Recommended Hotel: Washington Inn
Why: Best Rates, Free Breakfast, Restaurant with Full Bar
The Washington Inn is the cheapest hotel ($122/night) in Downtown Oakland and it also has good amenities like free breakfast and inexpensive parking. The Clarion, Marriott, and Courtyard Marriott are all fine hotels, but nothing special for the increased price tag starting at $179 a night and going up well over $250 per night. Some guests at The Washington Inn complained that the rooms are small, but it seemed to be a minor complaint when location and price are factored in. Guests like the bar in the lobby as a place to relax in the evenings. We recommend The Washington Inn to couples and solo travelers.
Neighborhood Vibe: Known as the grittier “other city on the bay,” Oakland is home to a vibrant arts culture, incredible food scene, and has a strong sense of community and history. It’s a bit warmer, less foggy, and less expensive than San Francisco and has garnered loyal residents from these qualities.
Things to Do: Catch a live show or movie at Oakland’s art deco masterpiece, the Paramount Theatre, or at the Fox Theater, a restored 1920s gem, which has a live music venue. Visit the Oakland Museum of California with its massive collection of California art. Watch the sunset from atop Skyline Boulevard then stargaze from Chabot Space and Science Center.
East of downtown is Lake Merritt, which is a wildlife sanctuary that offers jogging, sailing, rowing and paddling options, as well as an amusement park called Children’s Fairyland. Strolling past Fairyland, you will discover Gardens of Lake Merritt. The area is beautiful at night as well with all the lights on the lake. Nighttime is still safe, but it’s always best to stay alert.
Getting Around: Three BART stations are located beneath downtown; 12th Street/Oakland City Center and 19th Street are under Broadway, while Lake Merritt is in the eastern part of Chinatown. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is roughly 50 minutes away from these BART stations, while Oakland Airport is only 10 minutes away. AC Transit offers bus service throughout the city, too.
Recommended Hotel: Courtyard Marriott
Why: Best Rates, Cleanliness
There are numerous hotels near the Oakland Airport and nearby BART station. We recommend staying at the cheapest hotel, which is the Courtyard Oakland Airport. It’s also the closest hotel to the BART station for easy access to points throughout San Francisco. You can also expect a high standard of cleanliness from the Marriott brand. Breakfast is available for purchase and there’s also a seasonal outdoor pool. The La Quinta Inn is also a nice choice because it’s almost as cheap as the Courtyard Oakland Airport, but offers free parking and free breakfast. The Hilton Oakland Airport and Holiday Inn Express are also nice, however, they are much more expensive.
Neighborhood Vibe: The Oakland Airport sits in an industrial/commercial section of Oakland. Most people who spend time there are on their way to or from the airport, exploring the parks near the airport, or attending a sporting event or show at the Coliseum or Oracle Arena. The Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders, and Golden State Warriors are all based here.
Things to Do: The Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline sits right next to the airport and protects the marshlands at San Leandro Bay and is of particular interest for hiking and biking along the water. The Oakland Aviation Museum is also a lot of fun featuring activities like after-dark flashlight tours, cockpit tours, and flight simulators.
Getting Around: The BART doesn’t service Oakland Airport directly, but there is a shuttle bus from the Airport to the BART. From the Oakland Airport/Coliseum BART station it takes about 30 minutes to reach downtown San Francisco.
Recommended Hotel: Travelers Inn
Why: Friendly and Helpful Staff, Fridge, Microwave and Coffee Pot In All Rooms
There are two cheap motels near the South San Francisco BART: Royal Inn and Travelers Inn. While the Royal Inn is the cheapest at an average of $89/night, you’re getting what you pay for here. Over hundreds of online reviews, guests consistently complain that the hotel is dirty and the staff are unhelpful. That’s why we recommend spending a bit more (about $149-169/night) to stay at the Travelers Inn. Guest compliment the Travelers Inn on cleanliness and friendly staff. The rooms at Travelers Inn also have microwaves, mini fridges, and coffee pots with complimentary coffee and tea. If you’re willing to take a risk on cleanliness to save money, go with the Royal Inn. Otherwise, we recommend Travelers Inn.
Neighborhood Vibe: South San Francisco is a suburban, partially industrial neighborhood not far from San Francisco Airport. There’s not much to do close to the station, but it is a safe neighborhood where many families live. If you venture further from the station in South San Francisco you can find some fun things to do.
