A Night in San Francisco? [Sorted]

Right, here's a question for the San Franciscans amongst you...

What's to do overnight?

Kitefamily land in SF on the 29th July, just before 11pm, so I reckon it will be at least midnight before we get out of the airport.

Unfortunately, the apartment we have rented is not available until 1pm on the 30th.  That's half a day to kill.

If I was alone, that wouldn't be a problem, but I'll have Kitewife, Roger-X (15) & Conker-X (11) with me, as well as our luggage, after 16 hours on a plane.

So, does anybody have a suggestion of what to do?

Shall we be boring sensible, and book into a motel for a night?  Or can you come up with something more interesting to do, that is also family and luggage friendly?

A big ask, I know, but I'd like a good start to our month in SF.



OK, so it looks like we're going to be staying in a motel.  Anybody recommend a specific one?



Thanks, folks.  We've decided to ne normal and sensible, and have booked that night in The Dylan.

By the way...


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eclipsed4 years ago
I expect you are here now, so Welcome to California!
Kiteman (author)  eclipsed4 years ago
I am, and thank you.
sunshiine4 years ago
I came over here to wish you Happy days and pleasant smiles! Then I noticed that you decided to stay at a hotel! Awesome! You will share won't you? You know when you get back home? Have fun!
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
Try stopping me sharing!
Nope! I can't wait to hear! And one can't stop a TRAIN! Ck your mail!
Creativeman4 years ago
Too bad you're not docking at LAX...Los Angeles. You could jump on a shuttle, take it to my part of the world...a thirty minute ride at that time of night. I'd pick you up, we could talk and share, go to breakfast,then you guys could take a nap at my place, then on to your destination. I'm surprised no one has offered this in SF. Good luck, hope you don't get too stressed out with that experience.
They might have been offered, but the constant droning of bongos or tambourines or not relishing kombucha as a proper tea seems to have hastened their decision to take their chances on the street elsewise...
Kiteman (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
I'll admit, I was fishing for an invite like that, but my British reserve prevented me asking outright...
I'll admit, the last time the Brits overstayed their welcome here in America and it was difficult to get them to leave...about 200+ years ago.
lol.... I guess Canadians are "too polite" to ask them to go? :)
Only the English Canadians. The French Canadians have been trying for a while, but ... well, you know how the French are.
Jayefuu Kiteman4 years ago
It's probably the +3 :) What airline you flying?
Kiteman (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
BA from Heathrow to Chicago, then AA on to SF.
Jayefuu Kiteman4 years ago
At least you'll get lots of free booze with BA :D
Kiteman (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
I've been on Concorde three times!

(It was parked in a museum at the time...)
lemonie Kiteman4 years ago

Kiteman (author)  lemonie4 years ago
Yes - it's a popular school trip destination.
lemonie Kiteman4 years ago
Yes, I went there once. It was interesting to see how modern & expensive is reduced to dated and obsolete.

iceng lemonie4 years ago
That is a chilling observation.

Just yesterday with a daughter (now married with kids) on my shoulders
we watched a Concorde land in Reno.

What finally killed these birds ?

Kiteman (author)  iceng4 years ago
A design flaw which took a while to show up - when one hit a piece of debris on a runway, a piece of shredded tire went through the wing + fuel tank.

The resulting fire and explosion would not, apparently, have happened with a more modern design of fuel tank.
iceng Kiteman4 years ago
Right.... Now I recall that was the final straw +1
Environmentalists. And rich people who had their houses overlooking the bay by the airport. The sonic boom and noise irked them.
Mostly safety concerns.

I used to love watching these fly over my grandparent's house in West London.
Having one go down with fatalities didn't help any.
Kiteman (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Free? Oh, I've only flown rubber-band in the past.
Jayefuu Kiteman4 years ago
Yup! Not like those stingy American airlines :p
Fort Worth is a bit of a drive from San Francisco, but if your flight home gets diverted and stuck at DFW give me a holler.
Kiteman (author)  CatTrampoline4 years ago
Thanks, will-do.
ilpug4 years ago
The Youth Hostel system is spartan but cheap and in great locations, hosts a lot of international travellers.

