San Francisco, Take Two
March 3, 2010 8:52 AM   Subscribe

So we rescheduled our San Francisco trip and I've got a few more last-minute questions...

We couldn't get booked into the same hotel, so we're staying at the Monaco instead which is close to (in?) the Tenderloin. Which is apparently "sketchy" according to Trip Advisor. I think we're generically city-savvy, but I want to know if it's ok to walk around at night or if we should stick to cabs.

Also, I'm planning on getting a MUNI Passport. I see that it isn't good on BART. I'm confused about the two systems, if we're not leaving the immediate SF area, do we need to worry about BART at all?

We're still going to Nightlife, but most of our other plans are now out. Chinatown Alley Tours never got back to us about a tour the last time, but I'm trying again. I see where there's going to be a St. Patrick's Day parade that I am pretty sure I want to avoid as much as possible. Anything I shouldn't miss from next Thursday through Monday? I've been checking the SF Weekly calendar but it's kind of overwhelming.
posted by JoanArkham to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Anything I shouldn't miss from next Thursday through Monday?

There is a Metafilter meetup next Friday, FYI.

Yeah the Tenderloin is sketchy but you are on the touristy edge so you should be fine. You only need to worry about BART if you are planning to leave San Francisco proper- for example, to go to Berkeley or Oakland. Otherwise you don't really need BART to get around central San Francisco.
posted by ambrosia at 9:03 AM on March 3, 2010

The tenderloin is sketchy, but you're not in the heart of it -- you should be fine to walk towards Powell St BART, for example, at night. SF is different from NY and DC that you can't always just get a cab, especially up in the tenderloin area. It's much easier than it used to be, though.

BART is useful for getting to a couple of very specific places in SF -- if you want to go to the mission, for example, it's an easy way to do it, but isn't necessary, MUNI can get you there too.

And I would always take any opportunity to go to the Exploratorium, even if I were also going to the Cal Academy of Sciences, but I'm a science museum nut. The King Tut exhibit is in town until the end of the month, too.
posted by brainmouse at 9:05 AM on March 3, 2010

I would go to Yank Sing for dim sum. (The Spear street location is less crowded) and the Hog Island Oyster Company at the Ferry building. The Ferry Building is a fun place to go in any case. Also, Not For Tourists seems to have a lot of good information about the city.
posted by Gusaroo at 9:11 AM on March 3, 2010

Which is apparently "sketchy" according to Trip Advisor. I think we're generically city-savvy, but I want to know if it's ok to walk around at night or if we should stick to cabs.

You're ok at the Monaco. Its an easy nice walk to Union Square from there down Geary St.
The Clift hotel, one of the nicest hotels in San Francisco, is across the street from you.
posted by vacapinta at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks again, all! I think Mr. Arkham would kill me if I dragged him to a meetup on vacation, but I'm intrigued by House of Shields. Maybe we'll stop by.

So is the St. Patrick's Day parade a huge deal? I hate (American) St. Patrick's Day.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2010

Oops. I should have posted this to your first query.
posted by Gusaroo at 9:13 AM on March 3, 2010

From the Monaco, basically just always go "right" or towards union square (which looks right from the monaco map). The other direction does get a little sketchy but its not that bad.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:19 AM on March 3, 2010

Oh and the Squid List can be a bit of a more esoteric list of events but something there might float your boat.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:42 AM on March 3, 2010

Best answer: I insist you go to Mission Street Food which has the best food I've ever tasted (literally), Mission Burger which is the best burger I've ever had (literally), and the place PercussivePaul recommended in the first comment on your OP (Do not Google it. Literally).

Mission Street Food features new guest chefs each week, and donates their proceeds to charity. Their PB&J (Pork-Belly and Jicama) is orgasmic, so if they have it when you're there, get it. They actually run out of food as the night progresses, and it's always packed, so make reservations early.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 12:00 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yank Sing tastes fine but is expensive as hell and Americanized. There are a zillion other Dim Sum places. You can use yelp to get an idea of the ones in walking distance. I'm more familiar with the ones in the avenues, but I know the China Town/North Beach border has a couple decent ones.

The Mission is great fun to check out in general. I completely recommend visiting it.

Also, I just recently discovered Dianda's bakery, which is old school Italian (on Mission at 25th or so) and love it! But it's all old fashioned, goopy stuff, so YMMV. How did I miss it all these years? I have no idea.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2010

I live three blocks from the Monaco. My neighborhood is definitely a little sketchy, but it gets much less so as you go east (and I live west of the Monaco). You should be fine, especially together.

San Francisco City Guides offers free walking tours of various neighborhoods. I've never done the Chinatown one, though.
posted by tellumo at 12:37 PM on March 3, 2010

Ferry trips are always fun. I especially like the round trip of, say, renting a bike, riding from Fisherman's Wharf or the Ferry Building across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito or Larkspur or Tiburon (depending on ambition) and taking the Ferry back home.

Also, Angel Island is a great, lesser known spot for a picnic/hike/bike ride and you get a ferry trip (from Tiburon) in the bargain.
posted by msalt at 1:01 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

But bring a jacket!

That should probably be a macro affixed to every sentence regarding SF.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2010

Response by poster: OMG, Mission Street Food sounds hilarious. And I'm definitely down with old school Italian too, since that's (oddly) one thing we really lack in DC.

I'm planning on bringing my leather biker jacket and a medium-weight hoodie. Maybe a light hoodie as well.

I am hoping lack of comment on the parade means it is, in fact, no big deal. :)
posted by JoanArkham at 1:38 PM on March 3, 2010

Yeah I didn't even really realize there was a St. Patrick's day parade until now. So you should be ok.

BART will take you directly to the Mission (16th street or 24th Street stops) but you can also get there via MUNI or, really, by walking. But otherwise it's not going to do you much good.

The area around the Monaco is fine, you really just want to avoid O'Farrell and Jones down to Market and west I guess. Geary street has a bunch of theaters and has fairly recently acquired some fancypants bars (Rye makes some mean drinks).
posted by grapesaresour at 4:37 PM on March 3, 2010

St. Patricks Day! -- Avoid Geary between Arguello and 3rd (or seek it out) -- unless things have changed in the last few years, it will be a madhouse of loud drunks.
posted by msalt at 6:36 PM on March 3, 2010

Response by poster: Mission Street Food reservation made! Chinatown Alley tour booked! Meetup planned! Thanks again everyone.
posted by JoanArkham at 12:55 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: Just wanted to say THANK YOU to all you wonderful MeFites for making our vacation such a success. Mission Street Food was great, the Chinatown tour was wonderful, transit advice was spot-on. We even got a seat for Hog Island happy hour. So sorry I didn't make it to the Meetup, but I was seriously crashing by 6:00 that day.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:43 AM on March 17, 2010

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