top of page button
Ragnar Vorel / unsplash.com

 Also known as the City by the Bay, San Francisco is diverse, colorful and vibrant. Famous for its steep hills, Victorian houses, year-round fog, beautiful panoramic vistas and excellent cuisine, the city attracts tens of millions of visitors every year. San Francisco is enormous yet pedestrian friendly, and the famous cable cars whisk you away towards new adventures. Its eclectic mix of architecture, sandy beaches, ethnic and cultural diversity make San Francisco a great choice for a vacation.

currency

U.S. Dollar, $1 = 100 cents

phone

911

newspaper

San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Examiner

hours

Shops: 9am–9pm
Banks: Mon–Fri 9am–5pm
ATM: 24 hours

population

873,965 (2020)

info

San Francisco Visitor Information Centers
749 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
+1 415 391 2000
vvic1@sftravel.com

website

sf.gov

San Francisco, California, USA Skyline. Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

The City

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate City is situated on the tip of a peninsula in northern California.

San Francisco’s charm lies in its neighborhoods, which give the city its utter uniqueness. Union Square is in the heart of the city and the hub of the shopping district. North Beach is known for its Italian heritage, bakeries and restaurants. The Marina District has some of the most elegant homes in San Francisco, and the waterfront is where shopping and dining are at their best.

The Haight, famous for the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, is the location of former homes of Counterculture icons like the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. Unique shops, music, bookstores and cafes line many of the Haight’s streets. Alamo Square is best known for the beautiful turn-of-the century Victorian homes called the "Painted Ladies." SoMa (South of Market) is a go-to for nightclubs, restaurants and museums.

The Castro District has the highest concentration of LGBTQA+ population of any city in America. Steep streets and brightly painted Victorian houses, imaginative boutiques and bars are found in this area. The largest Gay Pride Parade takes place here, too.

Yerba Buena Gardens is the cultural heart of the city, where community, entertainment, arts and pop culture come together.

Top 11

Whether you are passing through for business or pleasure, San Francisco has so many things to see and do that you won't have time to see them all! From the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island to the infamous Haight-Ashbury district and Pier 39, this city is packed with vibrant attractions and activities.

Here are 11 fun ways to experience San Francisco like a local:

Patrick Tomasso / unsplash.com

Golden Gate Bridge

Arnaud Steckle / unsplash.com

San Francisco Cable Cars

Emily Poisel/Shutterstock.com

Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf

Gracie Emory/unsplash.com

The Painted Ladies

Sand Crain / unsplash.com

Mission Dolores Park

JaGa / Wikimedia Commons

Ferry Building Marketplace

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock.com

Chinatown

Jack Nagz / unsplash.com

Lombard Street

Mike McBey / Flickr

Haight-Ashbury

f11photo/Shutterstock.com

Alcatraz

Typical San Francisco Neighborhood, California Bertl123/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

San Francisco is a diverse destination, encompassing nature, history, art, science and some of the most beautiful scenery along the West Coast of the United States. Pop culture and old traditions are neatly packed into this one fabulous city. Wander around the distinct neighborhoods, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, ride the cable cars and explore everything San Francisco has to offer.

Patrick Tomasso / unsplash.com

Golden Gate Bridge

Arnaud Steckle / unsplash.com

San Francisco Cable Cars

Gracie Emory/unsplash.com

The Painted Ladies

Sand Crain / unsplash.com

Mission Dolores Park

JaGa / Wikimedia Commons

Ferry Building Marketplace

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock.com

Chinatown

Jack Nagz / unsplash.com

Lombard Street

f11photo/Shutterstock.com

Alcatraz

Juli Scalzi/Shutterstock.com

Fisherman’s Wharf

PeteBobb / Wikimedia Commons

Maritime National Historical Park

eyeretina/Shutterstock.com

Aquarium of the Bay

Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock.com

Walt Disney Family Museum

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock.com

Legion of Honor

Kassey Downard / unsplash.com

San Francisco Zoo

Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock.com

Exploratorium

paradadah/Shutterstock.com

Ocean Beach

studio4pic/Shutterstock.com

Wharf and Waterfront Segway Tour

sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.com

Asian Art Museum

Irina Kosareva/Shutterstock.com

Golden Gate Park

Sid Verma / unsplash.com

Lands End Lookout

ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Twin Peaks

Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.com

Angel Island State Park

Friends eating friends at an outdoor restaurant - San Francisco, California Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock.com

Dining

With over 4,400 restaurants, San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world for dining. Food from every corner of the world can be found here, from Afghan to Tibetan, Bolivian to Russian. From the small corner cafes to elegant Michelin-star restaurants, there is something for every taste and every pocket.

San Francisco Sourdough Bread and the Dungeness Crab are two "absolute musts" for visitors. Furthermore, San Francisco’s close proximity to the Napa-Sonoma wine country gives you the opportunity to taste some new and exciting wines.

