Hi All, headed to san francisco early next year (first visit) can anyone give suggestions on the best place to base myself for a touristy visit.

13 replies

Rach24

Member since 30 Jan 2014

Total posts 84

Hi All, headed to san francisco early next year (first visit) can anyone give suggestions on the best place to base myself for a touristy visit.. im tossing up between union square area/fishermans wharf. Any suggestions would be great..

On a side note such sad news this morning.. what a shock to get up to this morning

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

Safety in San Fran is an issue, both Union Sq and Fishermans Wharf are safer than most areas but that is a relative term.  Union is infested with pickpockets, panhandlers and homeless people on the "make", but serious crime is rare. Be sure not to stray into the Tenderloin area though. The Wharf is a bit less hectic but still the same problems. A heightened sense of awareness is required in both areas, but shops and restaurants mean neither is dangerously deserted until quite late at night. Usually plenty of cops in both.

Gian

VA Platinum

Member since 26 Mar 2014

Total posts 88

Staying at Fishermans wharf is great. Alot of great places to eat.

Nice to walk down the Embarcadero past all the Wharfs.

Its only about a $15 cab ride into the downtown area too if you need to get there.

Hugo

Member since 12 Jun 2013

Total posts 217

As a former SF local, I would disagree with Fisherman's Wharf being in any way "great". I think it's a touristy hellhole which few locals would ever venture into, or think about except to mock or to be glad that it exists to keep all the obese midwestern tourists out of the actual city. Good restaurants? Heck no, there's an In N Out and a bunch of chain garbage plus a few overpriced seafood places. 

Most of the tourist "attractions" there are rubbish. Alcatraz is worth a look if you've got a spare day, so that's a reason to go there. It's fun to look at the sea lions. And Fisherman's Wharf is fine as a place to walk through on the way from the Ferry Building to the Marina and the Golden Gate Bridge, but I'd hate to actually stay there.

If you *do* go, then be aware that you'll probably want to go to the Marina to get a decent meal; that's a short pleasant walk across Fort Mason. 

I'd stay at Union Square personally (if those were my choices), but beware that some places that advertise themselves as being at "Union Square" are really in the Tenderloin -- if it's more than a block west of the square itself then forget it. Plenty of decent hotels in the Financial District or SoMA as well. Nob Hill is great if you don't mind a bit of a hike -- homeless people in San Francisco are too lazy to climb hills, which is why all the nice places are at the top...

Koru17

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

Member since 04 Sep 2012

Total posts 103

Agreed, with Wilsoni and Gian, Fishermans' Wharf is the best place to stay. It's close to most of the attractions (Wax Museum, Pier 39, Alcatraz Tours, short walk to GG bridge etc). There are also some very good upscale restuarnts there as well. Might I suggest the Sheraton Fishermans' Wharf as it is good location wise.

Avoid Union Square at all costs. It's busy and rather dodgy. If you wanted a more Urban location, try looking at Nob Hill. You will get some great views of the bay. There is the InterContinental Mark Hopkins and the Fairmont.

Overall SFO is a great place to visit - one of my most favourie cities.

PS: If you are looking to fly there, I'd fly Air NZ as they offer a direct flight AKL-SFO. It is MUCH easier to connect @ AKL rather than change airlines / terminals at LAX :)

Rach24

Member since 30 Jan 2014

Total posts 84

great info thanks, I mean we will be doing all the tourist stuff as well as wanting to hit the food scene as ive heard theres some great eats there.. any hotel recommendations?

RealKid

Member since 20 May 2014

Total posts 92

I used to live in SF, and I would agree with Hugo that Fisherman's Wharf is not the place to stay in San Francisco. 

My favourite hotel in SF is the Fairmont or the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins.  Both are located really well in my opinion, you can have a nice walk to both Fisherman's Wharf and Market St./ Union Square.  They are both on California and Mason, so there are cable cars at your doorstep if you are into that sort of thing.

Food-wise, San Francisco is quite amazing.  You would be missing out if you didn't take the short trip over to Berkeley, though.  Berkeley is where 'California' cuisine arguably originated, and there are a handful of absolutely world class restaurants there. 

Chez Panisse and Gather are two of my favourite restaurants in the area, and would be well worth the trip to Berkeley.  It's about a 30 minute ride on the rapid transit system from SF, just across the bay.

Hugo

Member since 12 Jun 2013

Total posts 217

Chez Panisse is good, but my favourite place to eat in Berkeley is at Cheeseboard Pizza.

They only do one type of pizza per day, so you stand in line, tell 'em how many slices you want, and they usually throw in a few bonus slices.

Today's pizza I just looked up: "Oyster and cremini mushroom, baby kale, mozzarella and Gruyere (12-month cave aged) cheese, garlic olive oil, parsley". Arr nom nom, I'll take that over the far more expensive Chez Panisse across the road any day. 

Rach24

Member since 30 Jan 2014

Total posts 84

Thanks koru17, I was focusing in on fishermans wharf so Im glad you guys all give it good reports.. We are actually travelling with asiana (doing a short stopover in seoul) has anyone used the j product with them? seems to get good reviews

Koru17

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

Member since 04 Sep 2012

Total posts 103

Thats alright Rach24. I have not flown on OZ before - but I have heard that their service is really good. As long as it has a lie-flat bed you will be fine. In any case J is always better than Y. Enjoy your trip!

Rach24

Member since 30 Jan 2014

Total posts 84

Thanks Hugo for your thoughts. So where would your number one place to stay be? for both ease of access to good areas to visit/safe place to stay?

Hugo

Member since 12 Jun 2013

Total posts 217

On my last visit I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which is pretty much at the intersection of Market St and Embarcardero. From there you can easily access pretty much all forms of transportation (streetcar along Embarcardero, MUNI Metro, BART, cable car, or even ferry across the bay) so it's got good access to all other parts of the city; of course it's pretty easy to get a taxi (or an Uber, if you want to do like the locals do...) That's a safe (in usual big city terms) area, all the bums are much further down Market St. 

Don't get me too wrong though, there are some perfectly nice hotels near Fisherman's Wharf and it's perfectly possible to have a nice trip to San Francisco while sleeping at a Fisherman's Wharf hotel and spending your actual days elsewhere. 

reno

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 20 Sep 2013

Total posts 317

Carmel and the central coast Rach24.Fine dining,nice people and the best coast line in the world.Just 90mins south on a good day.

Rach24

Member since 30 Jan 2014

Total posts 84

Im always looking for great food experience it all sounds great. I may look into nob hill as a location to stay I'm not scared of a little walking..

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Hi All, headed to san francisco early next year (first visit) can anyone give suggestions on the best place to base myself for a touristy visit.

Attach Files