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What SF attractions need car to get to?

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What SF attractions need car to get to?


we will be arriving in SF in the morning and have till 5pm before we need to drop the car off.

Are there any attractions that we should visit while we have the car? That would be hard to get to go with public transport.

We will then have another 2 days in San Fran without car


San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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1. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

From which direction will you be coming into the city??

There may be things you can see/do on the way.

I don't think you'll need the car to see sights IN San Francisco itself.

We have visited many times and we have not needed our car once we have driven there.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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2. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Twin peaks would be good to drive to in the city. North of SF the Marin headlands and perhaps Muir woods would be faster by car and you can the use MUNI to see the other sites I would do this mid day except in summer when Muir gets packed 9 to about 4.

You could also drive to Landsend and through the Presidio before getting to the GG Bridge as 2 days is too short to see that part. But Riff M is correct it all depends on where you are coming from as these places are enroute from napa and Sonoma

Edited: 9:54 am, January 17, 2013
posts: 658
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3. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Thanks we will be coming from Sonoma, and hope to stop at Muir on the way to San Fran.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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4. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Almost everywhere is possible to get to in San Francisco by public transit, however, some outlying areas take longer or are harder by public transit than with a car. How long various areas take to get to also depends on where you are staying. I'll assume Union Square since it's a common hotel location.

Twin Peaks is probably on the top of the list since no public transit vehicles go all the way to the to parking lot nearest the peaks. You will need to walk up a ways up if you go to the nearest transit stop and it's not on a major bus line.

The golden gate bridge is another spot that may be easier with a car because it takes two buses from the union square area on most days.

Lands end, the cliff house, Sutro baths, beach chalet are all in one area that is a long bus or streetcar ride (45 or more minutes) from downtown. The far west end of the park is also in the area.

The presidio may be an interesting place to drive through before or after the golden gate bridge, maybe on the way to lands end.

The palace of the legion of honor museum may be an out of the way place without a car, though I believe sometimes their lot fills up on busy days.

In general, places on the far west side of the city near the ocean may be more convenient with a car than without. If you were planning to go to Sausalito, Muir woods or the Marin headlands (across the golden gate just outside San Francisco) a car is nice. Most places east of the golden gate park are generally pretty reasonable to get to on public transit.

We don't know which places were on your schedule to see, but these are some common places that may be easier with a car.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
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5. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Depending upon time of day, day of week and time of year you may or may not be able to drive up to Muir. On summer weekends the parking lots up there fill up and you have to park just off the freeway and take a shuttle up (the parking lots are not large and the road up to Muir is curvy and two lane, often causing back up all the way to Tam Junction). Traffic headed to Stinson Beach can also gum up the works.

If you're hear during high season I would recommned seeing the Redwoods at Armstrong Grove in Sonoma rather than Muir.

The exit for the Marin Headlands from southbound 101 is just before the Bridge. Head up the hill just 1/4 mile or so for a great view. A short amble down to Kirby Cove might be worthwhile as well. parksconservancy.org/visit/…kirby-cove.html

When crossing the bridge, stay in the far right toll lane and make an immediate right exit (just past the office building) onto Merchant Rd. At the 4 way stop turn right onto Lincoln Blvd. and follow it along. There is an overlook (although being worked on right now) that also has some great views.

Continue along and this street will become El Camino del Mar as it exits the Presidio. Just before you can make a stop at Baker Beach, which also has an iconic view of the Bridge.

Continue on El Camino del Mar (at one point it comes to a "T," turn left) and enter Lincoln Park. On the right you'll see the trail head for the Coastal Trail. Hike out a little ways. There's a overlook not far along the trail.

If you continue through Lincoln Park you'll come to the Legion of Honor which is an art museum. One of Rodin's "Thinker" is in the forecourt. Pass the Legion and you'll exit Lincoln Park to Clement St. If you wish to make a pass through Golden Gate Park, turn left to 30th Ave, turn right and this street enters the Park.

I agree too that Twin Peaks is a good location with a car but it's on the other side of town from where you're entering.

Edited: 10:08 am, January 17, 2013
Eugene, Oregon
posts: 24,385
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6. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Drive down Lombard Street ("the crookedest street in the world").

I just loved the times where you would be headed up to the top of an intersection, and then you could not even see the street in front of you you were tilted so high, then started down the other side like a roller coaster. If someone knows any specific streets that are like that, they were always fun.

San Francisco...
posts: 1,227
reviews: 6
7. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Here's a good discussion on "the Steeps[sic] of San Francisco":


Edited: 12:58 pm, January 17, 2013
Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 5,422
reviews: 20
8. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Good advice above, I'll just add a specific observation that GG Park is (generally) among the things on the west side of the city that holodan referenced. This is more true for those things on the west end of the part compared to those on the eastern portion (including among other things the museums & tea garden). On the other hand, if you want to see just one of the museums and otherwise don't plan on going to GG Park, you might want to prioritize it while you have the car.

Beyond that I agree that Twin Peaks, Legion of Honor, Presidio, Lands End (did anyone mention Ocean Beach?) and GG Bridge are also among the top things that are significantly easier to see with a car.

That's my $.02,


Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
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reviews: 20
9. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

As I re-read my response, I realize that what I wrote could be somewhat confusing and I should perhaps clarify. Regarding the museums, these are on the eastern portion of the park and are reasonably easy to get to by MUNI.

My follow up was that if you only wanted to see just one of them, then it might be better to do so when you have a car rather then spending all the time on MUNI (perhaps up to an hour both ways) just for this one thing.


San Francisco CA
posts: 2,357
10. Re: What SF attractions need car to get to?

Drive the Great Highway (if open) all the way down the coast to Ft. Funston, the southwest edge of the City. You may see hanggliders flying over the ocean. You can come back and take Sloat Blvd. to Portola Dr. to get to Twin Peaks; there are some fabulous neighborhoods you can see. Also consider Mt. Davidson, where you can park and take the trails through the eucalyptus grove.

Another GREAT fun drive - go to Castro and Market. The next street is Collingwood. Go to the end, where you make a hairpin turn to get onto 22nd St. Then go down 22nd to Church (one really steep block) and come down to the views of Dolores Park.