I don’t know why I have that I Love Lucy song in my head as I write this. “California here I come, right back where I started from”… lol
Los Angeles is known for their angels but San Francisco (SF) is known for their hearts and fog! I usually find myself in SF at least once a year just because it’s one of the must destinations for taking family from Asia; who have not been to California before. I also have family and friends who lives there now, so I try to visit them and try to find new things to do there too!
Here are some tips before you go:
Hotels: I’ve only stayed in two places in SF and they are Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. Both places are close to all the landmarks of SF. Union Square is located in the heart of SF’s financial district and Fisherman’s Wharf is next to Pier 39.
SF is not cheap by all means. I would say that it costs approx. $200/night for decent (3 star) hotel. It is a business and family oriented type of town. i.e. it might cost you more to stay in the financial district on the weekday than on the weekends and might be beneficial for you to stay around Fisherman’s Wharf during the weekdays compared to the weekends.
There are, however, other places other than Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf. Most of the hotels runs along Van Ness Ave and Lombard St. As these places are not very touristy, it’s somewhat cheaper all together.
Transportation: As San Francisco is about 6 hours away from Los Angeles, I usually have my car. Parking cost A LOT in SF. Hotel parking is usually $30+ a night. They do have parking structures but depending on the time and day, prices varies. There are also street parking, but as always…Check the parking signs.
San Francisco has a decent transportation system; the Muni and the Bart. One day pass for the Muni is $20 and a 3 day pass is $31. If I fly (take the plane) and don’t have my car; I usually get the 3 day pass. The Bart has a different system and you pay depending on the destination you want to go to. Please check here for more updated info.
The reason why I get the passes is that I like going on the trolleys. It’s $7 for each ride. However, nowadays, since I’ve been to all the touristy places, the new places I’ve gone to had more driving involved. And of course, you have your trusty Uber/Lyft/Taxi driver.
Driving is not all that bad in San Francisco. Of course as a first time driver in a big city you might be confused on why some streets are perfectly flat and the street over is a hill. It’s a bit ironic. There are also a lot of one way streets and Market St. Yup, Market St. This street stretches all the way from the Embarcadero to around Castro. Apparently, you can’t make any lefts and could only make rights or go straight. Plus, some lanes are only designated for taxis and buses and another lane where cars can only go 10 mph. I would just avoid Market St. all together if you can help it.
Weather: Meet the fog. Doesn’t matter how sunny the day is … Next thing you know, the fog just decides to roll on in. I remember standing near the painted ladies and looking up. I haven’t seen clouds move so fast! It could be 75 to 80 degrees and drops down to 65 to 70 degrees in a span of an hour.