San Francisco travel guide

The Golden Gate City

San Francisco tourism | San Francisco guide

You're Going to Love San Francisco

Everyone loves San Francisco. For one thing, it's super easy to get around. City center districts like North Beach or the Tenderloin are walkable and full of character. If the slopes get too much, historic streetcars and cable cars serve central areas too, while the wider Bay Area is served by a fantastic public transit system.

Take boat trips to Alcatraz Island, soak up the atmosphere in bohemian Haight, sample oysters at Scoma's in Fisherman's Wharf, or take a cable car ride through historic districts like Ghirardelli Square and Lombard Street. After that, top off your tour with a gourmet meal at highly rated restaurants like SPQR in Japantown or Commonwealth in the Mission District.

There’s plenty for culture lovers to adore as well. Pick up a book of poetry in the City Lights bookstore, catch a gig at the Fillmore, or climb the streets that Steve McQueen sped along in Bullitt. There is always be something to set your imagination racing.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit San Francisco

What to do in San Francisco

When to Visit San Francisco

Estimated hotel price

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If you want to experience the laid-back essence of San Francisco, summer is the best time to visit. Between June and September, expect frequent outdoor music events and street fairs like the Asian-themed Nihonmachi Fair in Japantown and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in Ghirardelli Square. However, locals will tell you that fall is even better. The crowds thin out, the weather is fine and there are spectacular events like the Day of the Dead in the Mission District.

Average temperatures
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When the weather is nice in San Francisco

How to Get to San Francisco

Airports near San Francisco

SJC San Jose
OAK Oakland

Airlines serving San Francisco

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Where to Stay in San Francisco

San Francisco is full of atmospheric hotels with antique furnishings, like the Hotel Drisco (2901 Pacific Avenue) near the Presidio or the elegant Steinhart (952 Sutter St) in the Tenderloin district. High-quality affordable options include the Wharf Inn (2601 Mason St) in Fisherman’s Wharf, while Hi San Francisco (240 Fort Mason) is an excellent hostel in the same area. For a family hotel near Union Square, the Four Seasons (757 Market St) is hard to beat.

The district you choose to stay in makes a big difference to your experience of San Francisco.

Popular Neighborhoods in San Francisco

Most popular hotel in San Francisco by neighbourhood


Where to stay in popular areas of San Francisco

Most booked hotels in San Francisco

How to Get Around San Francisco

The Cost of Living in San Francisco

Shopping Streets

San Francisco is packed with great shopping opportunities. The Westfield Center on Market and Powell provides a classic mall experience, with up-market fashion stores and chains aplenty. But Union Square is the city’s window shopping capital. There, you can wander past stores featuring big brands like Levi’s, Cartier, and Armani or buy discount shoes at DSW. For an entirely different retail experience, try the Ferry Building Market – a gourmet food lover’s paradise. As far as costs go, it depends what you buy. A pair of jeans costs around $58 and a good bottle of wine costs $15-20. Budget around $80 per person for a meal in a mid-range restaurant.

Groceries and Other

In recent years San Francisco has acquired a reputation for high living costs. But the costs aren’t so bad if you aren’t planning to rent an apartment. Grocery prices are around 23% higher than the national average. If you shop at supermarkets like Safeway or Trader Joe’s you can still live cheaply in the city. However, for more lavish vacation budgets, boutique grocery stores like Haight Street Market are not to be missed.

Cheap meal
Cheap meal
A pair of jeans
A pair of jeans
Single public transport ticket
Single public transport ticket

Where to Eat in San Francisco

Great food is everywhere in San Francisco. In the center of town, vegetarians can feast on Persian delights at Flytrap (606 Folsom St). Asian cooking is well represented in Chinatown and the Tenderloin. Head to Anzu for top-quality sushi (Hotel Nikko San Francisco, 222 Mason St) and enjoy unpretentious but delicious Chinese meals at Hunan Home's (622 Jackson St). Nob Hill is home to the city’s best Italian restaurants, with Acquerello being the pick of the bunch (1722 Sacramento St). Head to Castro or Mission-Bernal for some of America’s best Mexican dishes. La Taqueria (2889 Mission St) is probably the best there is. Seafood lovers have plenty of good options in Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero district, but the best place in town is Farallon in nearby Chinatown (450 Post St). Whatever cuisine you choose, expect a good meal to set you back around $80 per head.