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What is one easy thing to do the first day?

Carmel, Indiana
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What is one easy thing to do the first day?

We will be arriving on a Thursday afternoon (Probably around 2-3). We will be in SF all day Friday and Saturday, leaving early Sunday morning. Most of our touring will be Friday and Saturday.

We are staying at the Handlery Union Station, so imagine the boys (ages 20 and 17) will enjoy going around there, and of course we'll find somplace to eat. But what is one thing fairly close by that we can do besides that? Even walking distance would be the best, but not necessary. I don't want to go to Fishermans wharf area, as we will be doing the Alcatraz Night Tour on Friday, so will spend time there Friday afternoon before heading over to Alcatraz.

We will have a car until 5:00, have to drop it off a couple blocks from our hotel. I was thinking we'd just drop it off early, check in and then do a little sightseeing.

Santa Clara...
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1. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

With the car, how about going across the Golden Gate? (research repaying toll on the right) If it is clear, drive up to Twin Peaks and maybe Ocean Beach/Sutro Baths (on your way to or back from GGB). Those are things easier to do with a car then public transport.

Tons to eat around there. Chinatown? What are you looking for? Search restaurants near Union Square and look at the Top Questions about food on the right.

Carmel, Indiana
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2. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

That is a great idea. We might have to come into town a bit earlier than that 2-3 if we want to do that. Have to get the van back in Union Square by 5:00. I did read Chinatown is walkable from Union Square, that might be a fun place to see and eat.

Carmel, Indiana
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3. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

The more I think about your reply, the more it makes sense. I took a look at the map, and it seems the way to Sausolito is over the Golden Gate Bridge. I wanted to go there one day, and the ferry cost $21.00 round trip (that would be $84 for the 4 of us). I don't know how much the bus would be. That might be a nice trip to do that first day...save a quite a bit in fees to get over there. Maybe have a late lunch, walk around a bit, then head to the hotel.

Even though we have all day Friday and Saturday, we have family that lives in Daly City. I imagine that at least 6+ hours of those two days will be spent at their place meeting up with everyone...so it's not like we have two total days of sightseeing to do. Doing this first will take the pressue off of figuring out how to get over there. Great idea...thanks.

San Francisco
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4. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

If you go over to Sausalito then I would recommend heading directly west, past Ocean Beach, Lands End, through Lincoln Park, Seacliff, and the Presidio on your way to the Golden Gate.

Here's a map: http://goo.gl/maps/yxygh

And a trip up to the Marin Headlands wouldn't go amiss either. http://goo.gl/maps/Q4Qpy

Edited: 26 February 2014, 21:31
San Francisco
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5. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

The toll procedure for the Golden Gate Bridge is weird to many people, and can even befuddle locals who do not drive on it regularly. There are no toll booths and no one pays a fee in person at the bridge; all fees are electronic.

Read the bridge district website section about options for paying your toll, and consult your rental car company about any "convenience fee" they may add.

http://goldengate.org/tolls/

Carmel, Indiana
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6. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

White Dahlia...I would have us going directly fom Santa Cruz to Sausolito, not starting at Union Station. But thanks because that reminds me I need to mapquest my wy back fom their yo Union Station. Or make ure th phones are charged u or GPS.

wisconsin
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7. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

it is much more enjoyable to walk over the GG than to drive. there is a parking lot at the base of the SF side.

San Francisco
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8. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

Well, coming in from Santa Cruz then take I280 into town and onto 19th Ave. In fact, I would drop down to the Great Highway at Sloat and drive the length of the Great Highway.

http://goo.gl/maps/jefAW

San Francisco...
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9. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

The suggestions to use the car before you return it can be a good idea if it's the only time you have a car. If you need to have the car back by 5 you'll want to keep an eye on the clock, though, and be flexible with your plans if you're running late.

It still seems like you'll be in the Union Square area by 5 to have car back. Chinatown is going to be the closest neighborhood nearby where you're staying beside all the shopping and activities in union square area itself. If the trip is in summer you may have light until 8:30 or 9. You may also have time to wander around North Beach which is just on the other side of Chinatown and is still less than about a 30 minute walk from union square.

I think you'll find plenty to keep you busy within walking distance that first evening, should you have the energy, without having to take transit anywhere.

Have a nice trip.

Bloomington, Indiana
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10. Re: What is one easy thing to do the first day?

I think that you've gotten a lot of good ideas/suggestion in the above responses.

I'll second the idea of Twin Peaks while you've got the car. If the weather cooperates it's worth doing and it one of the few things in SF that is really much easier if you have a car, I don't know that I think it's worth the time & effort to do via public transit. If I was to have a car for a brief period in SF, Twin Peaks would probably be #1 on my list.

I'll add that getting to Twin Peaks wouldn't be a *huge* detour if you're passing through town on the west side, but given everything you've said, I'm not sure I'd try to do it and Sausalito and get the car returned before 5:00, might just make things too tight. Alternatively, you could see how you're looking on time and do it on the way back into the city (it's not that far from Union Square).

Lastly, regarding returning the rental car. Not sure what time your "day" is up on the rental, the company you're renting from, etc, but we have heard reports that at least one (maybe more) of the Union Square rental centers can accommodate after hour returns. Don't remember any of the details, but you might want to check it out. Depending on your situation, it could eliminate the 5:00 pm deadline, give you a little more time with the car, allow you to do more "car oriented" things, etc.

That's all, hope it helps,

hlo