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Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

London, United...
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Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

Sorry not to have more time to do justice to your wonderful city but i will have one Friday in June to make a mad dash around SF taking as many pics and memories as i can between coach tours.

After lots of research on your forum i'm now seriously considering doing a morning SanFranciscoShuttleTour. I was then planning on just checking out the city on my own using public transport and definitely including riding a cable car etc.

I've now had the crazy idea of trying to catch the 2.20 tour to Alctraz returning on the 4.25 boat. I could then use the remaining time exploring Fisherman's Wharf, grabbing a bite to eat then heading off just after 6 to collect my bags for my next tour. Am i jut out of my brain??? (I could just as easily skip Alkatraz) Or is the wharf too touristy and worth skipping?

Any other suggestions/iteneraries more than welcome!

California
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1. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

I suggest you skip Alcatraz. It'll give you something to do in the future, and there is no way you can go there, see it, and get back in such a short amount of time.

Also, yes, Fisherman's Wharf is very touristy. Painfully so. What I suggest you do is take the Powell-Hyde cable car line there, visit Ghirardelli Square (http://www.ghirardellisq.com), walk straight to Pier 39 (past all the kitschy shops), gawk at the sea lions, then catch the F-line historic streetcar back to Market Street. (Or vice versa.) If you have the time on your walk to Pier 39, stop at the Musée Mécanique (http://www.museemecaniquesf.com) along the way.

See http://www.sfmta.com for maps and schedules for the Powell-Hyde cable car and F streetcar lines. Also, see http://www.streetcar.org for more information on the F-line.

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2. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

Back when I was a little `un, Venerable Mom used to warn me about watching too much TV because it would make my eyeballs square. Putting another van or bus tour in the nine hours between two other major bus tours strikes me as a really excellent way of getting those square eyeballs (or at least a flat hiney) as you peer out of all of those windows.

Personally I'd suggest choosing one or two areas that strike you as the most interesting from various discussions and trip reports on this forum as well as any travel guidebooks or websites you've looked at, and spend your time walking around and really exploring those areas upfront and personal. Off the top of my head this might include the Ferry Building as well as the adjoining Farmer's Market (if you're there on the correct day of the week), a walk halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and/or Chinatown. When you spot something that looks good, stop for coffee, snack, or meal, really taking your time to savor the "San Francisconess" of the settings.

Just my 2 cents (US) worth.....

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3. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

davdaven brought up a good point. Riding a cable car (I'd suggest the Powell-Hyde line starting at the Market St end of the route and riding on the right-hand side) is an excellent thing to do with your time. Also I just noted from your original posting that you're here on a Friday, so scratch the Farmer's Market at Ferry Plaza.

London, United...
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4. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

Thanks for your suggestions. Alcatraz is now firmly crossed off the list for this visit.

Does anyone have any links for some good 'touristy' maps i can use for journeyplanning? From what i can work out i may have time to see Chinatown and Union square when i first arrive (i don't do jetlag) between my flight arrival and first tour.

Will definitely do some walking and cable car riding and am noting all your suggestions. My other tour is of national parks for hiking etc. not cities so i don't mind using my morning being guided and getting oriented.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

I'm leaning toward caffiend's way of thinking but understand the desire to see a lot in a short space of time.

Here's an itinerary that can be done via public transit (buy a Muni one day Passport):

I'm assuming you're starting from Union Square.

1. Take the Powell Hyde street car to the end of the line. If you like, get off at the top of the Hyde street hill and take some snaps of the crooked part of Lombard St,. Catch the next Hyde St. car. (Note, must by Hyde St. cable car -- not Mason St.)

