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Short trip to San Francisco

Bettendorf, Iowa
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Short trip to San Francisco

Going to Lake Tahoe in the end of June but we're flying into San Francisco on a Friday morning then driving to Sacramento Sat night to explore that area on Sunday, so staying there Sat night & Sun night then leaving Monday morning for Tahoe & spending the week there. Staying in Fishermans Wharf area Friday night then checking out of hotel at noon on Saturday but can leave our car at the hotel until 6:00pm then heading out of town. So basically we have from Friday lunch time until Saturday dinner time to spend in SF. I know, I know not enough time but it is what it is. It will just be my husband & I. Sat morning we are going to hop on the first ferry to Alcatraz. Any suggestions on what to do Fri afternoon & night and also Sat afternoon until dinner time to try to cram as much SF in as possible? We will be back a week later on Sat to fly out at midnight so we will have that day to spend some time there again before heading back to the airport. We will have to find somewhere to park our car that day though. I'm also open to any suggestions on what to do in Sacramento if you know of anything or if there's another fun place to stay Sat & Sun night that's on the way to Tahoe we're open to that instead of Sacramento. Just trying to save alittle money by not staying in SF for more that one night. Thanks in advance for your suggestions! I'm so excited to see what California is all about!!!

Thousand Oaks...
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1. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

I'm sorry. I read your post 3 times and still have no idea what you're doing.

When exactly will you be in SF?

San Francisco
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2. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

With all due respect this is unreadable.

I copied and pasted your post into Word to try to figure out what you were asking. Here's what I got:

We plan to go to Lake Tahoe at the end of June. Our plans take us through SF.

We fly into SF on Friday AM and we’ll leave Saturday night.

Plan to stay in Fisherman’s Wharf .

Early morning Alcatraz tour on Saturday. What else to do?

1) With so little time in SF I would not do Alcatraz. It's fun but it takes 2-4 hours. That's a time suck IMO.

2) Read through the Top Questions (right hand side), Things to Do (tab at top of screen), Trip Report post and then perhaps get a guide book.

3) I wouldn't recommend Fisherman's Wharf as a place to stay. Especially for a short stay when getting from the airport and then out of town are especially important. FW isn't as convenient to highways and transit as Union Square.

Bettendorf, Iowa
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3. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

I apologize my message wasn't clear. I'm new to this whole thing & I guess I was trying to explain my trip & ask for too much advice at once.

Yes, the point of our trip is Lake Tahoe. We are flying into SF & getting a car to drive to LT, but wanted to see a but of SF before heading to LT. Basically we have Fri afternoon to Sat evening to see SF.

What are some suggestions of the "must see or do" in SF with such short a time frame?

We already booked a room for Fisherman's Wharf area so that's where we will be. Coming from Iowa we really wanted to be near the water & see what that area is all about.

The second part of my question was...

We are leaving SF after dinner on Sat to get out of the city & save money on hotels. We don't have to be to LT until Monday. So w/ Sacramento as the 1/2 way point we thought we would stay there after leaving SF. My question then would be do you know if Sacramento is worth spending a day there or is there a different city you suggest we could stay in on the way to LT?

Thousand Oaks...
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4. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

Sacramento is nice to visit for a day but generally not as desirable as SF.

Just offhand, Sacramento has the State Capitol which is worthwhile to see, I think there was a nifty train museum, and if you like baseball check out the AAA RiverCats which play at Raley Field.

I would spend as much time as possible in SF. What's your budget for lodging?

Dr. Z

Edited: 23 April 2014, 05:44
San Francisco...
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5. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

You are short changing SF because you want to save money on hotels. I respect that but have you read the budget hotels listed in the TOP QUESTIONS. I don't think so because you are asking us what to see and do.

I would urge you to reconsider and spend at least 3-4 days in SF at a hotel in your budget. Sacramento is fine if you decide to spend time there instead of SF as mentioned by Dr Z.

Bettendorf, Iowa
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6. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

I just joined this site & am learning to navigate it & get the most use out of it. I will go back & read the Top Questions.

I have a list of things I've seen suggested to do in both cities. I guess I'm just overwhelmed by how big the list is. How do you choose!?!

Our original plan was to stay in SF from Fri to Mon morning but quickly realized how pricey the hotel would be. We had a hard time deciding what area to stay in. Went w/ Fisherman's Wharf bc it seemed more like a vacation spot but it is pricey. Hotel $250 plus $50 parking daily! I know there are cheaper but I've been on Priceline & Expedia trying to look at 3-4 stars so we don't end up on an icky hotel & $250 was an average price when I was comparing hotels w/ good reviews in FW. I don't need anything fancy, just safe & clean.

I can cancel our hotel in FW if needed but we can't cancel our car rental. Realized too late that we shouldn't have a car in SF.

Are we getting too excited about the FW area? The financial district just wasn't as appealing. I want to be able to walk out of our hotel & have something to do.

This is our first vacation & I'm learning it's hard to plan!

San Francisco
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7. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

1. Don't rent the car until you're ready to leave the city. There are plenty of rental car agencies at the Wharf and downtown.

2. Check the Cow Hollow, Coventry or Chelsea Inns along Lombard Street. They are generally a lot cheaper than the Wharf (which you'll want to visit but in you'll be very glad you aren't staying there unless your are drawn to ticky tacky souvenir gee-gaw stores and overpriced restaurants that survive by gouging tourists.

3. The Cow Hollow etal. are located along the western part of Lombard Street. It's a busy street but it sits conveniently between two local neighborhoods: Marina and Cow Hollow. All sorts of local shops and restaurants in both. The bay (Marina Green and Crissy Field) are 6 blocks away. Fort Mason has a Farmer's Market on Sunday. And if for some reason you are stuck with a car for this period, there is free parking. This is the place my family stays when they visit.

I just checked rates and a weekend in mid June is $155/night. ($126 for Sunday) Book it soon. This place sells out in summer, especially weekends.

4. This neighborhood is on excellent transit. It's walking distance to FW or a 10 minute bus ride. To Union Square is about 20-30. Another bus will take you within a block of the Painted Ladies in about 20 minutes. Another will get you to the GG Bridge in about 10 minutes and on to GG Park in another 10-20. It's not downtown but it's not $400/night either. Also it's a very safe neighborhood to be out and around in after dark for dinner or drinks.

Edited: 23 April 2014, 15:25
Bettendorf, Iowa
10 posts
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8. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

I'll check that out! Thank you! I think I started off wrong by just going to Priceline & Expedia to look for hotels.

Is the public transportation as easy to use as it sounds? I've never been anywhere w/out my car. Do you prefer the buses over the trolleys or cabs?

Bettendorf, Iowa
10 posts
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9. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

I'll check that out! Thank you! I think I started off wrong by just going to Priceline & Expedia to look for hotels.

Is the public transportation as easy to use as it sounds? I've never been anywhere w/out my car. Do you prefer the buses over the trolleys or cabs?

San Diego
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10. Re: Short trip to San Francisco

Yes, public transit is easy! Coming from flat Iowa I don't think you'll enjoy driving in San Francisco with traffic and steep hills!!