For those of you flying in, Kayak.com and Farecast are great web sites to use when you're ready to buy tickets. Farecast uses trends and history to determine when is the best time to buy. We recommend getting tickets at least three weeks or more in advance.
There are several airports you can fly into around the Bay Area: San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), and San Jose Mineta International (SJC). Here's a guide to all three airports that includes suggestions for getting from and to them.
If you're not staying near BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), or if you plan on sightseeing outside of the city, you may want to rent a car. Kayak.com is good for finding car rentals in addition to flights. Either way you should take BART into the city from the airport, and then take a cab to your hotel.
Cabs: you can usually hail one in the city, but if there aren't any coming your way you can try 415-626-4733 or 415-648-4444. You can always call them back and cancel if a different cab comes along.
Directions: The Clift has great directions on getting to the hotel, which will also work for the hotels listed below.
We blocked out some rooms at the Clift Hotel and Hotel Des Arts, but we also recommend the following:
Hotel Des Arts - $99. Rooms are small, but very clean with gorgeous murals. In Chinatown, seven blocks from the Clift (short cab ride).
Grant Hotel - about $80. Nice hotel, also in Chinatown, seven blocks from the Clift (short cab ride).
Hotel Nikko - about $150-$175. A nice, large and impressive hotel. Located two blocks from the Clift.
The Mosser Hotel - about $87-$149. Has a recording studio! About six blocks from the Clift.
Warwick Regis Hotel - about $149. Right across the street from the Clift.
*Search with Kayak.com for the best rate!
What to Bring
October is one of the warmest times of year in San Francisco. But that doesn't mean wear shorts! The weather can be unpredictable and extremely different in the little micro-climates throughout the city. You should bring some layers, a sweater and a jacket. Bring a pair of shorts, but don't expect to wear them unless you go up to wine country. And don't forget some comfortable shoes for sightseeing!
Some good advice for tourists.