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Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

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Ontario, Canada
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Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

My 2 children(16 & 18) and I are planning our first trip (3 nts.) to SF. We are used to staying is newer, larger hotels. I have read a lot about the homeless, tenderloin district, etc. and this makes me feel rather uneasy about staying right downtown. I am seriously thinking about staying in Burlingame. There is one hotel there that has consistently high ratings. They provide free transportation to and from Bart. How hard is it really to get back and forth to SF if we decide to stay in Burlingame? Other hotels that we are considering include Hotel Drisco, Inn at Union Square and Holiday Inn Express at FW.

I would really appreciate your thoughts.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

If you are coming to visit San Francisco, stay IN San Francisco.

As far as the Drisco and Inn at Union Square goes, they are the complete opposite of what you say you are used to staying in - Large Hotels. They are both good hotels, but better suited for couples and again, they are small, older hotels.

Go for the Wharf and Holiday Inn Express or any other brand hotel. If you want Union Square, look at the Westin St. Francis (tower rooms) and Grand Hyatt. Both are newer, large hotels right on Union Square. Good location.

Don't worry about the homeless and Tenderloin. Both are over rated. Ignore them both and you will never even know they are there.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

Two more choices for Union Square:

Crowne Plaza

Pan Pacific

Down Under
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3. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

What Wes has said is absolutely correct_______stay in The City.

The Tenderloin is a little over rated , definately uncomfortable for first time visitors during the day but not particularly dangerous unless you are wandering around there at night alone _____which of course you wont be.

I have had good experiences at the Renaissance Parc 55 which fits your requirements but perhaps you would feel more comfortable at Fishermans Wharf.

Ontario, Canada
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4. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

Thank you for your thoughts.

One more question, as far as FW goes...someone I know mentioned to me that they would only stay in the Wharf area if they had young children, she meant younger than mine. She said that it is very, very busy and told me that I wouldn't like it. I imagine it to be a bit like Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls but that is only what I am imagining. Do you agree with that? Maybe it would be better for me to stay Downtown if this is correct information.

If we do decide to stay at the Wharf, do you think that we would like the Argonaut or a different hotel better than the HI Express?

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

I'm not a local, but have enjoyed visiting San Francisco in the past. For a first time visitor, I think FW is a great idea. FW has lots of restaurants, most of the major attractions are within easy walking distance, and you are at the ferry terminals for trips to Alcatraz or Sausalito. It's very touristy and a little tacky (think the area around Niagara Falls), but everything you want as a tourist is there. Union Square is nice, but consists mostly of shops and hotels. You would need to take some form of transportation to get to most of the places you wanted to visit. As the other posters metioned, there is nothing you would want to see in any part of the city that would be considered "bad." I also highly recommend the Argonaut in FW.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

If the "someone" that told you that you may not like FW knows you AND Fisherman's Wharf, that could be could advice. While I think Union Square is the premier district in the City and best place to stay, I do often recommend FW for people with younger kids and families.

Here's the question...Do you want to walk out of your hotel and be in the middle of a tourist area or walk out of your hotel in be in the middle of a downtown shopping district? The good news is that if you make a wrong choice, you're still OK and you'll know better for the next time. Don't worry.

The Argonaut is highly rated and in a good FW location. However, in your original post you state that you are used to staying in "newer, larger hotels" and you keep picking smaller, older building hotels. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't you to set yourself up to be disappointed. I think smaller, older hotels are much better.

San Francisco
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7. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

I would say that your children are a bit "older" than the families I would typically recommend stay at Fisherman's Wharf. It's perfect for younger children, but the older ones Im sure would love downtown.

If you're coming to San Francisco, I agree with Wes --stay IN San Francisco. While I wouldn't recommend walking in the Tenderloin alone at night, the scare factor is overrated in my opinion. Yes, you'll encounter a lot of homeless at quote "undesireables" but as long as you're aware of your surroundings and just keep walking, they'll leave you alone. Also, you'll know when you're entering the Tenderloin. It isn't easy to actually get lost over there b/c most people will think it starts to look bad, turn around and head back the other way. Don't let that stop you from staying downtown.

As far as hotels, I would recommend:

The Parc 55

The Westin St. Francis (however, you should book a room in the new tower if you want new!)

The Four Seasons

The Pan Pacific

The Drisco is very nice, however, the best way I can describe it is almost "bed and breakfast-like". It's in the middle of Pacific Heights --very nice neighborhood. I don't know that I'd recommend it if you're used to big and new hotels though.

louisiana
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8. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

My daughter(9) and I went by ourselves for a few days this summer. We stayed at the Marriott FW and it was wonderful. We didn't see any homeless people, or maybe because we were so busy we didn't have time to look for them. They didn't seem to be anywhere down there though. FW is completely safe.

San Francisco
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9. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

I want to clear up that there are homeless people and beggars down at Fisherman's Wharf. I can actually name several places where a few sit right off hand. I am sure the other poster simply didn't notice, but they are there.

I don't know if you're aware but San Francisco does have quite a large homeless population. If you're exploring the city, you're going to see them, I can assure you. As we said earlier though, they are harmless. Don't let them scare you.

That said, Fisherman's Wharf is safe, but so is Union Square. Given that those are the two neighborhoods you're considering, they both have a lot of people wandering around. I wouldn't be afriad to walk either of them at night, alone. Just something to think about. Enjoy your stay.

boise
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10. Re: Burlingame, Downtown SF or FW?

i just recently got back from sf and was in the tenderloin during the day and it was fine, they have really cleaned the city up in the last 10 years...(i grew up there)i think thats why there is still a stigma with the tenderloin being so dangerous. I am talking about during the day, at night it does get very rough because of the prostitution and drugs.

this time i stayed in the marina area on van ness , but have also stayed at fishermans wharf and its fine because its nice to see that ocean right there and have the sounds and smells that go with the wharf. pier 39 is good for the kids and they will enjoy that and you can take the cable car to chinatown/union square...just bring your walking shoes and have a great time...its a very safe city and IF you end up in a bad neiborhood you will know it pretty fast so just turn around and enjoy youre holiday.