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 Post subject: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 1:48 am 
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Hearts James Cromwell
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:36 am
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Location: Sydney
So I'm heading on a pilgrimage this year- my first ever overseas trip, going to San Francisco(1week)->Vancouver(1 week)->NYC (2weeks). From 29 June-end of July.
And I'm doing it all alone, scrounging from hostel to hostel in various degrees of intoxication. Which is both intimidating and super exciting.
I'm a 21 year old Australian gay guy, hoping to make the most of the trip (only going for a month).


So I'm looking for any advice from anyone about anything.
What are the best place for vegan eats? (DUH!)
What can i expect traveling alone?
What hostels should i stay at?
What are the best places to drink to excess?
What the hell do i actually do there?

Planning to head to Banff from Vancouver and Yosemite from SF at some point. Considering I'm spending a week in each city, is this achievable?

Or if anyone wants to get a drink or thirteen, hit us up :)


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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 9:49 am 
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Lime and a Coconut
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:42 am
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Location: Smugville, CA
Speaking from the SF side of things here, I honestly don't know if you can cram San Francisco and Yosemite all into one week. A week and a half, maybe? You could easily spend two weeks just exploring SF and the neighboring cities/sights/climates.

As far as hostels, I work next to a popular hostel called The Green Tortoise. It's about a 10-15 minute walk from BART (the local "subway"), but it's on or adjacent to dozens of bus lines and is within walking distance of Chinatown, North Beach (our "little Italy"/titty show district), the Embarcadero, and the Financial District. Plenty of vegan options and exclusively vegan restos nearby. I understand they organize tours from the hostel as well, I'm always seeing buses with hostel guests heading up to wine country and the redwoods, so they might be a good bet. There is also a YHA hostel in the Tenderloin, but unless you find crackheads endearing, you want to save yourself the headache.

My biggest piece of advice when visiting SF is don't stay entirely in SF! So many San Franciscans spend months or even years without ever traveling to the East Bay, and there is tons to do and see there (plus, usually, way better weather than in the city), such as vegan soul food and vegan ice cream sandwiches.

My other biggest piece of advice with visiting SF is to never call it "Frisco" or "San-Fran." We have enough transplants that it would fly, but the true locals among us will never be able to respect you. It's "San Francisco" or, simply, "the city." Don't worry, everyone will know what you mean by 'the city.'

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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:44 pm
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Location: Boston, MA
The Green Tortoise in SF was awesome! I stayed there for a few nights when I was traveling alone a few years ago and had a great time and met lots of fun people. I don't have specific food suggestions, but I had zero problem eating vegan there.

Vancouver... I stayed at Samesum Backpackers and liked it a lot. Friendly staff, clean, and social. Vegan food is SO easy in Vancouver... I ate super well there and I've spent a few weeks there over the last year. The grilled cheese food truck was so good and there was a falafel place that the hostel recommended that was awesome.

NYC no hostel recommendation, but eat at S'Nice! It's so good!!

I've travelled alone in all three places and had a great time. I'm pretty outgoing and don't have a problem making short-term (and sometimes longer-term) friends quickly. I'm straight and female, which I'm not sure makes much of a difference, but I've also felt safe traveling alone in all three of those cities (being appropriately aware, as I would anywhere, of course).


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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 4:12 pm 
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To be honest, I don't think Banff and Vancouver in one week is achievable unless you are flying. It's about a 10 hour drive between them and so you would use up 2 days of your week on the road. Whistler is more doable from Vancouver.

I have never been to San Francisco but will be going for four days in September. Totally different trip though since I will be with my kids and husband. When looking into what we were going to do, I considered Yosemite but ruled it out since it will already be a really long road trip for my young kids. But depending on what you want to Yosemite you could an organized day tour if all you want to do is just see it. Seems to me though like it would be a good place to camp for a few days and hike in. Things we are doing in San Francisco which may or may not appeal to you is Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands and Nappa Valley.

This is our first trip as Vegan so I'm relying on Happy Cow. net to find restaurants and an electric cooler for our car so we can make our own lunches and breakfasts.

