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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Would it be helpful to have a car? We are fine with renting a car for the entire time, but were advised that it would be more of a frustration than a benefit because it would be so hard to find parking and parking costs a fortune.
    No. If you or your husband have a smartphone (like an iPhone or Android phone), it would be far better (and cheaper) to splurge on one (or a partial) month's worth of U.S. data roaming on the phone so that you can pull up Google Maps and map out an impromptu public transit itinerary wherever you are, on the fly.

    With U.S. mobile phone companies, such an international data roaming plan can cost as little as an extra $10-20/month, depending on the amount of usage you pay for, and assuming you shut off the signal religiously when not using it. The GPS/mapping and public transit features have been invaluable to me in my last few international trips.

    Even if you really really want to stay out in the sticks, like Ocean Beach, MUNI does serve these areas, albeit intermittently, either via MUNI light rail or via MUNI bus.

    Again, keep in mind that MUNI is the City of San Francisco's own public transit system and is completely separate from BART, which is a regional subway. Also, per your earlier post, keep in mind that while SF cable cars are run by MUNI, there is a special $6 fare for those, while regular MUNI light rail streetcars charge $2 and offer free transfers to other light rail streetcars, and MUNI buses, for a 90-minute period. Also, once you get here, it will be worth it to get a Clipper card, which is a loadable card that you can use to pay for all forms of public transit, whether MUNI or BART.

    Japanfan, when specifically are you going to be in SF?

  2. #62
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    I have stayed in SF with a car. The hotel had a daily fee for overnight parking, but for getting around, I loved it. Most areas are easy with public transit, but I liked it for getting from one end to the other end. Some areas (Haight-Ashbury) I had an easy time parking as well as museums and the Exploratorium or crossing the GG Bridge and hanging out in Sausalito or the bay Bridge and going to Oakland. The hotel you posted said it's nearby - a car for one day could be nice. Not necessary, but it gives you more freedom to go to areas outside of downtown quite easily. My first time parking, I was a mess, but some guy offered to park for me. After that trip, I practiced parallel parking on hills and now I'm pretty good at it.

  3. #63
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    A lot of places have much better parking situation than SF so if you plan to go to say Sausalito, a car would be great. Downtown, Nob Hill, the Marina--forget about it.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Parking is a MAJOR PITA in San Francisco. I would stay somewhere close to places of interest, some walkable, some use of MUNI. You could have a car, but factor in time to find parking and pay the meter. Certain areas and times are really bad
    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    No no no no no no no no no no no no!

    NO!

    I drive very comfortably around LA, but parking in SF is a NIGHTMARE. First, there's no parking. Second, there's all these crazy-steep hills so street parking is....fun. If you have a car, budget half an hour to find parking. I'm not kidding.

    My sister survives without a car, living in SF. She just doesn't own one. She walks everywhere and takes the bus or BART or the cable car, whatever is available.
    Parking's not so difficult, if you know the right places.

    Actually, I think the advice I gave to Japanfan still holds true. If she wants to go on her own to places like the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, the Cliff House, Golden Gate Park, the Haight-Ashbury, the Marina, and Muir Woods, then having a car would be useful. If she's going to stick around Union Square, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and SoMa, then, yes, parking can be difficult.

  5. #65

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    Thanks for all the tips. Neither of us has a Smart Phone, UBMS Go Blue. Appreciate the info about transit fees.

    We'll be there May 1-5 and then are driving east to Reno to visit family and planning to stop in Napa or somewhere else en route. Then back to San Fransisco to fly home May 9.

    We were going to rent a car for four days anyway so I just went ahead and rented it for the whole time. Parking is free at the motel and given the inconvenience of the location, a car could come in handy for at least some of our excursions.
    Last edited by Japanfan; 04-02-2013 at 04:42 AM.

  6. #66
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    OK, Vagabond, where do you park in Pacific Heights/Cow Hollow after the work day is over? Or Downtown? I once had to work at the very beginning of California street which is at Embarcadero--got a tip for all day cheap parking?

    Japanfan, if you drive Downtown, obviously, it would be much faster but once you get there, best of luck with parking. There are some flat rate garages that aren't too bad but it does add up.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Japanfan, if you drive Downtown, obviously, it would be much faster but once you get there, best of luck with parking. There are some flat rate garages that aren't too bad but it does add up.
    Oh, that's been made clear and we wouldn't try. But since we are staying so far out perhaps we can combine driving and public transit. I prefer to avoid lengthy transit waits - which we apparently will have to get to Ocean Beach - especially if the weather is cold and/or wet.

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    Also, can someone be more precise as to what constitutes 'downtown'? Thanx.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    OK, Vagabond, where do you park in Pacific Heights/Cow Hollow after the work day is over? Or Downtown? I once had to work at the very beginning of California street which is at Embarcadero--got a tip for all day cheap parking?


    Responses by PM only. Please send

    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Also, can someone be more precise as to what constitutes 'downtown'? Thanx.
    Roughly speaking, the Union Square area, the Financial District, the area around the Embarcadero Center and the Ferry Building, and anything south of Market St., east of Fifth Street, and north of about Harrison St. would be "Downtown."
    Last edited by Vagabond; 04-02-2013 at 02:21 PM.

  10. #70
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    Doesn't Muni do the tourist passes any more? I remember them being good value and including cable cars.

