Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: San Francisco, CA
Pacific Heights is a wealthy neighborhood pretty much close to anywhere you'd want to go. Van Ness is a major thoroughfare that runs north & south. If you go north on Van Ness to where it ends, you end up in Fisherman's Wharf, which is the major tourist area of the city. That's also very close to the Presidio/Golden Gate Bridge.
I don't think there are any "bad" parts of town that you'll end up in. As a tourist, it's not likely you end up in any dangerous neighborhoods. Some people think the Tenderloin is a bit scary (lots of drug dealers, bums, prostitutes, etc.) but it's really not that bad. The Tenderloin is west of Union Square, which is a big shopping area next to downtown SF.
The Mission is a great place to visit! So are Chinatown, North Beach, the Castro, Haight/Ashbury. Every little neighborhood has its own flavor and there are many different kinds of great food to try out.
If you're riding your bike, it's easy to do a loop around the city. The city itself is about 7 miles x 7 miles. For a fun counter-clockwise loop, you can start off somewhere downtown on the Embarcadero next to the bay and up to Fisherman's Wharf, then through the Presidio and the Richmond district and eventually ending up at the Great Highway/Ocean Beach next to the Pacific Ocean. You return by going through Golden Gate Park, past the Haight-Ashbury district and back to downtown SF.
If you're staying on Van Ness, it's a short hop to the Golden Gate Bridge and into Marin County. That's where most bikers go for their weekend rides. Once you cross the bridge, you leave all the noise and pollution of the city behind and hit the hills.
I posted a small list of rides in response to a post recently. Here's the thread:
-Kevin (San Francisco)