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Weekday parking

kansas
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161 posts
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Weekday parking

We will be in San Francisco during the work week. We will have a car and park it in a garage without in and out priveleges. Charges will be $10. per night. I just read that after morning rush hour (times?) and after 6:00 the traffic is a "breeze". So my plan would be to leave the garage before 10:00 a.m. and find free parking when possible. I will have GPS but I've never been to San Francisco. Here is some of my plans:

Tuesday: Arrive after 6:00

Wednesday: Exploritorium a.m. (free day--tactile dome/ rent bikes and do the GGB & ferry back to Ferry building and bike back to Exploritorium free parking area. Back to Union Square

Thursday: Golden Gate park. (park on street) California Museum of Science and walk through areas of park. Change parking spots and check out east end of park. Park somewhere near Pier for Alcatraz (is there free parking in the evening?) Alcatraz eveining tour

Friday: Leave car in garage and take public transportation (might do this the first day instead) China Town, Fisherman's Wharf

Saturday: There is free 3 hour parking with validated parking near China town (might do China town this day but would shops be closed?) We will leave San Francisco around 10:00 a.m. giving us about an 1 1/2 hour in China town if we decide to do it during the weekend.

Of course I can mix things around a bit but what do you think of my parking ideas?

Bloomington, Indiana
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for Bloomington
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1. Re: Weekday parking

In a nutshell, don't think your plan is a particularly good one.

If you have found someplace in SF that you can park for $10/day, I would suggest you park your car and leave it there for your entire stay (presuming it is reasonably safe). Remember the overwhelming opinion of the forum regulars is that if you can avoid having a car while in SF, you generally should.

I'm not sure where you read the traffic is a "breeze." While I'd say it gets better after rush hours, it is still a major urban center and, furthermore, one with some major hills, one-way streets, a (potentially) confusing street grid & intersections, lots of stop & go, etc.

Also, there just isn't that much free parking in most of SF (particularly most areas tourist want to go) and, where it does exist: is quickly snatched up, can have a shorter duration than you'll want to be in the area for, subject to potential ticketing & towing, may have odd-ball day & time restrictions (which you may not notice, leading to prior events), not be close to where you want to be, take a long time for you to find, etc. And, if you can't find it, you'll end up paying to park (not cheap) and then have to pay "again" at your "home" garage" (since there is no in/out privilege).

That said, you do have a day planned for GG Park and this is one area where parking is possible (won't say easy all the time, but certainly possible). Not sure I would count on getting parking near the Exploratorium since you're planning on being there on a free day.

Bottom Line: I'd suggest you stash the car and us MUNI during your stay. Consider: Do you really want have the traffic hassles & confusion driving somewhere, spend 5-30 minutes hunting for a free parking space, then have a 10 minute walk to your destination, have to leave 10 minutes before the time is up on your space & then repeat the process when you want to spend a half a day somewhere? (When the alternative is a MUNI ride that probably won't be that much longer than your drive time and will (almost) certainly have a shorter walk.

Alternatively, if you're not locked into your hotel, you might consider finding one that offers free parking. At least then you avoid the daily parking fee and only have the hassles & costs outlined above.

That's my $.02,

hlo

san francisco
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543 posts
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2. Re: Weekday parking

Driving in SF is not so bad - the drivers are courteous and non-aggressive - but navigation is difficult, and I honestly think it's easier to park your car in Manhatten than SF. It is a huge pain in the *ss pretty much everywhere you go. I largely agree with above poster - maybe use the car for GG Park or if you want to go to Ocean Beach or up and down the Coast.

The one advantage to having a car in SF is that an hour's drive in any direction presents a wealth of totally awesome day trips, so let us know if you're interested in that and we can help you... Have a great time!!!

San Francisco...
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for San Francisco
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3. Re: Weekday parking

For the Exploratorium, the original poster could park near Crissy Field and back-track on foot across Marina Blvd.

Forget about any type of free parking for Alcatraz.

To give visitors an idea of parking in San Francisco - as a resident, I pop about $100 annually to be able to park on the street in front of my house without worrying about time limitations.

