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Please Critique My SFO Intinerary

Please Critique My SFO Intinerary

Old May 24, 14, 4:48 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by squeakr View Post
reservations open up exactly one month before and prime times are often gone. The e is a long communal table but waits there are often over an hour.


Overall the Tenderloin area is one to avoid as is "literally) 6th Street form Market on down. Other sketchy areas (Bayview, Hunters Point) aren't areas a tourist would likely go.

Tenderloin will show on any map of SF but generally it's north of Market from Mason to Leavenworth and Eddy to Sutter. The further north you go the better it gets.
I knew about the Tenderloin but there are a number of good ethnic restaurants in the western portion. I will avoid going to Dottie's because of the 6th and Market location. However, Turtle Tower (645 Larkin St) & Brenda's French Soulfood (Polk St @ Eddy) are in the western section of the Tenderloin. I would walk down Geary to get to those restaurants. Are those sections of the Tenderloin too sketchy in the daytime to even bother?
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Old May 24, 14, 4:49 am
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
OP, here are maps of the Tenderloin and the Bayview (I would include the whole area south of 280 and east of 101). Agree with squeakr, the Bayview/Hunters Point area is pretty far out of the way for tourists.

I forget the exact statistic that came out recently, but something like 75% of all robberies in SF involve taking a cell phone, iPod, etc... so keep it in your pocket while on the street, and that includes headphones/earbuds.

I think a bridge closure is unlikely now that the new Bay Bridge is open, but Caltrans will be shutting down the NB 280 extension over Labor Day to complete the work that they're starting this weekend.
Thanks. I had no intentions of going to Hunters Point or Bayview; nothing in those areas that I would like to see.
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Old May 24, 14, 5:53 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
However, Turtle Tower (645 Larkin St) & Brenda's French Soulfood (Polk St @ Eddy) are in the western section of the Tenderloin. I would walk down Geary to get to those restaurants. Are those sections of the Tenderloin too sketchy in the daytime to even bother?
That area is borderline - between Good and Evil

For Turtle Tower, my only recommendation - walk faster.

For Brenda's French Soulfood, Polk Street is fine, but be alert still.

FWIW - that area is already heavily patrolled by multiple law enforcement agencies, including:

1. SFPD;
2. SFSD (City Hall);
3. UC Police (UC Hasting);
4. CHP (State Building/CA Court of Appeal/CA Supreme Court)
5. U.S. Marshals (Federal District Court)
6. Federal Protective Service (Federal Building)

This does not include any non-patrolling law enforcement agencies in the area, such as FBI, DEA, etc. (Please don't ask me why that area is still ghetto despite the tons of law enforcement in the area )
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Old May 24, 14, 7:45 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
That area is borderline - between Good and Evil

For Turtle Tower, my only recommendation - walk faster.

For Brenda's French Soulfood, Polk Street is fine, but be alert still.

FWIW - that area is already heavily patrolled by multiple law enforcement agencies, including:

1. SFPD;
2. SFSD (City Hall);
3. UC Police (UC Hasting);
4. CHP (State Building/CA Court of Appeal/CA Supreme Court)
5. U.S. Marshals (Federal District Court)
6. Federal Protective Service (Federal Building)

This does not include any non-patrolling law enforcement agencies in the area, such as FBI, DEA, etc. (Please don't ask me why that area is still ghetto despite the tons of law enforcement in the area )
Good to know. Come to think of it, I've actually walked in the area around the state building 8 years ago. It was during daylight hours and I got lost trying to find the building where my job interview was being held. All I remember is walking down multiple streets and past a bunch of homeless people for about 30 mins trying to find the freaking building. But I'm use to a bunch of homeless people and strange smells and weird people talking to themselves bc I encounter it mon-fri in downtown TPA.
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Old May 24, 14, 8:52 am
  #20  
 
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Respecting that you seem to be the kind of traveler who makes detailed plans, here are my guesses at your highest risks:

Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
Sunday Aug 31
Take BART from SFO to Powell St Station SFO 12:47pm 1:17pm
SFO will have two runways closed thru September. There's a good chance your flight will be delayed. Long wait between trains. So late lunch could easily turn into early dinner.

Alcatraz Tour 5:20pm 8:45pm
Book your tour as soon as you're certain on timing. They fill up fast, since there is only one company that actually stops on the island.

Monday Sept 1
Leave to Pick-up Rental from Avis 675 Post St 8:00am
This Avis location specializes in fleecing tourists. I've personally watched them spend 20+ minutes attempting to sell every option imaginable to unwitting Swedes. But that actually may have been just a stall tactic, as they had no cars available anyway and people were left waiting until someone returned a car. Since most people are looking for large vehicles, the smaller your reserved car type, the shorter the wait. Also, definitely sign up for Avis Preferred if you don't have it, since they have an express line.

