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San Francisco - Second Stay

Israel
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San Francisco - Second Stay

SF will be the starting point, as well as the ending point of our long road trip of the West Coast this summer.

I'm all set with a hotel in Lombard st. for the beginning of the trip (a week in SF). For the end of our trip, the last couple of nights, I mainly want to be near the airport where we have our flight back home from. We'd have had our share of touring SF and of sightseeing in general.

I think what we'll do during these last couple of days is see a couple of things in the Bay Area which I have on my list. Probably the USS Hornet in Alameida, maybe the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland or the Berkley Hall of Science. I highly doubt we'll get into SF itself by then.

So, my question is, where would be the best place to stay? Keep in mind we'll have a car with us (returning it at the airport just before our flight). What's a good area for staying in the bay area? I'm looking for a place that's not far from the airport, easily accessible and is a "good" neighborhood (nothing too scary on the streets, during the day or the night, although we don't intend to hang our much during the evenings).

Washington State
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1. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

Hi again israelimom_org You're doing a fabulous job planning this big trip.

I suggest that you don't tie yourself to an Airport Hotel location. Since you'll only need to access SFO on your last day, look for a spot that is more cconvenient to your final days of tourism (on the "convenient" side of the Bay.) Berkeley could be a good location.

To make your return flight a bit easier, you could plan your last night for an airport hotel. Check in, leave your hubby & kids at the hotel, then drive to the car rental and drop the car. From SFO, take the hotel shuttle back. Then use the hotel shuttle on the final day and you won't have to worry about dropping off the car before your long flight.

Is the Jelly Belly Factory tour in Fairfield on your list of places to visit?

Israel
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2. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

Thanks for the quick reply! Planning this trip is a lot of fun, and I'm putting a lot of time into it, for sure.

We have three nights for the bay area when we're heading back. I think I prefer not to switch hotels if possible. Our flight leaves at 2 PM, so we have plenty of time on that last morning to arrive, return the car, and take the car rental shuttle to the airport (if needs be, not sure how it works in the the SF airport). I guess we can just drive from wherever we are to the airport in the morning - how long would it take from say, Berkley, at 9AM? hopefully not more than an hour?

Is Berkley preferable to Oakland? Which would you say is a nicer, more interesting place to stay at?

San Francisco...
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3. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

You can also stay in one of the hotels in Emeryville (near Berkeley), maybe near the Bay Street shops. It's really close to the Bay Bridge and accessible enough to the activities you planned. Bay Street Emeryville has a lot of shops and restaurants that you and your family can go to on your last night in the bay.

Travel time to SFO will depend on the day of the week. If you're talking about 9am on a weekday, you might get stuck in rush hour traffic. The toll plaza at the Bay Bridge sometimes has a 15-20 minute delay. With traffic, you might be looking at an hour drive. IF, and only IF, there's no traffic (maybe on weekends), it may take about half an hour to get to the airport.

If you prefer, there are hotels in South San Francisco that are close to the airport so you don't have to rush on your last day. South San Francisco is only about a 20-30 minute drive to the East Bay, where you planned your activities.

Berkeley, Ca.
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4. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

I'd look at Jack London Square in Oakland, where there are a couple of hotels and a nice waterfront setting. The Waterfront Plaza is a Joie de Vivre boutique hotel there. Downtown Oakland's probably fine, but much of it is pretty deserted at night (I know, I work there) and might seem a bit creepy.

Or you could look at the Downtown/South Campus area of Berkeley, where there's an independent older hotel--the Shattuck Plaza, the Downtown Berkeley Inn--a recently renovated motel, and the Hotel Durant, a Joie de Vivre property. All three of those get excellent ratings on Tripadvisor. The Berkeley City Club is a Julia Morgan designed building with a great pool that's right in the quieter middle between Downtown Berkeley and the core of the South Campus area.

From any of the Berkeley hotels you'd have lots of restaurants and such to walk to, which wouldn't be the case in Emeryville, which is more of a business park/shopping mall setting.

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5. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

The places you want to visit are on the East Bay (not by San Francisco Airport). A such, its best to stay in the East Bay area. Emery ville is an excellent suggestion. If budget is not an issue, another place people like to stay is:

Claremont Hotel and Spa

http://www.claremontresort.com/

Israel
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6. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

Thanks for all the great recommendations! We're traveling with kids and as such, won't really be going out in the evenings during our trip. Unless there's a fireworks display, you can count on us being in themotel room by 6 and starting our bedtime routine...

Israel
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7. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

Sorry! Was posting from my iPhone while out in town doing some stuff and had to cut it short.

Wanted to add that we're looking for clean simple and cheap accommodation. We usually go with one of the cheaper motel chains, though nice well-run Mom & Pop motels are also great. Also, had another look at all the stuff we want to do, and we might incorporate a day in San Jose as well, for the tech museum. Not sure yet, as I don't want to OD on those, but they are a favorite pastime for our family.

Right now, I'm thinking maybe stay someplace in the south of SF, as suggested here, and "commute" to our sightseeing areas. Would be easier to do on the days when we're least pressured, rather than on the day of our flight.

How about San Mateo? Is this a nice safe place to be? I see there are quite a few motels and hotels spread across town there, especially by the waterfront, and it seems close enough both to the airport and to the San Mateo Bridge for when we want to get to the Eastern side of the bay.

Berkeley, Ca.
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8. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

It's hard to understand why you want to stay south of San Francisco when all your destinations are in the East Bay. Staying south of San Francisco will mean a lot of driving through heavy traffic (often even during off-peak hours) to get over the bridge. Even driving to San Jose will be no harder from the East Bay than the west.

If you're looking for cheaper decent places, you could stay at the Holiday inn Express in Berkeley, or the Golden Bear motel in Berkeley. There are also a number of chain motels in the area surrounding Oakland airport, Jack London Square has a Best Western. There's a couple motels along the waterfront south of Downtown Oakland, an Executive Inn I believe.

Israel
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9. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

I'm not totally sure yet, but I figured I'd like to be near the airport for the last day.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: San Francisco - Second Stay

South San Francisco, San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, San Mateo, Foster City, and other cities south of SF all have great lodgings, but a little far from Oakland where you planned on doing certain things. You might spend the majority of your time in traffic. If that's ok with you, I suggest South San Francisco or San Bruno out of all those places since it's pretty much between the Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge, and a fair distance to San Jose. San Bruno has lots of hotels/motels around and it's a short drive to San Mateo where there are even more stuff to do and places to eat.

Millbrae/Burlingame areas also have the little hotels and motels along the El Camino (main road) and around. It's great that you have a car so you can drive anywhere. You can drive to downtown San Mateo and Foster City where they have little shops, parks, and malls.

When you do go to Oakland, I suggest leaving earlier to beat the rush hour traffic (and I'm talking about 7am-early). If that's not possible, maybe wait a little later, like 10am (maybe have breakfast first?), before you head out so the traffic will be fairly gone. In the afternoon, maybe wait until the traffic has subsided before you make your way back. Overall, any city you choose south of SF is a fair choice.

Hope that helps...

Edit: Oh, and those cities are also all "good" safe neighborhoods since that was one of your concerns...

Edited: 06 January 2011, 21:01