Things to Do: South San Francisco has some hidden gems like Create with Celia for paint and sip nights and Golden Dragon Fortunes to learn your future. Jackson Arms Shooting Range is also popular, especially on Mondays for ladies night. Bicyclers like the Centennial Way trail, which runs from South San Francisco to San Bruno.
Getting Around: The access to BART allows you to be in the heart of San Francisco in just 20 minutes. Or you could take the CalTrain from another nearby station and end up in Redwood City in 35 minutes.
Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn
Why: Best Rates, Closest to BART, Free Parking
Of the four hotels near the West Dublin BART we recommend the Holiday Inn. It offers the best combination of good rates and walkability to the BART station (just four blocks away). The Pleasanton Marriott and Residence Inn are both nice hotels, but much more expensive and much farther from the BART. The Sheraton has reasonable rates and is also near the BART, but breakfast is an added charge whereas it’s a free buffet at the Holiday Inn. Guests note that the age of the Holiday Inn is noticeable in the decor, but it has been updated with an ample amount of plugs for charging devices and it is clean. We recommend looking at the Holiday Inn before any of the other hotels in this area.
Neighborhood Vibe: West Dublin is a suburban neighborhood in the rolling hills of California. The neighborhood is popular with families and people like the access to both San Francisco via public transit and more rural areas via the highways. The area surrounding the West Dublin BART station isn’t very exciting, but there is a shopping mall that’s walking distance.
Things to Do: If you want something fun to eat near the station, stop at Ohana Bros in the shopping center for Hawaiian shave ice and hot dogs loaded with unique toppings. Bagel Bakery of Dublin serves excellent sandwiches on their homemade bagels. For a healthy option, Vitality Bowls serves açaí bowls, fresh juice, soups, salads, and smoothies.
Getting Around: Travelers coming up I-5 or I-80 will appreciate this location for affordable rates, free parking, and easy access to the BART for commuting into San Francisco or Oakland. This location might be ideal for visitors who are on their way to wine country, Yosemite, or Tahoe and want to take a day to see San Francisco by utilizing the BART. It also might be an option for those who want to visit Oakland by day, but stay in a more affluent area during the evening.
Recommended Hotel: Best Western
Why: Best Rates, Free Parking, Free Breakfast includes Hot Items
Of the eight hotels in the Dublin/Pleasanton area, La Quinta Inn and Best Western are closest to the BART station. Of these, the Best Western is cheaper, but doesn’t have a gym. Otherwise, the amenities at both hotels are comparable: free breakfast, free self parking, free wireless in all rooms, and an outdoor swimming pool. Across hundreds of online reviews, guests had very few complaints about the Best Western and primarily complimented the clean rooms and friendly staff. The case is similar at the La Quinta, guests particularly appreciate the microwave and fridge in each room. Both the Best Western and La Quinta are good choices, but we recommend the Best Western because of the better rates.
Neighborhood Vibe: Dublin/Pleasanton is a small town meets suburban neighborhood outside of San Francisco that is home to several large corporations. Oracle headquarters is right next to the BART. Families and young professionals who work at Oracle or other nearby corporations call Dublin/Pleasanton home.
Things to Do: Travelers driving up from I-5 or west on I-80 will appreciate this location as an option to save on hotel rates, get free parking, and commute into Oakland or San Francisco. Those who are traveling to Tahoe, Yosemite, or wine country and want to set aside a day to see San Francisco might find staying here convenient.
Getting Around: A ride into downtown San Francisco will cost $6.15 for adults, $2.30 for children, and take about 50 minutes; you will not need to transfer lines. Oakland airport is a 20-minute BART ride, and will cost $9.95 for adults. Expect to spend about 45 minutes in transit getting from the Oakland airport.
Recommended Hotel: Staybridge Suites
Why: Walking Distance to BART, Complimentary Breakfast and Social Hours, Outdoor Pool, Pets Allowed
If you’d like to be easy walking distance to the San Bruno BART station, then the best hotel for you in this area is the Staybridge Suites. It’s expensive with rates ranging from $170-$280/night depending on the season and day of the week, but it is a beautiful hotel with suites available. Guests also note that the complimentary breakfast is delicious and the complimentary social hours some evenings serve hearty appetizers. The fitness center has a pool as well as a basketball court. If you don’t mind a bit of a longer walk to the BART station and would rather save money, then the Bayhill Inn is much cheaper with rates hovering around $115/night and over hundreds of online reviews guests have no major complaints about it. But we still prefer the Staybridge Suites because of their great amenities and proximity to public transit.
