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Dec 6, 2010 08:44 AM

Christmas in the Bay area for visitors

I am thinking of planning a nice getaway for my husband and I over Christmas to San Francisco. It will be our first time to visit SF.

What is the best area to stay in that is happening and fun? In terms of things to see and do as well as dinning hot spots? Price-range I am looking for is $12-$30 on Entrees. $10 cocktails but unique and fulfilling-You know what I mean.

I was looking at a restaurant called Range located in the Mission District, is this the area I should stay in?
Thanks for any advice out there. :)

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  1. Range is delicious, but only a few blocks from BART, so there's no need to stay nearby. I'm not sure because I don't live in SF, but I'd say the MIssion is a little on the grittier side of things after dark, and as I recall doesn't have a lot of hotels.

    1. CremeBrulee, keep in mind we are a tourist-minded city and most of the hotels you will be looking at are near very good public transportation AND that the entire city is just a little more than six miles from end-to-end. This means that everything is a bit closer than it appears and once you are ensconced in a hotel, you'll be able to get around easily to good eateries.

      Most people stay near Union Square which, ironically, doesn't have a lot of great food in the middle of it but is surrounded by wonderful eateries. It is also the most picturesque for the holidays, with its lights, tree, and skating rink. But from Union Square, you are a block or two from BART stations and MUNI buses that will get you anywhere you want to go within the city.

      And, honestly, walking from Union Square to the Mission, the Ferry Plaza, or the Embarcadero and Chinatown or Japantown is barely a half-hour jaunt...

      2 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Carrie is right on all points. Get a MUNI pass and enjoy taking public transit around the city (I have very fond memories of enjoying the lights of the city while riding cable cars on cold, crisp winter nights.)

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          MUNI is your friend. Maybe scoot out to Golden Gate Park and see the stunning trains running through a miniature San Francisco at the Flower Conservatory. If you have to stop on the way back at Magnolia Pub (Haight/Ashbury) for a burger and craft beer, then so be it.

      2. If you can find a place to stay in the Mission west of Valencia St. and between roughly 14th and 24th, you'll be in the most restaurant-cafe-bar-rich neighborhood in town. There are a half a dozen B&Bs around there. A lot of youngish hipsters and immigrant families live in the area so the food is more diverse and prices are lower than in more upscale restaurant hotspots such as upper Fillmore or the Marina.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          We come twice a year for a food holiday and stay near Union Square. As noted above there isn't much in the immediate vicinity to tempt a gastrotourist but it is a moderate walk or quick transit hop to many worthy targets (I personally like staying near Union Square because I am then within walking distance of all of Denis Leary's enterprises!). Buying a Muni pass will pay dividends if you stay anywhere near the cable car lines as each ride is regularly $5. My parents-in-law stay in a B&B in the Mission and love it so there are options out there if that is your preference. I'm not sure if you would consider it gritty coming from LA but it is grittier than Union Square :-).

          1. re: grayelf

            The part of the Mission west of Valencia is relatively gritty for a neighborhood where you'd be lucky to find a decent studio apartment for $1500.

            Valencia's rife with good, reasonably-priced restaurants, cafes, and bars because so many of the people who live around there are yuppies and hipsters with enough disposable income to patronize them. What other neighborhood has a grocery store like Bi-Rite?

        2. Oh my gosh! You are all amazing!
          Thank you all so much for telling me all this so very valuable information and tips.
          I am super excited. I booked a room at the Sir Frances Drake hotel(got a grate deal).
          And I am still trying to figure out where to eat for Christmas Day dinner. I am sure there will be plenty of eating options, I just want to make sure I have a set reservation for Christmas Day.

          Do any of you have an opinion on Cafe De la Presse? It seems to have comfortable atmosphere and the menu looks good. Not impressed on the dessert menu though.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cremebrulee

            Here is the best resource for a Christmas Day Reservation:



            Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

            1. re: cremebrulee

              Cafe de la Presse is okay, but just that. It is gratifying that many of the French locals still hang out there and it is solid in its offerings, but I have had to return an occasional dish to the kitchen for oversalting so for me, it is a matter of inconsistency in what they are sending out.

              Consider nearby Gitane instead or inclusion to de la Presse.

              Gitane Restaurant & Bar
              6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108