As for stuff to do... My simple advice is this: walk around the city. At the very least, take the transit system which goes EVERYWHERE for a good price. Don't take taxis unless you really need to get somewhere or away from something fast. San Francisco is really not as big of a place as it looks from the outside. My three favorite things to do in The City (as everyone calls it) is to eat in North Beach (cloud nine for Italian Food), walk the Wharf and people-watch, and hang out in the Mission District (cloud 9 for Mexican/South American food).

Some bits of advice:
-If it looks like a tourist trap, it is, and you will get trapped there for an inordinate amount of time in order to see something that will not be worth the bother.
-Don't give money to hobos, the SF hobo is a crafty guy. Just ignore him and he will get the message.
-Remember: if you are lost, California Street, Market Street, and Sacramento street are the major arteries.
-Definitely ditch the Junior Kites at the motel for a few nights and go seek out the night life.
-If City Lights bookstore doesn't have it, it's not worth reading.
-If it smells like incense, it's marijuana.
-Don't Panic. Also don't hitchhike.

Some Must see places for the first-time visitor.
-Golden Gate Park (De-young art museum, Academy of Sciences. The A of S has an indoor rainforest!)
-Golden Gate Bridge-Millions of tourists- see it from down at the waterfront at Fort Point, Because the tourist place up the hill is a hellish crowd.
-Alcatraz-riding the ferry is a good tour of the bay too. The kids will love the old prison!
-The Wharf, all the interesting piers, and everything to do with them. (watch out for Bushman, once he catches you, you will know exactly what I mean. Get one of his "Bushman scared the S**t out of me!" T-shirts- Classy!)
-City Center and the courthouse, there's a great farmer's market just south in UN Plaza.
-China Town (If you don't know what it is, don't eat it, although it's probably delicious and will cure things you didn't even know you had)
-North Beach (FOOD.)
-Haight+Ashbury- ground zero for the hippie movement. Might not be the best for kids. Look for the huge pair of legs sticking out a second story window.
-Stand under the Transamerica Pyramid, makes you feel tiny.
-See a baseball game.
-walk through the financial district, visit the Occupy Camp (assuming it's still there).
-The Presidio park is full of paths, landmarks, views, old buildings, and all kinds of people who jog at an inhuman pace.
-Check out the ruins of the Sutro Baths-my favorite place in the city.
-Go across the bay to Marin and see Muir Woods- If you haven't seen redwood trees, it's quite amazing.
-You are Kiteman after all, so kite on the beach!

If you end up going up the coast to the wine country or the forested counties or coast North of that (A great day-or-three detour from city bustle), I can show you around in person for that's where I am.

Have a great visit!
I wish I would have seen this before my mom and I played tourists this weekend. :P
Loved the suggestions... (I got very nostalgic... *sniff, sniff*)

Plus, you gotta take BART to Berkeley and see the old college town, People's Park (what's left of it), and take a walk down Telegraph Ave.... *sigh*

(Just skip Oakland for the most part.... Some scary neighborhoods). :O
Oh yeah, there's awesome stuff I could list all over the bay Area, but I concentrated on SF. I love Berkeley! The last time I was in Oakland I was at Occupy Protests, so visiting now might actually be safer and calmer :P

SF is one of my favorite places, I just wish living there wasn't so darned expensive, and that UCSF had accepted me!
eclipsed4 years ago
There is really nothing walking distance to the airport. You cannot walk there because it's only freeways going there. You can only get there by car, bus and BART train.
The Dylan is very close though and has a free shuttle bus. I stay there the night before early flights out of SFO. And there are Caltrain and BART train stops a block away, so the next morning you can get to the city very easily.
Kiteman (author)  eclipsed4 years ago
Cool, thanks.
If you have a chance to see it, this is my favorite shiny thing and it's at the airport BART station

Wind Portal by Ned Khan


it's best when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing!
scoochmaroo4 years ago
I just saw this! Let me ask my resident Englishman what he would feel up to in the same circumstances and I'll let you know.
Yes, he agrees with the hotel near the airport suggestion!
Kiteman (author)  scoochmaroo4 years ago
Okie dokie.
iceng4 years ago
This just in...
Two of my daughters just back from SF are raving about a Youth Hostile
10 min by American car driving with 4 children from crazy noisy SF...

