San Fran, friendly City on the Bay or a traffic infested, tourist hellhole?
  • Hi, I visited San Fran a couple of years ago and whilst planning was given loads of advice on were to go and what to see. It was suggested that an "alternative", "edgy" place to stay was the Tenderloin District. We booked a room for 4 nights at a very trendy motel - can't remember it's name but alledgedly the music industry used it for parties in the 70's. Great place but the district - less "edgy" and more downright hostile. We were told not to venture out after nightfall and be very careful during daylight. Scary doesn't even come close to describing it. Whilst there we did the usual stuff, Union Sq, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf and were left a bit flat by it all. Biggest disappointment was the famed G.G Bridge. What is the attraction of this, there are better looking bridges in the UK that get no publicity. Had the feeling that the whole city was living on it's reputation rather than anything that it does in the present. since returning a lot of people have been suprised by our experience so much so that we plan to return to make sure that our whole experience wasn't coloured by the district we chose to stay. Is my initial assessment of the city correct or am I being unfair? When we return what sjould we do differently?
  • I agree ... was there a year ago and also stayed in the Tenderloin area, at the Halcyon Hotel. The city is pretty grungy, and the classic attractions like the Wharf and Chinatown are flat-out disappointing. So is the Haight, filled with poseurs and pseudo hippies.
  • I found some real gems in the city: the food in Little Italy, the coffee pretty much all over the city, the harbour cruise, Alcatraz, and Beach Blanket Babylon was one of the best shows I've seen (I do have weird taste though). Overrated was the Muir Woods, which has pretty small trees compared to the giant Redwoods I was hoping to see, and Chinatown which sells crappy souvenirs and overpriced food. The Fisherman's Wharf area is horrible. Just aggressive touts and the most tacky obvious tourist trap I've ever seen.

    In short, I would have to agree with your suggestion that the city is over-touristed, overrated, and trading on its past reputation. I still like it though, it's just not the must-see-before-you-die place they say it is.

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