Best way to get to Cal Academy of Sciences... on Pride weekend?
June 20, 2018 4:58 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way (driving vs. public transit from the South Bay) to get to Cal Academy of Sciences this coming weekend, on the Sunday of the SF Pride Parade?

I live in Palo Alto and for various reasons I'd really like to visit Cal Academy of Sciences this coming Sunday. Which, also happens to be the day of the SF Pride Parade. What's my best option for getting there and back?

1) Take Caltrain from Palo Alto, which is walking distance from my house. Transfer to public transit once I get to 4th and King. This takes me right into the heart of the Pride festivities, in addition to being ~2 hours each way.

2) Drive to Millbrae BART and take that into the city. Still about 2 hours, but BART may be more convenient connection-wise than Caltrain to get to GG Park. Will I be able to park easily at Millbrae, or am I competing with all of the paradegoers?

3) Just drive all the way there, which would be my first preference if not for Pride tilting the traffic prediction. If we take 280 and park in the expensive underground garage nearest the museum, will traffic still be horrible on the western side of the city?

My priorities are stress > time > cost.
posted by serelliya to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (10 answers total)
Best answer: I don't know how Pride will affect traffic on the way up, but I live near the museum (in the Richmond district) and usually can't tell that Pride is happening at all when I stick around here. You can probably even get free street parking.

edit: In case that wasn't clear, my vote would be for driving.
posted by sunset in snow country at 5:03 PM on June 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Would recommend Millbrae -> Civic Center -> N Judah or 7 bus to the park. Having a car would probably more stressful than it's worth, and getting from 4th & King to the park is basically an hour of N Judah.

Notably, you could take Caltrain to Millbrae if you want to avoid driving entirely.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 5:23 PM on June 20, 2018

Best answer: I'd drive, traffic on 280 and that side of town won't be bad.

I like the BART to Civic Center option if you want transit. Folks will start leaving Pride around 1pm and the N-Judah will get increasingly untenable over the course of the afternoon. But if you go earlier than that you'll be commuting opposite the direction of everyone.
posted by Nelson at 5:31 PM on June 20, 2018

The 44 Bus from Glen Park BART will drop you off at the front steps of CAS. It's also an 24hr Owl bus, so if you choose to drive to Glen Park you can stay as late as you want.
posted by rhizome at 5:31 PM on June 20, 2018 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah if driving is normally your first preference, I'd drive (and check Waze for traffic and route). There may be somewhat more traffic on 280, but you'll be well away from the festivities. I wouldn't expect local streets in the Sunset to be that different from any other Sunday. Like sunset suggests, you can used the saved time to hunt for free parking.

If traffic does look surprisingly bad, you could stop at Millbrae, take BART to Glen Park, then the 44 to the Academy of Science, but the 44 only runs every 15-20 minutes on Sunday, and BART from Millbrae only runs every 20 minutes, so there could be a fair amount of waiting time. Waiting stresses me out, but I don't know how you feel about it.

Caltrain runs quite infrequently on the weekend, and most trains make all stops, so you could be in for a lot of waiting with that route too.
posted by zachlipton at 5:33 PM on June 20, 2018

Best answer: Caltrain on Pride days can be standing room only, particularly northbound before the parade. Southbound it will be full of people who have enjoyed the festivities so it will be louder and more festive than usual. I found someone trying to sell me rainbow Jell-O shots on the train hilarious, but ymmv.
posted by asphericalcow at 5:40 PM on June 20, 2018

I hate having to park and drive in the city under any conditions. If it were me I’d take CalTrain to Millbrae then get BART to wherever. It depends on if you’re more stressed by traffic or crowded trains.
posted by bleep at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Drive all the way. Stay on the west side of the city, and you won't even know that it's Pride weekend. Take 280 and 19th Ave into the park.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:38 PM on June 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone!
posted by serelliya at 2:27 PM on June 21, 2018

Best answer: I am all about transit, but it's going to take twice as long to use transit as to drive. N Judah is better than the bus, but you'll still be going pretty far out of your way and having to walk across the park anyway. I would take the Great Highway, quite scenic, then drive through the park. If you get there before noon there's usually free street parking to the south of the Academy, it's rare that all the little roads fill up. Street parking outside the park is actually harder than inside. Worst case you can park in the "Performing Arts Garage" but it's pricey for not-downtown SF.
posted by wnissen at 2:32 PM on June 21, 2018

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