Interconnected

A month from now I'll be off to the O'Reilly Emerging Tech Conference, although I've not yet booked flights or anywhere to stay. I mean, what do people do when they're going to somewhere they don't know anything about? Do I need a car? Should I spend a week in San Francisco? Yosemite? Can I walk there from Santa Clara? (I know the answer to that one.) So: hotel recommendations gratefully received. And travel advice.

Do they have bears in Silicon Valley? Do I need to take a dart gun?