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Heleen from Lebbeke asked

New York/San Fran adventure for two 25y/o friends

Hey guys! 

Me and my friend (both 25) are planning a trip from the 2nd - 17th of april. 

We're contemplating New York or San Fran or both! 

We also plan on using hostels and couch surfing to get around and meet people who we can spend time with and to help us have an even better time than just doing touristy stuff. 

We're not really looking into doing all the famous buildings/sights and just want to relax, stroll, shop, go out, etc... 

So what would you guys suggest?

New York City (New York)   San Francisco (California)

5 Answers
top answer by
Andy from San Francisco

Having lived in both cities, I can tell you that you really can't go wrong with going to either, or going to both!

Since you're traveling for about 2 weeks, you can split your time between the two places. I think it will offer you an interesting look into the similarities and the differences between the 2 cities, and the 2 coasts. 

New York

Since it looks like you're coming from Europe, it makes sense to start your trip off in NYC. I recommend spending a few days in Manhattan (weekend), and a few days in Brooklyn (weekday). In Manhattan, you'll enjoy being around the Lower East Side. It has a high concentration of bars, restaurants, and music venues. Especially around St Marks Place. And since it's where New York University is based, many of the establishments are cost friendly to students and travelers. The area is also very well connected in terms of public transportation. You can get to pretty much anywhere in Manhattan in under 30 minutes by subway. 

In Brooklyn I recommend staying either in Williamsburg, or Prospect Heights. Williamsburg is very close to Manhattan, but has a distinctly different feel. This area is also full of bars, restaurants, and music venues. The crowd is definitely very hipster, trending towards yuppy. 

If you really want to get a feel for Brooklyn, then you should stay in Prospect Heights. The architecture in that area is pretty amazing and you'll be blocks away from Prospect Park, a close rival to Central Park in terms of size and beauty. 

The pace of life in Brooklyn is somewhat slower than Manhattan. If you're looking for a relaxing time, you might enjoy Brooklyn more. While you're in NYC, you should also take a day trip into Queens, more specifically the neighborhoods of AstoriaJackson Heights (New York), and perhaps Flushing. All three neighborhoods are known for their diversity, and for their food. Astoria is more Greek, Jackson Heights is more South Asian, and Flushing is more East Asian. Depending on what your tastes are, any of the three neighborhoods will offer all that you can handle. 

San Francisco

Compared to NYC, San Francisco is a lot smaller and more laid back. The weather in April should also be warmer, but it is by no means hot. So always have an extra layer with you because the evenings here can get cold. 

In San Francisco I recommend that you stay in the Mission District for a few days (weekend), and around Union Square for a few days (weekday). The Mission district is very much like the Lower East Side in NYC. Lots of bars, restaurants, and nightlife that's cheap enough for traveler on a budget.

In the Mission you'll find some of the best burritos in the country, amazing street art, and great parks. Do not miss a chance to check out Dolores Park.

The Mission is also close to Haight-Ashbury, the The Castro, the Sunset District, and Golden Gate Park

Union Square is more closer to the center of the city, and provides you easier access to some of the other neighborhoods like San Francisco ChinatownNorth Beach (California), and the Financial District

If you have additional time, I recommend spending a day in Downtown Oakland and around Lake Merritt. Oakland to San Francisco is very much like Williamsburg to Manhattan. A lot of locals here hate that idea, but it's pretty accurate. 

Hopefully that gives you a good idea of where to stay and what to do. If you have other questions, feel free to get in touch with me. You can also find more information on my blog, where I have written up some of my own personal adventures in San Francisco.

Comments (1)

Couldn't have said this better myself. Great answer, Andy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lower East Side (attraction)
  2. St Marks Place (attraction)
  3. New York University (attraction)
  4. Brooklyn (neighborhood)
  5. Williamsburg (neighborhood)
  6. Prospect Heights (neighborhood)
  7. Prospect Park (attraction)
  8. Central Park (attraction)
  9. Queens (attraction)
  10. Astoria (metro area)
  11. Jackson Heights (New York) (attraction)
  12. Flushing (attraction)
  13. Mission District (neighborhood)
  14. Union Square (attraction)
  15. Dolores Park (attraction)
  16. Haight-Ashbury (attraction)
  17. The Castro (attraction)
  18. Sunset District (attraction)
  19. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  20. San Francisco Chinatown (attraction)
  21. North Beach (California) (neighborhood)
  22. Financial District (attraction)
  23. Downtown Oakland (attraction)
  24. Lake Merritt (attraction)
comments (1)
likes (5) thanks
answered by
jack from California

New York is one of my favorite places of United States. Empire State BuildingSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Brooklyn Bridge are one of its important places that are worth seeing for me. 

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Empire State Building (attraction)
  2. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (attraction)
  3. Brooklyn Bridge (attraction)
likes (1) thanks
answered by
Spencer from Los Angeles

You really can't go wrong with both. May could even do a week in each. If you're wanting to do more outdoor things, I'd recommend SF, and Northern California in general, as you have places like Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Tahoe, Santa Cruz that aren't far away. For SF, you could do a lot of it in like 3-4 days, like Golden Gate ParkGolden Gate BridgeFerry Building MarketplaceCoit Tower, Alcatraz, and eat all of the food, and then get out of the city and do something like a bike ride + wine tasting in Napa, wine tasting and breweries in Sonoma (like Bear Republic Brewing Co), hiking Mount Tamalpais, etc. 

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  2. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  3. Ferry Building Marketplace (attraction)
  4. Coit Tower (attraction)
  5. Alcatraz (attraction)
  6. Bear Republic Brewing Co (restaurant)
  7. Mount Tamalpais (attraction)
likes (1) thanks
answered by
Scott from San Francisco

Without question NYC is the best option.  It will provide you with by far the most to see and absorb.  Walking is the best, and NYC is probably one of the best walking cities in the world but the public transportation provides access to everything including Brooklyn.  Culinarily, it is certainly in the top 5 in the world, and not all the treats are high end gourmet either.  For example, the best bagel on the planet IMHO is at EssaBagel, and though while pricey for a bagel, it's well worth it.  Every gourmet treat in the world is there - Maison LaduréeLa Maison Du Chocolat, are among many treats unavailable in the rest of the USA, and of course the local favorites are plentiful.  A must have is the crack pie at Momofuku Milk Bar, and a visit to any other Momofuku should be a part of your list.  Get a slice of Pizza in the Village at Joe's Pizza, or a whole pizza at one of many great places like Grimaldi's, and of course NYC deli can't be missed.  Then there's theater, museums, shopping SoHo and all over the city for that matter, and of course night life.  

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brooklyn (neighborhood)
  2. EssaBagel (restaurant)
  3. Maison Ladurée (restaurant)
  4. La Maison Du Chocolat (restaurant)
  5. Momofuku Milk Bar (restaurant)
  6. Joe's Pizza (restaurant)
  7. Grimaldi's (restaurant)
  8. SoHo (neighborhood)
answered by
Peter from Bloomington (Indiana)

In New York, go strolling on High Line Park. OK, it's hardly "off the beaten path" -- it's one of the most-visited sites in the city now. But it's absolutely worth it. Do try to go on a weekday, though.
Also, think about South Street Seaport Museum. Boats and all that. See it before the big-time real estate developers swallow it up.If you're going to Chinatown, I like Joe's Shanghai on Pell St. Have the soup dumplings. Then walk up to Little Italy for dessert.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line Park (attraction)
  2. South Street Seaport Museum (attraction)
  3. Joe's Shanghai (restaurant)
  4. Little Italy (attraction)

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