San Francisco Hostels

San Francisco Travel Tips & Suggestions

San Francisco is a wonderful city to visit! I went with a friend during winter break from college and we had the time of our lives. Each night we stayed in a different hostel to get a feel for the different parts of the city. We also toured many attractions since we purchased the City Pass. With our passes we had access to the MUNI, buses, and even the trolley cars! We rode them every chance we got and they helped us immensely. During our time in the city we took the night tour of Alcatraz, we visited Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, we took a Bay Cruise Tour, we visited the San Francisco Zoo and The Aquarium at the Bay (amazing!), we explored the city at night since holiday lights were up, we walked around Chinatown and the Financial District, we did Height-Ashbury and Fremont Street, we went through Golden Gate Park and wandered the California Academy of Science Museum as well as the Exploratorium, and of course we paid our dues at Ghirardelli Square. All of this in a week! Basically the point I'm trying to make is that there are endless activities in San Fran and everyone should get a chance to visit at some point :)
As someone who has been homeless here, the reason there are so many homeless is that the rents are outrageous.
Get a "muni map" (public transportation system) and it will make touring the city quite a bit easier. The drivers are some of the friendliest and helpful you will ever come across. When in doubt, ask. Consider a boat trip below the Golden Gate or walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. Contrary to popular opinion, San Francisco has its share of bad restaurants, so be careful with guidebook suggestions.
It is great but expensive. Living near Chinatown and eating there is a quite smart choice.
Last I saw, San Francisco was super gentrified, and super whitified, with grimy streets that never seem to get cleaned and an endless supply of drug addicts and homeless. It's odd, as it thinks of itself as so progressive.
San Francisco is the most wonderful city that I have ever stayed. It has all that I can ask for in a city -- good people, wonderful days, beautiful nights, and awesome sightseeings. I'd come back there as fast as I can.
San Francisco is a very nice city -- lots of places to go and see. You can walk easily and there are lots of tourists in San Francisco.
I stayed twice four weeks in San Francisco and loved it so much. I want to get back there a.s.a.p. -- very European style, yet totally American. It's brilliant -- cool bars, good food, super streets!
I travel to San Francisco often because my company has an office on lower Haight. Since I am from Philly, the homeless population is not too aggressive but they are everywhere you go. The best way to see the city is by bike. Be careful in Berkeley parking your bike -- the homeless will take apart your bike in broad daylight. Go in the fall or spring (although last April it rained for a month straight). Dotties True Blue Cafe is a must for breakfast! (Jones Street in the Tenderloin). Best beers are at Tornado (Haight). Tuesdays only, try a burger at Rosamunde Sausage Grill. If you want to see music, try Cafe Du Nord, Covered Wagon Saloon,The Independent, Slim’s, El Rio, Bottom Of The Hill, Amnesia, Make-Out Room, Hemlock Tavern, Hotel Utah, Thee Parkside, 12 Galaxies, or Rickshaw Stop -- too many to count.
Gregg P
I lived in Frisco from 1965 to 1978 and it was perfectly acceptable to call it that, as most old timers (and now I am one of those) called it Frisco. In fact, my dad's middle name was Frisco, named after the city some call San Francisco. If it was good enough for our ancestors, it good enough for me.
A few words to help people - to avoid fog and rain come in fall or spring. Those are the nicest weather months in SF. Also a new person to the city can be put off because one of the poorest neighborhoods is The Tenderloin which is very close to Union Square and Civic Center. It is a very small area however & most people there are harmless. Stay north of Geary or west of Polk although there are some very good music clubs and night spots in the Tenderloin area. Do some research if you're a bit skittish. Altogether SF is an awesome city, very diverse and endless amounts of things to do.
As a New Yorker visiting SF, I thought SF was overrated -- in terms of diversity, cultural & intellectual stimulation, and nightlife. And as others have mentioned, the city has a terrible problem with the homeless, who essentially own the streets, espeically at night. If you go, I do recommend visiting Berkeley, which is really cool.
I love San Fransisco and especially the shopping and the cable cars. and my favorite, Lori's Diner.
If you like arts, having international trades at your fingertips, rich cultural diversity, enough restaurants and coffee to keep you busy for years, progressiveness, the bustle and rage and charm of the raw American coastal city, the ocean, the mountains, the hilly streets, the Pacific Northwest, the traffic, the history, the architecture, the celebrity, the tourism, the cheap seafood, then SF is for you - but also be prepared for everything that goes with being a major city that everybody wants to be in - crime, smog, homeless, traffic, crazy housing prices, crap employment outlook.
I arrived in San Francisco mid-Feburary. The winter can be cold and wet. The city has a great public transportation system that's reasonably priced. You will find however, the city is kind of dirty and gritty. There seems at times to be an endless supply of homeless people, beggers, and crazies that wander the streets. It is a bit off-putting, but most of the times its ok.
Don't come looking for job!!! I'm from Louisiana where a boom-and-bust economy is the norm, but it didn't prepare me for SF. It was really depression-era bad, literally. I wish I was only joking. It was delusional – all shiny, happy people telling you either it will get better – it didn’t - or it wasn’t that bad – it was worse. If you spoke against this prevailing attitude – well, you may find work as a drug dealer, but who knows?
Go to the website to get info on transportation from the train station or airport before you arrive.
The great meadow beside the Fort Mason Hostel is an absolutely perfect place for a picnic. We just had one there yesterday!
San Francisco has something for everyone - art museums, night clubs, the ocean, Golden Gate Park, the zoo, etc. Driving and parking can be frustrating, so take advantage of Muni and BART (public transportation.) Whatever you do, don't call San Francisco "Frisco" or "SanFran." These nicknames drive the locals nuts, and only a select few can call the city this. As a tourist, you're probably not one of them. Stick with "San Francisco," or for the adventurous types, "The City," (though use with discretion.)
If you don't want to wait in line for the cable cars that run from Market Street to Fisherman's Warf, it's best to go try the California cable car line instead (from Market to Van Ness on California Street). It isn't as hilly, so it's not quite as much fun, but there's almost never a line. Or if you do take the other lines, at least go at night when there's usually much less of a wait (check the schedule at
Don't miss the Haight Ashbury area (centered around the intersection of Haight Street and Ashbury Street) to get a taste of what the San Francisco 60s was all about.
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