February 20, 2013 at 6:30 AM
How not to leave your dollars in San Francisco
In a city where you can leave your heart – and lots of cash – a springtime San Francisco hotel deal can help you save.
The city’s tourist office, in cooperation with some hotels, has created “49 hours in San Francisco” with sightseeing itineraries and a discount of 25 percent on hotel bills for a three-night (or more) stay. The deal is good through April 30 for hotels booked through the 49 Hours website (or call 800-655-6751).
Twenty-one hotels are part of the “49 hours” discount deal. They aren’t among San Francisco’s tip-top hotels, but some are well-located and very comfortable. They include the Hotel Union Square in the heart of the city (although not right on the square ), with rooms from $161 a night. Or check out the Nob Hill Motor Inn, a budget hotel with rooms from $99 (and take off 25 percent if you book through the “49 hours” deal). It’s walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf.
For more savings, some of the hotels also throw in free breakfast or free Wi-Fi. (Really, in this day and age shouldn’t all U.S. hotels have free Wi-Fi? It’s becoming an amenity like electricity to many travelers.)
If you’re going to San Francisco, you could drive but hotel parking fees will hurt, sometimes costing $40 a night. You could fly. Or consider taking Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train one way between Seattle and San Francisco (actually, to the train station in Oakland and then head across the bay to S.F.) and then fly the other way. It’s a 22-hour ride on Amtrak (well, that’s if the Coast Starlight is on time, which is rare. But the scenery is gorgeous and, if you can afford a sleeping compartment, it’s a fun way to go, especially for couples or families with young kids who are train fans. Meals are served in a comfortable dining car.
Getting into the spirit of San Francisco’s “49 hours” program, Amtrak has decorated one of its Coast Starlight train cars with scenes from San Francisco, including Golden Gate Bridge and people on a cable car.
Once in San Francisco, art fans should make a beeline for the de Young Museum which opened a six-month exhibit last month of Dutch paintings, including Vermeer’s iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting.
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