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San Francisco/Surrounding area

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east london
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San Francisco/Surrounding area

Hi All,

I am after some help.

I am looking into booking up to go to Vegas again next year and rather than keep just booking up Vegas, I want to try and see other parts of America in the process too. With this in mind, coming from the UK i pretty much have any part of America to pick from.

I am currently considering whether to see San Francisco or whether we try somewhere else. So I am here and hoping people can point me in the right direction as to why I should pick SF over another American city?

what makes it unique for you?

whats great about SF?

What are the stand out attractions other than the bridge and say alcatraz?

We are thinking between March and April next year, this is having a factor in the decision too as places like Chicago will be freezing.

Lastly, I am keen to fly to somewhere and then drive onto LV. Unfortunately, I cannot drive so this leaves all the driving to my partner who is not so keen on having to drive. what's your thoughts on this? is there something on the way to vegas we MUST see from SF?

Thanks for any replies.

Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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1. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

I am not sure San Franciscans will be thrilled by the idea that they have to "sell" their city to a potential visitor.

San Francisco is one of the most unique cities in the country, not just California. Not to step on the toes of other cities, but I think there are three great, iconic cities in the U.S. that are different than any other cities in the U.S., Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco.

That is not to slight the big cities of NYC, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Denver and say San Diego; each is special and unique in its own way, but the other three retain a special feel that has to do with their founding and development.

Relative to the rest of the state, San Francisco will be cool in March and April. Because it is surrounded by water on three sides, it stays cool, even in summer.

If you want to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas in Winter or early Spring I think most people would recommend planning on a two night (three day) drive down the coast.

San Diego
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2. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

It takes about 9hrs. to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas without stopping.

Most folks would suggest going to Yosemite National Park on the way or driving down the coast through the Big Sur area and then cutting over east to Las Vegas.

IF your main interests are shows/gambling etc. like Las Vegas then I am not sure if you will be interested in beautiful scenery or the interesting neighborhoods,architecture,food, museums etc. that San Francisco has to offer??

For me San Francisco reminds me a bit of Barcelona with its hills , interesting neighborhoods, great food, music etc. It is a small walkable city but expect hotel prices to be much higher than what you get out in the desert in Las Vegas!

east london
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3. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

Though i never asked you to sell it, I asked what was unique/different and what should pull me there more than chicago, boston etc etc etc - to which you have managed to give me a good answer, like others will hopefully.

A drive down the coast, ending up in LA or SD and then flying to vegas, rather than a drive inland to vegas?

Thanks.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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4. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

A drive down the coast, stopping overnight in Monterey and again in Cambria and then a drive across the state is what I'd recommend. Or drive to Monterey for two or three nights and then drive back north to SFO and fly to LAS. Or drive to Yosemite NP and then back to SFO. Or drive to Yosemite, over to Monterey, and then back to SFO.

It appears that you want folks to tell you why someplace is good. In the US, we'd consider that "selling" or "advertising." Maybe it's a different word for you. If a waiter tells you that the special of the day is "Maple Glazed Tofu Nuggets" and you're interested, you might say "tell me more" or "sell me on that idea" or something like that.

San Francisco...
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for San Francisco
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5. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

I am an American first and a San Franciscan second. So glad you are thinking of visiting the US

Have a good time wherever you go. If you are interested in reading trip reports from visitors please read the first forum sticky and that should help you decide There is a list of attractions in the top questions and if they appeal to you, happy to have you here if not please go to the area that appeals to you

Good luck

Edited: 18 September 2013, 14:35
east london
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6. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

Riff,

thanks for your answer, your answer is the reason why people ask questions because you know the area better than us. I will look into what is the "big sur" and yosemite so you have given me 2 different directions to drive in - thanks alot.

also, went to barcelona and loved it so see no reason why we would not like SF.

lastly, the fact that SF is different to vegas is exactly the reason why I do not want to just go to vegas and want to experience other parts of the U.S.

east london
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7. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

Thanks Sergio for a decent reply.

I have, and will continue, to look through the sticky's it's just nice to get some up to date responses and answers/opinions on your specific question.

Regarding the questions of "selling". the US, as you will know, is a massive massive country with lots of stand out destinations. in an ideal world I would like to visit them all, but this is not possible so i need to narrow it down to what is possible and was hoping for some constructive advice rather than sniping about having to "sell" SF.

if someone asked me what was good about London, i could tell them without feeling the need that I am having to sell it to a visitor. if they chose not to visit after what I had told them, that their problem.

