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marina district vs union station

Bellmawr, New Jersey
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marina district vs union station

My husband and I will be heading to San Francisco this summer. We have been looking at several hotels in different areas. We will be renting a car and that's why we are considering the marina district. Parking is a big plus at the hotels there. The Chelsea is one we were looking at, if anyone knows anything about that hotel. In the union station area we love how you are centrally located but parking is very expensive. In this area we were looking at the Hilton hotel. We are only staying for two nights and then moving on to other areas of California, but while we are here we plan on going to Alcatraz and the Muir Woods along with taking in the city itself. Any suggestions on where best to stay and what to do in just a couple days is greatly appreciated.

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1. Re: marina district vs union station

If you will have a car, it makes sense to stay where there is free parking.

Muir Woods gets crowded on weekends, to the point where the parking lots fill up. For weekends, the shuttle bus is recommended: http://www.marintransit.org/routes/66.html

San Francisco, Ca
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2. Re: marina district vs union station

Yes, that is the trade-off when you have a car. (Is there no chance you could hold off on renting it until you leave SF? That would give you more flexibility in your location.)

Here is a Top Question from the right side of this page that will give you some ideas of what to do: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Guide-g60713-l28… The other top questions have lots of suggestions, as well. If you have special interests that you'd like to pursue (military history, food, sports), let us know and we can customize our suggestions.

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3. Re: marina district vs union station

I just returned from my 4th stay at the Chelsea--highly recommended! It's not super fancy, but very clean and in a great location. The rates are very reasonable also. FREE parking which is unheard of in San Francisco! (I had a rental car for a few days and had no trouble parking.) If you want to keep the car parked and take mass transit, there are a lot of bus stops right by the hotel.

The Marina district has more of a "neighborhood" feel than Union Square. There are a TON of shops and restaurants within a couple of blocks of the hotel. (If you like pizza, there are FOUR pizza places within one block of the Chelsea!) This is also a safe are to walk around-lots of dogs and baby strollers!

The hotel is on busy Lombard Street. The traffic is constant-the noise doesn't bother me, but if you are a light sleeper you may want to request a room not facing Lombard or Fillmore Streets.

I highly recommend this hotel--have a great trip!

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4. Re: marina district vs union station

I also like staying in the Cow Hollow/Marina District when visiting The City. We have stayed at the Chelsea's sister property, The Coventry Inn several times. Both hotels are comparable, so either is fine.

I also ask for a room toward the back to avoid street noise. Although on our last visit, our room was located on the side right around the corner from busy Lombard Street. I was concerned at first, but enjoyed my time sitting in front of the bay window and watching the traffic go by. Had a peak of SF Bay, too! We discovered a wonderful little Thai place right across the street from the Coventry Inn. Don't recall the name, but the food was unique compared to other Thai restaurants we've tried.

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5. Re: marina district vs union station

If SF is your first stop, don't pick up the car until you are ready to leave the city. You can get to Muir Woods via the ferry to Sausalito and a shuttle. Driving up there is a hassle because of the extremely limited amount of parking. In fact, very often in summer you're forced to park in the commute lot near the freeway and take the shuttle.

For a first visit I think staying downtown would be much more beneficial. It's closer to most iconic sights (walking distance to many) and is in the center of transit to all parts of the city (as well as to/from the airport).

The Marina is nice (I say that -- I live there) but it's not my first choice for a first time visitor.

The Hilton Union Square (note: Square not station) is a big convention oriented hotel and wouldn't be my choice unless you're paying with points. But there are dozens of hotels in the Union Square area.

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6. Re: marina district vs union station

<<The Hilton Union Square (note: Square not station) is a big convention oriented hotel and wouldn't be my choice unless you're paying with points. >>

I strongly agree with that statement. The Hilton Union Square is about as impersonal as it gets, and we gave up staying there, even if we needed HHonors stays - just not the best option, IMHO.

In that area, the Parc 55 (now a Hilton property) looks promising, but we have not stayed there, preferring several SPG properties in the SOMA Area.

Regardless, if you do have the rental car, the entire Union Square/SOMA will present the same problem - parking.

Enjoy,

Hunt

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7. Re: marina district vs union station

I, too, would urge you to put off renting a car until you are ready to leave San Francisco, which is not "car friendly" and limits your choices of where to stay. All of the major car rental companies have locations near Union SQUARE (not "station").

Union Square is easy walking distance to Chinatown and North Beach, and, if you are good walkers, you can even make it to the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building, and MOMA. It is also the hub for all of the public transportation in SF.

If you HAVE to have the car, look for a "parking package" on the hotels' own websites, not a third party booking agent. Look at the Grand Hyatt, the Donatello, the Handlery, the Parc 55, the Adagio, the Hyatt Union Square, the Chancellor.

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Bellmawr, New Jersey
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8. Re: marina district vs union station

Thanks for all your great advice. I actually knew it was Union Square and not Union Station. Never even realized I wrote that until I saw everyone's responses, thanks for pointing that out also. I think we may be leaning toward the Chelsea in the Marina district.

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9. Re: marina district vs union station

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