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walking at night

by schl301 Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

is it safe to walk at night. within a few miles we prefer to walk rather than take a cab. we will be staying at the Hilton, union square

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23 Answers
  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by HasTowelWillTravel Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Union Square is generally safe, I used to walk there and take the bus home all the time. Wandering too far west of Union Square can lead you into the Tenderloin, which is not one of the safest areas, and south of Market street depends on where you are. But I've gone through Union Square, along Market, Chinatown and North Beach up to 2 or 3 am without issue. Of course, it is best to have your wits about you, keep eyes open and have common sense.

    Where do you think you might be headed?

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    this hotel is listed as union square but it is actually the corner of o Farrell and mason so it's close but not actually union square. we will walk from there to union square, the warf, Lombard, restaurants etc. not sure exactly what we will be doing but if it's within a few miles prefer to walk. I've heard there is a lot of crime in san fran so what do you think? if we are within a few miles of the hotel can we walk at night or should we take a cab?

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  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by Andraf Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    I think HasTowell gave you the best answer. Generally it's safe to walk around Union Square but SOMA and Tenderloin which are in somewhat close proximity are best avoided after dark. Be prepared to see lots of homeless people sleeping on the streets. They are rarely violent. Depending in what direction you walk you might want to take a taxi because of the hills; walking can be quite an exercise if you're going uphill. The warf is actually quite far from Union Square, if you eat there definitely take a taxi or public transport. There aren't any restaurants around Lombard so there's no reason to visit at night. The Italian neighborhood is a good place for restaurants; you have to cross Chinatown to get there from Union Square.

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  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by HasTowelWillTravel Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Walking from Union Square to the warf is a couple miles and a few hills... I've done that walk, along Columbus (through Chinatown and North Beach) and like I've said I've never had a problem. Lombard is near the warf, so ditto there. And there are a lot of restaurants within that radius that you will love and can walk to.

    There is crime in San Francisco, it's a big city just like any other, but in general if you're not in some of the more dodgy areas (like the Tenderloin, Civic Center area, lower South of Market (SoMa)) you should be fine. Of course, as I said, common sense is always imperative, just like any traveler. I love walking through the city, I think it is a great place to walk, and living in the bay area for 7+ years and being in SF many nights late, I've had great times and no problems there. So my vote would be for walking.

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    ok sounds good. we'll take a taxi back at night. the hilly areas will be left to taxi or public transportation during the day. I've read to be careful which way we head out of the hotel. we won't head toward tenderloin;. I've actually read there are some good restaurants in that directions but we'll pass on them. I was somewhat surprised when I read about how much crime there is in the San Fran touristy area. Seems like a lot of robberies, assaults etc. From what I have seen they average 50 police calls a day. Can that be right? If we leave our hotel and head toward union square we should be ok?

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    We have been to NYC, always stay in the theatre district so of course people around all the time. Like you said I love walking around the city and taking in all of the sites.

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  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by HasTowelWillTravel Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Union Square shouldn't prove to be a problem, it's busy all day and night with residents, shoppers, and tourists, so I would imagine you'd be safe. And from there you can hit up other neighborhoods which provide great food and entertainment (Vesuvio in North Beach is a great place to grab a drink, right next to City Lights Bookstore on Columbus), or head out to the warf or ferry building or Chinatown. Keep your head and you'll be fine! :) And enjoy my favorite city in the world.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Hi -
    I walked all over SF by myself during the day, and The Husband and I rented an apartment in SOMA last time and didn't feel unsafe coming back at night. Sure, take the same safety precautions you would in any major city in the world but you will be fine. It's unlikely you'll be spending any time in the Civic Center area at night anyway, and most of the other tourist areas will be busy into the nighttime hours. It's streets deserted in the wee hours you want to be cautious of, and I wouldn't wander most of the parks after dark.

    We used a tram couple of times when traveling some longer distances but otherwise walked just about everywhere.

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    for those of you that are familiar with the corner of O Farrell and Mason ..which is where the Hiltion Union Square is....as far as transportation I'm a bit confused. Is the street car the same as the cable car? There is the MUNI and the Bart, I can't seem to figure out what form of transportation is best other than a cab.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    I've been to San Francisco many times. Stayed outside the main city on many business trips, but have spent nights in town with my wife on vacation several times. On a trip back in 1994 we stayed off Union Square in the King George Hotel and other then hearing a number of sirens at night with our window open in the small boutique Hotel we walked all around and saw panhandlers, but nobody bothered us. Our last trip in 2010 we stayed up on Russian Hill and took buses, street cars and cable cars everywhere. Explored the Castro and Mission Districts on Halloween night and had a blast! We also spent some time in SOMA near the SF Giants ballpark and that area has gotten much better over the years. I've never taken a cab.