Neighborhood Vibe: About halfway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, San Bruno is a city with a suburban feel and some great nature areas. It’s a working class area that’s popular with young families. Many people who live here commute to downtown San Francisco for work.
Things to Do: The primary attractions are The Shops at Tanforan shopping mall and the numerous parks in the area. Bicyclers and runners like taking the Centennial Way trail between San Bruno and South San Francisco; the trail will eventually run from Colma to Millbrae. There’s also a nice dog park near Centennial Way if you’re traveling with a pet.
Getting Around: From San Bruno, you’ll spend about 25 minutes on the BART to reach downtown. But, you’re just five minutes from the San Francisco International Airport on the BART so it’s a great area to stay in right before a flight out of SFO.
Recommended Hotel: Hampton Inn
Why: Free Covered Parking, Free Hot Breakfast
Both hotels near the Colma BART station are good choices in their own way. The Camino Inn is very cheap at $88, it’s basic with no restaurant, gym, or shuttle. But we recommend the Hampton Inn even though it’s an average of $206 per night on weekends and $242 per night on weekdays. The Hampton Inn offers free breakfast, WiFi in each room, and parking. Guests like the little extra touches at the Hampton Inn like complimentary cookies at check-in and on-site laundry facilities. In addition to easy access to BART, it’s also easy to get on the freeway from this area. Overall, the Hampton Inn is the best choice in Colma.
Neighborhood Vibe: Colma is southwest of San Francisco just a few BART stops from SFO Airport. It’s a two-square mile town where much of the free space is occupied by Colma’s 17 cemeteries. Residents are quirky and promote the town slogan, “It’s Great To Be Alive in Colma!”
Things to Do Around Civic Center: If you’re interested in Colma’s cemeteries, you can learn about why Colma has so many cemeteries at the Colma Historical Association. You can also walk through them and find famous names like Levi Strauss and Wyatt Earp.
Getting Around: From Colma, it’s about 20 minutes on the BART to Powell St. in the heart of downtown San Francisco or to the San Francisco International Airport, which are in opposite directions. Allow 90 minutes to get to the Oakland Airport via the BART and airport shuttle bus.
Recommended Hotel: Harbor
Why: Outdoor Pool, Complimentary Wine Hour, On-Site Restaurant
The Embarcadero area is an excellent area for sightseeing in San Francisco. Because it’s so close to the Bay and Ferry Plaza, the room rates in this area are all expensive. The best value you will find is at the Harbor Court. The $205/night average weekend rate is a steal in this area; on weekdays you’ll pay closer to $342/night. The outdoor seasonal pool is great for kids to enjoy while parents relax. The on-site restaurant, Ozumo, serves Japanese cuisine and is known for sushi and seasonal cocktails. The complimentary wine hour is a fun way to socialize in the evenings. Some guests do complain that the rooms are small, but that’s to be expected in this area. Overall, we recommend Harbor Court to mature couples who wish to be right in the heart of the sightseeing action.
Neighborhood Vibe: The BART Embarcadero Station is located where vibrant Market Street meets the picturesque eastern waterfront of the San Francisco Bay. High-rise residential and commercial buildings tower over the neighborhood. By day, this area is bustling with an eclectic mixture of business people, shoppers, tourists, and street performers. Local eateries and bars cater to the business crowd and tourists alike. Although vibrant during business hours, the district becomes abruptly quiet during evening hours.
Things to Do Around Civic Center: The ferry building sits on bay front property on the five-mile Embarcadero promenade. Adjacent to the ferry building is an open-air plaza that features a farmer’s market and is also where local artists display their arts and crafts. You might even see sea lions in the bay.
Getting Around: Getting to Embarcadero from San Francisco International Airport will take a little over half an hour and from Oakland Airport it takes twenty minutes
Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn
Why: Best Rates, Heated Outdoor Pool, Breakfast Available
There are five hotels near the Civic Center BART station, but we prefer The Good Hotel or the Holiday Inn Civic Center. These hotels have comparable rates that are the best in the area. Both have free wireless internet in all rooms, outdoor swimming pools, and parking available for a daily fee. But we give our final preference to Holiday Inn because they have an on-site restaurant that serves breakfast. There’s no food service at The Good Hotel. However, guests at The Good Hotel also love that there are free bicycles available for guests to borrow. We recommend the Holiday Inn Civic Center to travelers visiting San Francisco for concerts at nearby venues who want a standard hotel with all the amenities.
