Walking in San Francisco

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    Aug 16, 2012 4:04 AM GMT
    I will visit San Francisco for the first time next month for a week long business trip. My hotel is close to Union Square. I would like to explore the city in my free time but don’t know what to expect. I would like to walk to as many places as my feet will allow. I’m not really interested in “tour buses.” For those of you who are familiar with the city, is it realistic of me to attempt to walk from my hotel to Grace Cathedral (Aids Memorial Quilt), Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, and/or the Presidio?

    Thoughts?
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    Aug 16, 2012 4:41 AM GMT
    When I went to SF for two weeks (also staying near Union Square) I walked everywhere. It is a great walking city (provided you can do hills okay).
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    Aug 16, 2012 5:00 AM GMT
    Never been to SF, but Miami beach has bicycles you can rent with a credit card on the sidewalk...just wipe your card, take the bike, and go.

    Deco-Bikes.JPG

    If SF has something like that, go for it.
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    Aug 16, 2012 5:08 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidBike riding in SF seems rather difficult. From my memories of that city there are certain hills that are nearly forty-five angled and very steep. It would be a true workout in SF to ride a bike.

    A very pretty city and walking is not too big of an issue. My calves got such a workout walking around in that city.
    Meh, only pussies hate the idea of biking 45 degree hills. I find them rather exhilarating. icon_cool.gif
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    Aug 16, 2012 5:25 AM GMT
    Take Muni.. its much better!
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    Aug 16, 2012 6:39 AM GMT
    There are buses that go everywhere (slowly) as well as a couple of part-subway part-tram lines.
    From Union Square walkable: Grace Cathedral; Chinatown,
    . Subway/tram: Golden Gate Park
    . Bus: Presidio
    If it's warm, and especially on a weekend, there is a nude beach (Baker Beach) on the shore in the Presidio.

    There is a visitor's bureau, where you can get transit maps, etc, at the underground station just south of Union Square.
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    Aug 16, 2012 11:59 AM GMT
    SleepyFisherman saidI will visit San Francisco for the first time next month for a week long business trip. My hotel is close to Union Square. I would like to explore the city in my free time but don’t know what to expect. I would like to walk to as many places as my feet will allow. I’m not really interested in “tour buses.” For those of you who are familiar with the city, is it realistic of me to attempt to walk from my hotel to Grace Cathedral (Aids Memorial Quilt), Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, and/or the Presidio?

    Thoughts?


    Totally.

    Caveats:

    Dress in layers. You'll need to constantly adjust. (tshirt, flannel shirt, light jacket, knit cap that covers your ears). You will freeze and sweat, depending on the side of the street and the hour of the day.

    Carry a backpack to put the unused layers in. And a big water bottle. The hills are a workout.

    Think of SF as a "medium difficulty" hike. While there are exceptions, It's not generally for small kids, seniors, strollers, wheelchairs, or out of shape people (I.e. average Americans). All of them will stick to the flat tourist areas.
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    Aug 16, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    ^^^ Makes me wanna go!icon_cool.gif
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    Aug 16, 2012 2:19 PM GMT
    Very doable. Google SF sites and pick out the ones you want to see. Look at a map and plot your trek. If you want a break, you can always plan on walking towards the Muni train and for $2 take it to the next 'group' of attractions. For example, if you want to see things near the Wharf and Union Square, you can walk to the wharf, then loop around back and then take the Muni train out towards Golden Gate Park to see sites that way.

    It's a great city to walk in, just figure out what you want to see ahead of time, get a map and go for it!

    If you're free and want to grab a beer, let me know. I'm there everyday working away!
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    Aug 16, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidTake Muni.. its much better!


    I thought the acronym for the San Francisco mass transit was BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

    What is the difference between BART and MUNI????

    I walked mostly everywhere last time I was there. I stayed at Fishermen's Warf area and walked to Castro, Haight Street. Even walking from The Endup Bar late at night. Bit's can get creepy with hoods hanging in the corner and what not. Just remember to carry your swagger and be alert.
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    Aug 16, 2012 3:49 PM GMT
    ayer2009 said
    TropicalMark saidTake Muni.. its much better!


    I thought the acronym for the San Francisco mass transit was BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

    What is the difference between BART and MUNI????


