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profile member asked on Mar 11, 2016

Where to stay?

Hi,

My husband and I (both in 30s) are visiting SFO end of this month. We would like to stay at a place that is close to bars, restaurants and nightlife. Which areas would you recommend? I would prefer staying at a place where I can experience some local culture and not in the busy business district. I came upon a place in Mission district. Is that a good location?

Thanks in advance
Harsha

San Francisco

18 Answers


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Hi back -
I'm very fond of the Mission although we haven't yet stayed there. It has lots of restaurants and bars, and tons of color - the murals along some of the streets are great - as there's a lot of Mexican/South American flavor in that district. It's maybe a bit far from some of the other areas that tourists spend time at but no farther than some other locations.

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[original link]

Could you share the address of the accommodation you're looking at? It would be helpful for more accurate info from our members who live in the city as there are can be differences in one neighborhood location to another.


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Kochi

Thank You so much Kate. The location I'm looking at is on sycamore street. I just went over the SFO travel page you suggested. I wanted to do most of those 10 must dos as well:D how far are these touristy places? I can look it up on google maps but what I wanted to know was is it a good idea to stay in Mission dist if I want to do the touristy things?

P.S - I just saw ur page and there's a lot of info on the grand canyons. I'll ping you separately for that if I have any questions. Thanks again!


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Namaste, Harsha!

Oh gosh, the tourist attractions are sort of spread all over the city, from Golden Gate Park on the west side, to the Ferry Building on the east side, to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz to the south. Public transit is very good in this city so you can get anywhere you need to go with a good map and a comfy pair of shoes.

Ok, Sycamore is just one street over from Clarion Alley, which I have walked to see the murals there. I don't remember anything negative about it but l'd love to get second opinions from our locals as I'll admit to not being there after dark. I will say the Mission can be a mixed bag of gritty and no-so, and may not be to everyone's taste.

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For sure, I'd love to help you with the Grand Canyon so ask away! PM's are entirely welcome but do consider the G.C. forum as well so other members 'in the know' can join the conversation. :O)

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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Marina

Sycamore Street? Did you just randomly find it on Google Maps? Are you talking about the Sycamore Hotel?
There are a lot of flop houses in SF, especially in the Mission, and that's one of them. I really wouldn't suggest staying in the Mission unless you found something on AirBnB. The Mission used to be the Latino enclave in SF, but they've been priced out, like most people in other neighborhoods have, by the same people who have priced out everyone else, the brogrammers. And, if it's not them, the homeless population in the Mission has gotten really out of control, partially because the city swept them out of the Financial District and Union Square areas during the Super Bowl last month.
I go up there about every other month to stay the night, and I almost always stay just west of Union Square. I'll visit the Mission to eat, to drink or to park my car, but I wouldn't stay the night there. If you go a little west of Union Square and up the hill, the crowds drop off, the restaurants get better and the noise is a little more reasonable. It's also a nicer neighborhood and you're closer to attractions. I guess the only downside in comparison to the Mission are the hills.

I should note something that may bother you: a large number of hotels in SF do not have a/c in the rooms. Who knows what our temperatures are going to be like at the end of the month, but I just wanted to point it out. If you must have climate control, then you have to stay in a more traditional hotel.


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Marina

I should clarify my "west and up the hill" by emphasizing the "up the hill". Down the hill is the Tenderloin, which just has more flophouses. It's really more northwest, I guess.


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Kochi

Oh wow!Thank you for the valuable info.Colin, I meant sycamore street and you're right it came up on Airbnb. so what's the district I should stay at with all the nicer bars and hotels than mission?


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Thanks Colin: as I said, It didn't worry me at all during the day but wondered if after dark might be different so…

I also didn't know exactly what they intended to stay in: flat or hotel so that you knew about the Sycamore Hotel is great info. Nope, don't want to go NEAR a flophouse!

OK, anywhere around Union Square is a good bet.


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Bucharest

I've lived in San Francisco for 10 years and I agree with Colin. I definitely would not stay in Tenderloin. Mission is better than Tenderloin but some parts of it aren't nice areas to walk around at night and I'm assuming you'll want to walk to and from restaurants (actually walking to the restaurant won't be a problem but walking back might be). And if you're planning to do some sightseeing Mission is a bit out of the way.