Neighborhood Vibe: Civic Center lies at the intersection of two of San Francisco’s busiest streets, Market and Van Ness. It’s a commuter neighborhood that’s lively during the day, but doesn’t have many residents. The buildings are mostly full of offices, art galleries, and entertainment centers.
Things to Do Around Civic Center: The area is home to the city’s civic buildings and is the heart of the city’s performing arts. The San Francisco Opera, Davies Symphony Hall, AMC Movie Complex, and the Jazz Center present excellent nightly entertainment. Many of the civic buildings around UN Plaza offer some of the city’s finest architecture, however, the UN Plaza should be avoided in the evening as many of the city’s homeless occupy the area and it can be full of panhandlers. UN Plaza is a beautiful and safe place to visit during the day.
Getting Around: Civic Center Station can be reached from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland Airport via BART in 25 minutes. MUNI streetcars and buses are easily accessible and the neighborhood remains vibrant from the morning well into the late hours of the evening.
Recommended Hotel: Dylan Hotel
Why: Best Rates, Complimentary Airport Shuttle, Free Parking
There are two hotels near the Millbrae BART station that are great for overnights near the airport: The Dylan and Fairfield Inn & Suites. We recommend The Dylan because the prices are slightly cheaper and the hundreds of online reviews are slightly better than Fairfield Inn & Suites. Both hotels offer shuttle service to SFO Airport. The Dylan also has the benefit of free parking. As The Dylan is just two blocks from the BART, you can hear some train noise, but most guests said it wasn’t enough to be bothersome. Overall, either hotel would be fine, but The Dylan has a slight edge in our view.
Neighborhood Vibe: Millbrae is close to the San Francisco airport, it’s just 15 minutes away on the BART. Many families live in this area that’s known mostly as a transit hub, even historically. A streetcar linking San Francisco and San Mateo went through Millbrae around the turn of the Twentieth century and the area has continued to flourish as a great place to pass through or base yourself to visit many nearby areas.
Getting Around: Millbrae a suburban setting with good public transit access to San Francisco via BART and Silicon Valley via CalTrain. You can be at Powell Street Station in downtown San Francisco in half an hour on the BART. It’s about 50 minutes to Mountain View, home of Google headquarters, on the CalTrain.
Recommended Hotel: The Moser
Why: Best Rates, Complimentary Airport Shuttle
There are sixteen hotels near the Powell Street BART station in the heart of San Francisco, but we’d start by looking at just three, Hotel Fusion, Hotel Zetta, and The Mosser. All three are boutique hotels with rates averaging $200 or below. The brand name hotels in the area like the Marriott and Hilton average well over $200 per night. The Mosser is the cheapest at just $130 per night and offers a complimentary shuttle to the airport. The main drawback to The Mosser is the small rooms, but if you’re mostly planning to sightsee and just sleep in the hotel, this shouldn’t be a problem. All three hotels have an on-site restaurant and valet parking for a daily fee. The Mosser and Hotel Zetta both offer breakfast for purchase, while the Hotel Fusion does not have a breakfast option. The Marriott and Westin also have on-site restaurants, breakfast for purchase, and valet parking, but parking is more expensive and you’ll have to pay for WiFi in your room whereas it’s free at all three boutique choices. Given the boutique options are less expensive and all the options are clean and located near BART, we recommend The Mosser.
Neighborhood Vibe: Powell Street is a North-South thoroughfare taking you from Market Street through to Fisherman’s Wharf in the heart of San Francisco. This area is filled with young professionals and singles with dogs. It’s very expensive to live in this area and nearby areas in downtown San Francisco, so many people live in small apartments with roommates. Families tend to move into the suburbs. However, tourists with families love this part of San Francisco.
