Welcome to San Francisco

November 4, 2018

Parking can be costly in San Francisco, so the plan was to return the hire car at the airport while we spend a few days in the city.

San Francisco is somewhere we always had wanted to visit. Not just for its iconic landmarks, but that I almost got a job there once… but that’s a whole different story.

The drive from Yosemite was long. Not as long as Vegas to Mammoth Lakes, but still, long enough.

The green mountains gave way to rolling hills of dried grassland, and eventually, we hit the freeway on the outskirts of the city and headed for the airport.

Getting into the City

San Francisco has a metro train system called the BART, and after some research, getting the BART from the airport to our hotel would be straightforward.

Unfortunately, this was our first mistake in the city. After getting the right ticket, the journey into the city was OK, but shall we say some of the people that started to get onto the BART, were not using language best for kids ears.

Blood and Urine

We had decided to stay at the Americana hotel. Not our original choice, but it looked OK with good reviews.
Unfortunately, the BART station near the hotel was not the best place to end up. It was an underground station so to get our suitcases up we had to use a lift. Which, as we found out, was both soaked in urine and blood!

Lesson learnt: we should have booked an Uber

Once above ground, we ended up in an area that was full of people hanging around. It wasn’t a tourist area, and we were clocked dragging our bags down the streets to the hotel.

Lesson learnt: we should have booked an Uber.


The hotel had “character” and, as we would be learning, so did many of the people in the area

Fortunately, we got the hotel without incident and checked in. Although, even when checking in, a man from the street came into the hotel reception, barged in front of us, asked for the time, then left.

The hotel had “character” and, as we would be learning, so did many of the people in the area.

No Trams and No Thank You!

We still had plenty of time that day to explore the city, so we decided to catch the tram and head down to Fisherman’s Warf. We waited at the tram stop. And waited. Then waited some more.
No one knew why the trams had stopped running. We waited over an hour.

What our kids did see while waiting, is a man with a boombox and a mankini, and an old drunk walk up to the tram stop, and urinate.

Welcome to San Francisco!

There were a lot of people out of their heads

We decided to walk down the hill and make best with the time we had left. There were a lot of people out of their heads.

As we got further down the hill, there were less ‘crazies’, and more things to see.
I researched later that our hotel was beyond the recommended tourist area by a few blocks. I read reports where police say “what do you expect?” to people who get mugged in that area. It’s an area known not to be that safe.

However, not all of San Francisco is like this, and our adventure in the city was far from over.

In the next post, we visit the infamous Alcatraz.

USA West Coast Fly-Drive Series

Continue reading; click on the next article in the series.
  • Why you should do a family road trip

    A family road trip is a great way for your kids to see a bit more of the world. Though it's not always easy... Read more >

  • Booking a Fly-Drive Holiday

    Tips on booking a Fly-Drive family holiday. Read more >

  • Our Route

    The route and itinary for our family road trip in the USA. Read more >

  • Airport Hacks

    Airport hotels, airport parking, and flight delays. Read more >

  • Vegas, Desert, and Mountains

    Our first few days saw us acclimatise in Las Vegas, before heading out through the desert and Death Valley, before eventually reaching the Sierra Nevada mountains. Read more >

  • Mammoth Lakes

    We step out of our hotel and are taken by the magnificent beauty of the Sierra Mountains. Read more >

  • Tioga Pass

    The views over the Sierras could have been taken straight out of a copy of National Geographic Read more >

  • The Giant Redwoods

    These trees are immense. You feel as if you have shrunk when walking among them! Read more >

  • Yosemite Valley

    Yosemite is beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. Read more >

  • Welcome to San Francisco

    Arriving in San Francisco was.... interesting Read more >

  • Alcatraz

    A visit to 'The Rock' is a must when visiting San Francisco Read more >

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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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