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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Visiting San Francisco - need some input since Broncos fans may have been there

    Hey Broncos fans, I plan to take a 3 day trip to San Francisco in October during fall break. I will be going with my wife and 8 year old daughter. Never been there, so I thought I'd pick your brains for input.

    Which is a better place to stay if I want to be close to the stuff that families typically end up seeing as tourists? San Mateo or Oakland? I know San Mateo is closer to the airport but it is south of the airport and Oakland is north, not sure which one is closer to the tourist attractions.

    I appreciate any input in advance.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2007
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    MD
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad72 View Post
    Hey Broncos fans, I plan to take a 3 day trip to San Francisco in October during fall break. I will be going with my wife and 8 year old daughter. Never been there, so I thought I'd pick your brains for input.

    Which is a better place to stay if I want to be close to the stuff that families typically end up seeing as tourists? San Mateo or Oakland? I know San Mateo is closer to the airport but it is south of the airport and Oakland is north, not sure which one is closer to the tourist attractions.

    I appreciate any input in advance.
    I love San Francisco. I grew up in Marin County.

    The last time we went, it was the first time we stayed in a hotel (usually stayed with my mother but she passed several years ago). We went into Oakland Airport. Less hectic than SFO. Our hotel was in San Jose. Cheaper. I also wanted to go to Japantown in SJ.

    I think Oakland is closer, but there's a lot of traffic on the Bay Bridge. I can't remember if there's a toll. Personally, I'd pick San Mateo.

    Some suggestions on what to do, if you don't mind my input. The usual stuff. Fisherman's Wharf. Check out the street entertainers. Your daughter might like the silver guy. Pier 39 (there's an NFL shop that sells some Broncos stuff). Cable Cars. I've never done the Alcatraz tour, but I've heard its impressive. Golden Gate Park is beautiful.

    Not so usual stuff. Ferry that goes past Alcatraz and it goes under the Golden Gate Bridge. It is so cool.
    Muir Woods. Just across the Bridge. Great place to see redwoods without having to go north. There's a little gift shop that sells all sorts of redwood items, including redwood seedlings (Yes, you can take these on the plane).
    Beaches. Any beach is good. My favorite beaches are more north. If you have the time Santa Cruz/Monterey is beautiful. Santa Cruz has one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still in use.

    You are going to have so much fun. You'll be tired, but you'll be smiling.

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  3. #3
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    Peanut mentioned Alcatraz... do it! It is a GREAT tour that will fascinate you. The ferry ride over is nice too.

    If you do Fisherman's Wharf, be careful of the guy with the dog who offers to take a picture with you then charges you to get your phone back. Only a few bucks... kinda funny, really...
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  4. #4
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    Feb 2004
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    Alcatraz was cool but is dissapointementing because it's so run down. I had no idea it was so decayed.

    That being said the history of that place is amazing
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Lived in the bay area my 1st 50 years. For the tourist activities everyone has mentioned so far I'd definitely recommend staying in San Mateo (or actually anywhere on the peninsula side of the bay) over Oakland. Besides dealing with crossing the Bay Bridge every day to get to the SF side and the traffic snarls that entails, you make a wrong turn in Oakland and you'll find yourself in a gangbanging war zone you do not want your family to be in

    If you decide to head south to check out Santa Cruz to ride "The Big Dipper", about another hour down Hwy 1 is the Monterey Aquarium. Absolutely amazing place! Also North Santa Cruz has my fave beach called "Natural Bridges" where the rock formations form hundreds of natural tidal pools.

    Have fun!
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  6. #6
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    Oct 2013
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    San Diego, CA
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    Eww, Oakland. Drive around if you can.

    +1 San Mateo

    Hope your family has a great time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Thanks a bunch guys!!! I had a good feeling Broncos fans would know more about San Fran than Colts fans, my hunch was right

    One last question. I heard the public transit is very good in San Fran. So, do I just uber to my hotel and do public transit more often (or) do you still think there will be plenty of reasons to get a rental car? I heard there is something like a public bus / tram combo pass of some sort. Is that worth purchasing and can you purchase it online ahead of time? Some folks told me it is difficult to get parking right around the Golden Gate pier unless you go there early. Are those kinds of places better off visited via public transit?

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2013
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    Parking is difficult in SF as it is, especially in busy areas like the warf. Last year when we were on the Bay Area we drove but mostly because we were staying with friends outside of the city and the cost to drive, for us, was considerably cheaper from SC than flying.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2007
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    We've always driven, even the last time. Rented a vehicle. Of course, we did more up north. The only public transportation I've ever done was a trolley car. Never used BART.

    We've been lucky around the Wharf. Always found parking, even if we had to walk a bit.

    The Bridge, though. At one point, we had a great need for a restroom break. Between double parking and driving around the parking lot, we ended up having to take turns. We did eventually find a lot a half mile from the main parking. It was on the City side because we could see the Presidio. Taking the bus in would be less stressful.
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