Things to Do: You can hop on a bus or cable car from the Powell Street Station or walk to Chinatown, the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America for excellent food and shopping. The famous Dragon gate at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is where it all starts. Grant Avenue mostly offers cheap and kitschy plastic Buddhas and other souvenirs. If you want something more authentic, try Waverly Place, which runs parallel to Grant Avenue and Stockton Street, between Washington and Sacramento streets. It is the nexus of temples in Chinatown, including Tien Hau. Chinatown boasts the oldest Dim Sum Tea house in America, the Hang Ah Tea Room, and Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, where just two women churn out 20,000 cookies each day
Union Square is also close to the Powell Street Station and offers the best shopping in San Francisco. There’s a skating rink during the winter, while in the summer concerts and art and fashion shows take place. The Metreon and Orpheum theaters present great entertainment in the evenings. The area remains vibrant well into the late hours of the night.
Getting Around: Public transit is fantastic in this area. It’s less than a half-hour BART ride from SFO, and a mere 20 minutes from Oakland Airport. You can get around the city centre easily via BART, MUNI buses, cable car, and Uber.
Recommended Hotel: Hampton Inn
Why: Spacious, Comfortable Rooms, Outdoor Pool, Friendly Staff
If you wish to be walking distance from the Hayward BART station, you can choose from the Days Inn or Hampton Inn. While the Days Inn is the cheaper option, guests consistently complain about this hotel across hundreds of online reviews. The Hampton Inn, on the other hand, gets consistently good ratings, so it’s worth paying the average $170/night on weekends and $226/night on weekdays. Parking, breakfast, and WiFi are all free. Guests speak highly about the spacious, clean rooms and the perk of having an outdoor pool. So even though the Days Inn is cheaper, we prefer the Hampton Inn for stays in the Hayward area.
Neighborhood Vibe: Hayward is a city that sits a bit south of Oakland in the East Bay region. The area was once known for salt production and a cannery, but those factories are long gone. Residents now are mostly people who have retired from the factory or another industry and families who work in transportation or education. The crime rate is a bit higher in Hayward than surrounding areas, so use caution in the evenings.
Things to Do: Many buildings in Hayward are decorated with murals thanks to the Hayward Public Art Program. Downtown Hayward has beautiful architecture and is a nice place to walk around during the day or to take in a movie at Cinema Place.
Getting Around: From Hayward, it’s about 35 minutes to the Powell Street station in the heart of San Francisco via BART.
Recommended Hotel: Berkeley
Why: Best Rates, Parking Available, Indoor Pool
For the best value in Downtown Berkeley we recommend the Berkeley City Club over Hotel Shattuck Plaza. The Berkeley City Club has an average rate of $180/night. They also offer parking, which the Hotel Shattuck Plaza does not. Some guests think the Berkeley City Club (designed by Julia Morgan) is really charming and historic, while others find it dated. A complimentary continental breakfast is served each morning in the second floor breakfast room. The indoor pool is one of the most beautiful hotel pools in San Francisco. We recommend the Berkeley City Club to travelers looking for great amenities and affordable rates.
Neighborhood Vibe: Downtown Berkeley sits just north of Oakland near both the city and preserved natural areas. The name Berkeley historically conjures up images of hippies, tie-dye, college students, progressive politics, and protests. While that culture and social change remain a constant part of the area’s heritage, the area is home to all types of people and activities.
Things to Do Around Civic Center: Tilden Regional Park and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park are both great options for hiking and birding. In Tilden, the scenic view along the Seaview trail of the reservoir features views of the East Bay Hills and the Bay. Berkeley’s Historic Rose Garden showcases more than 250 rose varieties and over 3,000 rose bushes. Plus, one of the best views in the city is from the top of Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus. At 328 feet, it’s the world’s third tallest bell and clock tower.
Getting Around: Getting to Downtown Berkeley from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) takes 55 minutes and you can arrive there from Oakland Airport in only 23 minutes. To reach downtown San Francisco, it will take about 25 minutes.
Recommended Hotel: Extended Stay America
Why: Best Rates, Free Parking, Kitchenettes in Rooms
Of the four hotel choices in the Contra Costa Centre/Pleasant Hill area, we recommend the Extended Stay America over the Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, and Renaissance. Extended Stay America is by far the cheapest hotel in the area with rates below $130/night and parking is free. The rooms have kitchenettes and you can request dishes from reception, which guests like so they can do their own cooking or heat up leftovers from restaurants. However, some guests do note that from time to time dishes are not available. The main drawback of Extended Stay America is the lack of free breakfast and a fitness center. If you would like these amenities, then you could try the Holiday Inn where rates range from $150-$210/night. Guests also noted that the staff at the Holiday Inn go above and beyond to make your stay special. Overall, we recommend Extended Stay America to travelers who would like an inexpensive room with kitchen facilities.
