Keep in mind the timeline here. Many of the normal big cities just aren't yet. Waterdeep (for example) is maybe a quarter of the population that it will be in "modern" times. If you're feeling ballsy, you might try hitting up the Elven Court in Cormanthor (expect threats equal to and greater than the PCs, as well as mooks).
The surface elves are at their height of power in teh Forgotten Realms at this time.