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Quick Visit to SFO

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Athens, Greece
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Quick Visit to SFO

Hi to all,

I am planning a business trip for a conference (at Moscone Center West) in SFO for 4 days. I will arrive on Sunday afternoon and will be busy from Monday to Thursday until (maybe) 6pm.

I managed to book one more day (Friday) to be able to see some more stuff, and my plane leaves on Saturday late at night.

I understand it is impossible to see much, but I would appreciate a few pointers in what I should not miss. I wont have any means to travel so public transport will be the way to go (some help there also, airport to hotel also).

Also, since I indulge a lot in food :) , is there something I should absolutely taste (or visit)?

I am hoping to stay near the conference, so you have a reference of were I will be based.

Also, how's the weather?

Thanks for you answers in advance.

Jim

San Francisco
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1. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

The weather is gorgeous. (It's a horrible drought but it makes for great weather.) Getting into the 70Fs during the day.

There is so much to do and see that you will have to choose carefully to make the most of your short time. And of course, your travel style and preferences will factor into it.

Some people like to take a tour to get the lay of the land and cover a lot of land in a short space of time. If that sounds like you then either Dylan's or Comprehensive Shuttle tours do a good job with a small group.

There are lots of walking tour opportunities with SF City Guides. These are free and they have a wide range of walks -- from very popular downtown areas to more off the beaten track.

While Alcatraz is a popular destination in SF (probably the most popular with visitors) I wouldn't recommend it because it needs at least 3 hours and I think that's going to take up too much of your precious time.

To maintain that youthful look after indulging in all the great food SF has to offer, I'd suggest renting a bike: either in Golden Gate Park or at Fisherman's Wharf and heading out along the waterfront to the Golden Gate Bridge (you can even cross the bridge to the small town of Sausalito and come back by ferry).

Give us a bit more about your interests and we can be more specific. Also, check out our Top Questions on the right side of screen (non mobile version of TA). We keep ours quite up to date.

Edited: 21 January 2014, 20:36
Sunnyvale...
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2. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Just so that you don't wind up in the wrong place, "SFO" is the SF airport code so if you go to SFO, you're technically many miles away from the interesting stuff in SF and surrounded by airplanes, etc.

You might fly into SFO, but your destination of Moscone Center is in SF.

There may be a drought here, but beware that humidity is on the high side especially when the temperatures drop and the cold goes straight to your bones. Dress in layers so that you can stay warm.

To find a hotel, you can try google maps centered on Moscone Center and do a search for hotels. IMO, the good hotels in that area are very expensive. If you don't mind walking a bit, the train (Caltrain), BART and other public transportation are very convenient from the Moscone Center to other places to stay.

Edited: 21 January 2014, 21:04
Athens, Greece
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3. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Thanks for clearing that out. It would hilarious to take a cab at the airport and try to play it cool by saying: "Take me to SFO" :)

Hotel will be covered by my company, so I don't know yet where I'll be staying. But most probably somewhere near the Moscone Center (I hope). I was wondering if it was worth buying a 7 days pass for transport or not. I'll break even on 6 tickets and since I'll be staying 6-7 days, maybe it's worth it.

Thanks for the weather tip!

Athens, Greece
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4. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Hmm, don't really know what I might be interested in :S . First time in USA, so I am most probably see lot's of thing for the first time.

I'll have a look at the Top Questions. I don't mind walking around to see stuff, but I don't know what I can see in the evenings. I will have a whole day free on Friday and then also Saturday morning also (I hope I can leave my luggage at the hotel as not to be hauling it all over the place)

Give me more on the food ..

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

There is a three day itinerary on the right side and as mentioned there are tours for you to take on your free day . Some of the companies such as city sightseeing have a night tour but I don't know if it is earlier than 6 . union square north beach , the Fillmore, Cow hollow , Chestnut street, the Mission, Fisherman's wharf , ferry Building are all places to visit in the evening with your MUNI passport

Plenty of American restaurants around the union square area - there js a. List or seafood and Chinese restaurants in the top questions . I would try a steak place such as Harris, a BBQ place , Mexican, Thai, Indian, Cajun - plenty of choices

Www.sfgate.com/food would be a good way to see the top 100 restaurants .

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

For your free day I would seriously suggest a three hour morning tour from one of the smaller ones that White Dahlia suggested.

Then you have an overview of the whole city and can spend the afternoon and evening returning to spots which interest you. I hate to be in a strange city for a short amount of time and then have to decide where to go, either from a guide book or recs from a forum. I like to get the "lay of the land" and then use my own preferences. I might send you to all of the museums or touristy Fisherman's Wharf, or shopping, or walking the Golden Gate Bridge, when I know nothing about you and your interests.

Have a great visit, it is a great city.

Athens, Greece
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7. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Thanks everyone for your input!

I would not call myself a person that would go to art exhibitions and similar stuff (not that I don't appreciate and I have the feeling that a lot of FS is just that)

Things that I have seen that have caught my attention (that might give you an inclination of my interests) are:

- The California Academy of Sciences

- Fisherman's Wharf

- The Walt Disney Family Museum (maybe)

- San Francisco City Hall

- Golden Gate Bridge (how touristy of me...)

on the culinary venue

- Super Duper Burgers

- Mel's Drive-In

- Tacolicious

- Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop

- Ike's Place

- Dear Mom (maybe)

- Foreign Cinema (maybe)

(I think a pattern is coming into view, I have put 5 landmarks, and already 7 eating joints......)

Finally I think it would be rather ironic to go to "Kokkari Estiatorio" when coming from Athens, right? (I could pop in to say Giasou :) )

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Well good research. I would say FIshermans wharf is how touristy of you compared to the GG Bridge which is loved by all. I would skip the CA Academy But GG park is a great place to visit and it is a few miles from GG Bridge. There is a top question on how to use MUNI to get around from Union sq which is close to the Moscone

Foreign cinema would be a lot of fun. You could visit the Greek place and tell us how it was :-)

Dublin, California
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9. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Fisherman's Wharf is 10 times more touristy than the Golden Gate Bridge. Disney Family Museum is nice but pretty small and takes a certain effort to reach, so I'd skip it. You may want to take in the Ferry Building, esp if you are into the local food scene, esp on Saturday morning for the farmers' market.

Santa Cruz...
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10. Re: Quick Visit to SFO

Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap. Skip it. The Golden Gate Bridge is not touristy, it is an engineering marvel, which is also beautiful, and from which you have fantastic view of the city. If you can, walk all the way over it, or take a bicycle over it and wind up in Sausalito to take a ferry across the Bay back to San Francisco.

After all of this varied advice I hope you sort it out to suit you and have a wonderful trip.