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by travelgourmet Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Every big city seems to have rough areas, San Francisco is no different. Visitors should be aware they are not home and maybe some have come from an area a lot harder to live and deal with than San Francisco. I enjoy the same areas as mentioned already, but I prefer to take a taxi back to my hotel if it is closing time. Common sense applies anywhere in the world. Chinatown and North Beach has it's night charm. Even that over touristy area now called Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. Look for the crowds and enjoy wnen the evening sun goes down, the night life, it's my life. Dress up, dress down, it just depends on the town. Just don't walk down any dark alleys or flash jewelry or cash. Not to put a damper on walking the streets at night, but crime happens in every neighborhood. Just think before you drink, if you drink and look around when walking to see if anyone seems to be following. Most likely, it is just someone else looking around, too. :-)

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  • westcoastdog's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by westcoastdog Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Your hotel is on the edge of the Tenderloin section of SF, an area of cheap bars, cheap apartments, and prostitution (less open these days). It's OK to walk east and north. Generally speaking, at night it's a good rule to stay north of Mission street, especially after dark.

    Most of the crime occurs after midnight, and the city is fairly safe in the tourist areas. There are some public housing areas west of Van Ness and those should be avoided. SF has an excellent bus system and you can buy a three day pass.

    San Francisco is a great walking city. Starting from Union Square, take Grant Street through China Town,  to North Beach all the way to Fisherman's Wharf.

    Westcoastdog

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  • Rassors's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by Rassors Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    If you walk one block east on O'Farrell you will be at Powell Street. You can take the cable car up the hill to Chinatown, North Beach (old Italian area) and Fishermans Wharf. If you like to walk you may want to walk up steep hill and stairs to Coit Tower (Cable car will get you somewhat close) or take bus, then walk down Greenwich Street Stairs through lush back yards and parrots to Embarcadero and Fishermans Wharf.
    Street cars are not cable cars they are trollys, downtown many are underground on Market Street except for F train which will take you to Fisherman's Wharf, then along Market to the Castro. Muni is commonly used to describe the busses, although it really is short for the department that runs all the transportation in the City. Bart runs underground in the city, below the street car level and will take you to East Bay, and Daly City, airport and stops in between.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    We stayed at that Hilton a few years back and we never felt the need to take a taxi. We didn't stay out really really late but we did stay out for dinner and a show so we would have been coming back sometime between 10pm and midnight. The Powell Street BART station was just 5 or so minutes away, we used BART to get from the airport to the hotel. You will encounter some homeless people near the station but they were never aggressive or bothersome. I didn't love the location but I loved the price we got on Priceline for that hotel!

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  • Poling's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by Poling Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    As a asian woman, I had the experience to walk alone in the same area where I stayed. It is pretty safe but I never did it after 11pm.

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by atufft Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    San Francisco remains one of the safest big cities in the USA. The supposedly run down Tenderloin is literally just a few blocks of a triangle surrounded by mostly upscale shopping and theater district. The south of Market area used to be also considered "dangerous", but it's being gentrified at a terrific rate. Twitter has it's headquarters there. The only areas of the city to be greatly concerned about, because most of the robberies and murders occur there, is within the Bay View and Hunter's Point neighborhoods. But, these south bay side neighborhoods are really far from where tourists normally venture, with the exception of Candlestick Park, where the Niner's play and where RV tourists can park. Take transit to escape whatever neighborhood you fear. Otherwise walk together with someone to avoid most any threat. Media reports of assault outside hotels are mostly a tribute to how rare this is in SF.

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Dabs, I'm curious, what didn't you like about that area?

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Just didn't feel like it was close to anything we were doing. We didn't spend any time in Union Square at all except for a guidebook walking tour. But the area is fine for staying.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Agree with Dabs: we didn't really spend any time in Union Square on any of our trips to SF. Stayed in a hotel right on it once but didn't hang around during the day/evening.

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    we wanted to stay at a Hilton and debated between this one and the warf. i'm not expecting to spend much time shopping but I figured there would be a lot of restaurants in that area. plus i'm told the bart is close by. suggestions from any of you for restaurants that we can walk to from the Hilton are welcome. or in little Italy. thanks for your input!

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 6:04 PM


    schl301 wrote: we wanted to stay at a Hilton and debated between this one and the warf. i'm not expecting to spend much time shopping but I figured there would be a lot of restaurants in that area. plus i'm told the bart is close by. suggestions from any of you for restaurants that we can walk to from the Hilton are welcome. or in little Italy. thanks for your input!

    My wife and I enjoyed Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue in the North Beach (Little Italy) area on our last visit to San Francisco in November, 2010.  Also take the Hyde/Powell Cable Car from Union Square to the end of the line and have a late evening Irish Coffee and desert at The Buena Vista Cafe.

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  • Re: walking at night

    by schl301 Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    great suggestion because I want to have a drink at vesuvio, thanks!

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: walking at night

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 20, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Stop into City Lights bookstore next door: another Beat Poet Mecca. Another weird, fun little spot in NB?

    "Watch Chinese Funeral Processions" - San Francisco Things to Do Tip by goodfish

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