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Get There:

Air:

Round trip flights to the Bay Area are quick, inexpensive and frequent. Both Oakland International (OAK) and San Francisco International (SFO) are solid options to get to San Francisco easily. The two hour flight to either airport runs between $70 and $150 each way if you book at least a month in advance. Both airports are serviced by a 30-40 minute ride on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to the heart of the city for $8-9 per person. Alternatively, an Uber or Lyft ride runs $30-$60 depending on traffic.

Drive:

If road tripping is more your style, the 12 hour drive is a near straight shot down I-5. It should be noted that parking in SF can be a challenge and hotels will charge upwards of $70 a night.

 

Get Around:

San Francisco is a tiny and extremely dense city so you’re never very far from a lot of action. The city is only seven miles by seven miles but packs 800,000 people so don’t plan driving a rental or personal car around to see the sights unless you want to spend half your day looking for parking and paying a lot for it. Ride share apps are the name of the game here! Both Uber and Lyft are based in SF and the new transit method of choice for both locals and visitors alike. Since the city is so small, Uber or Lyft rides tend to be relatively inexpensive and much safer after a few beers!

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, Muni Transit is the local bus and train system. It is expansive but primarily above ground so can be slow. A single ride Muni ticket is $2.50 and valid for $90 minutes. BART is quick but only services a few neighborhoods. Finally there are several options like ZipCar and Scoot if you really want your own vehicle.

 

Getting to Avaya Stadium:

One of the best parts of the San Jose away trip is the bus from downtown SF to Avaya. This is rented by ECS and you have an option to buy a seat with your ECS ticket. There will be a lot of singing, chanting, and banter. This is definitely your best option! 

The bus will involve a fair amount of drinking so if you are looking for a more family friendly option or just want to find your own way to the stadium there are options. Expect to pay at minimum $90-$120 each way on Uber, Lyft or a taxi. Stadium parking is ample and costs $20 for those who wish to make the 60 minute drive*. Finally, CalTrain offers a public transit option for about $13. Once you arrive at Santa Clara station there is a quick bus ride to the stadium. Make sure to plan ahead and set aside at least two hours for this option.

*Make sure to watch traffic conditions closely as travel time to San Jose can balloon into 90 minutes or even two hours.

 

Sleep:

There are lots of great hotel options, particularly in the Financial District/Union Square area. This is probably the best part of the city to stay in as it provides easy access to nearly all of the city and tends to have higher quality options. You will see a lot of hotel options in the Tenderloin or “Lower Nob Hill” area. While this neighborhood has become much safer in recent years it is still not a place you want to walk alone in, even during the day. Be wary of hotels more than a block or two west of Union Square.

 

Airbnb is also a great option in SF. There are not likely to be many Airbnb options in the Financial District but it is a great way to get to know the neighborhoods. Again, be wary of options in the Tenderloin, Western Addition, or SOMA (South of Market) neighborhoods as these can be higher crime areas.

 

See/Do/Eat/Drink:

Those familiar with the “City by the Bay” know its 49 square miles are absolutely packed with things to do. From the Latin inspired Mission to Little Italy in North Beach, SF has something for everyone. I’ll leave the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Painted Ladies to the traditional travel guides and focus on some neighborhoods worth getting acquainted with:

 

Haight-Ashbury:

Haight-Ashbury or “The Haight” as locals call it is best known as the origin of the hippie counterculture. Upper Haight, the western end of the street nestled near Golden Gate Park, is home to several great music venues, bohemian bars, indie music shops, and secondhand stores. Like much of San Francisco, gentrification is taking hold and rapidly changing the Haight but you can still find many places influenced by the hippie movement.

 

Lower Haight is home to Danny Coyles, Fog City Faithful’s (ECS Subgroup) home base. We watch nearly every game at Danny’s and will likely have a pre-party there on Friday night and possibly Saturday morning. There are several Irish sports bars in the area including Mad Dog In the Fog, another great place to catch a soccer match even if they cater to some less savory characters (Timber’s Army).

 

The Castro:

LGBTQ members of ECS will certainly know about the Castro which remains a major symbol of the LGBTQ movement. You can drop by Hi Tops if you’re looking for a gay sports bar or head over to The Lookout on Sunday to see and be seen. Toad Hall, Badlands, or Beaux are great options if you want to dance it up on Friday or Saturday night.

 

Dolores Park:

If you’re looking for a fun afternoon celebration head to Dolores park. On warm weekends the park blossoms into a giant party and there is definitely no better place for people watching. If weather and time permits, grab a few beers and spend some time in the sun.

 

The Mission:

San Francisco’s famed hispanic district is the place to go for the best Latin American food in the country. Head over to La Taqueria for what has been called the best burrito in the country (be ready to wait in line a bit) or head to any of the taquerias or small restaurants for a guaranteed delicious meal. El Nuevo Frutilandia on 24th has amazing Cuban and Puerto Rican cuisine and the view from El Techo’s rooftop restaurant is unbeatable. On Valencia street you will find a hipster’s paradise with pseudo-dive bars, craft beers, and old timey cocktail parlors.

 

North Beach:

If you’re looking for Italian food, head over to “Little Italy.” North beach is teaming with both family friendly restaurants as well as great bars and clubs. Sodini's is a fun little spot with awesome food and a kitschy atmosphere. For a quick bite you can’t go wrong with a slice of from either Tony’s or Golden Boy Pizza. For a beer you can stop in Kennedy’s Irish Pub, a bizarre Irish Pub/Indian Restaurant mix. North Beach also offers a straight shot to Chinatown and the Financial District.