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Subject: Questions about the San Francisco area rss

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Dan Cristelli
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This fall I'm taking a trip with my girlfriend to San Francisco. We're going out there with the express purpose of seeing a 49ers game - it's their last year in Candlestick and regardless of whether it's a dump or not, I need to see it before it's gone. There's a ton of Niners history there and I'd like to see where a lot of it happened.

So I have some questions.

1. What should we try to see in San Fran? I think we're going to be there for three days.

2. How long would it take to get to Oakland? More specifically to get to the Coliseum. We're going to try to hit a September football game which would also open up the possibility of seeing some baseball. And if we play our cards right the A's and Giants will both be playing.

3. How's the public transportation out there?
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Erik D
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There's a coin-op museum at Fisherman's Wharf that is simply fantastic. Covers everything from machines dating back to the 1800s to modern video games:

http://museemecaniquesf.com/

I regret not walking the Golden Gate. I'm a fan of bridges.

The mass transit out there is as varied as I've ever seen. The must-do are the classic cable cars, especially hanging off the side. There's also the F line, which is an old-timey street car. (At the very end of the line in the Castro district, there's The Hot Cookie, which serves excellent cayenne chocolate chip cookies as well as erotic macaroons.) There's the BART train which is a standard commuter rail, your standard-issue buses, and my favorite, the subway that, out of nowhere, turns into a bus. It's magic.


Keep in mind all of this is based on the grand total of 5 nights I've spent there.

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Rick B
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To answer the Coliseum question, you can get there pretty easily via BART (the subway). You can catch it all over SF, and there is a line that stops at the Coliseum. edit: the trip is only around 20 minutes.
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Pete Goch
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3 is your answer to 2. It takes about 25 minutes or so (depending on which SF Bart station you're at) on Bart to get from SF to the Oakland Coliseum - plus however long it takes to get from wherever you are in the city to the nearest Bart station. Bart stops right next to the Coliseum so it's a short walk there from the station.


http://www.bart.gov/index.aspx


As to 1? Well, I wouldn't even know where to begin: there's all the touristy crap like Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, China Town and North Beach (City Lights Bookstore!). Then there's SF MOMA and the de Young (actually, tons of stuff in Golden Gate Park). The Haight is worth checking out if only for Amoeba records. Civic Center, of course and Union Square for your shopping needs.

Alcatraz Island, Angel Island - or just take the Ferry from SF across to Marin just to say you did (or rent a bike and kill yourself climbing the Marin headlands). Or drive out to Marin and head over to Pt Reyes or Stinson Beach or the Muir Woods - plenty of places to go hiking if that's your thing. If you want to find good food but don't want to pay a fortune check out the restaurants on Valencia St between Market and Cesar Chavez.

If you're into music there are endless numbers of clubs with live music in the city - the Fillmore (of course), Great American Music Hall, The Independent, Slims, The Chapel, The Rickshaw Stop, Bottom of the Hill, Bimbos 365, the Red Devil Lounge, Hotel Utah and the Hemlock Tavern (and on and on and on). That's what I'm familiar with...there are tons more featuring music other than rock (indie, I suppose).

Or, you could even take a day trip down to Santa Cruz and hit the beach/boardwalk or even further on down to Monterey.
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Jeff G
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1. There's a zillion things to do in SF. What are you likes/dislikes?

2. It'll take an hour with traffic or you can us BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to get to Oakland Coliseum quickly and easily.

3. There's BART, Muni bus, cable cars, etc. Many types that you find in a large city. It works well.

Will you be using a rental vehicle or public transportation? Parking costs quite a bit.
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Dan Cristelli
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bulldog93 wrote:
1. There's a zillion things to do in SF. What are you likes/dislikes?


We like all sorts of things...I know that sounds vague, but it's true! How about this: we both love good food. Any restaurants that we shouldn't miss?

bulldog93 wrote:

Will you be using a rental vehicle or public transportation? Parking costs quite a bit.


Public transportation...I didn't want to have to worry about a car.

I'm guessing it's not that much of a pain to get from SFO up to the heart of the city?
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Pete Goch
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I would also recommend renting a bike for the time you're there if you're comfortable with biking along city streets. Drivers are (grudgingly) accepting of cyclists on city streets as we're so damned ubiquitous. Biking around the city is a blast. Just consult google maps and use their bike routes feature to find your way around. You can even bikes on BART if it isn't commute hours. Also, look at the terrain on the map - there are some mighty unforgiving hills in the city
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Jeff G
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Definitely catch a Giants game. AT&T Park is one of the best in MLB. Pricier than Oakland Coliseum, but a way nicer park.

