Cloud, DevOps, Evangelism

VMworld 2012 Travel Tips

As someone who lived in San Francisco for a number of years, I realize how hard it can be  to understand the city and how to get around.  With that in mind, I present the insider's guide to getting around SF during the show:

  • BART vs. Muni (pronounced Myoonee):
    • BART is the Bay Area Regional Transit, and goes from the suburb areas to/from the City.
    • Muni is the combined bus/subway system within the City limits, and does not share tracks or trains with the BART system above.  Even the shared stations have different levels for the 2 systems.  Many people will refer to Muni meaning just the subway system, but technically its all the buses too.
    • The closest station to the show is the 'Montgomery' station, for both BART and Muni.
    • Muni fares are $2, regardless of how far you go, or how many trains / busses it takes.  The pass (called a transfer) is good for 90 minutes!  Dont forget to take your transfer when you pay the fare even if you are taking only 1 trip - if you don't have that transfer, you can get a pretty hefty fine.
  • Getting around:
    • The area that you are in is called 'SoMa', for South of Market.  Specifically, the Moscone (pronounced Mawskonee) area.
    • Its pretty safe to walk in this area at night.  I certainly wouldn't worry about it.
      • Avoid the Civic Center area (which is pretty much West of 5th st and North of Market)
    • When you take a cab to a bar or restaurant, make sure you have a the intersection.  No one in SF uses addresses, so look it up on google maps first, and give the driver the intersection ("4th and Mission").
  • Dress in layers - SF is notorious for cold, foggy mornings and hot afternoons.  Especially in summer.
  • Budget time to go between halls.  If you have to walk from Moscone North or Moscone South to Moscone West, budget about 10 minutes time to walk 2 blocks and cross BUSY street.
  • Consider quitting smoking.  Really.  SF is very unfriendly towards smokers, and smoking is not permitted in restaurants, shops, bars, and in the seats at baseball or football stadiums. It is not allowed in parks, public squares, city-owned outdoor spaces, or within 25 feet of many office buildings.  So, basically its not allowed anywhere you'll be during the conference.
  • It's not 'Frisco.  It's not San Fran.  If you want to shorten it, 'SF' or 'the City' are acceptable.  Other choices might get you a look askance.