San Francisco/Bricks by the Bay 2019, pt. 1

This year, the wife and I decided to try a different LEGO fan event (Bricks by the Bay) in Santa Clara, CA. This was our first time to the bay-area. We were excited — a new city to explore, prefect weather, plans to meet up with family we hadn’t seen in a long time, a new LEGO fan venue, etc. We had almost a week, with a few days built into the trip for sight-seeing… Thinking about this, I’ll probably break this post up into a few individual post, based on how I’ve arranged the albums on Flickr. πŸ™‚ This one will be on San Francisco the city itself…

With the convention being in Santa Clara, it’s pretty far from San Francisco proper. We ended up doing public transportation and Uber — I don’t like to drive in large cities where I not familiar with, figuring it’s cheaper than renting a car & paying parking in the long run. I also figured public transportation in a larger city would have been easier to get around.

The VTA light rail was fun; we had to take it a bus stop, to take the express bus to a BART station, to take the subway into the city… I think our total time was about 1-1.5 hours to get into the city. I think at some point, if I calculated the cost & time, don’t know if it would have been any cheaper to do Uber. The bus system wasn’t bad, but we missed a bus or two (not understanding where the bus actually picked up people), and we got turned around once (didn’t understand we were on the wrong side of the street where we should have picked up the bus). I think I was more frustrated with the bus system out of all of the public transport we took.

Needless to say, it was hard to get around. With hindsight, I think we’d break the trip into two stays, one part where we’d stay by the convention center and the second part where we’d stay in/near downtown San Francisco. For our last day, we did stay near the airport, so Ubering to/from downtown wasn’t too bad.

The other thing we decided to do was take the Hop-on/Hop-off tours. Now mind you, we had done this in San Antonio a few years back and didn’t have a problem — the bus stops were clearly marked, the A/C worked, the buses weren’t too terribly crowded… Well, you see where I’m going with this. Our goal was stop #10 the Golden-Gate Park by the bridge, we ended up catching the bus at stop #4… about an hour later on a crowded bus with no A/C, already spending nearly 2 hours to get into the city and the need for lunch, our first day was exhausting and frustrating.

High-lights: Santa Clara is nice. The different areas were the VTA took us into were were a mix of old/new architecture, recognized a lot of big tech names along the way. The lunch we had on the pier (high end restaurant) was great — crab in/on everything. The view from Golden Gate Park was wonderful. Enjoyed the farmer’s market like atmosphere by the Ferry Building.

The full Flickr Album: 2019.07 – San Francisco