Drive to San Francisco 2:25pm 4:45pm
The Bay Bridge on a Monday later than around 3pm is miserable, in either direction. You've probably allocated enough time but don't underestimate the miserableness. Have you considered spending this evening in Berkeley rather than later in the trip? You can find noteworthy eating places as easily there and miss the worst of the traffic. Later in the trip you can visit Oakland during the day, when it's safest, rather than trying to see both Berkeley and Oakland in the same day.

Return Rental Car to Avis 675 Post St 8:00am
If you're going to keep the car overnight at all, pre-plan where you'll park it. Think about using http://sanfrancisco.bestparking.com/ with your specific times and the address of the hotel. The best option will probably be the Ellis & O'Farrell garage near O'Farrell and Powell.

Ride Powell St Cable Car up to Hyde & Lombard 10:42am 11:00am
If you really want to do this, go as early as you can. The lines start around 9am and get very long. (It's really a tourist trap and it's $6 each way unless you look into a multi-day pass.)

Take Pics at Lombard St switch-back 11:05am 11:20am
Fisherman's Wharf 11:20am 11:30am
Take pics of the Bay between pier 43 & 45 11:32am 11:40am
Walk to Ghirardeli Square 11:40am 12:00pm
Walk around Ghirardeli 12:03pm 12:13pm
This section of timing is probably too aggressive. Is there something in particular about Ghirardeli Square that interests you? It's mostly just an upscale outdoor shopping mall at this point. Also what's the transit plan? Golden Gate Bridge is hard to get to (taxi? uber?)

Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
What are the sketchy areas to avoid, meaning streets that I shouldn't walk down unless I'm carrying a weapon or have a bodyguard?
As much as I hate to say it, this map seems pretty accurate: http://www.yelp.com/wordmap/sf/sketchy

If you really want to go to Dottie's, the F streetcar is a much better option than walking along Market Street.
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Old May 24, 14, 9:21 am
  #21  
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Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
Respecting that you seem to be the kind of traveler who makes detailed plans, here are my guesses at your highest risks:


SFO will have two runways closed thru September. There's a good chance your flight will be delayed. Long wait between trains. So late lunch could easily turn into early dinner.
I've read about the runway closure but I thought that it was based on weather and isn't the weather ok during the timeframe we'll be there?

I'm flying tpa>dfw>sfo AA due for arrival at 10:25am and she's UA jax>iah>sfo due for arrival at 11:34am. Even if she is delayed by an hour or so i built in enough of a cushion to account for the delay; i hope!


Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
Book your tour as soon as you're certain on timing. They fill up fast, since there is only one company that actually stops on the island.
The tickets become available 3 months prior so my plan was to book online on May 31st.


Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
This Avis location specializes in fleecing tourists. I've personally watched them spend 20+ minutes attempting to sell every option imaginable to unwitting Swedes. But that actually may have been just a stall tactic, as they had no cars available anyway and people were left waiting until someone returned a car. Since most people are looking for large vehicles, the smaller your reserved car type, the shorter the wait. Also, definitely sign up for Avis Preferred if you don't have it, since they have an express line.
We have and intermediate car booked & i'm avis preferred.



Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
If you're going to keep the car overnight at all, pre-plan where you'll park it. Think about using http://sanfrancisco.bestparking.com/ with your specific times and the address of the hotel. The best option will probably be the Ellis & O'Farrell garage near O'Farrell and Powell.
We've budgeted $63, per the hotel's website to park in the hotel's garage.


Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
If you really want to do this, go as early as you can. The lines start around 9am and get very long. (It's really a tourist trap and it's $6 each way unless you look into a multi-day pass.)
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm planning to order the 7-day $29 Clipper Card online a couple of weeks prior to the trip. It'll allow us unlimited rides on all forms of Muni transport and per my budget I'll add $26.35 to the card for the BART rides when I purchase online.

As far as starting early on the cable car, I'm all about leaving early but she likes to sleep late while I like to wake up at 5:30am. I will make every effort to get her to leave earlier. But it is my preference to do it early.


Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
This section of timing is probably too aggressive. Is there something in particular about Ghirardeli Square that interests you? It's mostly just an upscale outdoor shopping mall at this point. Also what's the transit plan? Golden Gate Bridge is hard to get to (taxi? uber?)
Um, nothing in particular about Ghirardeli; i just thought that it would be a nice pass-thru on our way to Blue Barn for lunch which is on our way to Golden Gate. We were going to take the Muni 28 and get off 3 stops later at GG at the GG pavilion. I want to save the Uber rides for the trips from dinner spots back to the hotel, but if ya'll think that it would be better to do Uber I'll look into it.


Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
As much as I hate to say it, this map seems pretty accurate: http://www.yelp.com/wordmap/sf/sketchy

If you really want to go to Dottie's, the F streetcar is a much better option than walking along Market Street.
Based on the feedback, I think that it's prolly best if i stick with Brenda's.