Neighborhood Vibe: If you or your family prefer to stay in the suburbs, then the Pleasant Hill / Contra Costa Centre area is a good place to investigate. This safe, busy neighborhood is northeast of San Francisco and populated by families. The station is built around the Contra Costa Center, which is a live-work complex housing 6,000 employees and several companies that is the hub of the area.
Things to Do Around Civic Center: Families might consider this a good option because California Water World is only a 10-minute drive from the station. The larger surrounding area is known as Walnut Creek and also is home to a Butterfly Garden.
Getting Around: Ride time into downtown San Francisco is 40 minutes via the yellow line, and will cost $5.40 ($2 for children). Ride time to the Oakland Airport will be about 40 minutes with a transfer, and an additional shuttle bus to the terminal totaling about $10 for adults. Expect to spend 1.5 hours in transit if you are coming from the Oakland airport.
Recommended Hotel: 1906 Mission
Why: Cozy Atmosphere, Complimentary Snacks Daily, Affordable Rates
You’ll find the 1906 Mission right next to the 16th Street BART station. It’s the only hotel in walking distance of the BART station, but it would be a great choice even if it had competition. The average nightly rate is just $116 on weekdays and $170 on weekends. Guests appreciate the cozy decor and availability of complimentary tea, coffee, water, cookies, and fruit throughout the day. Bathrooms are shared, which we know can be a dealbreaker for some, but the bathrooms received very few complaints and many compliments on cleanliness in online reviews. Guests have expressed appreciation for the bathrobes available in each room. All in all, the 1906 Mission seems like a relaxing place to stay.
Neighborhood Vibe: The 16th Street BART station is in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. It’s a vibrant city neighborhood that changes dramatically block by block. Some areas are full of hipsters, others are marked by corner bodegas and taquerias, and others should be avoided at night. It’s a great place to stay if you want to stray off the beaten path, but not too far.
Things to Do: Dolores Park is a great place to look out over San Francisco, relax, and do some people watching. Shopping in The Mission is also a lot of fun because there are a number of indepently run, quirky shops including three bookstores and a Pirate Supply Store. In the evenings, there are lots of great cocktail bars to try like Trick Dog.
Getting Around: From The Mission, it’s about 35 minutes to SFO Airport on public transit and 45 minutes to Oakland International Airport. It’s just one stop to Powell St. and the ride is less than five minutes.
Recommended Hotel: Rodeway Inn
Why: Best Rates, Reviews, Free WiFi
None of the four hotels near the North Berkeley BART station are very exciting, so we recommend the Rodeway Inn because it has the best rates and least complaints across hundreds of online reviews. All four hotels have free internet in guest rooms, free parking, and free breakfast. Even though smoking rooms are available at the Rodeway Inn, there are very few complaints about a smoking smell and most guests think it is very clean. Guests also like that the rooms have microwaves and mini fridges.
Neighborhood Vibe: The North Berkeley BART station is in the northwest corner of Berkeley. It tends to be a mixed bag of student housing and an all-around less affluent area. The area is generally safe to be in, it’s just a bit of bland part of Berkeley. However, Berkeley does have a large homeless population, so use caution in this area, and common sense.
Things to Do: One of the great activities in North Berkeley is walking, there are numerous paths and the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association even offers themed walking tours. There are also numerous free activities in the area such as the Berkeley Rose Garden and Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.
Getting Around: It’s easy to reach downtown and the UC Berkeley campus by foot and only takes about 20 minutes. A ride on the BART from North Berkeley to downtown San Francisco will run $3.75 for adults, $1.40 for kids and take about 20 minutes using the red line. Getting to the Oakland airport using the BART will take about 20 minutes and will include a shuttle bus to get to the terminal, which is $3 for adults. San Francisco International airport will take an hour to reach using the BART from Berkeley and costs adults $8.85, children $3.30. This requires a transfer from the orange line to the yellow line.
