Plan my trip to San Fran
January 9, 2012 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Please plan my trip to San Francisco in the next 2-6 weeks.

So I'm turning to the hive mind as I've found quite a few locals who know awesome places, and I'm too lazy anytime soon to sort through Google. My job offers me the awesome opportunity to see the US with only a return trip home. So I'm heading to San Fran, why? Well besides I'm a closet hippie (love jam bands, and the entire humanity thing); so a) where can I stay and b) what must I see an I see Thursday through Sunday (checkout/flight Sunday). I have a girlfriend so no haunted houses or anything like that (planning to see Alcatraz). She's more main stream then me, so it can't be a hostel, it needs to be a main stream hotel. Not giving income limit as it's kinda flexible.
posted by lpcxa0 to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (14 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Start here.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:51 PM on January 9, 2012

Best answer: I always like staying at the Triton.
posted by birdherder at 8:54 PM on January 9, 2012

There are new bison in Golden Gate Park, if you fancy a stroll. The weather is lovely here right now.
posted by verbyournouns at 9:36 PM on January 9, 2012

Best answer: Eat at Ike's Place. It has sandwiches, and they are the best sandwiches.
posted by so_gracefully at 10:10 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you stay at the Hayes Valley Inn recommended by liketitanic, be sure to stroll the boutique-y neighborhood. Chantal Guillon has the most amazing macarons. Then walk over to the Mission and hang out on Valencia to about 24th Street - lots of (mostly) inexpensive boutiques, odd and interesting stores, coffee shops, bookstores and great restaurants. Check out the side streets too along the way (16th, 19th). Tartine's, Bi-Rite grocery stores if the weather is nice and you want to hang out out in Delores Park or Lucca's for an old-school Italian deli, Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper", Paxton Gate, Delfina's, lots of bookstores, 826 Valencia for pirate supplies. I don't have time provide links for all these but the Mission is one of my favorite neighborhoods.

You'll also be able to catch the bus easily to the Haight as well as the trolley up Market to the Castro.
posted by shoesietart at 10:16 PM on January 9, 2012

Neat! I had a weekend in San Francisco in January last year, and it was a great time to visit - the weather was perfect. We stayed in the Red Vic, a B&B on Haight St. It's on the line between a hostel and a hotel, you can get a room with your own bathroom, etc. Take a look, does it appeal to your own inner hippie? You may be able to convince your girlfriend. It's a few blocks from Magnolia, they have a great breakfast. It's also a few blocks from Amoeba Records and Golden Gate Park! One morning we walked westward the length of the park - verbyournouns is not kidding about the bison! But there's also a windmill, the Japanese Tea Garden, some museums, etc etc. Also the occasional pot smoke cloud.

If you're not bringing a car, get a 3 day MUNI pass. The bus system is pretty easily navigable and you can just hop on and hop off the buses with the pass.

The Alcatraz night tour is timed perfectly for gorgeous sunset views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Humphry Slocombe for ice cream. SF Sketchfest will be going on while you're there, if you like that sort of thing.
posted by troika at 10:21 PM on January 9, 2012

Not sure where you're coming from, but there's an In-n-Out in Fisherman's Wharf. FW is kinda....ehhh.....but ohhhh, that burger.
posted by troika at 10:26 PM on January 9, 2012

If you're of the hippie bent you should head to Golden Gate Park on Saturday afternoon if the weather is nice, and go chill on hippie hill (it's called "Sharon Meadow" on Google Maps). Just walk west on Haight St until it ends, and continue along the path in the same direction, walk through the tunnel and follow the sound of drums and the smell of ganja. Of course on the way you should hang out in hippie ground zero Haight Ashbury, it's pretty commercialized now but still kinda cute, and you'll be there anyway. While you're in Golden Gate park you could visit the De Jonge museum and the Japanese Gardens. You can rent bikes on Stanyon St nearby and cruise through the park, hit the ocean, go north and check out the ruins of the Sutro Baths at Land's End, then keep going north through Golden Gate National Rec Area, visit Baker Beach and get amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and play around in the old military fortifications. Keep going up to the Bridge and you can cycle across it, all the way into Sausalito if you like and take the ferry back, or just turn around on the far end. Hope you get good weather.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:52 AM on January 10, 2012

With all respect to gingerbeer, I suggest you start with Stu Dudley's recommendations. It's a pretty comprehensive document.
posted by blob at 5:40 AM on January 10, 2012

...and get tickets for Alcatraz now. My experience is that they sell out well in advance, leaving many tourists scrambling for scalped tickets.
posted by blob at 5:42 AM on January 10, 2012

The In-n-Out at Fisherman's Wharf sucks. It's nowhere as good as the In-n-Outs further out of San Francisco. Seriously, stay away from the In-n-Out there, my wife now thinks that In-n-Out sucks, and obviously that is due to the sub-par tourist experience. The workers there weren't even SMILING.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 6:01 AM on January 10, 2012

If you're a closet hippie, the Long Now foundation might pique your interest.

The wave organ strikes me as cool, but I didn't get a chance to visit it - it apparently silts up from time to time so it may not be all that great depending on when they last did a clean up on it.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:56 AM on January 10, 2012

Rather than a MUNI pass, I recommend buying a Clipper card. You have the option to put only cash on it, and then the cash can be used toward MUNI, BART, AC transit (the East Bay buses), Golden Gate Transit, and others. Then you only have one thing to keep track of. Plus it calculates transfers for you so you don't need to keep track of those or keep tons of spare change around either. You don't save money the way you would on a bus pass, but it's very convenient. You can buy them online, at downtown SF BART stations, or at Walgreens in the city and East Bay. Once you have them though, you can refill them at any BART or metro-muni station. (You can also set it to refill automatically, but that probably wouldn't make sense for you).

For hotels, I like the Seal Rock Inn. It's right near the water, the Presidio, not far from Golden Gate Park and Haight by car (also not bad by bus) and right near the wonderful inner Richmond, with lots of wonderful restaurants (especially Asian ones and Russian bakeries) and Green Apple books, which is lovely. I like the Red Vic too! Make sure you don't get a room underground though - the muni goes by pretty often and it's very loud.

Generally nthing everyone else, Long Now is really cool and it's right near Greens Restaurant, which is a famous (and very fancy!) vegetarian restaurant in the beautiful Marina. Definitely go to Golden Gate Park! It's gorgeous. If you go to the Academy of Sciences, get tickets in advance. (It's worth it!)

(Also, don't call it San Fran. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet. I'm cringing every time I read it. Maybe I'm being rude but if you say that when you're there I suspect some of the natives might be ruder. Frisco is also out.)
posted by fireflies at 9:24 AM on January 10, 2012

If you're going to Fisherman's Wharf, Kara's Cupcakes and Musee Mechanique are fun.
posted by jabes at 12:48 PM on January 10, 2012

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