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Visitor to San Francisco from the UK

Discussion in 'California & Nevada (Northern)' started by MalcQV, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. MalcQV

    MalcQV F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 11, 2004
    3,232
    Manchester, UK
    Full Name:
    Malc Holden
    Hi folks help for a trip to North California please.

    I am thinking about a trip to San Francisco in October or November this year. Now I have been to LA on two previous occasions.

    My thoughts are do I stay in San Francisco or Sacramento? Fisherman's Wharf and Union square seem the most popular. I would rather have a car for the freedom but it seems in San Francisco most hotels charge a considerable amount to park whereas the Hyatt Regency (at least) in Sacramento charges only around $15/day compared to $40+ in San Francisco. Anywhere else worth staying? I think I want to be close to San Francisco and Sacramento is only about an hours drive is there anywhere else worth looking at?

    Then the time of year it appears the rainfall jumps up in November compared to October but how much different is it typically? Not arsed about the temperature but living in Manchester in the UK I quite frankly get a bit pi$$ed off with rain .

    Things to do, there must be plenty. I fancy a helicopter trip over San Francisco, Alcatraz, Golden Gate bridge etc. If I stayed in Sacramento what is there to see? I love your national parks but think in October November many may be off limits? If I stayed in Sacramento is it possible to park up in San Francisco for the day without breaking the bank?

    I love the film Bullitt I am sure they organise sight seeing tours along some of the roads/highways used in the film. What about a GPS based tour is there anything like that?


    So any help on all the above points much appreciated.

    It looks best for me to get a package from Virgin (discounts as a frequent flyer) and they will organise tours but never sure if they are the best.
     
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  3. 2000YELLOW360

    2000YELLOW360 F1 World Champ

    Jun 5, 2001
    19,800
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    Art
    I wouldn't stay in Sacramento. If you are going to be around San Francisco (we call it "the city"), you might want to stay in Marin or San Mateo, which are close, and you won't get large parking bills. I'd suggest Sausalito (where the helicopter tours are based). A great town. The best time to visit is in October, when we get our best weather. The summer's fog is gone, and it works like an Indian Summer.

    When you get close to coming out, let me know (via PM). I'm usually in your country the last week of October, first week of November, on my way back from Valencia for the last motogp race of the year.

    Art
     
  4. speedracer1610

    speedracer1610 Formula Junior

    Aug 25, 2006
    324
    nor cal
    Full Name:
    Craig D
    I recomend staying at the St. Regis or the four seasons in San Francisco . I grew up there and work there. These are the best hotels we have . But it is $$$$$$$$. If you want a decent place stay at the Marriot on 4th and Mission or any of the Hyatt's. not as expensive. You will be in the heart of everything. You don't need a car the whole time you are here and you can rent a car at the car rentals close by. Lots to see just by walking and taking the cable car.
     
  5. SonomaRik

    SonomaRik F1 Veteran
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    Dec 15, 2006
    6,715
    Sonoma, CA
    agree with Art. And you could take the ferry easily over and skip parking hassles right off. Cops and meter maids are NOT friendly in the city. PS: to echo another item. Do NOT call it 'F****o' It's San Francisco.
     
  6. dakharris

    dakharris Two Time F1 World Champ

    Jun 7, 2001
    29,441
    Sleepy Hollow
    Full Name:
    Cavaliere Senzatesta
    I had a lovely dinner in SF last night. My last. I had forgotten about their "Healthy Initiative" tax. 4% added to the bill. Screw you, Gavin. I wouldn't spend another dime in SF if I didn't have to.
     
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  8. speedracer1610

    speedracer1610 Formula Junior

    Aug 25, 2006
    324
    nor cal
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    Craig D
    Why are the cops not friendly in the city?
     
  9. GoFerrari28

    GoFerrari28 Formula 3

    Jun 16, 2004
    2,242
    Ridgemont, CA
    Full Name:
    Jeff Spicoli
    May I suggest that you stay a few days in Napa after a stay in San Francisco? There are a great number of hotels in Napa that make a tour of the best wineries very convenient, and after having stayed in California's antidote to civility, Napa would be a pleasant change. I love parts of SF and many of the sights there, but there are aspects of the San Francisco population that can make the experience somewhat unenjoyable.