She is sending a link to me soonest.
Reservations are necessary now !!!
They paid $100 for three nights for six.
Families get a private room, very clean...

Goodhart iceng4 years ago
Brainwashing is free.......J/K !!!!! ;-) I shouldn't encourage backwoods stereotypes ....
sunshiine4 years ago
After 16 hours on a plane, I would book a Motel. You want to enjoy your vacation don't you? Nothing worse that to start your wonderful vacation with a cranky wife and kids. Get a room, shower, get a good nights sleep,and wake up refreshed for your new adventure! I don't think you will regret it! Love the picture by the way. Oh yeah remember to bring your kiteman pillow! Hope your vacation will create memories for a life time. Sunshiine
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine4 years ago

You're right, of course. I'm hoping that there's a close-by motel we can just walk to and get a room.


I just did a quick search and you could do the same. Motels walking distance from the SF airport.  They have a free shuttle but not sure how expensive they are.  Hope you have an awesome vacation.  
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
Thanks for that - I've been searching, but all the results brought up descriptions like "only two miles from the airport", which is not fun with a suitcase, and only two of use could manage it with a big rucksack.
I hope it helps. You might do a search on motels that offer free shuttle service close to the airport. Maybe even consider booking a room to be safe. Maybe they offer toll free calls that close to the airport, I think it could boost their business with so many people traveling all over the world to visit SF.
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
It turns out that "2 miles from the airport" means "2 miles from the terminal building", not "2 miles from the boundary of the airport", which is what I read it as...
They did not mention the tracks did they? Oh well more research needed there I guess. You'll find something I am sure. You are already getting your ducks in order.
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
The noise doesn't bother us - we used to live on the 3rd busiest road in the UK.
That could be a plus! I love the sound of trains at night personally. I have stayed at a motel once when the train shook the floor. I would not wish to stay at another one that did that LOL. Hubby is making a trip to SF to pick up a car for me. I can't Stop by to see Instructables because I have to stay here and water the garden!
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
You've got that wrong - you go for the car, he stays with the garden.
By the way his sister offered to buy him a plane ticket and I'll just bet he takes the bus!
No, I really don't like driving in large cities. And not to mention I drove all the way from the east coast to the west coast like 3 times. One very very long drive. It is fly baby fly for me; although he likes to take the long road. I don't mind short trips in the car but 24 or more hours is too long.
Even if it was an easy walk, I would highly recommend an airport or hotel shuttle bus at that hour of the night, especially with kids in tow.
SFO is a huge airport! Not as big as Heathrow, but do NOT think you're going to walk anywhere from there. The airport is adjacent to the major freeway (motorway) in the area (US Highway 101).

After you get your bags, you'll get onto the free shuttle bus to whatever hotel you've chosen, and they'll take you there.

The Dylan (Sunshiine's suggestion) is nice, but it is adjacent to the Caltrain railroad tracks. That means you're going to have commuter trains waking you up starting about 5:00 am. And the picture of the Bay is complete nonsense; El Camino Real is _not_ on the bay -- it's west of both the Caltrain tracks and 101. As a place to crash overnight it's probably fine, but don't expect to walk on sand :-/
A motel for the night is definitely the way to go.

During your vacation, try to make time to drive down to Monterey; it is only about an hour away. It is a beautiful section of the coast and they have an outstanding aquarium. My visit was twenty years ago, but I know the aquarium and the beach are still there.

Have a great trip, and enjoy the fabulous fresh seafood.