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from Stockton

If you want a fun walking tour try the Wild SF Tours. We did one of theirs a few months ago and it was really fun and informative. We did China Town and I really want to go back and do the Castro and Haight tour.

No mater where you stay try to find something close to a BART station. Taking the BART is cheap, safe, and easy. We also UBER if it gets late.

Great place to eat in the Mission district is the Foreign Cinema.

I don't know your price range, but we look at flexible dates for the St Francis and try to go when it's cheaper. I have gotten rooms overlooking Union Square for $250 a night and that's during Christmas time.


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answered on 3/11/16 by
a VT member from California

The Mission is fun for daytime sightseeing, but if you're looking for nightlife, you need to be closer to Downtown SF. I'd recommend staying close to Union Square. You can walk to theaters, restaurants, and bars, and there's a lot going on.

Here's a neighborhood map of SF: [original link]

Increase the size of the map, and you can see it better. As others have said, it's best to avoid the Tenderloin... and South of Market - although it's being gentrified - is still a little sketchy.


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answered on 3/12/16 by
a VT member from Kochi

Thank You everyone. We booked a hotel on fisherman's wharf on booking.com. If not for your suggestions, I would be stuck in mission scared to step out at night;)

I had another query. We would like to do a day trip to Napa Valley. Is it better to stay there or drive back to our hotel the same day?


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answered on 3/13/16 by
a VT member from California

You could make a brief day trip to Napa Valley, but it's about an hour an a half drive each way. If your schedule allows, it would be more relaxing to stay overnight. Also, if you're going to be winetasting, you don't want to be driving under the influence. All of those sips of wine add up.


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answered on 3/13/16 by
a VT member from Kochi

Exactly what I was thinking. Thank You, Rixie


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answered on 3/14/16 by
a VT member from Stockton

Staying in Napa area can be expensive. Since you are staying at Fisherman's Wharf, I would check out the Larkspur/Corte Madera commuter ferry that runs across the bay to Larkspur Landing. It's a working ferry and cheaper than any bay cruise.

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I would find a wine tasting tour that would pick you up at Larkspur Landing and ride the ferry back and forth. It would save you the time of fighting the worse part of the traffic and give you a great cheap bay cruise.


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answered on 3/14/16 by
a VT member from Marina

I don't know that doing a mid-trip overnight in Napa is worth it. I mean, personally, I don't like changing hotels unless I absolutely have to. You have to deal with the gap in the check-in and check-out times, having your luggage in your car, and the stress of leaving and arriving. Also, Napa is absolutely expensive. It's not as bad at this time of year, but it's still very overpriced for accommodations.
And it doesn't necessarily help with the DUI thing to stay the night up there. Unless you're on a tour, you still have to drive between wineries. Public transit up there isn't very good. There are places, like St. Helena, Healdsburg and Sonoma, where you can stay in one place and walk between tasting rooms, but part of the appeal of a wine tour for most people is going to the actual winery and cellar, and seeing the really beautiful landscape that most of them sit on.

Also, you may consider an alternative to the Napa Valley. There are other wine regions. Sonoma Valley is, I think, just as good, and still has a ton of wineries. There's also the Russian River Valley. And we have one right near me, in Carmel Valley. I think all of them has just as much aesthetic appear as Napa.


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answered on 3/14/16 by
a VT member from Stockton

You forget the Lodi area which produces more wine than Napa and Sonoma combined. However, not exactly an easy tour from SF.


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answered on 3/16/16 by
a VT member from Kochi

Hey thanks a bunch. I really like the idea of taking a ferry Larkspur and then taking a shuttle. I tried looking up some tours on yelp but only found limo tours from Larkspur. I'll try some more. Thank you!


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answered on 3/16/16 by
a VT member from Marina

Regarding the ferry, take a look at the fare chart:
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Notice the "Clipper" line at the bottom. You save $3.50 per direction. A Clipper Card can be purchased at any Walgreens in the city (and there are a lot of them), as well as some other retailers, for $3. It will also save you money on Muni buses and rail, allow you to transfer between systems (not usually possible) and allow you to not have to carry exact change.

Larkspur is a nice a little area. Marin is deliberately a stark contrast from the concrete crowds of San Francisco, so it will be nice to see it.

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