California-Bay Area

Traffic in Bay Area

Hey San Francisco Knotties!

FI and I are planning on honeymooning in San Francisco and I was thinking about booking a hotel room outside of the city (by the airport, maybe) to save money, but I was wondering about traffic.  How long does it take to drive from the airport (SFO) to San Francisco?  Also, what's the parking situation in the city?  Woulld it be worth it to have a car, or would there be no place to park?

Thanks for your help!

Re: Traffic in Bay Area

  • edited December 2011
    it depends on where in the city you are going - but w/ no traffic, you can get to sf from sfo in like 15-20 min.  during rush hour, there's obviously traffic and then if there is a baseball game, there's traffic then too.  but other than those times, its really not that bad.  (nothing like LA or NYC)

    here's my take on it....its your honeymoon.  do you really want to have to worry about driving in and out of the city every day?  i think it would be worth it to use the money you would be spending on a car and stay in the city instead.  parking in city is a pain and then if you park in the lots, its expensive.  i think if you stayed outside the city and rented a car - it would be the same amount, if not more than just staying here.  when you're in the city, you can walk places and/or take public trans to save $$. 

    hope that helps!
  • edited December 2011
    i totally agree if you're going to SF stay in SF. it's really not that much & you don't want to have to go back & forth all the time. you could get a car but i don't think it's necessary at all. you can walk to most places or take the munis & parking is annoying and expensive.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with pp. The airport is far enough away that it's not really worth it. If you're trying to save cost by not staying in the city, maybe you could stay somewhere in Berkeley, which is about the same distance but also has BART access. It's not much closer, but at Berkeley has it's own set of fun neighborhoods to explore and it's still about 15 minutes away by BART or car. (although I don't recommend driving into the city, it's a pain and parking is expensive)

  • edited December 2011
    Also, while the time may not be a big deal, it's pretty confusing to drive around, and it can be kind of frustrating if you're not used to it. White it may not take a lot of time, there are tons of one-ways...and parking is pretty icky. To me, it's much nicer to be able to stay in the city, walk around at night, have a few drinks and not have to worry about having to drive back to drive back to your hotel at the end of the night.

    Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    You've been given good advice on staying in SF rather than in surrounding cities. SF is sometimes a PITA to drive in and parking in a lot is a minimum of $20.
    I've stayed at the Parc 55 hotel before and it's a nice place, walking distance to Market Street and Union Square.
  • edited December 2011
    I actually think staying around the airport area works, too. You can take BART to San Francisco from Millbrae. Just park your car at the BART station ( I recall you can always find parking spots in the Millbrae station) and take the BART in.  Bay area is big and it's worthwhile to rent a car to go to places. By only muni and buses there are places that are hard to get to. 
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I guess it depends on what you plan on doing during your honeymoon.  If you want to go to Napa for dinner/winetasting, you'll need a car.  If you plan on only seeing the sites in SF, you could probably BART into the city from the airport and stay in the city without a car.  The public transportation in the city is pretty good.  And you could rent a car just for a day to go up to wine country, which would be more cost effective than keeping the car for the whole week.

    The areas around SFO aren't especially charming, do you really want to stay there to save a couple dollars?  As mentioned above, parking in the city is a pain and a rip-off, and while BART is great, it's still a 20-30 minute ride each way just to get into the city.  I'm sure you can find a good deal somewhere in the city with a little searching.
  • edited December 2011
    Hotels all over the Bay Area are expensive, if you stay in the less-than-fancy hotels you could save just about anywhere...But I would suggest staying in 'the city' and getting the full experience.
  • edited December 2011
    Check out Expedia for good deals. I was able to book a room @ the Hotel Carlton (located in Lower Nob Hill) for around $87 a night. Just do some research. There are some good deals out there.
  • edited December 2011
    Traffic basically always sucks in SF. If you get a car, make sure your hotel has parking, but it's probably better for day trips (like if you go to Napa). Driving to a restaurant in SF, for example, is risky. You should also be REALLY Careful with parking. Everyone I know in SF has had their car towed! But you don't need a car in the city. You can take BART from the airport.
  • edited December 2011

    The Bay Area is unusual in the fact that it isn't a normal commuting city where people come into the city and then back out again every night. Sure, they do that (which is why the Bay Bridge can be a nightmare. I've been stuck on there for over an hour and a half TWICE in my life. TWICE! On the bridge itself! This is when I instituted the "no going onto bridges or through tunnels before peeing" rule), but there are very autonomous cities very close. If you wanted to stay in the East Bay, for example, there's still a lot to do. But none of it comes very cheaply, and a lot of it you could probably do at home. (If I were going to stay in Oakland, I'd stay in Rockridge, since there's BART there and a lot of stores and restaurants along College Avenue). The East Bay has better weather than SF, especially in the summer, when it's foggy in SF and sunny in Oakland and Berkeley.

    BUT if *I* were having my honeymoon here, I would stay in San Francisco and then rent a car to go either up (wine country, Menocino, Muir Woods, Stinson Beach) or down (Santa Cruz beaches, Santa Cruz mountains, Monterey, Big Sur). But I definitely wouldn't have a car in the city. Parking is ridiculously expensive. Traffic can be infuriating. One way roads crossing other one way roads when all you want to do is turn around, or all of the "No Left Turn" signs when all you want to do is turn left, and no one is coming in the other direction for blocks... <sigh />.

    When you're here, though, it's really easy to get around on foot or by bus/tram/etc, SF is a really small city, and it has so many neat neighborhoods. Make sure to go to Golden Gate Park. And bring shoes you can walk in, and layers.
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