    Muni goes on surface streets and underground and only covers san francisco city. BART only goes on a rail and covers the east bay, san francisco, and north peninsula.
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    Aug 16, 2012 3:55 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra said
    ayer2009 said
    TropicalMark saidTake Muni.. its much better!


    I thought the acronym for the San Francisco mass transit was BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

    What is the difference between BART and MUNI????


    Muni goes on surface streets and underground and only covers san francisco city. BART only goes on a rail and covers the east bay, san francisco, and north peninsula.
    The_more_you_know.gif
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    Aug 16, 2012 6:14 PM GMT
    San Francisco is a fantastic walking city if you're in reasonable shape. It's a great place to just pick a direction, take off and let whim take you where it may. Supplement your walking with public transport on Muni and Bart, and perhaps a cab ride or two. But there is absolutely no need to go on a tour bus.
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    Aug 16, 2012 6:25 PM GMT
    Yes, I've walked to all of those places from Union Square. You can always hop on the trolley or the muni at need.
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    Aug 16, 2012 6:40 PM GMT
    3193781-man-with-flower-behind-his-ear.j
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    Aug 16, 2012 6:52 PM GMT
    Yes! You can definitely walk to all those places, but you NEED TO HAVE a comfortable pair of shoes. As some of the members have already mentioned on here, there will be a lot of hills, and some of them are incredibly steep. Walking to Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury for one is no joke.

    Also, you have to keep in mind that some of the areas of San Francisco are pretty dangerous. There are a lot of homeless people there, and there has been some targeting towards people with smart phones. Two of my friends who live there have been mugged, and there were places that I've walked around where I had to keep walking without stopping to take pictures, because of the sketchy people around me.

    One rule of thumb is to never walk around in downtown at night, especially by yourself; it becomes pretty much dead, minus the homeless people that will start camping out on the streets. There won't even be a lot of cars driving around, so it can make you VERY vulnerable to muggers, etc.

    I made sure to be aware of all the areas to avoid in San Francisco before I went, and what I did was to basically mark all those areas on a map, which you will be able to obtain at your hotel or a visitor information centre. This really helped as I always carried with me the map.

    Well, here's the link to a website where people wrote some very handy advices as to which places in SF to avoid.

    http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/California/San_Francisco-755471/Warnings_or_Dangers-San_Francisco-Areas_to_Avoid-R-1.html

    Other than that, have fun! You'll come across a lot of interesting architecture if you've never travelled around the west coast of California icon_smile.gif
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Aug 16, 2012 6:57 PM GMT
    You could visit Our Lady of Maytag Church:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/process21_calvin/5268034664/


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    Aug 16, 2012 8:17 PM GMT
    stevee90 said
    Also, you have to keep in mind that some of the areas of San Francisco are pretty dangerous. There are a lot of homeless people there, and there has been some targeting towards people with smart phones. Two of my friends who live there have been mugged, and there were places that I've walked around where I had to keep walking without stopping to take pictures, because of the sketchy people around me.

    One rule of thumb is to never walk around in downtown at night, especially by yourself; it becomes pretty much dead, minus the homeless people that will start camping out on the streets. There won't even be a lot of cars driving around, so it can make you VERY vulnerable to muggers, etc.

    I made sure to be aware of all the areas to avoid in San Francisco before I went, and what I did was to basically mark all those areas on a map, which you will be able to obtain at your hotel or a visitor information centre.

    There is actually very little street robbery in SF. Even in the middle of the night, most of SF is quite safe, (even the downtown financial district - but there is no reason to go there late at night) and most of the homeless are harmless. If you are coming back to Union Square very late at night (and while Muni and BART are still operating - unlike NYC, they don't run all night) you would probably be getting off at the Powell Street Station. Keep your wits about you, and don't linger on Market Street; also don't walk West of Mason Street unless your hotel is West of Mason, and then walk only on the street the hotel is on. The only real place to avoid is the triangle formed by Mission/Market Sts., Mason/5th Sts., Polk St. on the West, and Geary on the North. This pretty much encircles "the Tenderloin." The only other really unsafe areas are the ghettos and housing projects at the south end of the city, where you would have no reason to go. Even Mission St. where it runs north/south and is its most incredibly disgusting, is only a block away from all the trendy new restaurants, and is safe - just keep looking over your shoulder.
    Market St. runs to the Castro, has a streetcar line on it, and is a totally safe street for walking late at night West of Polk St.
    Keep your wits about you while riding buses at any time of day - there is very little police presence, but the typical robbery is a teenager thug grabbing your cellphone or Ipod, or grabbing a wallet out of a back pocket, maybe with a slug or push to go along with it.
    This next bit may sound racist, but it's merely factual - avoid the clubs south of Market that have lots of black youth in them- that's where all the shootings occur - relatively frequently.