    I live in Sacramento and it's a nice town, but not somewhere I would expect someone to come for vacation unless they had family here. You could make like Clarkson, Hammond and May and take a road trip to Reno, but I'd rather suggest Tahoe.
     
  10. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    27,114
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    Yosemite National Park is only a couple of hours drive. You mentioned parks and that is one of the best in the country. While in that area the entire Sierra foothills area has lots of history of the gold rush.

    I am not aware of a tour or anything like that related to Bullit. The only one I have heard of is a Maltese Falcon tour. The driving scene in Bullit skipped all over the city, It was actually kind of comical for people familiar with the area.
     
  11. Choptop

    Choptop F1 Rookie

    Aug 15, 2004
    4,455
    Carmichael, CA
    Full Name:
    Alan Galbraith
    #9 Choptop, Jun 24, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
    If you come in Oct,. try to hit Fleet Week. Oct is better for the rain, it does start to get wet in Nov.

    Lots of cool places to stay in SF, not all of them expensive. My personal faves are The Clift Hotel and Hotel Triton.

    Lots to see and do in and around SF as well. Depends on how much time you have. Going to the Napa/Sonoma valleys for some wine tasting is a must, leave at least one day, preferably two for that alone. although its only 1-1.5 hours from downtown, it would be better to find a place to stay there and enjoy the area.

    If you like the NFL catch a Raiders game at the Oakland Colesium across the bay, its a unique experience. US football hooligans in costumes.

    Museums in SF, Golden Gate Park, The Exploritorium, Take a ferry ride, Drive across to the Golden Gate Bridge and have lunch by the water in Sausalito, take a helicopter ride, go to Sear Point Raceway and check it out.

    if you have a few extra days go to Monterey and see the aquarium, go to Laguna Seca, have lunch in Carmel...

    hell, come in August and go to the Pebble Beach Concours.
     
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  13. SonomaRik

    SonomaRik F1 Veteran
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    Dec 15, 2006
    6,715
    Sonoma, CA
    #10 SonomaRik, Jun 24, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
    Nothing agaist cops....I even put most of them on a high podium as Firefighters: always on the line, out front, never knowing what may happen, and sometimes doing it alone.

    What I mean, is the current climate dictates more tickets: income for the City. And SF enforcement is known quite well to hand out tickets like fortune cookies from your best takeout.

    The SFPD/etc. will cite you for ANY infraction if they get the chance....latest I heard is not having a front license plate on car. I've been almost ticketed for the Tubi, but managed to get out of it when the Moto-Gal just went from that intersection to [suspecting] another call/better fish.

    Almost to the point, not sure, if taking Ferrari to city much anymore..really.
     
  14. EP328

    EP328 Formula Junior
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    Sep 3, 2008
    582
    Northern California
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    Ed
    Visit Carmel by the Sea / Monterey, less than 2 hour drive from the city. Good day trip.
     
  15. GCalo

    GCalo F1 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2004
    7,008
    Northern California
    Full Name:
    Greg Calo
    It's now a $100.00 fine in SF!

    If you have no front plate and you are going to SF, park in a garage and not on the street.
     
  16. thoang

    thoang Formula 3
    Owner

    Apr 12, 2004
    1,956
    SF Bay Area
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    Tuan Hoang
    Is it still a fix it ticket? I avoid parking on the street except for my DD.
     
  17. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    45,739
    SFPD
    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    Now that the downsides listed by *locals are out of the way...

    When in San Francisco, you will need to eat and drink, and the following are required;

    Chinese
    Italian
    Steakhouse
    Ice Cream

    *Locals - tell 'em the places to go to fulfill those requirements.
     