Pretty much anywhere you'd want to park that's not part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area can be difficult.

Here's a map that shows all of the permit parking zones in the city. While some will have availability for a limited time during the weekday - other than that, it can be a fairly futile attempt. sfmta.com/cms/…rpp_8.5x11_webform.pdf

sf
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4. Re: Weekday parking

I agree with all of the above especially huntlaw, if you can find $10 parking take it especially if its near Union Sq, but you didn't say where you're staying. What you need to be aware of parking tickets here are $60 and up, there are lots of tow away zones, and meters now are doing demand pricing. GG Park is about the only place you'll find free parking,( outside of distant neighborhoods) but near the museums it tough w/o a long walk, and that might end soon due to budgets.

kansas
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161 posts
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5. Re: Weekday parking

I was going to park at Union Square public lot. Between 5 PM and 8 am it is only $10. My idea was to be out during the day. I had another post that explained why I am not renting after my stay. (simply, I could park and not use the car at all and it would still be cheaper) There is another lot that does have in/out priveleges which is in the tenerloin district near Union Square but it has mixed reviews. From what I'm reading hear, I might take the car to Golden Gate Park. (What would be the best/easiest route from Union Square?) I might go on Thursday and not Wednesday. I thought if I went to the Exploritorium on a free day the tactile dome might be less crowded-being that you have to pay extra I believe.

San Francisco
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6. Re: Weekday parking

I would like to put in a plug for public transportation augmented by taxi service. I live in SF, own a car and just don't drive it anywhere near downtown during the day because parking is either expensive or impossible, except in 30 minute increments. But you can get a Muni pass for very reasonable and then take a taxi once in the while which will still be less expensive than renting a car and paying for parking. If you stay at the Columbus Motor hotel or one of their sister properties on Lombard street in the Marina then your parking will be free at night and during the day so that might be an option.

Dublin, California
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7. Re: Weekday parking

Free parking does not exist in SF during the weekdays plus saturday.

OK it does but finding it is almost impossible.

Bloomington, Indiana
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8. Re: Weekday parking

Well you've heard our suggestions & observations - the decision is now up to you.

If it will truly be cheaper to rent & park the car the entire time you're in SF, that's what I suggest you do. I personally would prefer that to having to get the car out of the garage by 8:00 am and then having to deal with it until I could return it at 5:00 pm.

Even if I had a hotel with free parking (meaning the out by 8:00 and in/out privileges were not issues), I would *still* recommend in most cases to most people that they that they park the car & leave it for their time in SF. Driving & parking in the city is that problematic in my opinion.

That's my $.02,

hlo

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Weekday parking

Traffic in SF is rarely a "breeze". Parking is expensive and scarce. But you might consider parking at Pier 27 or 29 1/2 on Wed & Thur. It costs $15 for the whole day. (Pay the machine) This puts you near the Wharf (Pier 47) & Alcatraz (Pier 33). The F line runs between the Ferry Bldg and the Wharf. Use a bus, walk, or park your bikes at the Exploratorium.

Free day will bring extra crowds. Probably more people for the tactile dome, since they saved money to get in.

Car should be fine in Golden Gate Park. The East end, with the Museum, Aquarium, Japanese Tea Garden, etc., will be harder to find with a 3 or 4 hour limit (free unless youpay to park in the Museum garage) If you are early, no problem. The east end has plenty of parking, as does Ocean Beach, all free.

Chinatown goes 7 days a week, though it sounds like you may be there a bit early.

Walk whenever and wherever possible. It's really the best way to see the city.

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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10. Re: Weekday parking

Public transportation in the city is so good I cannot imagine parking from 5 pm to 8 am and using the car for sightseeing during the rest of the hours and having to find a place to park it when it is not being driven and watch for the time limit on the parking spaces.

Parking near most of the sites is a hassle, to say the least. We drive into the city from Santa Cruz several times a year, for theater. Often we stay an extra day and visit museums and

he De Young or the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. Even though the parking there is not so difficult because of the garage, we leave the car in the hotel garage and and take public transportation'; indeed we do this for anything else we want to do in the city.