2. At the end of the line, walk down Hyde to the Muni Pier. Enjoy that a bit.

3. Walk west along Aquatic Park. Follow the water and then up the hill into Fort Mason.

4. Walk into Fort Mason (there are great vistas of the GG Bridge from the top) and down to Laguna St.

5. Turn left and follow Laguna Street to Chestnut.

6. Catch the #28 19th Ave which will take you to the GG Bridge. Get off and walk a little ways out along the Bridge.

7. Go back and pick up the #28 again (be sure the destination sign say "Daly City BART." Get off in 4 stops on Park Presidio Av. at Funston

8. Cross Park Presidio then Funston and enter Golden Gate Park though the rose garden (probably not blooming).

9. Cross Kennedy Dr. The large copper clad building (largest in the world) just to you left is the deYoung museum. Walk to your left and around it. Go in and up to the 9th floor observation deck (free!). Use the loo, check out the store and get a bite to eat in the cafe.

10. If you're still good on time, go next door to the Japanese Tea Garden.

11. Just past the Tea Garden, turn left and walk about 1/4 mile and exit the park to Irving St.

12. If you're still good on time, enjoy the Inner Sunset neighborhood.

13. Catch the N Judah at Irving at 9th or 7th.

14. Get off at Civic Center. Walk to City Hall. Walk in and through City Hall -- it's quite a formidable building. Check out the Opera House/Veteran's Building/Court of Memory (WWI memorial) across the street.

15. Walk back to Civic Center Metro back to Powell St. (or catch any surface bus).

So -- you will have seen a bit of the waterfront, the Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Civic Center and Union Square. And you will have walked quite a bit of it on your own and had time to check out a neighborhood and do things on your own time.

London, United...
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6. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

RamblinSal i LOVE your suggestion. And it saves me the pretty high tour cost. I'm non driving Londoner so have absoloutely no issue with all the walking and transport changes. Would also be great to have the chance to walk out onto the GG bridge.

Bring it on!!! If i skip the 5 1/2 tour it leaves me with a very free day!

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

At step #5 it would be a shame not to stop at the Palace of Fine Arts to take it in. Especially if it's a nice day.

So I'd follow Laguna to Chestnut and then take a right onto Mallorca Way. Follow it through until Beach Street, where you will take a left. There's a slight jog and Beach Street dead ends at the Palace of Fine Arts.

When you're done, just walk a block on Baker (South of Bay Street) and take a right on Francisco to catch the aforementioned #28 to the bridge (at the corner of Francisco and Richmond).

San Francisco
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8. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

You might also have a look at www.sfcityguides.org ... more focused on a specific area but good nonetheless.

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9. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

One minor correction to RamblinSal's meticulous description of routes to take: I strongly suspect that in steps 7 & 8 she meant FULTON Street rather than Funston (Ave). Fulton runs perpendicular to Park Presidio, the multilane greenway that runs between the Presidio and Golden Gate Park, and parallel to Golden Gate Park, serving as the northern boundary of the Park. Funston runs parallel to Park Presidio, one-half block to the east, filling the slot where 13th Avenue should have run if superstition hadn't guided the planner's hand. The corrected directions would read:

7. Go back and pick up the #28 again (be sure the destination sign say "Daly City BART." Get off in 4 stops on Park Presidio Av. at Fulton.

8. Cross Park Presidio then Fulton and enter Golden Gate Park though the rose garden (probably not blooming).

To the OP, out of curiosity, do you have any interest in Chinatown? Once you get off of the tourist-oriented Grant Avenue it can make for some interesting walking and window gazing, say along Stockton Street.

California
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for Berkeley
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10. Re: Only 9 hrs in San Francisco! Am i crazy???

RamblinSal's suggested itinerary is excellent if you don't mind skipping Fisherman's Wharf. The cable car will drop you off about a block from Ghirardelli Square, so be sure to stop by if you like anything chocolate.

My only suggested revision is that you fit in the Ferry Building if you can. It can be reached easily by taking the Muni Metro (such as the N-Judah line) all the way to the Embarcadero, which is two short stops past Powell.

I don't usually tell folks to stop by City Hall because it is very visible from surrounding areas, but since you'll be on an underground Muni line, you'll have to get out and onto the surface to see it. The Civic Center area leaves something to be desired otherwise, so please don't be taken aback by the neighborhood.

Enjoy your visit!