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A Night in San Francisco? [Sorted] Answered

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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.

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EDIT:

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

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FURTHER EDIT:

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

By the way...



I AM VERY EXCITED!!

50 Replies

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eclipsed (author)2012-07-30

I expect you are here now, so Welcome to California!

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Kiteman (author)eclipsed2012-07-30
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sunshiine (author)2012-07-25

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!
Sunshiine

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Kiteman (author)sunshiine2012-07-25
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sunshiine (author)Kiteman2012-07-25

Nope! I can't wait to hear! And one can't stop a TRAIN! Ck your mail!
Sunshiine

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Creativeman (author)2012-07-10

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.

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caitlinsdad (author)Creativeman2012-07-10

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...

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Kiteman (author)caitlinsdad2012-07-10

I'll admit, I was fishing for an invite like that, but my British reserve prevented me asking outright...

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caitlinsdad (author)Kiteman2012-07-10

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.

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canucksgirl (author)caitlinsdad2012-07-10

lol.... I guess Canadians are "too polite" to ask them to go? :)

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kelseymh (author)canucksgirl2012-07-20

Only the English Canadians. The French Canadians have been trying for a while, but ... well, you know how the French are.

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Jayefuu (author)Kiteman2012-07-10

It's probably the +3 :) What airline you flying?

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Kiteman (author)Jayefuu2012-07-10

BA from Heathrow to Chicago, then AA on to SF.

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Jayefuu (author)Kiteman2012-07-10

At least you'll get lots of free booze with BA :D

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Kiteman (author)caitlinsdad2012-07-11

I've been on Concorde three times!

(It was parked in a museum at the time...)

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Kiteman (author)lemonie2012-07-11

Yes - it's a popular school trip destination.

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lemonie (author)Kiteman2012-07-12

Yes, I went there once. It was interesting to see how modern & expensive is reduced to dated and obsolete.

L

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iceng (author)lemonie2012-07-19

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 ?

A

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Kiteman (author)iceng2012-07-20

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.

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iceng (author)Kiteman2012-07-20

Right.... Now I recall that was the final straw +1

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caitlinsdad (author)iceng2012-07-19

Environmentalists. And rich people who had their houses overlooking the bay by the airport. The sonic boom and noise irked them.

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Jayefuu (author)caitlinsdad2012-07-19

Mostly safety concerns.

I used to love watching these fly over my grandparent's house in West London.

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caitlinsdad (author)Jayefuu2012-07-19

Having one go down with fatalities didn't help any.

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Kiteman (author)Jayefuu2012-07-10

Free? Oh, I've only flown rubber-band in the past.

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Jayefuu (author)Kiteman2012-07-11

Yup! Not like those stingy American airlines :p

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CatTrampoline (author)Kiteman2012-07-11

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.

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ilpug (author)2012-07-12

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!

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jessyratfink (author)ilpug2012-07-18

I wish I would have seen this before my mom and I played tourists this weekend. :P

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canucksgirl (author)ilpug2012-07-12

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

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ilpug (author)canucksgirl2012-07-12

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!

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eclipsed (author)2012-07-13

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.

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eclipsed (author)Kiteman2012-07-13

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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJvQiQYzHAc

http://vimeo.com/184605

it's best when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing!

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scoochmaroo (author)2012-07-12

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.

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scoochmaroo (author)scoochmaroo2012-07-12

Yes, he agrees with the hotel near the airport suggestion!

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iceng (author)2012-07-11

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...

A

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Goodhart (author)iceng2012-07-12

Brainwashing is free.......J/K !!!!! ;-) I shouldn't encourage backwoods stereotypes ....

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sunshiine (author)2012-07-10

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

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Kiteman (author)sunshiine2012-07-10

>sigh<

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

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sunshiine (author)Kiteman2012-07-10

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32715-d80691-Reviews-The_Dylan_at_SFO-Millbrae_California.html


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.  

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Kiteman (author)sunshiine2012-07-10

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.

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sunshiine (author)Kiteman2012-07-10

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.

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Kiteman (author)sunshiine2012-07-11

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...

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sunshiine (author)Kiteman2012-07-11

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.

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Kiteman (author)sunshiine2012-07-11

The noise doesn't bother us - we used to live on the 3rd busiest road in the UK.

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sunshiine (author)Kiteman2012-07-11

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!

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