Recommended Hotel: Palace Hotel
Why: Restaurant On-Site, Luxury Hotel, Indoor Pool
Both hotels in the Montgomery area are expensive at over $300 per night on weekdays and around $250/night on weekends. Plus, both the Palace Hotel and Galleria Park Hotel only offer expensive valet parking. But they are very nice hotels. Of the two, we recommend the Palace Hotel because they have a restaurant that serves breakfast and an indoor pool. Guests at the Palace Hotel are also generally impressed with the cleanliness and elegance of the hotel. Guests generally compliment the cleanliness of the Galleria Park as well, but complain about the small size of the rooms. At this price point, we prefer the hotel that gets almost no complaints among hundreds of reviews and that’s the Palace.
Neighborhood Vibe: Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District, Montgomery is a great place to spend a day. Business hours are when the area is at it’s most vibrant. Tourists and businessmen are the general makeup of the area. In the early evening as workers head home and the nightlife goes with them. The area is generally safe during the day, at night panhandlers and curious tourists occupy the area.
Things to Do Around Civic Center: There are several attractions nearby that are worth a visit. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena’s open-air park are within walking distance. It’s also just a short hop to the Embarcadero waterfront, about fifteen minutes on foot.
Getting Around: Getting here from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) takes 30 minutes and from Oakland Airport about 20 minutes. MUNI streetcars and buses are easily accessible if you wish to explore other areas.
This system was built to act as a regional commuter train. Its strength is providing quick access to San Francisco and Oakland airports into the downtown hubs of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. The biggest pitfall with the BART is that it does not connect visitors to popular tourist destinations like Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, or areas along the coast line. The Muni helps in this area. The BART is also handy for those driving in from I-5 or I-80 and desire a hotel east of the bay where rates are affordable and parking is free.
This system runs from San Francisco to San Jose connecting Silicon Valley and Stanford in its path. It will provide access to the San Jose Airport. The Caltrain has express routes helping make travel between San Jose and SF quicker. The major pitfall of this system is that it does not connect riders into the heart of San Francisco. The last station is at AT&T park leaving riders 13 blocks short of Union Square in downtown. There is a Muni bus which will connect riders into the city called the 81X Caltrain Express. Generally speaking the Caltrain is completely useless for tourist and mainly used for business travelers who need access to Silicon Valley.
The Muni is the name for San Francisco’s network of buses, cable cars, and light rail trains. MUNI rail helps pick up where the BART leaves off. It helps riders’ access destinations west of the city toward the coast and will get you to AT&T Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and move riders along the bay front piers via its street car F line. Muni buses help connect visitors with Presidio, The Golden Gate Bridge, and Lombardy Street.
Cable Car Basics
A staple of San Francisco. These iconic street cars are more useful for tourist. There are three lines, the Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde and California line. The Powell connects the major hotel hub near Union Square to the major tourist hub Fisherman’s Wharf.
The BART connects directly with the terminal. Ride time into downtown San Francisco is about 30 minutes along the yellow line and will cost adults $8.35 one way. The Caltrain does connect directly with the terminal, but it can be accessed by taking the BART to the Millbrae station. This station is one stop south away from downtown SF.
The BART does not connect directly with the terminal; you must use the AirBart shuttle which costs $3. The Amtrak station is next to the BART station that connects with the Airport. The BART ride time into downtown SF is about 20 minutes and costs $3.85 for adult riders.
San Jose Airport
The Caltrain does not connect directly with the terminal, riders will need to use the FREE shuttle provided at the Santa Clara station. Ride time to SF is about an hour depending on the train. The fare is $8.75. The shuttle will also connect riders with the VTA which is San Jose’s light rail system that can connect riders with downtown San Jose.
Fisherman’s Wharf , Pier 39, Alcatraz
The Muni street car F line (Market & Wharves) is the closest connection. This line will connect you will all of the major peers along the bay front. The BART Embarcadero station connects with this line. The cable car Powel-Mason or Powell Hyde lines will connect within a few blocks of Fisherman’s Wharf. These are easily accessed from downtown near union square.
Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Gardens
The Muni N line stop of 9th Ave. & Irving will place you within a 10 minute walk of the Japanese Tea Gardens inside Golden Gate Park. The N line connects with the BART at all of the major downtown stations.
Golden Gate Bridge
There are no rail routes that connect with the Golden Gate Bridge, but there is a bus line. Use the 28th-29th Avenue line to travel between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. The bus line Marin Headlines Express will pick riders up downtown, and take them all the way across the bridge, but this line falls short of giving riders access to the best bridge lookout areas.