San Francisco
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8. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

While your request has a note of a school essay assignment to it, I will say that the song "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" wasn't written under a rug.

I used to travel a lot for business and everywhere I went I'd try to "try on" the city and think how it might be to live there. (Not that I was planning on moving, this was more a game for my own entertainment.) And while I greatly enjoy cities like Boston, NYC, DC, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle none of them came within spitting distance of SF. Many of those lose out due to their climate. I don't mind a little cold (I could do NYC or DC in winter) but Chicago winters are too much for me. And I wilt like crazy in hot, humid weather.)

Besides I great enjoy the topography in San Francisco. The hills and contours are just one thing that makes it unique. Another is all the open space. Golden Gate Park is larger than NYC's Central Park and the Presidio is larger than that. Hop across the Golden Gate Bridge and there is Marin Headlands. There must be well over a thousand miles of hiking trails (with views) within a 20 mile radius of my house.

Then there are the unique neighborhoods. Each one different. They all have a commercial street (or two)with local shops and restaurants. While there are Peets, Starbucks and Gaps in many neighborhoods, there are a lot more local, independent shops and restos too. This is something I find very different from the UK where all the village high streets have the same old Boot's and Waterstone's.

If you're interested in history, SF's is quite colorful. The flags of three countries has flown over this area (Spain, Mexico, US ... of, there was the Bear Flag Republic for a bit there as well) It boomed during the Gold Rush of 1849 -- the population increased from 2,000 to 20,000 in just a couple of years. And of course, that boom was a magnet to all sorts of "interesting" people. And the city remains so today.

I wish mailgirl was around. She lives near Providence Rhode Island and visits Las Vegas a LOT. A few years ago she was planning a visit to SF and began asking questions on this forum. I believe she's been back twice (plus a day trip to Vegas) and she is now making plans for a career path that could get her transferred out here. Check for her Trip Reports, they are excellent and she has links to her marvelous pictures as well. www.tripadvisor.com/members-forums/Mailgirl

Edited: 18 September 2013, 15:17
east london
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9. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

I wish I was still at school, that would mean no bills to pay etc etc :(!!

thank you for your excellent reply, some things that are unique, a bit of history for me to look into and some info for me to look into further.

Cheers White Dahlia.

and yes 90% of our high streets are the same unfortunately. unless you visit specific towns with old cobbled streets but they are few and far between these days.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: San Francisco/Surrounding area

Honestly, if you're looking for a city that has "the most" of cultural attractions, things to do, etc you should do New York City. It is they largest city in the U.S. so no other city in the U.S. can compete on many fronts if you're just looking for the biggest, just as no other city in the UK can compete with London.

Many other U.S.cities have their own culture and specialties. If you want gambling and lights there is Vegas. If you want movie studios and amusement parks there is Los Angeles area. Many of these cities offer unique experiences that NYC, despite being the largest, doesn't.

I'd say that San Francisco offers a unique topography with hills, ocean, green space and fog. It offers a unique history as a gold rush city and a technology capitol (more centered around San Jose, but in the bay area). It is also has a history of activism and political protest from hippies in the 60s to its current reputation as the most liberal city in the U.S. It's a city of many unique neighborhoods and a food capitol of the U.S. specializing in fresh foods as many of those foods are grown in California which is a fruit and vegetable growing place with its climate. It's hard to beat the number of scenic and outdoor activities easily in reach from here in many U.S. cities.

San Francisco offers a bit of everything, even if not the best at all, in addition to its unique qualities. It's long on charm and atmosphere. Apparently many people think it's unique enough to pay large sums of money to live here. It's almost certainly in the top 3 large cities as an expensive place to live (less than NYC and probably on par with Boston, I felt Chicago was less).

But what you choose to do is up to you and depends what you enjoy. If you're after architecture, I'd choose Chicago or new York. If you want colonial-period history and a slightly offer city, perhaps Boston. If you want star sightings and rides go to Los Angeles and Anaheim. Fur beaches, maybe San Diego (perhaps at a different time of year).

Visit if what it offers sounds good to you, but we get plenty of tourism and prices are already high enough and it's not exactly as though it's an unknown place that needs heavy promotion to outsiders. :-)