We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

Which San Francisco hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
40 posts
1 review
Save Topic
First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

Hey yall.. I'm planning a trip this June to SF (my 1st time there), leaving from LA on Friday morning and returning Monday.

What should we do? Here's a list of things I have in mind..

Golden Gate bridge

Eat a lot of good food. Seafood particularly.

Take a drive on PCH from SF to San Simeon.

What areas near SF downtown can we stay to reduce lodging expenses?

Should I try to drive in SF or park then take the public transportations?

Berkeley, Ca.
Level Contributor
4,680 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

You're not going have much time in San Francisco, especially if you want to drive Highway 1 (Northern Californian for PCH) from San Francisco to San Simeon. That's about 210 miles on a road that's often narrow and winding, often foggy. It's beautiful, but it's not fast, I'm going to guess 5 hours of concentrated driving. It probably adds a couple hours to the trip vs. driving up 101, which itself is a couple hours longer than the miserable I-5. You have to think about the tradeoff.

In terms of a hotel, look at San Francisco Reservations--www.hotelres.com-- for deals. They are a hotel consolidator that hotels quietly use to sell their unsold rooms and often have good deals.

You can in fact save money by staying in or near the Tenderloin. Most people on the list would probably advise against it, as the neighborhood is, depending on who you ask, somewhere between creepy and dangerous. Then again some seriously trendy lodgings, like the Phoenix, are there.

It's better if you don't drive in San Francisco. It's not like LA, where almost everyplace supplies abundant parking, even if you have to pay for it. You could have trouble parking in the Mission, in Chinatown, in North Beach, in the Castro--in all the interesting places. Use Muni, the public transit system, which goes pretty much everywhere.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a tourist attraction worth seeing. So is Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, which has both a view and a great set of 1930's murals. I would skip the Fishermens Wharf area myself, mondo touristy in a bad way.

You might enjoy Weird Fish at 2193 Mission St. (18th St.) in the Mission District, good food despite the name. It doesn't take reservations and is very small, so there can be a line. Don't eat fish by Fishermens Wharf, the better places are elsewhere. What is your meal (and lodging) budget?

Have fun!

San Francisco
Level Contributor
36,629 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

With the amount of time you have, I'd either make this trip a car trip and enjoy the coast, see Hearst Castle and only go as far as Monterey/Carmel or Santa Cruz OR I'd fly to SF and spend the time in the city.

Having a car in the city is an added expense and driving in the city is a hassle: parking is difficult and/or expensive, there are lot of hills and one-way streets which make getting "over there" seem impossible.

There are lots of things to do and see in SF, if you fly up (there are lots of cheap flights available) you'll have a lot more time to see them. As far as neighborhoods, there are places in the Tenderloin but it isn't an area I'd be walking around at night. I don't know your gender but if you're a female traveling alone -- look elsewhere if you'd like to be out after dark.

San Francisco CA
Level Contributor
2,361 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

French - If you are coming from LA with a car, you should look into the motels that offer free parking along Lombard Street and a couple of other places (you can check the top 10 questions to the right and also find other posts here which detail which ones to choose). Then use the bus while you are travelling around the City, except to the Golden Gate Bridge, which I would drive over, then to the the Marin Headlands.

Edited: 27 April 2010, 17:42
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
40 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

Ok, scratch the drive to Hersts castle. Is staying in Oakland ok? I think at this point my focus is finding a nice hotel for under $100. Not sure which area though...

Berkeley, Ca.
Level Contributor
4,680 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

Staying in Oakland is OK, safety wise and so on, but it will chew up time. Look around at San Francisco hotels, there's a fair chance you can find a simple decent one for under $100--maybe the Hotel Grant, maybe the Cornell etc.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
50,908 posts
422 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

To go with your other, more recent questions.... look at these restaurants, SF classics.

Tadich Grill - classic old grill from 1850

Sam's Grill - great seafood and chops

Swan Oyster Depot - cash only, very intimate, also 100 years old

Hyde Street Seafood - cute and intimate, great food

Sotto Mare - quiet, fabulous Italian food in North Beach

Alfred's - old, intimate steakhouse

7. Re: First time in SF.. where, what to do and see?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 08 December 2010, 05:15