    If you are coming back to your hotel at 2 am, you might want to take a cab. There are usually cabs in the Castro. Other than in front of theatres/symphony/opera when they are leting out, the only place one can normally find a cab on the street is around Union Square.

    One of the Muni lines (underground at Powell St) becomes a streetcar that runs all the way to the ocean, and is only 2 blocks South of Golden Gate Park. To the north of the park, there are bus-lines that run all the way to the ocean (or Land's End) as well.
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    Aug 16, 2012 8:28 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra said
    ayer2009 said
    TropicalMark saidTake Muni.. its much better!


    What is the difference between BART and MUNI????


    Muni goes on surface streets and underground and only covers san francisco city. BART only goes on a rail and covers the east bay, san francisco, and north peninsula.

    BART is a pleasant mode of travel but only has a few stops in the city of SF. If you wanted to go from Union Square to the 16th or 24th stops for restaurants/bars, or to Glen Park for a restaurant, BART would be a better way to go. Just don't sit at the ends of the cars (where the teenagers all put their feet on the seats) or in the exact middle seats in the cars - that's where the filthy homeless often sleep during the day - and by sitting there you are in effect sleeping with them.
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    Aug 16, 2012 10:10 PM GMT
    Thank you. I appreciate all of your responses. I've heard the "dressing in layers." I'll make sure to do that. I'll receive the final conference schedule next week and will finalize my plans. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Aug 16, 2012 10:56 PM GMT
    For a thrill, get someone to drive you down the 22nd Street hill (a taxi?)
    It's a great introduction to the City. Close to the Castro.
    Drive down Sanchez St. (and, if you are going North on Sanchez), make a hard right turn onto 22nd. If you drive too slowly, it's no fun. OTOH, if you go too fast, the car takes off from the street when you go over a slight rise. Best experienced in the evening.
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    Aug 16, 2012 10:58 PM GMT
    Just remember, you're in SF, so sway your hips as you walk.
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    Aug 16, 2012 11:24 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidBike riding in SF seems rather difficult. From my memories of that city there are certain hills that are nearly forty-five angled and very steep. It would be a true workout in SF to ride a bike.

    A very pretty city and walking is not too big of an issue. My calves got such a workout walking around in that city.


    Yes. A visitor needs to be ready to play "mountain goat" if they are going to rent a bike in the city.
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    Aug 16, 2012 11:25 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidTake Muni.. its much better!


    THIS! Depending upon how long a person may spend in The City, get a Muni pass.
  • sfjock11

    Posts: 52

    Aug 16, 2012 11:32 PM GMT
    iguanaSF said
    SleepyFisherman saidI will visit San Francisco for the first time next month for a week long business trip. My hotel is close to Union Square. I would like to explore the city in my free time but don’t know what to expect. I would like to walk to as many places as my feet will allow. I’m not really interested in “tour buses.” For those of you who are familiar with the city, is it realistic of me to attempt to walk from my hotel to Grace Cathedral (Aids Memorial Quilt), Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, and/or the Presidio?

    Thoughts?


    Totally.

    Caveats:

    Dress in layers. You'll need to constantly adjust. (tshirt, flannel shirt, light jacket, knit cap that covers your ears). You will freeze and sweat, depending on the side of the street and the hour of the day.

    Carry a backpack to put the unused layers in. And a big water bottle. The hills are a workout.

    Think of SF as a "medium difficulty" hike. While there are exceptions, It's not generally for small kids, seniors, strollers, wheelchairs, or out of shape people (I.e. average Americans). All of them will stick to the flat tourist areas.


    +1