnight.

Here's a list of places to see: Best Things to Do: San Francisco Activities I wouldn't bother going to Oakland - you can fill up 4 days in SF.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:29 PM
 
Location: surrounded by reality
537 posts, read 1,124,430 times
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I usually like to take hop-on/hop-off bus tours when I want to get familiar with a city and then come back to explore things I see. I believe there are two companies that offer those kind of tours in SF, but in my experience they are average at best. You can search yelp for hop-on hop-off to take a look at the details.

A couple of weeks ago in the Chronicle there was an article about taking MUNI to get an idea about the city and I think this is a better way to go. I believe the author recommended taking J-Church or L-Taraval. Here's the link San Francisco Muni Railway a magical mystery tour
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:40 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,370 times
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I would definitely either take highway one or seventeen, depending on prefference of view, and head down to Santa Cruz. the scenery is amazing and it is the perfect little beach town. It's also only about 30-45 minutes away from Monterey/Carmel. 4 days may not be enough time to see all these places, but if you have the chance, i highly recommend them. Good luck!
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:37 PM
 
3,057 posts, read 5,688,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nudetypist View Post
I love dim sum so I'm thinking of renting a hotel at Hotel Nikko by the SF chinatown and try a different restaurant each morning.
Two good places for Dim Sum are Great Eastern & City View. Great Eastern is where Obama got dim sum takeout. The best most authentic dim sum places tend to be in the Richmond disrict(e.g. Hong Kong Lounge), Daly City(Koi Palace,Tai Wu,Dim Sum King) or Millbrae(Asian Pearl).

President Obama gets Chinese takeout at Chinatown

City View Restaurant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nudetypist View Post
Should I even bother visiting Oakland?
Peony is a huge Hong Kong style dim sum restaurant in Oakland Chinatown. Go on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds.

Restaurant Peony
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:59 PM
 
7 posts, read 7,763 times
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Wink SF courtesy info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nudetypist View Post
New Yorker thinking of visiting SF for the first time and I'm not sure where to visit. I'm thinking of coming the first week of June for 4 days. I love dim sum so I'm thinking of renting a hotel at Hotel Nikko by the SF chinatown and try a different restaurant each morning.

I'm thinking of visiting Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge/park, ride the cable cars, walk the bridge, SF zoo, Fisherman's Wharf, Union sq, and maybe visit Alcatraz. Here are my questions:

-Is there anywhere else I should visit?
-Is 4 days too much or too little? I was thinking maybe spend 3 days at SF and then fly to Vegas for 2 days.
-Is $950 for 4 days, 3 nights for two people at Nikko Hotel (financial district) too much?
-What are the dangerous areas to avoid? Should I even bother visiting Oakland?
-Do I need to rent a car or is the Bart and cable cars enough to travel the city?
-Is there any other places to visit outside of SF? Palo Alto? San Jose?

Thank you!
Call the Nordstrom store at 5th & Market, ask for Charna or Paul. They are locals who can suggest a multitude of hotels, restaurants, etc. Nordstrom used to offer a shuttle service from the store, which could save you a few bucks.

Hotel Nikko is lovely, serves good food, but is spendy (and not that safe at night). Maiden Lane has a terrific little deli for breakfast outdoors. The wharf is a tourist trap, but if you ride the cable car it will drop you at the Buena Vista, where you should experience an Irish coffee or two. Not only will you meet the locals at this spot, but you will meet people from all over the world. I met eight Canadians and gave them a mini-tour of the City. You might enjoy taking a ride over the bay to Sausalito...nice views, good shopping, and relaxing.

If you want day trips, think Napa or Monterey/Carmel. If you go to Napa, the St. Helena and Calistoga areas are charming...if you like literature, there is also the Jack London park up that way. Monterey/ Carmel offer gorgeous ocean views and a peaceful day in a quaint town. You can visit Steinbeck's, go to Cannery Row, Eastwood ranch/restaurant, or visit Montery Bay Aquarium. Have fun!

I used to live in SF for nearly twenty-five years...retired to Mt. Shasta, but return many times a year! Love it there!
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:26 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
650 posts, read 1,737,714 times
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Thanks for the info everyone!

So what's so bad about the Tenderloins or Mission area? According to google maps, looks like a bunch of latin and asian places. Very similar to the neighborhood I grew up in. Are there gang activity? Just wondering.

Fisherman's Wharf is beginning to sound like the Times Sq of NY. Tourist trap but still worth seeing once at least. Is there anything in Fisherman's Wharf worth seeing? Or just a bunch of shops overcharging for stuff?

Oh and where's the closest beach? Last time I was in San Diego I got food poisoning and didn't get a chance to test the pacific waters. Is the city beach clean to swim in? Like in all those california photos.

Thank you.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:01 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,523 posts, read 20,371,504 times
Reputation: 20207
you can read up on SF neighborhoods at San Francisco Neighborhoods — Bay Area Travel — SFGate

Repeatedly described in most tourist guides as "the worst neighborhood in San Francisco," the Tenderloin thrives despite its bad rap. Sure, there are Tenderloinloads of drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes and mentally unstable street people, but if you can get past that, you'll find it is also one of the city's most exciting and diverse locales.

Getting its funky, florid nickname from the days when policemen were paid more to work its mean streets, thereby affording the cops better cuts of meat, the Tenderloin is moving up these days. A heavy influx of Vietnamese families in the last two decades has been instrumental in achieving -- if not entirely responsible for -- its face-lift. And then there are those incredibly delicious sandwiches you can get at the corner markets.
This area is perhaps the last frontier in SF's ever-expanding gentrification trend, and you can still stumble on unpolished gems in the form of incredible cooking, unpredictable bar scenes, independently owned stores and great live music.


The streets aren't the cleanest, and you will be approached frequently by strangers, so just stay alert and don't let it get to you. You have to hunt a little harder for your treasures in the 'Loin, but in a city increasingly headed toward high-end everything, it's a small price to pay.

IMO, while it may be a "gem" for locals, it's not a tourist destination.
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