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March 30, 2018 7:20 AM   Subscribe

We have to be in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on a Saturday afternoon for a wedding (very soon). Where should we stay that is safest and nicest while also an affordable Uber/Lyft to the park?

This is for two people who can share a bed. I'm looking at Air B and B but can't tell which neighborhoods would be best. We're flying in to SFO and also hope the Uber won't be more expensive than the flight.
We will do public transport only if very very easy due to one person's medical condition/fatigue.
We have been to SF a few times before but aren't very familiar with the city.
posted by velveeta underground to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Golden Gate park is really big ... if you could share more about the exact venue that would help narrow it down?

The Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods border either edge and are pretty peaceful (caveat, haven't lived in the area for 20 years). The Haight is on the narrow edge of the park, and while the residential blocks are residential, there is alot of urban hustle on Haight Street its-self. There are other close-ish options: the Cole Valley side of Castro, Japantown/Polk Gulch.

Honestly, I use Google maps for this kind of research. The map on airbnb is kind of clunky. Drop a pin at the approximate location of the rental, and cruise around in street view to get a feel. Use the route feature to figure out how long of a car ride it is between your place and the event.

San Francisco geography is idiosynchratic in that some neighborhoods are tucked away and some unlikely candidates are quite accessible due to the the hills and the way the major traffic arteries run. If you can hone in on a few likely rentals and reply back, I'm sure some mefites can score them against your criteria. Good luck!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:22 AM on March 30, 2018

It really matters where in GGP you will need to be. GGP is really big-- walking from one end to the other is a serious time commitment and it's also a little bit hilly and some parts are unpaved.

There is little or no parking near or in GGP so you will need to be close enough to walk or able to get a Lyft to/from. Many of the wedding destinations in the park have a paved road for access, but this road may be unexpectedly blocked to cars, especially on weekends. There are buses on the north and south sides of the park that run roughly parallel, and a few that run through at the north-south passthroughs, but they are unreliable during peak hours and they are likely to be standing room only. I would suggest looking at Google maps/streetview to figure out where the wedding is relative to the road, and then get a Lyft to and from. In general, I would not suggest the buses if you can't stand for long periods of time or if you don't know the city or you're short on time. Google Transit is a reliable way to plan trips, but double check with Transit 511 and the Muni website for the weekend events/construction issues. Add time padding to any trip that is on a Sunday or during peak commute hours.

The further out you can be, it's likely to be cheaper. One thing you can do is be near a BART station so you can take a straight shot into the city-- say, an airport hotel near or with a shuttle to BART, take that an hour to Montgomery, then get out and summon a Lyft. My favorite places in the city are the Geary and Clement corridors between 1st Ave and 20th or so because of the food and shopping, but I couldn't say whether you would want to be staying there. Find out where the wedding specifically is, then poke around on the maps to see what's close. Remember that even a doable walking distance might be unexpectedly steep. I would sacrifice a high quality AirBnB for more Lyft money if mobility were my concern.

Also-- much of GGP that is west of Park Presidio is too far out for cabs to want to go there, so keep your phone charged and budget for Lyft. Cabs can't be hailed on the street and the dispatcher has discretion to refuse to send a cab or seriously delay a cab (I never waited less than 45 minutes when I lived at 35th Ave and Balboa.) The driver may refuse to carry you if they don't want to go to your destination. It is likely the cab driver will not know the neighborhood (LYft drivers at least have GPS.) Also bear in mind that BART turns into a pumpkin at midnight and many of the buses don't run overnight.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:15 AM on March 30, 2018

One more thing-- there is, theoretically, a shuttle in the park. It may or may not be running during the time you are there. I lived there for 8 years and literally never saw one nor was ever able to use one, but maybe I was unlucky.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:22 AM on March 30, 2018

Hi, I live in the sunset! It is right by golden gate park and I love it here. Very easy from the airport (my lyfts generally have ranged from $20-$45, depending on time of day and if I do line), and it is right by GG park, so easy lyft in. If any of the places you're looking at are in the sunset, I definitely recommend it. Inner sunset will have more restaurants, outer sunset will be quieter/more residential/closer to the ocean (if any of those things matter to you for this trip). The richmond and cole valley would probably also make good places to stay.

Honestly, though, SF proper is small. Most places within city limits would not be an exorbitant lyft ride to the park. (For reference, I'll lyft around the city when I am too lazy to deal with multiple bus transfers, and I don't think I've ever had a ride cost more than $15? But again, this could vary depending on time of day and if you're doing line. Also maybe I just haven't chanced into expensive rides.)

Do not bother with public transportation. It will not be worth the stress to you.
posted by tan_coul at 9:40 AM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

There are few hotels in the neighborhoods adjoining Golden Gate Park (the Richmond, inner and outer, and the Sunset, inner and outer, plus the Haight). I don't know how rich the Airbnb options are in that area. As mentioned above, if you want to be close to the wedding, it depends where in the humongous park the wedding is behind held. Many of the common locations seem to be on the eastern side of the park, but you will want to find that out. That said, San Francisco is not very big. If you are going to take a Lyft or Uber to the wedding, it doesn't much matter where you stay within SF. Right now, at 9:30 am on a weekday an UberX to the Shakespeare Garden (a common Golden Gate Park wedding location) from Union Square (a completely different part of town) would cost you $13-$17, so I wouldn't sweat your proximity to the park too much, unless you are very price sensitive.

You mentioned safety as another consideration. Avoid the Tenderloin and the 6th street corridor in SOMA (6th street south of Market Street) and you should be fine. San Francisco isn't particularly dangerous, though we do have some property crime.

I live in the Inner Sunset and recommend the area around 9th Avenue and Irving if you can find a suitable Airbnb and are looking for some low-key attractions to keep you entertained before or after the wedding. This 36 hours in San Francisco article from the New York Times recommends several attractions in the neighborhood. In addition to those mentioned, check out the SF Botanical Garden, also nearby.
posted by reren at 9:43 AM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Sunset is a great area for what you're describing, and the 9th / Irving area is right on w.r.t. having interesting things and good food nearby--definitely echo others on that.

Also a great option is the Divisadero corridor. If you feel like the timeframe might make it hard to sort out an AirBNB option, I had some relatives in town recently who got a great deal staying at the Metro Hotel, which is a cute small hotel in a really cool area of Divisadero.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 12:16 PM on March 30, 2018

I would stay in the Inner Sunset (9th & Irving area) or Inner Richmond (around Clement Street from Arguello to 9th Ave) as both places will put you very close to dining and shopping options while also being close to the park.
posted by quince at 2:18 PM on March 30, 2018

You may not need to do Lyft/Uber from the airport; BART goes to the airport, inside the terminal area. Take BART to somewhere closer to where you need to be, and Lyft from there if the Muni buses are too much hassle.

BART from the airport is likely to be easier travel than finding your way out of the terminal to the taxi/pickup area.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:38 PM on March 30, 2018

You may not need to do Lyft/Uber from the airport; BART goes to the airport, inside the terminal area. Take BART to somewhere closer to where you need to be, and Lyft from there if the Muni buses are too much hassle.

BART from the airport is likely to be easier travel than finding your way out of the terminal to the taxi/pickup area.

I would actually advise against this. Bart is no easier to navigate than a lyft pickup, and is likely to add significant time/stress to your trip.

Unless they've changed the system in recent months, it's actually really easy to grab a lyft from sfo--just exit the doors on the departures level (not arrivals), and make note of your door number when you call your ride. It's generally a pretty painless process. (Or maybe they tell you which door number to go to when you open the app? Check the guidelines before your trip, but I remember it being very simple.)
posted by tan_coul at 7:00 PM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

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