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6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

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Armonk, New York
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6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Hi, everyone, please help...

my family will visit sf in april for 8 days and I have 6 total including my mom and 3,7,12 years old kids.

I have spent days on the Internet, but still needs help on decision of cars. I can either get a mini-van stay in Richmond, or pacific heights, or find a place in union square, and forget about the car rental. Without a car, how I can get 6 p group from the airport? Also does it mean a lot of walking? -- I am a good walker, but not sure my kids. I also want to visit redwood, may be napa, if time is allowed. How easy or hard to rent a mini van once I get in the city? Is that too much hassle compared just grab a mini van at the airport?

If with a car,--typical way I do when I travel, how hard to park the car in pier 39, coil tower, or those hot spots? I am thinking to park one place like pier 39 and just use muni after that? It is quite confusing which way to go with this size of group.

Thanks a lot for any advice!

Edited: 21 February 2012, 22:28
Armonk, New York
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1. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Sorry, forgot to ask, how long the commute from Richmond, pacific heights? Don't want to spend too much on the road too...thanks

Bloomington, Indiana
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2. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Since you're currently considering parking at one place & using MUNI during the day, I say don't get a car.

The general consensus of forum regulars is to avoid a car if possible in most cases. Now with 6 of you I think you're a think about it case, but since you're thinking of just parking it (and paying big $$$ to do so), I say why bother.

Parking is difficult and/or expensive in all the SF place you've mentioned. In fact about the only place in SF tourists go where parking isn't generally a problem is GG Park.

Anyway I say drop the car, with the parking cost saving (much less the rental fee) you can buy MUNI Passports for everyone and simply ride MUNI all the time. (Probably should confirm it makes economic sense for everyone, don't remember MUNI's child/senior stuff off the top of my head).

You'll also avoid all the other associated hassles & costs of having a car in the city.

As for getting from SFO, I probably say cab (van) in your case. Fare to Union Squate will be in the $50 range. BART is the other main option, but imagine between the kids & their luggage you'll be pretty well loaded down.

Can't talk specifically about renting mini-van for a day trip, but all the major rental firms have locations downtown, so I can't imagine you won't be able to find one.

Bottom Line: I would *not* rent a mini-van except for the day trips. Instead use the money you'll save to stay in a more central location and purchase 7-day MUNI Passports.

I realize I didn't explain the Passports, but don't have time. A quick search of the forum should get you plenty of threads talking about them.

Hope this helps,

hlo

Somers, NY
14 posts
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3. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

wow, thanks. Didn't expect to get any response so early (still 6:00 am in CA). Other than the flight tickets, I didn't book anything yet. still comparing how to make sense for the comfort and money.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

I presume it is the Richmond part of SF and not Richmond CA. That part will be really of the beaten track. The pacific heights area is better but I suggest you post the exact addy here to get confirmation

Airport vans like the Supershuttle can be booked for about 75 for the van and that would the most convenient A mini van taxi would not fit you all

Limerick...
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5. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Our first trip we did not rent a car.

From Union Square to Golden Gate Bridge two buses.

Wait for bus transfer wait for bus to bridge.

Cabs seem very hard to find.

This trip I'm renting a car and will just pay for parking.

San Francisco
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6. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Dragging small kids on and off Muni doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. BUT you will not find parking at Coit Tower for love nor money. There just aren't many spaces up there. I see cars backed up for what must be an hour waiting.

Driving around downtown isn't much fun either. All (or most) of the streets are one way. There are many streets you cannot turn left off of plus there are buses, cabs, delivery vehicles double parked.

I would do downtown stuff by bus and anything west of Van Ness by car.

Somers, NY
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7. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Thanks for all the replies. hmm, looks like having a car makes sense then. Original I was thinking no matter how expensive the parking is, it may still worth for me to NOT pay two taxi or 6 bus tickets :-) but how hard to find a parking space -- if I am willing to pay $30-50?

I will get the rental address and post it here.

Thanks!

Miami, Florida
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8. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

I would go with NO car rental option. Been to San Francisco multiple times, and one time that I had a car it was a pain with parking!!!! If you find parking garage they will charge you arm and a leg for few hours. City is easily accessible by BART from the airport, while you in the city you can get yourself familiar with public transportation or simply book your self a tour. Going to SFO this weekend! Cant wait!

San Francisco...
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9. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

Perhaps one option to look at instead of finding your way around by Muni to see the different places is the Hop On/Off tours. You will have to pay for 6 people (check out citysightseeing) but then they will take you along their planned route and you can jump off and on the buses instead of trying to figure out how to get to and park at the different spots - it also includes Muir woods for Redwoods. You do need a van to go out of SF. I would not do that especially kids and Napa by tour. Perhaps Sonoma would be better, the main town square is fun and a short walk , there are train rides for kids.

Somers, NY
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10. Re: 6 persons first visit , which is better, car , no car?

I guess it really case by case then. Could somebody tell me how hard to find a parking space in the following areas? Do I have to be super earlier to grab a lot or may be there is a public garage somehwere nearby -- I can just drop the group off and walk back by myself?

Again -- thanks !!!

Lombard street

Fisher,an's wharf/Pier 39

Golden gate bridge

Coil Tower

I assume union square/fine art museum/twin peaks/sausalit is much parking friendly?