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Rick B
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To add to stuff to do in Golden Gate Park--California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful science museum/aquarium/planetarium.

The classic SF show is Beach Blanket Babylon, in the North Beach neighborhood. Many great restaurants in North Beach (Italian) as well. The Stinking Rose, as previously mentioned. You have to like garlic though.
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Dan Cristelli
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puckhead wrote:
To add to stuff to do in Golden Gate Park--California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful science museum/aquarium/planetarium.

The classic SF show is Beach Blanket Babylon, in the North Beach neighborhood. Many great restaurants in North Beach (Italian) as well. The Stinking Rose, as previously mentioned. You have to like garlic though.


Awesome! And I'm Italian...I LOVE garlic. I took a gander at their menu and it looks quite tasty.
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午餐先生
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Where are you staying exactly in SF?
That can also affect your ease of getting around.

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is great, as is the DeYoung (they are across the Concourse from each other).

The Presidio has the Walt Disney Family Museum if you are at all interested in the man (not the company, though I guess he can't be separated that far from it) and the Lucasfilm's Letterman Digital Art Center, where you can gander at Star Wars stuff... the lobby is free.

If you want to see some awesome natural landmarks, Marin Headlands over the bridge and the aforementioned Muir Woods are wonderful spots, as is Land's End and Twin Peaks. Sadly, the Headlands and Twin Peaks and Land's End are really only awesome when it's not foggy... and the fog favors that side of the city.

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The Count
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Already good advice. BART is the way to go. It is probably the best public transportation system west of the Rockies.

In SF, there is also the Muni system. It is a light rail system that is above ground outside of downtown, and goes underground downtown. Many of the underground Muni stations are at the downtown BART stations (an escalator goes down from the street and the first level is MUNI, and the second (and sometimes 3rd level) is BART.

The movie Dirty Harry has the Muni system when Clint is forced to follow the serial killer's instructions.

There is also a trolley car system along the Embarcadero, and the cable cars of course.

The Oakland coliseum is actually the easiest stadium to get to in the Bay Area since the BART station connects to it. If it wasn't in the pit known as Oakland (my hometown) it would be the best place for sports teams to play in the Bay area for transportation. Don't walk far from there to look around though. Seriously.

I hate the Giants, but I love their park. Great place to see a game. You can take Muni to the park or walk from downtown. Just north of the park, about a 1/2 mile, is a great burger place along the bay. It is a hole in the wall that locals swamp. There are black and white pictures inside showing the building of the bay bridge behind it. They have a great burger meal with a burger with freshly made sourdough bread (SF famous bread), fries, and a Anchorsteam beer. Can't thing of of the name right now.

If you like pizza, I'd try Zachary's pizza in the east bay. There is one a block away from the Rockridge BART station. I get a Zachary's pizza everyone I go to the bay area. If my wife goes to Oakland to visit her parents, she has to bring one back or I'll change the locks.


Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.
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droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.
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This may not be your thing, but whenever I am in San Fran I try to see a live show. There are plenty of bands that seem to ONLY play the west coast, or rarely tour the southwest that I would kill to see--for example, Yo La Tengo is playing the Fillmore in San Francisco May 10 and 11. About 10 years ago, I caught a free live show of Fugazi in San Fran.
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Jeff G
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mister lunch wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.


Unless you catch a 12:05 day game at AT&T. Shorts are good then.
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Erik D
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mister lunch wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.


I had no problems being in shorts the whole stay, but keeping a sweatshirt handy was a must.
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erak wrote:
mister lunch wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.


I had no problems being in shorts the whole stay, but keeping a sweatshirt handy was a must.


Emboldened the pertinent part.

However given the OP is staying in September, I'd be inclined to agree that shorts may be passible most of the time as September and October tend to have higher temps. But, fog and wind is very real, especially at night and where the ballparks are.

Layers are key to survival in the Bay Area, where temps can range 15 degrees between neighborhoods.
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bulldog93 wrote:
mister lunch wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.


Unless you catch a 12:05 day game at AT&T. Shorts are good then.
Somedays you could be right when its hot in SF (80). But by the end of the game, that wind and fog will start thinking about coming in. It will reach up your shorts and make parts of you want to recede inside.
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Meh. You can quote me on that.
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droberts441 wrote:
bulldog93 wrote:
mister lunch wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.


