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still SO confused on how to get around SF...

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still SO confused on how to get around SF...

okay, so i made a post last week. it wasnt the best post. so let me try again.

basically, i have my "little black book of san francisco" handy. i've read it. yet, i still find myself deathly confused on how to get around the city to the sights i want to see.

the basics, again: staying in north beach. have a reservation for a car rental. i had to book a car rental with orbitz, because i need the car later in the trip for yosemite/death valley.

okay, so, the plan is, theres this parking garage literally right around the block from my hotel, charge 25 bucks a day, has free in and out, etc etc. so i'm gonna leave it there for 4 days.

i arrive on 10/16. i already have that night planned. cobbs comedy club. awesome.

now, here's a list of things i want to see in the next 3 days: the haight, golden gate park, golden gate bridge, soma, the bay area, riding along cable cars, union square.

now, i know golden gate park and the haight are right next to each other, so that works. but, how do i get to golden gate park? should i drive? can i leave my car in the park and walk to the haight for the evening/night?? very confused. i know the "F line" ends right near haight. should i take that?

also...golden gate bridge...how should i get there?? i've heard people saying they take buses. i've also heard people take a 2 hour walk, starting at the SF bay and going all the way around?

also, where exactly do i go to get the best pics of the bridge? how do i get right under it? etc etc.

the book i have doesnt go into tremendous details, thats the thing.

also, just wanted to get some opinions on golden gate park...is it "worth it" to check for 2 or 3 hours? are there alot of locals that hang out there? i'm trying to hang with the locals. : )

1. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

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Removed on: 14 October 2011, 15:35
NYC
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2. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

lol.

well its obvious you dont know me very well.

be that as it may, i do agree, you cant plan everything out. being spontaneous is a beautiful thing.

if i had 2 weeks to spend in SF, i would literally wander around aimlessly and just see where life took me.

understand though, with just 3 days and a huge city to explore, having a general idea of how to get there isnt exactly the worst idea, in my opinion.

if someone told me they had 3 days to explore new york city, i would never tell them to just go with the flow. for me, i have the subways memorized.

for an out of towner, you can literally spend 4 hours just being lost underground in the subway system, i kid you not.

and who wants to waste 4 hours underground with rats running around and the stench of urine?

3. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

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Removed on: 14 October 2011, 15:35
San Francisco, Ca
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4. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

It can be confusing try to figure out how to get around because there's no one "right" answer. That's why some people say take a cab, some say buses. And the exact answer will not only depend on your preferences/priorities but also the exact sequence of stops you want to make.

>>now, i know golden gate park and the haight are right next to each other, so that works. but, how do i get to golden gate park? should i drive? can i leave my car in the park and walk to the haight for the evening/night?? very confused. i know the "F line" ends right near haight. should i take that?<<

Yes, you can drive to Golden Gate Park. But the park is 3 miles long, so whether or not you can walk from your car to the Haight depends on exactly where you happen to find parking. Also, most street parking is limited to a specific number of hours, so you can't necessarily leave your car in one spot for several hours.

Plus, if you're having an adult beverage or two in the evening, you don't necessarily want to be driving unfamiliar streets in the dark back to the hotel.

By the way, the F line doesn't end near the Haight (I know it looks like that on the map, but there are transit lines that are a LOT closer!).

What else are you planning to do that day? If that's all you're doing, I'd take a bus there and a taxi or bus back to the hotel. From North Beach, take the 30 bus or a cable car down to Market Street, then take the 5-Fulton out to Golden Gate Park.

As to whether it's "worth it" for GG Park, if you're doing it to "hang out" with locals, I'm not sure that's the park's best feature. Although, on Sundays, there will be people doing roller blading in the park, which is open to all. And I think there is Lindy Hopping, but don't know the day of the week.

But the park has a lot of attractions -- an art museum, a science/natural history museum, a Japanese tea garden, other gardens/groves/dells plus an arboretum and botanical garden.

>>also...golden gate bridge...how should i get there?? i've heard people saying they take buses. i've also heard people take a 2 hour walk, starting at the SF bay and going all the way around?

also, where exactly do i go to get the best pics of the bridge? how do i get right under it? etc etc.<<

You can take the 30 bus and transfer to the 28 to get from North Beach to the GG Bridge (exact directions have been given in previous posts, if you search). You currently cannot walk all the way across the bridge (the east sidewalk is closed for a complete crossing, but you can walk "almost" all the way across).

