Getting from SFO to San Fran Downtown on Friday Night
October 10, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way for San Francisco Airport to Union Square? I'll be going from airport at 10pm Friday night and was wondering if BART would be faster. And does anyone have aany can't (less touristy) misses in SF for a 48 hour weekend there?
posted by sandmanwv to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Sutro Bath ruins and surrounding cliffs are a nice way to spend an afternoon, and the ruins are going to be made less fun dangerous in just a little while. Go explore while you still can.
posted by tylermoody at 9:26 PM on October 10, 2006

Well, yeah, you can take BART from the airport now (get off at Powell Street Station for Union Square -- it's not far). I haven't done that yet, but I think it takes about 50 minutes to an hour. I always take a cab, but part of that may be about how eager I always am to get back to the City. Cab is approximately 25 minutes (maybe 35 if traffic is borked) and around 25 - 30 bucks (as opposed to the around 5 or 6 bucks on BART), depending on how you tip.

As for 'can't misses', lots of things are going on now (e.g., the symphony recently started their season, if you like that sort of thing).

We're still having some nice weather, so a trip to the beach or Twin Peaks might be in order.

posted by trip and a half at 9:36 PM on October 10, 2006

Please look through the many previous San Francisco threads where tourists and locals have offered lots of good advice on off-the-beaten-track stuff to do.

It would help to add which weekend you'll be here.

BART is definitely the cheapest/most efficient way. Your other options are shuttles or taxis. The fastest would be a taxi, though (about $30)
posted by vacapinta at 9:37 PM on October 10, 2006

Lately, taxis may not beat taking BART. Traffic in and out of downtown has been miserable due to all the bridge repairs.

BART s only 30 mins SFO to Powell Street.

dep 10:16 arr 10:45

dep 10:36 arr 11:05

dep 10:56 arr 11>25

$5.15 one way
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:42 PM on October 10, 2006

I will add that San Francisco, like many other cities including NYC, is not just about going from attraction to attraction but walking around and getting a "feel" for the city and discovering things on your own. Its a very neighborhood-y city.
posted by vacapinta at 10:05 PM on October 10, 2006

Cable car museum! It's free and my favorite thing to tell people to check out. Also, try Coit Tower. Five bones gets you an elevator ride to the top, and if you time it right in the late afternoon you can watch the sun set and the fog blow in and eat the Golden Gate.
posted by autojack at 10:05 PM on October 10, 2006

Hi, sandmanwv.
I did just this this past weekend.

From the airport to downtown? Take a shuttle. They're non-specific (hotel-wise...just tell them which hotel you're staying at and give them the cross-streets [I was at the Holiday Inn at Van Ness and California, had no probs anywhere] Anywhere on Powell shouldn't be a problem. It'll cost you somewhere in the vicinity of $15, give or take a few.

Things to do? Well, thanks to my lonelyplanet guide, I toured Russian Hill, took a (rented) bike ride from the bay across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito (with a ferry ride back), struck around Mission, and hit up the Haight and Golden Gate Park (the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival helped on that part, but that was last weekend).

You can view my pix here should you wish. Feel free to hit me up via e-mail if you want further info.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:25 PM on October 10, 2006

you'll be walking distance from chinatown and north beach. the museums of golden gate park - specifically the new deyoung (don't miss going up in the tower - i think you can do that for free, without admission) are definitely worth a visit. ferry building. MoMa is walking distance from BART too. so much more! i know i've been self-linking these a lot in travel-related questions lately, but here's another restaurant/visitors guide I made, this one for San Francisco. it's three years old but might still be helpful.
posted by luriete at 10:51 PM on October 10, 2006

There's always this sight to see in "San Fran". Union Square is about at the bottom of the list of "must see" unless you somehow don't have a Cheesecake Factory wherever you're from.. just go wander, it's a very safe city as they go. There's even a windmill.
posted by kcm at 11:32 PM on October 10, 2006

Take Super Shuttle, no question about it.
posted by gnutron at 12:19 AM on October 11, 2006

Squidlist is best for events, IMO. Will you be in time for Shocktoberfest?
posted by jasper411 at 8:55 AM on October 11, 2006

Just FYI, I've been on Super Shuttle from SFO many times and often it's taken AGES to get where I'm going. Not only do you sometimes have to wait for a van to show up that's going where you want to go, then you may be the last drop-off in the van, meaning that there could be up to 4 stops before yours. I'd still vote for BART.

And I second the vote for the new deYoung. Also the Museum of the African Diaspora just opened and though I havent' been, it's supposed to be really good. Go take a walk at Crissy Field for some amazing views.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:57 AM on October 11, 2006

BART it. Powell stop. You'll save $10. BART is nice and empty at 10pm, so it's no big deal to bring luggage on. Union Sq. will be dead-ish at that hour, but it's a fairly safe neighborhood. Last BART looks to be at 11:46, so if your plane is running late, you might not be able to take it.

If you have more luggage than you want to carry 5 blocks or so, it may be worth taking the super shuttle.

Check the major local weeklies (,, for local events.
posted by fishfucker at 12:40 PM on October 11, 2006

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