Visiting the City by the Bay
July 1, 2009 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Where should I stay in San Francisco and how well can I get around without a car?

I'm travelling to San Francisco in late September and I'm wondering if anyone has tips on reasonably nice hotels that are close to a BART station in a centrally located portion of SF. I use a wheelchair and won't have access to a car (unless I use a taxi). My budget is about $200/night.

I was in SF about 12 years ago and saw a bit of the Wharf, Golden Gate Park, and Haight-Ashbury. Will I be able to see other parts of the city using public transportation? Can I get to places like Marin County?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
posted by wintermute2_0 to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't really recommend hotels, since I live here (and therefore never stay in them), but friends have had nice stays at the W. It's at the high end of your limit, but it's only a couple of (flat!) blocks to BART, is right down the street from SFMOMA, etc.

All Muni buses are equipped with wheelchair ramp lifts at the front door, and you can check schedules and live maps at nextmuni. Underground Muni and BART are both wheelchair long as the elevators to the street are working.

Public transit to Marin can be complicated. Buses from SF to Marin run most frequently on weekdays during the evening commute, since that's when most people are returning home after working in the city. Schedules and such - including ferries - are here. On the weekends, I know buses go from the city to the Marin Headlands and to Muir Woods, but not terribly frequently. If I think of more stuff I'll come back.
posted by rtha at 9:22 AM on July 1, 2009

I recently stayed in an apartment my friend found via Craiglist. My friend posted the price we were looking to spend for the weekend (half of what you're willing to spend), and we ended up with a great place (though my friend did get a number of weird to creepy replies). I understand fewer apartments would have elevators, but I'll offer my positive experience as a possibility. Good luck, and have fun!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:35 AM on July 1, 2009

Addendum: we stayed in the middle of the Haight district, between Upper and Lower, and we didn't drive all weekend. It was a trek to BART, but there are so many stations and so much to see, I think you can manage w/o a car just fine.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on July 1, 2009

Are you looking for nature experiences? I'm not that familiar with accessible trail options, but this site looks good: San Francisco Bay Area Wheelchair Accessible Trails.

To get to Marin County, you can use Golden Gate Transit. The West Marin Stage is a wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus that goes to the remoter areas of Marin, including Point Reyes Station, Stinson Beach, Inverness, Mt Tam, etc. You'd have to get to the transit hub in Marin City or San Rafael and transfer. Also there's a Muni bus that goes (Sundays only) to the Marin Headlands.
posted by expialidocious at 10:05 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're in a wheelchair, you'll want to know that it's likely that the Montgomery Street BART station -- the station near the financial district and many fine hotels -- will be being rebuilt in September. You'll want to avoid hotels off of that station.

If public transportation accessibility is a concern, I'd seriously consider staying at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco right off of Market St. at 5 Embarcadero Center or somewhere very nearby. If I'm not mistaken, that hotel has accessible entry to BART, the MUNI Metro trolleys, the F line trolleys and an assortment of accessible MUNI buses and a throng of taxis. It's also a fairly brief journey to the Trans-bay terminal to get across the bridges, and the bus to Marin stops two blocks away.

If it's too expensive, there are several smaller boutique hotels nearby the Ferry Building / BART Embarcadero Station area. I doubt you'd have any problem seeing the city and other nearby places in the Bay Area on public transportation from that area.
posted by eschatfische at 10:17 AM on July 1, 2009

Friends and co-workers have had good luck using Priceline in SF for hotels. Worth a try to cut your hotel costs if you want, and spend more on taxis.

Muni is accessible, if grudgingly. Check the Muni system alerts to find out which elevators for BART and Muni Metro (the underground portion of the transit system) will be out of operation. Otherwise you can get pretty much anywhere in the city on Muni. From downtown you can easily get to the Mission, the Castro, or the Richmond, for example. Go see a Giants game, if you're a baseball fan.

Ferries to Marin may be your best bet. Depends on what part of Marin you want to get to. West Marin (Point Reyes, etc.) is not very accessible without a car. Taking the ferry is actually a great way to see the Bay. You can get over to Alameda/Jack London Square as well that way.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:41 AM on July 1, 2009

If you're in a wheelchair, you'll want to know that it's likely that the Montgomery Street BART station -- the station near the financial district and many fine hotels -- will be being rebuilt in September. You'll want to avoid hotels off of that station.

Wow, did that come out weird. I meant to say that the elevator at the Montgomery Street BART station will be being rebuilt in September.
posted by eschatfische at 10:42 AM on July 1, 2009

Asked my BART cronies and they suggest the Marriot at 5th and Mission--no charm but very accessible and reasonably priced. It is very near the Powell street BART station that has (according to my planning buddy) the most official and unofficial elevators for access to the station.

It's a very central location as well for touristy stuff.
posted by agatha_magatha at 10:43 AM on July 1, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Monaco a few years back and found it utterly lovely. It was quiet, for one thing, despite being near Union Square. The staff was wonderful and the decor amazing. We got a really good price on Expedia or Travelocity; can't remember which. Well below $200 per night.
posted by cooker girl at 10:58 AM on July 1, 2009

Use CouchSurfing to meet great people and have a roof over your head for free.
posted by fourmajor at 12:15 PM on July 1, 2009

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