a good bet if you have a car
Though we had enjoyed the USA hostel and it was a great deal, they did not have parking facilities and being with our car on a six-month camping trip around the Western US National Parks, we needed just that. The Chateau Tivoli was out of our price range too. You can't stay at places like that if you're on a 190 night trip, unless of course, you have lots of money. So, we opted for the Downtown Motel 6. We had stayed at a few on our travels and they are generally one of the least expensive options. Being a chain, you have some kind of albeit low standards. At $120, this was the most expensive room of our whole six-month trip and not the nicest but it was conveniently located and did have secure underground parking. This was important as we had all of our camping gear (and about everything we owned!) in the car. The room was certainly not bad and had everything we needed. We were only there one night so did not spend much time in the room anyway and it was in an area we felt comfortable in walking around at night. It is borderline Tenderloin (one of SF's worst areas) but really not bad as far as we could see. You could walk into Chinatown in 15 minutes up one very steep hill and from there, you have the city at your feet.
We actually, we had two full days in SF by spending the next night in Stockton at another Motel 6 for only $44. It was 90 minutes away and on the way to Yosemite, which is where were were headed next anyway.
High on a hill in San Fran
"Are you going to San Francisco?"
The first time I went to San Fran was three years ago with my girlfriend, Cindy. This time I went alone. Boo hoo. But don't cry for me, Argentina! Sans girlfriend, I still enjoyed the charming sites that surround the city. And, I discovered a revived interest in morning talk radio in the form of the Adam Carolla Radio Show (Free FM 106.9) Actually, the afternoon talk show was pretty darn good, too. The hosts ranting about the joys and nightmares of family vacation cruises kept me entertained and served as my virtual companions during an early afternoon drive to Sonoma county, home of the famous wineries of the region. Still, there's something about San Francisco that makes me want to stay, if for no other reason than to simply be in the same city that hosts filmmaker George Lucas's legendary LucasFilm production facility known as the Letterman Digital Arts Center.
"The 'painted ladies' of Steiner Street"
I stayed in a bed and breakfast (Chateau Tivoli) on Steiner Street, just a couple blocks from the famous 'painted ladies', an unbroken row of elegant Victorian houses that make a postcard view with the city skyline in the background. As famous as the site is, I'm surprised that it's still free. I have a feeling that someday, someone is going to figure out a way to charge a fee to enjoy the site.
"The Inner Richmond, Clement Street"
An article in National Geographic Traveler (July 2006) about neighborhood walking tours of San Francisco sparked my interest in visiting an area known as The Inner Richmond. I found my way to Clement Street, the Inner Richmond's commercial soul, where the neighborhood really hops. You'll find Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Japanese, and Italian markets/eateries lining the streets. I opted to eat at the King of Thai Noodle House (346 Clement St.) It's cheap, tasty, and spicy. Check out my tips on restaurants for a photo of the delicious Pad Thai.