Jeff has updated his excellent WWDC first-timer’s guide, and I thought I’d augment that with some things I’ve noticed.
- The easiest and cheapest way to get from SFO to San Francisco is via BART. Once you get to the arrivals hall, the BART station is well signposted. If you follow Jeff’s advice and stay within a few blocks of the Moscone, you’ll probably want Powell Street BART, or maybe Civic Center. It’s only a few dollars on the BART but you might want to buy a $20 or so ticket so you can get around for the rest of the time you’re in town. There are other options: shuttle buses, taxis and limousines, which all cost more.
- The character of the city changes markedly west of UN Plaza. I’ve stayed in hotels on 7th street, and felt uneasy in that block and further over on my own in the evenings – I’ve never been physically attacked, but in 2005 I was chased by panhandlers who didn’t like the fact that I didn’t give them any money[*]. The hotels are almost an order of magnitude cheaper than those in the financial district, but there’s a reason for it.
- There are plenty of options for good food. The Moscone isn’t one of them. If you want to make your own packed lunch you’ll find a Whole Foods and a Safeway on 4th Street (get to the Moscone, then head away from Market Street), and I think I’ve seen a farmers market somewhere near Yerba Buena park. The Oasis grill across the road from the Moscone’s main entrance is good, and Mel’s Drive-In a block towards Market Street serves a fine breakfast. Local people can often recommend somewhere further afield, too.
- Sleep and fresh water are both welcome commodities. Yes there will be parties on every night: don’t feel you have to go to all the events all night, or that you have to drink booze like some kind of alcoholic guppy at each party. Making time to eat, sleep and top up on fluids will keep you healthy and profitable: dead programmers don’t ship.
[*]Some US airports, and IIRC SFO is one of them, have official charity-staffed information desks. The people there have ID and are very helpful, so I usually donate to a homeless shelter there. San Francisco has a very real and visible homeless problem, with all sorts of political, social and geological causes.