If you start to feel too out-of-place, y'all can always give each other sharpie (biro?) temporary tattoos in order to blend in. :-)

caitlinsdad4 years ago
Top Ten Things for Kiteman and Family to do in SF

10. Show up early at the apartment anyway whereby embarrassing the hosts or current occupants of said apartment and escalate into a squatter's war.

9. Decide what color to get your hair dyed. Teal, orange, fuscia pink and blonde are already taken.

8. Robot tattoos for everyone.

7. Enjoy a round of dumpster diving with the indigenous peoples.

6. Projection bomb the Golden Gate Bridge.

5. Prepare to busk for a few coins to supplement the meager artist-in-residence wages.

4. Wander the streets like other derelict families. Act normal.

3. Canvass the missions to find out that one question to ask God if he showed up at your front door.

2. Try roller skating through the hills of San Francisco.

1. Stand up on a box and proclaim "I am Kiteman, King of the Wooooorld..." and get pooped on by seagulls.
Robot tattoo!
Nicely done. :D

Instead of roller skating through the hills of San Francisco...

Beach Skating/Kiting with bottles found through dumpster diving, propelled by kite fashioned from the make shift tents the derelict families left behind (when canvassing the neighborhood about the one question to ask god), while proclaiming that he is King of the world before seagulls do their deed.
iceng4 years ago
Two of my daughters and grand children were in SF yesterday
one took this pic so you can recognize it when you fall in from the sky
and welcome to your family :¬)

kelseymh4 years ago
One word -- "AsiaSF." RogerX will never be the same...
One word -- vaccinations?
One Acronym: NSFW *sigh* you all have to warn me about stuff I am unfamiliar with....
Expect the unexpected.
Hmmm that is tantamount to saying prepare for all that is coming, that is unknown..... >:-D
Build an ark?
how would that keep me from opening NSFW videos at work ? LOL
OMG if he goes there... lol
...I think we would all expect a fully illustrated Instructable ;->
The anatomically correct (er... incorrect) version?
Kiteman (author)  canucksgirl4 years ago
"Gender illusionists"??

Well.... You will be arriving from a "TRANS"-atlantic flight...
Kiteman (author)  canucksgirl4 years ago
AndyGadget4 years ago
I am extremely jealous - That is a place I would really love to go.  We got a taste of the North East a couple of years ago but really want to go to the South as well.  Maybe in a couple of years . . .
(You're not flying Trans-Love airlines are you?
Kiteman (author)  AndyGadget4 years ago
I'm afraid Lemonie beat you to that one!

Nah - Different song.
lemonie4 years ago
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...

Kiteman (author)  lemonie4 years ago
Isn't the one in my labcoat enough?
lemonie Kiteman4 years ago
kelseymh4 years ago
On a more serious note...it's going to be at least 1 am when you final get through immigration and customs. The airport is going to be pretty dead, and you don't want to be trying to find your way around the City when everyone is dead tired from a transatlantic flight.

Get a decent hotel room close to the airport, and do some sightseeing the next morning before your flat's ready. My family and I stay at the Embassy Suites in South San Francisco when we go down there -- separate bedroom for the grownups, and a queen-size foldout couch for the boys. A full (American style) breakfast is included with the room.
As boring as it sounds Kelsey is probably right :p It'll be LATE.

The last Northbound train from SF airporrt is at 11:54, link. And it'll feel like 7am not 12pm to you. :D
Kiteman (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Yeh, sadly I think you're both right.

Ah, well...
Jayefuu4 years ago
Camp at the lab?

Or go to the piers and swim out and cuddle the sea lions
Kiteman (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Camping... hmmm...

The luggage would make for interesting floatation devices. :P
canucksgirl4 years ago
TBH, I think you're looking at closer to 1am before you clear through and get your luggage. If you manage to stay awake for the whole flight (which is recommended), you'll be starting off right with "hopefully" a good nights rest at a hotel. Anything else may be too much to handle as soon as you get there. (Jet lag isn't fun... especially with 2 kids). :P