  18. thoang

    thoang Formula 3
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    Apr 12, 2004
    1,956
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    Tuan Hoang
    Chinese - Empress of China 838 Grant Ave San Francisco, CA 94108 http://empressofchinasf.com/
     
  19. GCalo

    GCalo F1 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2004
    7,008
    Northern California
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    Greg Calo
    I have to check the code but I highly doubt it.

    I had a customer who received the ticket and was no mention of a "fix it" deal.
     
  20. cal355

    cal355 Formula Junior

    Jun 16, 2004
    383
    San Francisco
    Full Name:
    Cal
    You can stay towards the Pacific coast. There is the Seal Rock Inn on Geary Blvd before it becomes the Great Highway going south. Nice small place, no charge for parking, reasonable rates,especially during the off-season. And, has a nice restaurant. Not much in Sacramento unless you want to visit Old Town and the State Capital.
     
  21. Choptop

    Choptop F1 Rookie

    Aug 15, 2004
    4,455
    Carmichael, CA
    Full Name:
    Alan Galbraith
    Sea Food - Farallon
    Sea Food - Scoma's (I highly recommend the Lobster Newburg or Lobster Thermador)
    Sea Food - Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto (across the bay in Berkley, founded 1890, thats old for the west coast :)
    Breakfast - Sears Fine Foods
    Drinks - The Tonga Room (way cool tiki bar with a lake an periodic rain showers indoors)
     
  22. Choptop

    Choptop F1 Rookie

    Aug 15, 2004
    4,455
    Carmichael, CA
    Full Name:
    Alan Galbraith
    I concur on not staying in Sacramento... but there are a few cool things to see here...

    if you are into trains there is a GREAT railroad museum in town.

    Sutters Fort - the original non spanish building in town

    Marshall Gold Discovery site is about 1 hour up in the hills just past Placerville

    I would recommend seeing Lake Tahoe, it really is stunning. Take the cable car ride up to the top of Heavenly Valley Ski Resort for a great view.
     
  23. taber

    taber Formula 3

    Mar 4, 2005
    1,575
    San Francisco
    Full Name:
    Norman
    The Bullit chase scene is awesome.

    Here is a map of the entire chase:
    http://www.ponysite.de/location.htm

    Hope you aren't too bummed out there is a lot of cutting and jumping all over San Francisco for the chase. Might be a cool experience to rent a vintage mustang and go through all the areas
     
  24. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

    Sep 25, 2006
    23,267
    Campbell, CA
    Full Name:
    Ian Anderson
    Sshhh! Don't tell everyone! :D [Plus, most of the tourists have already left!] Seriously, when my family & friends back in the UK ask "when should we come?" they're amazed when I say "September / October".

    As has been said, the City has lots going on, give Sacramento a miss unless there's something really specific you want to see. Tahoe really is a spectacular place, and a great drive if you're into that [I have some "back road" directions that are really fun if you're interested btw.]

    I concur with most of the posters - Sausalito / Tiburon, ferry rides, etc are all worthy of your time. One possibility that hasn't been mentioned is the new blimp that you can take a ride on - http://www.airshipventures.com/

    Lots of options going both North and South - How long are staying for?

    Oh, BTW, I'm not too sure on a Raiders game! ;) - At least make sure you're not wearing anything red (the 49er's colors!) :)

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  25. SonomaRik

    SonomaRik F1 Veteran
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    Dec 15, 2006
    6,715
    Sonoma, CA
    Raiders....???? is that a team or something



    ----- go niners/giants
     
  26. EP328

    EP328 Formula Junior
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    Sep 3, 2008
    582
    Northern California
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    Ed
    For drinks, Harry Denton's Starlight Room located in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel
     
  27. flyinlo

    flyinlo Karting
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    Apr 30, 2005
    191
    San Jose, CA
    Full Name:
    Jeffrey Lo
    #25 flyinlo, Jun 25, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I'll second going to Yosemite. I love the place and while Tuolumne and Glacier Point will likely be closed by October, the valley is open year round. I think you can still get to the Mariposa grove of Giant Sequoias then. Many waterfalls will be dry by October, but you also get leaves changing then, and it'll be a lot less crowded. Here's a couple shots from the valley in October.
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