Here is a website I found interesting. I know you are not camping but staying in hostels this would be an easy option for you so you don't always have to get restaurant food.

http://outdoorherbivore.com/


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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:41 am
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Location: San Francisco
I think SF and Yosemite in a week are definitely doable. If this is your only chance to see Yosemite, do it. SF is great, but you can get a feel for it in 3 days. It's not a big place. I think the 2 weeks in NYC is where you'll want to spend the money and eat the most. I just spent two weeks in NYC and it was too much fun. Get out and enjoy Yosemite if you want to, it's definitely worth your time.


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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 3:31 am 
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Hearts James Cromwell
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Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:36 am
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Location: Sydney
Yes I've heard Green Tortoise is great! Alas it was all booked out..

I managed to book me a trip which involves an overnight trip to yosemite and back. Mainly hoping to be around the city later in the week/weekend.

Has anyone had any experience with couchsurfing.org? I've registered and sussing it out. Looks like a great opportunity.

Any particular eating spots in SF i should hit up?


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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 10:06 pm 
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I have a Couchsurfing profile and know people who've used it and had great experiences. Just read the guidelines before jumping in and I'm sure you'll have fun.

The place I'm super excited about visiting in SF later this year is Gracias Madre. I hear nothing but good things.

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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 10:21 pm 
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I've couchsurfed a few times in the US. I had a couple of really great experiences and just one bad one (but even that wasn't horrible, it was just kind of a weird situation where the hosts didn't really acknowledge us after letting us into the house). I guess whether or not to try it depends on your situation and travel style- it worked well for me at that time because I was travelling with my partner and our best friend, and it gave her someone to hang out with if we wanted to do couple stuff. I probably wouldn't do it if it were just me, or my partner and I, but that's because I kind of like having time to myself to recharge and hostels give you the flexibility to do that (to some extent!). You'll know what you'll be comfortable with and will enjoy most!

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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:20 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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I've had two really excellent experiences with AirBnB, and I know there is a ton of stuff in and around San Francisco at reasonable rates.

As far as food, definitely check out Gracias Madre, but also have a good Mission-style burrito from a humble taqueria. Pancho Villa is a really popular spot and it's right by BART, and its sister restaurant El Toro on 17th & Valencia is often less crowded. Both have vegan rice and beans as well as ranchero tofu and salsa bars. A lot of people are kookoo bananas for Papalote, and I have grown to really like their salsa, but I could take it or leave it. They do soyrizo and have a lot more vegan options, though.

I really like The Plant at Pier 3, it has great vegan and gf options and a beautiful view/ambience. The Slanted Door is nearby in the Ferry Building (Pier 1), they also have a lot of vegan options, but I personally didn't find the food that much more spectacular than at a more reasonably-priced Vietnamese restaurant. Both those places are pretty schmancy. And of course if you want to blow money there's always Millennium! I recommend just getting a cocktail at the bar and having an appetizer or two, then you won't break the bank.

I live in the East Bay and commute to the city for work, so I'm in both places all the times and I can promise all the good up and coming vegan food is going to be in Oakland and Berkeley. You really have to try Souley Vegan (I like to get takeout and eat next door at Beer Revolution, especially if it's a nice day on their patio). I'm really excited about Timeless Coffee, which is a new cafe and bakery which is all vegan. I don't get to go often but it's consistently awesome. Pizza Moda is a newly re-opened Italian/Californian restaurant that has a lot of vegan options, including pizzas, and will be re-starting their brunch soon. There's also Saturn Cafe, an all vegetarian diner which is open till 1 and serves all day breakfast, and Cha Ya Japanese cuisine (which is also in SF on Valencia). And of course CREAM (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me). Five vegan cookies. Two vegan ice creams. You do the math.

of course, this is like 20% of a pretty decent selection of yummy places.

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Crazy rating: Double plus crazytown bananapants ~Jordanpattern
Too much woo, you guys. Too much woo ~Tofulish
Sews Before Bros


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 Post subject: Re: HALP American Solo Trip! (SF, VC, NYC)
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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Location: Smugville, CA
PS Ethiopian. Get Ethiopian food on Telegraph. Preferably Addis or Cafe Asmara.

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Crazy rating: Double plus crazytown bananapants ~Jordanpattern
Too much woo, you guys. Too much woo ~Tofulish
Sews Before Bros


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