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Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

Grimsby, United...
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Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise


I’m hoping someone can help. My husband and I are planning a trip, flying into Seattle from the UK in June to spend 4 days in settle, 5 days to drive down central Oregon spend 4 days in San Francisco and then drive back up the Oregon coast 4 days and spend another 2 days in Seattle before we fly back to the UK. My question is that we are both very scared to drive in a city. are there any hotels that are easy to reach without driving into the centre of the city? Any advice and suggestions will be most appreciated.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

Any chance you can do this in reverse? So start SF, go to Seattle and back to SF? You don't need a car in SF and parkingfees are high so you'll save yourself some money. Another option is to drop the car in SF and rent another one for the return trip but this will get you into drop off charges 2x.

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2. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

I calculate your round trip mileage as 1,750 approx using google maps.

Seattle is a city plenty of traffic.

The hills of San Francisco will really scare you.

We drive on the opposite side of the road.

That could be scary to and take some time getting used to.

Grover Beach...
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3. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

If you drive into SF via the Golden Gate Bridge, you can choose a hotel along Lombard Street, which is mostly flat terrain and use public transport or walk to get around.

Some lodging options:

Coventry Motor Inn

Chelsea Motor Inn

Buena Vista Motor Inn

Redwood Inn

All of the above offer free parking. The rooms are clean and offer generous amount of space. Lombard Street is along the city bus route, so access to other parts of the city is convenient.

BTW- Driving in SF isn't that difficult. Parking? Well, that's a different story.

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4. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

If you take the Bay Bridge into SF then you are very close to the hotels in the Financial District and near the Ferry Building - a couple of hotel possibilities are Hotel Vitale and Hotel Griffon. I believe both of these hotels have valet parking. There may be some exceptions but I think it's pretty safe to assume that you would have to pay for parking at any of the hotels in this area (budget about $50/night). Sometimes hotels will offer deals which include free parking but that is unlikely to happen in June.

If you take the Golden Gate Bridge you could stay at the Inn at the Presidio ($6 self parking) in which case you would have pretty much no city driving because you basically go right onto the Presidio property after getting off the bridge. That area is very quiet and park-like. This would be my choice but it is quite removed from the tourist attractions and is not for everybody. The easiest and fastest way to get to the tourist areas is to just take a taxi. You can take public transport within the city and then at the end of the day grab a cab back to the hotel. If you don't want to stay there then the next closest hotels are the ones along Lombard St like Cow Hollow Suites and Hotel Del Sol (both of which have free parking).

Grimsby, United...
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5. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

Hi thank you for replying

We can’t change our plans as the flights are booked. In Seattle we are going to use public transport and only drive from the car hire company at the airport out of the city. I wondered if there was somewhere in San Francisco where we could stay park the car and use public transport for the days we are there

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

Price out the rental with and without a car in SF and see what makes sense

Sorry and I hear what you are saying but you are doing a road trip longer it looks like than the average visitor if you can drive on a two lane highway you should be ok in a city. Why drive the same distance twice ?

Another option is to do a longer trip Noth and unless you can fly from Seattle back home, just fly back instead of driving back

Grimsby, United...
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7. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

Hi allpointsstar

thank you , Getting a taxi from the hotel into the city and using public transport sounds a good idea, thank you. I've copied your post and will show my husband when he gets home

Norfolk England
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8. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise


Its not too bad driving in SF especially as it would only be to your hotel, then park up. You will have already been driving around getting used to the roads etc (gps, great help btw) I would consider giving up your rental on arrival, then book a new car when you leave. Then you could stay in better hotels without that frighting parking fee, maybe $30+ a night.


San Francisco
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9. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

From Seattle your route will most likely bring you down Highway 101 and across the Golden Gate Bridge. I would suggest you take Kibblesmom's suggestion in post #3.

I disagree with post #4 on all points: first of all coming across the Bay Bridge from I80W will have you (depending upon time of day) in some of the worst traffic in the area ... it's called "The Maze" for a reason. Then getting off the Bridge you will be in the thick of downtown traffic with lots of one way streets and not something I would recommend for someone who is looking to stay away from that sort of thing.

And while I think the Inn at the Presidio is a lovely looking spot, it's not very well placed for visiting San Francisco. You have to walk almost a mile to get to a bus stop that will take you downtown (Union Square). There is a shuttle in the Presdio that goes downtown but it only runs once an hour and it goes to the Financial District. I just don't see it as being a great base to stay for someone who doesn't want to use their car.

The spots that Kibblesmom suggested are within one block of the bus and also the Chestnut neighborhood with lots of local shops and restaurants.

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10. Re: Scared of driving in the city can anyone advise

I think I would do the drive down more or less as planned, but I would add a couple of days in Napa Valley before going to San Francisco, drop the car in San Francisco and then fly back to Seattle (as internal flights are pretty inexpensive with enough lead time) and spend the remaining days there. Those 4 days you had planned for the drive back use two to see Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley and use the other day either on the drive down, in San Francisco or even add a night to see Yosemite National Park.

I would work your plan too counting nights not days since days overlap. It would look something like this:

3 nights Seattle

4 nights Oregon/CA Coast

1 night Napa/Sonoma Valley

4 nights San Francisco

2 nights Seattle

It would look something like this.


Google Maps is an amazing tool for planning road trips and be sure to post a question in the TripAdvisor Road Trip Forum for ideas on where to stop. The points I used in the map are just spots I know and like, you may get different advice in the Road Trip Forums.


I'd also post in the Seattle & SF Forums questions on city specific things like where to eat, etc.

Lastly, CarHire3000 will have car rentals where there is no drop off charge and includes all the insurances.