The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part One: Logistics
Traveling to San Francisco for the Super Bowl, work or a vacation? This is the first part in a series of my Ultimate Guide to San Francisco.
I’m alive! I know, you’re as surprised as I am. When you have a new job and your old job and a packed social schedule and freelance projects and workouts and life sometimes blogging falls to the wayside. But I missed you guys!
This is the first part in a series of posts about San Francisco in which I capitalize SEO search terms for the Super Bowl. That ish is about to shut the city down. I am only bike commuting/walking from now until whenever the hell the city is open again. Lola is tuned up and parked and I might drive her around the parking garage to be sure she gets some exercise.
ANYWAY, so in the next couple of weeks my friend Kristine and I will tell you where you should eat, drink and sweat in San Francisco. Be sure to check back on both of our blogs for the next round of tips — and special deals while you’re here!
Things You Should Know Before You Go:
- Please don’t call it San Fran.
Please please please. It’s San Francisco. Or SF. Never Frisco. NEVER San Fran. I don’t know who made the rule but my uncle told me that before I ever moved here (he travels a lot here for work). San Fran just sounds kind of brash once you think about it, doesn’t it? Like, I love you if you’ve said it… and I won’t correct you. But you will definitely stand out as a tourist if you call it San Fran while you’re here.
- California is not 80 degrees and sunny every day.
San Francisco is honestly usually between 60-70 degrees year round and either foggy or sunny. Except during El Niño when it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. You’ll need closed-toed shoes, at least a light jacket at all times and pants.
- You are not going to wear a bikini at the beach.
Or lay out. You probably need a parka at the beach even in the summer. Actually, especially in the summer because that’s when it’s the coldest here.
Ride-sharing was started here. If Uber or Lyft are expensive in your city, they’re pretty much a $5-$6 ride anywhere in the city if you do Uber Pool or Lyft Line. Yeah, it’s like kind of strange the first time getting in a car with strangers but also… it’s still a lot better than riding the bus.
I don’t know how these work. Sometimes I ride MUNI if I have an appointment downtown or I need to go somewhere on the other side of the city and don’t want to pay for a bazillion dollar Uber ride and don’t want to drive. AKA sometimes when I run across the city and need to get home. You’ll need cash ($2.25) or a Clipper card (you can buy these at Walgreens) for a ride and if you have the Google Maps app, just open it up and choose transit and it will tell you how to get there. I still don’t know where to find bus stops though.
Yeah there are hills but the city is infamously walkable. Just walk fast if you’re in a sketchy part of the city (aka The Tenderloin/Civic Center/Parts of the Mission and SoMa). Google Maps/Apple Maps will tell you how to walk places. I walked the city to find my neighborhood so you’ll never know where you’ll end up.
I wouldn’t recommend renting a car. Parking is awful and expensive — even more so if you’re staying in a hotel (aka like $50+ dollars a night). If you want to go out to wine country or something, rent a car for the day or hire a driver.
There’s bike-rentals and public bike shares throughout the city. Bike lanes are also pretty plentiful. I beg you though — if you’re renting a bike, please pay attention to people walking and running, especially on Marina Blvd (you’ll ride this if you’re riding to Golden Gate Bridge). I have to basically avoid walking or running that way from 9 a.m. onwards on the weekend lest I get run over by a tourist on a bicycle who is using a selfie stick to Snapchat his ride or something.
Where to Stay
Without a doubt, I suggest staying in an Airbnb. Hotels here are not in desirable parts of the city. Look in the Marina District, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights or Russian Hill. But also I’m like super particular about where I am located.
What to Pack
- Practical shoes for walking
I never wear heels anymore, unless I’m going out and I’m going via Uber/Lyft. Just pack athletic shoes/flat booties/whatever has some support because you’ll do a lot of walking.
- A jacket
60 degrees in San Francisco is a lot colder than 60 degrees anywhere else.
- Workout clothes
Even if you don’t plan to workout you’ll probably get here and get so wrapped up in the culture that is SF that you’ll want to go on a hike. You can go to Lululemon and buy something of course but our sales tax is like… 10%. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Chat with me:
Do you have any logistical tips for a trip to San Francisco? What else do you want to know about visiting SF? What are your favorite things if you’ve been here before?