For those of you attending from out of town, here are some tips from a local. I live a few blocks away from the conference location (Fairmont Hotel) so I’m an expert on the area.
Getting to the conference
If money is no concern, feel free to grab a cab. A ride from SFO to the Fairmont will cost less than $50.
If you want to save $40, take BART which is our commuter train. The closest stop is Powell Street station, but I would skip that and go to Embarcadero since Powell can be like Grand Central Station and maneuvering around will be more of a pain. Exit the Embarcadero station and when you are above ground, you can either take the cable car (on California Street) or grab a cab in front of the Hyatt (California/Drumm) or get out your smartphone and get yourself an Uber car.
Getting around San Francisco
I would not recommend renting a car. Finding parking is tough even for locals, let alone visitors who are unfamiliar with the deplorable parking situation in the city.
Quick sightseeing for those who don’t have time
You must ride a cable car! You will notice cable cars going up and down California Street right by the hotel. Stand on the corner of California and Mason (south side of the street) and take the cable car all the way down to the Financial District. You will pass by Chinatown and get a quick glimpse of the city and our rolling hills.
Even better, stand at the corner of California and Powell and take the cable car going down to Union Square. You’ll be in for a thrilling descent! Take the cable car the other way and you will pass by Lombard (the crookedest steet) and North Beach.
A one-way ride is $6 or you can buy an all-day pass from the gripman for $14. Make sure you have cash.
Eats and Drinks
Mason Pacific is my new favorite neighborhood gem, serving excellent American cuisine. Their house wine, custom-made for the restaurant, is to-die-for.
Venticello is perfect Italian, blocks away from the Fairmont.
Walk across the street to the Mark Hopkins hotel, take the elevator to the top floor, and experience stunning views of the city while having a cocktail at the Top of the Mark.
There is a Club One gym at the Fairmont. They charge $20/day for those who are not hotel guests.
Looking forward to meeting all of you at the conference. I am barely 5 feet tall and a total introvert so I’m easy to miss!