Here are some of the best restaurants in San Francisco:

George Rudy/Shutterstock.com

Mo's Grill

Wasant/Shutterstock.com

The Slanted Door

stockcreations/Shutterstock.com

House of Prime Rib

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Nopa

Photomaxx/Shutterstock.com

Calzone's Restaurant

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

La Ciccia

juliannedev/Shutterstock.com

Twenty Five Lusk

Shebeko/Shutterstock.com

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com

Fior d'Italia

bonchan/Shutterstock.com

Yank Sing

Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com

Super Duper Burgers

Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock.com

Burma Superstar

vsl/Shutterstock.com

Bar Crudo

Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock.com

Kokkari Estiatorio

Quyen Tat/Shutterstock.com

Nyum Bai

Girl drinking a cup of coffee in a cafe - San Francisco, California Lenar Nigmatullin/Shutterstock.com

Coffee and lunch

San Francisco boasts one of the finest and most vibrant cafe cultures of any American city. There are plenty of cafes on street corners, from big chains like Starbucks and Peet’s to small locally owned coffee shops. San Francisco cafes are great for trying new and experimental varieties of coffee, such as the icy mint mojito.

Lunches and brunches are another thing worth experiencing in SF. Every cuisine in the world is at. your disposal here — find your favourite!

Here are a few cafes and bistros you shouldn't miss in San Francisco:

George Dolgikh/Shuttestock.com

The Buena Vista

Damien VERRIER/Shutterstock.com

Warming Hut Bookstore & Cafe

Benjamin Ashton / unsplash.com

Lucca Delicatessen

Bobex-73/Shutterstock.com

Deli Board

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Dottie’s True Blue Cafe

Kritsada.S/Shutterstock.com

Boudin Bakery Cafe

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

Artís Coffee (Berkeley)

Anastasia Izofatova/Shutterstock.com

Squat & Gobble Cafe

San Francisco aerial view IM_photo/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

The bar scene in San Francisco is as varied as the city itself. From wine and champagne lounges to rocking sports bars, finding one to fit any personality is quite easy here. The Mission District is great for bar hopping and North Beach for hideaway bars. The nightlife rocks in San Francisco and, like much in the city, nightlife varies from district to district: SoMa for hip-hop, Marina District for more elegant spots, and North Beach for lots of neon lights. Gay-friendly bars are not confined to the Castro District.

Wet your beak and make new friends at any of these excellent bars in San Fransico:

Navistock/Shutterstock.com

Blondie's Bar

Nestor Rizhniak/Shutterstock.com

Kezar Pub

ClaudioDoenitz/Shutterstock.com

SF-Eagle

dwphotos/Shutterstock.com

DNA Lounge

littlenySTOCK/Shutterstock.com

620 Jones

Laure Noverraz / unsplash.com

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

Geoff Goldswain/Shutterstock.com

Boom Boom Room

Bon Appetit/Shutterstock.com

The Monk’s Kettle

kichigin/Shutterstock.com

Fig & Thistle

Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock.com

Blackbird Bar

Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Public Works

Want You Back/Shutterstock.com

Blush! Wine Bar

Ostancov Vladislav/Shutterstock.com

Smuggler's Cove

panoramic views of san francisco slope streets, california Jon Chica/Shutterstock.com

Shopping

San Francisco is a true global metropolis with excellent shopping options. Outlet malls and department stores, trendy high-end boutiques, artisanal workshops and major brands — there are plenty of choices to satisfy any shopper's taste.

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Embarcadero Center

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Union Square

Emily Poisel/Shutterstock.com

Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf

Caroline Culler / Wikimedia Commons

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

JaGa / Wikimedia Commons

Ferry Building Marketplace

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock.com

Chinatown

Mike McBey / Flickr

Haight-Ashbury

Sami Pyylampi/Shutterstock.com

Amoeba Music

Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

Sacramento Street

Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock.com

Westfield San Francisco Center

adriaticfoto/Shutterstock.com

The Cannery

Andrew Malone/Shutterstock.com

Solve It! Think Out of the Box

King of Hearts / Wikimedia Commons

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Brothers Art/Shutterstock.com

Paxton Gate

Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Candy Baron

Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito as seen from Helicopter pisaphotography/Shutterstock.com

Tourist Information

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located 8 miles (13 km) south of the city and offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.

BART rapid rail runs from SFO to San Mateo County, San Francisco and the East Bay. It is a convenient and quick way of getting to the city center. You will find the SFO BART Station on the Departures/Ticketing Level of the International Terminal (Boarding Area G side). Tickets can be bought at the SFO BART Station upon arrival. (www.bart.gov)

SamTrans offers 24-hour bus service connecting SFO to San Mateo County and parts of San Francisco. Routes KX, 292, 397 and 398 stop directly at the Airport terminals.
SamTrans buses stop at the terminals,:
Terminal 2: Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level, center island adjacent to Courtyard 2
Terminal 3: Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level, curbside adjacent to Courtyard 4
International Terminal: Level 1 at Courtyard A and curbside adjacent to Courtyard
(www.samtrans.com)

Caltrain Commuter Rail provides rail service between San Francisco and San Jose.

