Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where to Stay in San Francisco: Part I - Overview

San Francisco is small; approximately 7 miles by 7 miles for a total of 46 square miles. You can walk across the city, from the bay to the ocean, in about three hours. Despite this compactness, San Francisco is quite diverse. Each neighborhood has a unique feel and culture. Choosing the right location for your lodging helps ensure that you will make the most of your visit to San Francisco.

There are a few factors to consider when deciding where you want stay. The principal factor is the purpose of your visit. Whether you are here for pleasure, for business, or to attend a convention will help determine the location that will work best for you.

If you are here for pleasure, what do you want to see and do while you are here? Your answer may help you decide the best part of town for you to stay in.

If you have children, you may want to stay closer to activities they will enjoy.

A car can be a hassle in San Francisco as street parking is tough throughout the city and hotels may charge in excess of $40 per night for parking. Plus public transportation is pretty good and taxis are easily obtained. If you must have a car during your stay in San Francisco, lodging your car needs to be a factor in deciding where you will stay.

Lastly, your budget will determine where you will stay. San Francisco has accommodations ranging from youth hostels to luxurious, five-star hotels.

A hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast can be found in many of San Francisco's neighborhoods. However, lodging is most available in the following parts of San Francisco:
  • Nob Hill, where the wealthy folks lived prior to the 1906 Earthquake and Fire;
  • Union Square, the principal shopping district in the city;
  • Financial District, a great locale if you are here for business;
  • South of Market (SOMA), the area closest to the Moscone Center, where most conventions are held; and
  • Lombard Street, home to motel row, where many modestly priced motels are located.
In subsequent posts, I will discuss the pros and cons of staying in each of these neighborhoods. I'll finish up this series with some lodging suggestions that are outside of these locales.

If you are planning a visit to San Francisco and want some help in selecting your hotel, restaurants, and activities, Blue Heron can help you. For more information, feel free to call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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