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How to Get to BACDS Dances by Public Transit

Berkeley Wednesday Contra / Berkeley Wednesday English / Berkeley Saturday English / Peninsula (Palo Alto Tuesday) English / Palo Alto Contra / Palo Alto Friday English / San Francisco Contra / San Francisco English / Carpool

For those who would rather not drive, many of the BACDS dance venues are relatively easy to get to via public transit; once one sorts out some of the intricacies of the area's nine major transit systems (AC Transit, BART, CalTrain, County Connection, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, San Francisco Muni, Santa Clara VTA, WestCAT), public transit becomes a realistic option for those tired of gridlock.

Even with so many agencies, obtaining current transit maps and scheduling information is as simple as pointing your web browser at or dialing TravInfo at 511 (a local call from any of the bay area's area codes). The Trans info @ 511 website, supported by the Bay Area Transit Information Project, is an invaluable tool when it comes to sorting out the many transit options available from Stockton to the Pacific and from Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa. In fact, now they offer a special tool that lets you plan your next door-to-door transit trip, the Trip Planner; this tool is the first link off the Transitinfo page.

Folks who use intermodal/interagency transit on a regular basis often take advantage of a number of transit locations. For example, when going from my former place of employment in Milpitas to a NBCDS dance in Santa Rosa or Sonoma, it's not unusual for me to take an AC Transit bus to the Fremont BART station, a San Francisco train from there to the Embarcadero station in downtown San Francisco, and a ferry from the nearby Ferry Terminal to meet a carpool at Larkspur Landing. There are a number of transit hub locations throughout the bay area that are conducive to straightforward transfers. Some of these include:

  • Almost every BART station. Fremont, Pleasant Valley, El Cerrito Del Norte, MacArthur, Daly City, and the four downtown San Francisco and three downtown Oakland stations are particularly good places to transfer from bus to BART.
  • The Transbay Bus Terminal at Second and Mission in downtown San Francisco is a block away from the Market Street corridor, and serves as the San Francisco terminus for AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, and Greyhound bus services.
  • San Jose Diridon (downtown), Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, and San Francisco Fourth and King CalTrain stations all serve as excellent places to transfer from local VTA, SamTrans, and/or Muni buses and light rail.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, it's on to the dances. Where possible, nearby restaurants and coffeehouses for those hungry for a little something before the dance are included along with the instructions.

For each dance, go to the Trip Planner to get up to date transit directions.

San Francisco Contra

One of the easiest dances to get to via transit; its location at 43rd Avenue and Judah Street is situated right on the Muni N-Judah [Schedule] light rail line, which connects to the downtown San Francisco BART stations and the San Francisco CalTrain station. Plan for a forty-minute journey from Embarcadero BART station, and longer if you choose to detrain at Ninth Avenue and Irving for some pre-dance nosh at one of the area's wonderful restaurants or coffeehouses.

Note that while this line runs all night, BART and CalTrain stop running at midnight. Dancers who use this route from points in the East Bay or Peninsula/South Bay will want to line up carpools back home or leave the dance before the final contra in order to ensure timely transfers, or (in the case of east bay commuters) plan on taking one of AC Transit's post-midnight buses from Transbay Terminal if you absolutely must have dinner at Pasquale's afterwards.

Berkeley Wednesday Contra and English Dances, Saturday English Dances

Christ Church Berkeley, in the heart of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto, is a short six or seven block walk from the downtown Berkeley BART station. Folks who choose this route should walk north (uphill) on Shattuck Avenue to the intersection with Cedar Street, then east (again, uphill) one block to the church.

Food for almost any taste, ranging from McDonald's and Starbucks to the fine cuisine at Cha 'Am and Chez Panisse Cafe, as well as wonderful takeout salads and entrees at Andronico's and coffeehouses too numerous to mention are available to those who leave a little extra time for dinner.

Palo Alto Contra and English Country Dances

The Palo Alto Masonic Temple, just north of the corner of University Avenue and Florence Street and home of the Palo Alto English dance, is a ten-minute walk from the Palo Alto CalTrain station [Schedule]. First United Methodist Church, on Hamilton Avenue (one block SE of University) between Byron and Webster and home of the Palo Alto Contra dance, is also a fifteen- to twenty-minute walk from the same station.

Note that the last San Francisco-bound CalTrain arrives at this station at roughly 10:47p, so either arranging a return carpool or overnight crash space or leaving the hall by 10:30p are a necessity. The last southbound CalTrain train arrives at just before 12a, so carpools are, again, definitely in order.

There are simply too many wonderful restaurants and coffeehouses located along the seven-and-one-half blocks of University between the CalTrain station and Florence to list here.

San Francisco English Dance

The dance series is at St. John's Presbyterian Church, 25 Lake St (at Arguello), San Francisco


Peninsula (Palo Alto Tuesday) English Dance

The Tuesday night dance is at All Saints Episcopal, 555 Waverley Avenue, Palo Alto See for directions to this hall. (But also, see above for Palo Alto Masonic - it's about 3/5 of a mile from Palo Alto Caltrain. Since the dance ends at 9:30 there should be no problem in catching the last or next-to-last Caltrain back toward San Francisco.)


While transit is often a wonderful option in terms of getting to BACDS dances, it's often not so great an option in terms of returning home from them; many local transit agencies drop their services down to next to nothing (or nothing at all) after 9p on Saturday nights. One of the great things about the BACDS roster is its breakdown of members by zip code; this makes finding someone who lives in your general vicinity to carpool with relatively straightforward. If you do carpool with others on a regular basis, helping out with fuel or bridge tolls is always appropriate.

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