  11. #71
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    They do, although IMHO "good value" is only 7 days for $28.
    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passports.htm

    I'd say: skip the touristy stuff like the cable cars ($6). They're maybe good for a one-time experience (although as a local, I appreciate the experience every now and then, the more familiar I become with everything that goes by), but that's about it. With Google Maps you can stitch together a virtually identical bus route that costs $2.

    Otherwise, do the math: you'd need to ride a cable car X amount of times a day (otherwise worth $6), on top of riding MUNI Y amount of times a day (otherwise worth $2, with free transfers for 90 minutes), to make a $14 one-day pass or $22 three-day pass work. And the cable cars only go in two paths: from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf (north-south), and along California Street (east-west). They don't take you to any of the cool places in town, which there are many: the Lower Haight/Alamo Square/Diviz corridor, the Mission, the Castro, Cole Valley, SoMa, plus budding pockets in Potrero/Dogpatch and the Inner Sunset.

    Also, on the link above, there's a City Pass which I'd definitely skip. The only thing remotely worthwhile for a tourist would be the Bay cruise, which you can get at discounted prices on Groupon every once in a while. The other museums listed in City Pass are fine for locals to frequent and support enthusiastically, but not necessarily world-class or even worth going out of your way as a tourist in SF when there's so many other things to do in your limited time here that are indeed world-class.

    On that note, here's a LivingSocial deal currently available for a Bay cruise, which I've done before.
    http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/1...cruise-for-two
    Last edited by UMBS Go Blue; 04-02-2013 at 09:42 AM.

  12. #72
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    Quite timely - a cool interactive SF neighborhood guide from an equally cool SF-oriented blog/online mag.

    http://www.thebolditalic.com/map

    Per your point about restaurants, Japanfan, going out to eat is almost always a social, engaging experience in SF, no matter if you're a party of 1 or 2 or with a large group - and no matter if you're going to a take-out deli/sandwich shop, a casual sit-down eatery, or something super fancy. Food, wine, and nightlife - plus an irreverent, innovation-oriented culture, fabulous scenery, and outdoor opportunities galore - help make this otherwise small city world-class. Don't miss out on restaurants, because there's all sorts of places for all sorts of people, tastes, occasions, and purposes.

    That having been said, in a few days I'll list some places I'm familiar with in the Mission/Castro neighborhoods which are anything but stuffy, quiet, fancy, sit-down places. Many of these will be take-out/counter service places where you can easily grab a quick meal and head on out to Dolores Park for an impromptu picnic and a (hopefully) sunny day of people- and skyline-watching.
    Last edited by UMBS Go Blue; 04-03-2013 at 12:14 AM.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Oh, that's been made clear and we wouldn't try. But since we are staying so far out perhaps we can combine driving and public transit. I prefer to avoid lengthy transit waits - which we apparently will have to get to Ocean Beach - especially if the weather is cold and/or wet.
    It is always cold and foggy by Ocean Beach. I agree with Vagabond that it is a good idea to have a car if you're going to certain areas. And it would be nice to have the option of spending a day going over the Golden Gate Bridge to go hiking at Mt. Tam or Point Reyes or to go to Sausalito or the wine country. I still believe that the Marina area would be a much better choice for you because it's more convenient, nicer, and one of the most upscale and safest neighborhoods in San Francisco. But, if you're going to stay by Ocean Beach, definitely consider a car. (The L isn't too bad to the Outer Sunset, but it still takes a long time. The buses to the Outer Richmond have been getting worse and you'll find yourself very frustrated if you try to rely on the 5 or the 38.)

    As far as parking downtown, there are a few optionsfor parking. (BTW, I think people are using the term downtown to refer to anything from the Union Square area down Market Street to the area by the Ferry Building/Embarcadero BART station and a number of blocks on either side of Market.) If you do want to go downtown and park there, you'll have much better luck finding affordable parking on the weekends. The most affordable lots by Union Square are a number of blocks away and in areas where you might not feel safe. OTOH, there are fairly affordable lots near the Ferry Building on weekends You could park there and use that as a base for anything you want to do downtown. I can't remember the exact location -- maybe around California and Battery -- but I drove to the Ferry Building for the Saturday farmers market a few months ago, and we paid just a few dollars for parking that was fairly close to the Ferry Building. (However, if there's a baseball game that day, all the parking lots around there are expensive.)

    If you don't mind a nice walk along the water and you're planning to go to Alcatraz, you might consider parking by the Ferry Building, going to the Ferry Building for the farmers market and brunch or lunch, and then walking down the embarcadero to where the Alcatraz ferry departs. Then walk back to your car when you return. (Keep in mind that, if you want to go to Alcatraz, you'll have to get tickets in advance. Angel Island tickets are easier to get.)

  14. #74
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    I had an espresso at Ritual yesterday and it was BITTAH.

    It's definitely not the Sasha Cohen of coffee, more like the Melissa Bulanhagui, Linda Fratianne, or Irina Slutskaya of coffee. Take your pick.


  16. #76
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    I hear Dunkin' Donuts is moving into California, then.

  17. #77
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    Both Ritual and Blue Bottle feature prominently in this video, as does Sightglass (although IMHO it's more about the gorgeous space than the coffee): http://www.dearcoffeeiloveyou.com/ca...ip-miniseries/

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