Unless you catch a 12:05 day game at AT&T. Shorts are good then.
Somedays you could be right when its hot in SF (80). But by the end of the game, that wind and fog will start thinking about coming in. It will reach up your shorts and make parts of you want to recede inside.


The phrase you're looking for is 'dress in layers'.

As for the bicycle suggestion earlier, don't. Not in SF. Unless you like grinding up and down tall hills and getting door checked.

If you decide to do shopping in downtown (around Powell street is popular) watch out for pickpockets. Seriously. And this ain't 'Les Miz'.

I can second Zachary's in Berkeley, they rock. Get the deep dish.

Walking the GG can be awesome on a clear day. FYI - fog burns off late morningish. Usually.

Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf are tourist traps. Have lots of fun there!

BART is reliable but has limited destinations. One is SFO, another is the Oakland Coliseum.
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Dan Cristelli
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erak wrote:
mister lunch wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
Do Not Bring Shorts. Everyone knows you are a tourist. Why? Because it's California, it's sunny outside, and the weather says it's 75. So tourists wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Then the wind comes off the bay and you freeze your ass off. When the fog rolls in at night; very important for watching sports, you will be miserable if you don't have pants and a jacket. There is a reason Levi jeans is a SF original. My dad, who worked in the City for 30 years, once went to Giants game after work in his suit and tie at Candlestick, and says he was colder than when he was stationed on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska in the Air Force.


Quoted For Truth

Especially at the ball parks (Candlestick and AT&T Park). They are in a wind tunnel that shoots right down the bay.


I had no problems being in shorts the whole stay, but keeping a sweatshirt handy was a must.


Yeah, I don't expect much of a problem with shorts. I'm a Vermonter - if the temperature gets above 50 I'm typically wearing shorts instead of pants.

But, this is all good info. My girlfriend runs a lot cooler than I do, so she'll want to bring warmer things.
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Dan Cristelli
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mister lunch wrote:
Where are you staying exactly in SF?
That can also affect your ease of getting around.


We aren't sure where we're staying yet. Once we secure tickets to the football game the rest will start to fall into place. I don't know what the regional options are to keep it a little cheaper...

If I go to Boston, I have a lot of choices that I know about. I can stay in the city or somewhere on the outskirts and take the T in. Typically those are a lot cheaper than staying in the city...so I was trying to figure out what options, if any, there are for that out there.
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rdonato926 wrote:
Yeah, I don't expect much of a problem with shorts. I'm a Vermonter - if the temperature gets above 50 I'm typically wearing shorts instead of pants.

But, this is all good info. My girlfriend runs a lot cooler than I do, so she'll want to bring warmer things.
Don't say I didn't warn you. You will be easily identified as a tourist.
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droberts441 wrote:
rdonato926 wrote:
Yeah, I don't expect much of a problem with shorts. I'm a Vermonter - if the temperature gets above 50 I'm typically wearing shorts instead of pants.

But, this is all good info. My girlfriend runs a lot cooler than I do, so she'll want to bring warmer things.
Don't say I didn't warn you. You will be easily identified as a tourist.




Fair enough! I'm pretty sure we'll stick out anyway...I'm sure I'll be taking pictures of EVERYTHING.
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rdonato926 wrote:
droberts441 wrote:
rdonato926 wrote:
Yeah, I don't expect much of a problem with shorts. I'm a Vermonter - if the temperature gets above 50 I'm typically wearing shorts instead of pants.

But, this is all good info. My girlfriend runs a lot cooler than I do, so she'll want to bring warmer things.
Don't say I didn't warn you. You will be easily identified as a tourist.



Fair enough! I'm pretty sure we'll stick out anyway...I'm sure I'll be taking pictures of EVERYTHING.


I heard this about Vermont weather: Nine months of winter and three months of poor sledding.

As an infrequent visitor to SF, nothing said above is at odds with my experience. On our first visit, we sweltered driving up from Santa Maria in June, and the first thing we did after arriving at Pier 39 was buy three gaudy, overpriced sweatshirts.

We loved the action in Chinatown, but then we are Asianophiles.

The California Academy of Sciences is a must.

Have Fun!
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The wind off the bay is freezing, and because your going in the fall it will be cold, the only time I've been to Frisco and been okay in shorts was the middle of summer, if you go to Pier 39, a popular tourist attraction there, and you go to the end of the pier, that wind is so strong and cold you will be miserable.

His warnings have some serious clout.
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