Since the Bay is a large body of water (and the Bay Area is basically all the counties bordering the bay), you "could" walk along the bay and then to the bridge for almost any time or distance. But the most popular walk, if you wanted to do it, would be to start at Crissy Field, walk along the bay to Fort Point -- where you will find those "below the bridge" photo opportunities you want -- and then up the steps to the bridge itself. This would be less than an hour walk (I'm guessing, since I've not done it myself, but it's only a mile or two).

As far as other bridge photo opportunities, those are harder without a car. Two of the board favorites are the Marin headlands, just on the other (north) side of the bridge, and Battery East, a portion of the Presidio that overlooks the bridge on the SF side.

I think a lot of your questions can become clearer if you look at a map of the city, to see spatial relationships. Also, you can always ask at your hotel... "I'm going to Golden Gate Park... what's the best bus route from here?"

Hope that helps!!

Ontario
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5. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

If you don't mind driving in the city then this is a route which will give you a very good superficial look at SF fodors.com/community/united-states/san-franc…

If you don't want to drive then a hop on hop off tour would help you to get your bearings.

We tend to do a combination of driving and a lot of walking when we visit.

Providence, Rhode...
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6. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

This answer is coming from the perspective of someone who has no interest in driving while in San Francisco. So I'll tell you that public transportation can get you everywhere you are looking to go in the city while you are there.

Before my first trip, I read all the instructions that the locals gave to people on how to get around and I was SO confused. Once I got there, it all started to make sense. If you have a map that shows the bus lines (as well as F-Line and Cable Car), you can get pretty much anywhere. And it won't be hard to figure out.

On my first trip, all I had was a map that looked like a placemat with color coded lines on it, but it was more than enough to get me around. You will figure it out.

Minnesota, USA
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7. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

I agree with Mailgirl-it probably sounds very confusing, but once you get there, it will make a lot more sense. Remember San Francisco proper is not a very big area (around 49 square miles); and most of the places you'll want to go to are in the northeastern (and west-to Golden Gate Park) part of the city.

Since you're staying in North Beach, the 30-Stockton bus will take you just about everywhere. It runs along Columbus Avenue in the North Beach area. If you take it south, you'll go through Chinatown (the bus will get very crowded!) and onto Union Square. Take it northwest, and as a previous post said, you can transfer to the 28 bus on Chestnut and Laguna Streets. This is a very popular bus stop-a lot of people will be getting on and off. The 28 bus will take you right to the Golden Gate Bridge parking lot. Note: when you leave the bridge, take the 28 marked "Fort Mason" to go back where you came from. The 28 marked "Daly City" will go south, actually by Golden Gate Park.

Don't be afraid to ask questions! I've been to San Francisco many times and have never driven in the city. I have found that people are very helpful with directions, etc. It will make a lot more sense one you get there!

Good luck and have a reat trip!

London
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8. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

You do not need to hire your car while you are exploring San Francisco it is a waste of money. You simply do not need a car. The public transport systems are easy you WILL get the hang of it and ask people, they are friendly and will help you.

Follow the post above for public transport. You have BART MUNI CABLE CARS and BUSES and CABS.

You will be fine. Have fun

San Francisco
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9. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

Just ignore Chuck...

If you really want to have a car around, I'd make use of it while here-- while it's definitely not necessary, it does make life easier in some instances. Use it get to Golden Gate Park-- there's plenty of parking on the streets there (along JFK, etc.) and yes, you can park it nearby and walk to Haight- just be careful of the signs. Same with the GG Bridge, you can park it in the lot on the SF side, then walk all or part of it and take pictures, or drive across and park it in the lot on the Marin side. For that matter, you could also keep going, and check out Sausalito and Muir Woods. I like the views from Crissy Field/Fort Point on a clear day, and there's plenty of parking in that area as well. And on top of that, if you'd like a nice overview of the city, drive up to Twin Peaks and take a look around.

For other spots, like Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the Ferry Building, etc. I would not recommending driving, since parking will be a pain. Plus these are all easily accessible by short MUNI rides or walking.

San Jose, California
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10. Re: still SO confused on how to get around SF...

It doesn't make a lot of sense to rent a car only to have it sit there for 4 days. Wait until you are ready to leave the city, then rent it.

The city is small, you can walk to most of the main attractions. Some may be a long walk, but still it's possible. I mention this just to calm your fears a little. All you need is a map, or better yet, a smart phone with GPS. With that you will never be lost, and never be very far from where you want to go. Getting around is pretty easy.

If you like bicycling you can reach just about any place in the city by bike, in short order. It's my preferred way to get around. Almost as fast as a car, without the parking hassles. No waiting for busses, go when you want, where you want. Not so great if it's raining though.