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San Francisco bound


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My old roommate, his boyfriend, a girlfriend of ours, and I are thinking of a trip to SF in March for about 5 days. My old roommate has to present a paper at a conference and the rest of us want to go to tourist trap it and such b/c we've all never been out htere.


So far the tickets appear to be about $300 out of Atlanta, which isn't bad at all (it's $600 if they fly out of our hometown in FL). Hotel room for 4 nights is $1000 (based on their research).


I may have a connection from a client for a hotel room and my dad will let me use his frequent flier miles for the plane ticket. But my dad says it's hugely expensive to get around the town.


What are some things we can do that won't cost a lot?


We'll want to do the tourist-y stuff (Alcatraz, GGBridge, etc). I've developed an obsession with Harvey Milk recently so I know we'll go down to the Castro (not to mention I'll be with a couple of gays!).


But we're all poor.


Suggestions? Thoughts?

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Go down to Pier 39 (you take the ferry to Alcatraz from there), lots to see and eat.


Be sure to go to the Boudin Sourdough place and get some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.


Go down the Crooked Street (don't know exactly where it is).


Take the cable cars up the steep streets. Very fun and kinda scary.


Go to Chinatown. Very oldish and fun to walk thorough.


Some of the smaller boats offer charters UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge. They will advertise out on the pier. Fun and not too expensive, $20 for a hour and half tour.


It isn't THAT expensive to get around town. There is a good subway system, bus system AND cable cars. Utilize them.

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Ohhh try to find a weekend when there's something going on... they have all sorts of crazy events where they basically close off a lot of the streets...


I'm trying to remember an awesome cafe/restaurant I went to..had a weird name.. ummmm gah it's going to bug me

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Tourist thoughts...


On Sunday, go to Bottom of the Hill in Portrero for their BBQ and live bands.


Go eat at the Tonga room in the basement of the Fairmont hotel and drink huge beverages with long straws.


If you go to Haight, visit Amoeba records on Stanyan, go to club Deluxe for a Spa Collins and some live Jazz, visit Wasteland (one of the better thrift stores), and do not miss two restaurants: ChaChaCha (Brazilian food with great sangria) and Kan Zaman (best babaganosh ever!).


The food here is epic so it's mostly hard to make a mistake, but don't spend any money eating anywhere near Fisherman's Wharf. Poor food, poor service, overpriced. Go to link removed and do a little restaurant research first. There isn't a single restaurant I can recommend.


Rent a bike downtown and ride it accross the bridge to Sausalito. Eat lunch in the back at Paradise Bay on the water (they will let you take your bikes).


Stroll around the Mission at night. Go to the Makeout Room on 22nd and Mission as well as the Latin American Club. While you're down there, you'll find all kinds of cool places to try out. Valencia is epic. Make a point of eating at the landmark Puerto Allegro (cheap eats, legendary margaritas).


Spend one night wondering around Chinatown and North Beach. They are right next to each other. All kinds of weird little happenings if you look hard enough.


See a movie at the Castro Theatre. It would be great if Milk were still playing there, but it doesn't matter what you see. The theatre itself is old and gorgeous. Amazing architecture. You'll feel like you're in a movie yourself.


Go to the top of Twin Peaks and check out the views if it happens to be a clear day.

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Chinatown is AWESOME. Fun to walk around, and tons of neat stuff in the stores/markets. GREAT food for super-cheap, too.


The trolley cars are a neat experience, and the mass transit system in SF (BART) is amazing, so you can just explore based on those stops, too. IMO, Fisherman's Wharf is just a tourist trap, and not worth the trouble...that's just me, though, having been there a couple times. Seems like a glorified strip mall--though the seals are neat.


I second Berkeley, too. I lived in Sacramento as a child, and we took a class trip there in first grade...when I was back in SF about 6 years ago with a bf, I insisted we go back to Berkeley. Glad we did. The fountain, the feel of the campus, the neat indie book/record stores...yeah. Good stuff.


It's a jaunt up I-1, but the Redwood Forest/Muir Woods are fantastic. Not sure if you have that time/mobility, though...

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This is where I think we'll be staying:

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My friends called it and it'll be $80 per room a night and we woudl all split that (2 rooms). That's really not bad and apparently it's not far from anything at all.


That's only a few blocks from the Tenderloin. It's not the greatest location, but it's close enough to cool things as not to matter. Look on the bright side... if you walk south just 3 blocks, you can score a few rocks of crack at bargain-basement prices.

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Oooh jett, will we be safe?


The thing about San Francisco is that it's all a bunch of little microcosms. Both the weather and the atmosphere change, quite literally, from block to block. From where you're staying, if you go south just two blocks then you're right in the hood. And if you go south 5 blocks then you're on 6th and Market. It's a crappy little place where lots of homeless, drug dealers, and degenerates hang out.


However, if you go north from where you are, just 5 blocks, then you hit Grace Cathedral and Nob Hill, and some of the swankiest places in all of San Francisco.


It's like that everywhere. When you go to North Beach, you can walk like two blocks and suddenly be in Chinatown. And the weather is the same way. If could be 80 degrees, sunny, and cloudless in the Mission, but be 53 degrees and overcast and look like the dead of winter in the Sunset District. Literally, SF will look like 20 different mini cities to you.


I think that's also why people's experiences will vary so much depending on where you visit and where you end up. But in the end, you're fine where you are. And it's even safe enough, IMO, to walk down 6th Street or through the Loin in the daytime. I would be more careful at night though.


BTW, the part of the City that lies between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill is affectionately called "Tender Nob". Hahahahaha. So yeah, you're staying in Tender Nob.

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My sister lives in SF - apparently it's awesome!


Make sure to check out the bar scene. There was an article in the NYTimes just a few days ago about cocktails in SF, so maybe you could check that out.


I would recommend buying (or borrowing from the library if applicable) a guide for SF. They will have some really good recommendations, especially for food and drink. My sister has "The Irreverent Guide to San Francisco".


If you like to cook, I've heard there are amazing markets. My sister went to this place - the "Ferry Building" (no clue where it is) - where there was an amazing selection of all kinds of food. She bought some foods imported from my home country that we haven't found anywhere over here yet.

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