Last edited by Playboy; May 24, 14 at 9:34 am
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Old May 24, 14, 9:29 am
  #22  
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Uber, Lyft or Taxis?

So which is preferred as a non-public transportation method of getting around: Uber, Lyft or taxis? A couple of you mentioned Uber but I keep reading about the inconsistency in their pricing policy.
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Old May 24, 14, 10:03 am
  #23  
 
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Oh, speaking of rental cars, get something small. Lots of traffic and very crowded. My compact pickup feels massive in some of the garages. Something like a Corolla would be good.
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Old May 24, 14, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
I've read about the runway closure but I thought that it was based on weather and isn't the weather ok during the timeframe we'll be there?
In general, bad weather means two runways close. However, thru September, those two runways are always closed, due to a reconstruction project. In other words, every day is a bad weather day.

We've budgeted $63, per the hotel's website to park in the hotel's garage.
If you have it budgeted, great! The public garage is quoting an overnight of $18 for weeknights right now. If you end up needing it, it's an option.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm planning to order the 7-day $29 Clipper Card online a couple of weeks prior to the trip. It'll allow us unlimited rides on all forms of Muni transport and per my budget I'll add $26.35 to the card for the BART rides when I purchase online.
That's a great plan... the other benefit is you can board any door of a Muni vehicle with Clipper, not just the front door.

Um, nothing in particular about Ghirardeli; i just thought that it would be a nice pass-thru on our way to Blue Barn for lunch which is on our way to Golden Gate. We were going to take the Muni 28 and get off 3 stops later at GG at the GG pavilion.
Ah, got it, you're walking to the 28. That sounds like a fine plan. Note that there are greeters at the doors of each of the three Ghirardelli shops in the Square who hand out seasonal samples.

Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
So which is preferred as a non-public transportation method of getting around: Uber, Lyft or taxis? A couple of you mentioned Uber but I keep reading about the inconsistency in their pricing policy.
The inconsistency is during a period of high demand - there is a multiplier of the price based on actual availability and demand, but the app will tell you the multiplier before you confirm the ride. It's usually not that much - 1.5x or 2x. Note that the base rate for UberX (which would be comparable to Lyft) is cheaper than a Taxi in SF.
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Old May 24, 14, 11:04 am
  #25  
 
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FWIW, I slightly disagree about avoiding Dottie's because of the neighborhood. IMO, it's not much "worse" then the area surrounding Brenda's. And given how popular it is, and the fact that you'd be going there in the day, I think you'd be fine.

I personally have never had any issues walking through those areas, but I am 6'2" and 240#. I also have lived here for 7 years, so I understand your comfort level may differ.

Also, just a tip regarding cable car. If line is too long at the turn around, head two blocks up to the next stop right outside the H&M. You almost always can get right on (unless you have a strong desire to sit outside/stand on the platforms).

Last edited by StudentExplorer; May 24, 14 at 11:24 am
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Old May 25, 14, 8:14 am
  #26  
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I-280 or 101 Driving to Big Sur on Weekday Morning?

Re the trip to Big Sur on a Tuesday morning: If we leave somewhere between 7:30 & 8:30am would it be easier traffic wise to take 280 to 85 and connect into the 101 south of San Jose or take the 101 all the way through?
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Old May 25, 14, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
Re the trip to Big Sur on a Tuesday morning: If we leave somewhere between 7:30 & 8:30am would it be easier traffic wise to take 280 to 85 and connect into the 101 south of San Jose or take the 101 all the way through?
I would take 280 to 85 to 101, or 280 to 17 to 1 depending on the traffic conditions on that day.

Last edited by Lost; May 25, 14 at 2:07 pm
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Old May 25, 14, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
Re the trip to Big Sur on a Tuesday morning: If we leave somewhere between 7:30 & 8:30am would it be easier traffic wise to take 280 to 85 and connect into the 101 south of San Jose or take the 101 all the way through?
Avoid the 101 like the plague.
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Old May 25, 14, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
Re the trip to Big Sur on a Tuesday morning: If we leave somewhere between 7:30 & 8:30am would it be easier traffic wise to take 280 to 85 and connect into the 101 south of San Jose or take the 101 all the way through?
Google maps/traffic can help you with questions like this. Go to http://maps.google.com, turn on traffic, and then select "Typical traffic". You can then change the day of week/time to see what traffic is like at that time.

In this case, you'll see that anything between about 7:30am and 10am is a mess on 101. 280 is much better, although might still get some backup, especially on/around 85.
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Old May 25, 14, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Playboy View Post
Re the trip to Big Sur on a Tuesday morning: If we leave somewhere between 7:30 & 8:30am would it be easier traffic wise to take 280 to 85 and connect into the 101 south of San Jose or take the 101 all the way through?
101 is slow-and-go in either direction at rush hour. On 280 traffic will be moving at 65+ much of the way. Driving south on 85 in the morning is reverse commute.
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