Taxis and ridesharing apps offer door-to-door service to any destination within San Francisco and surrounding communities.

Address: San Francisco International Airport

Email:

Phone: +1 415 800 435 9736 / +1 415 650 821 8211

Website: www.flysfo.com

More Information:

Oakland International Airport (OAK)

Oakland International Airport (OAK) lies 20 miles (32 km) east of the city.

BART trains connect Oakland International Airport with downtown San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and many other Bay Area destinations. Oakland Airport BART station is located next to the Terminal 1 baggage claim area.

There are also several bus lines connecting OAK to several Bay Area destinations.

Address: 1 Airport Drive, Oakland, CA

Email: info@oaklandairport.com

Phone: +1 510 563 3300

Website: www.oaklandairport.com

More Information:

San Jose International Airport (SJC)

San Jose International Airport (SJC) is located 40 miles (64 km) south of the city and is thus the furthest from San Francisco.

The free VTA Airport Flyer connects the airport to Santa Clara's CalTrain station. You can take Caltrain to both San Francisco Airport and downtown San Francisco. This option is free, but most time-consuming. Private van and taxi services are also available at the airport; van pick up may be arranged from any location in San Francisco (inquire about prices when booking).

Address: 1701 Airport Boulevard, San Jose, CA

Email: info@sjc.org

Phone: +1 408 392 1150

Website: www.sjc.org

More Information:

Passport/Visa

Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Best Time To Visit

San Francisco’s climate is influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean. Days are generally cool year-round, and summer days are often foggy in the afternoon. Average summer temperatures range from 59–79ºF (15–24ºC) and winter from 50–59ºF (10–15ºC).

Fall is the best period to visit San Francisco, as the weather tends to be pleasantly mild and there are smaller crowds than during the summer. Spring is another good time to visit, and tends to see a lot less precipitation, and that is when the city hosts many festivals including the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and the San Francisco Carnaval.

During the summer this already lively city gets even more colorful with the San Francisco Pride Parade, one of the biggest in the world. The main event usually takes place in the end of June.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

FAQ

Is San Francisco a bad place to visit?
— San Francisco can sometimes feel unsafe to travel to, but these feelings are largely due to the cultural images of people experiencing homelessness and drug addiction that appear in the media.

Why is San Francisco so expensive?
— San Francisco is an incredibly diverse, dynamic, progressive city with a host of activities, restaurants and sights. The region's culture, economy and natural beauty makes it an appealing place to live. Prices are increasing rapidly as more people move here. The housing supply has not caught up. Heavy regulation makes it incredibly expensive to build new housing in much of the Bay Area.

Can you drink the tap water in San Francisco?
— Yes! The tap water in San Francisco is safe to drink and locals swear it is the best in tasting tap water in the U.S.

What is the best part of San Francisco to stay in?
— San Francisco is an exciting and scenic city, but if you're hoping to see the sights, you should probably stay downtown, because it's one of the most densely populated parts of the city.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Time Zone

San Francisco is in the Pacific time zone, and all times are reflected in Pacific time.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Public Transport

San Francisco has the most extensive public transit system on the West Coast. The MUNI-Metro, a light rail system, operates six lines (plus one shuttle line) that crisscross the city. The cash fare for Muni Metro, like Muni buses, effective January 1, 2020, is $3 for adults. Clipper and MuniMobile fares are lower than cash fares. Their fares are $2.50 for adults.

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is the regional transit system connecting San Francisco with outlying communities. A single ride ticket covers 90 mins of travel time. To ride, purchase a Clipper card from a ticket machine; 1, 3, and 7-day passes are also available.

The MUNI Passport can be purchased at the airport, online or at several locations inside the city. It offers unlimited rides on buses, historical streetcars and cable cars.
More information on the following websites:

www.sfmuni.com
www.bart.gov

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Taxi

Taxis are easily available at shopping malls, hotels and the airport. Other options for lower fares are the rideshare companies Curb, Uber, Lyft and Wingz.

For taxi services call the following number

Yellow Cab Of San Francisco:

Address:

Email:

Phone: +1 415 333 3333

Website: www.yellowcabsf.com

More Information:

Post Office

There is at least one post office location in each of the major neighborhoods. Hours vary slightly but are generally are 8am–5pm on weekdays and 9am–1pm on Saturdays. There are a few that are open on Sundays.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.usps.com

More Information:

Electricity

All power sockets in the United States provide a standard voltage of 120V with a standard frequency of 60Hz. Plug type A has two flat parallel pins.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Telephone

Country Code: +1

Area Code: 415

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information: