San Francisco Travel Guide

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Last Updated
August 8, 2023
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San Francisco is a beautiful city with so much to offer tourists. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to have the best possible experience while visiting San Francisco.

You'll learn about the city's history, culture, and attractions, as well as where to stay and what to eat while you're here.

With this information, you'll be able to make the most of your trip and create lasting memories of your time in San Francisco.


About San Francisco

There are several different ways to get around San Francisco. The BART underground subway system, the MUNI streetcars, and the cable cars are all available for use. However, if you are traveling on a budget, you may find that the most convenient and affordable option is to rent a car. There are also several ridesharing services available for tourists. A San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour is a great way to get around the City. It will include stops at some of the major attractions.

San Francisco's weather is relatively mild year-round, but it can still be brisk. The city is surrounded by water, and the fresh winds help cool the city's temperature. The average temperature is 15 degrees Celsius, although it can get much lower at night. The warmest days of the year tend to fall in the spring and autumn. During summer, heavy fog can be present and dampen beach activities. During winter, most of the city receives a moderate amount of rainfall.

If you're interested in modern art, the city's museums are worth checking out. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) offers an eclectic contemporary collection. Located near the Golden Gate Park, the museum is also home to four Diego Rivera murals.


Best Time to Go

There are many reasons to visit San Francisco and the most popular time to go is during the fall, winter, or spring. This is the time when temperatures are mild and hotel rates are still reasonable. This is also the time of year when the International Film Festival is held, which draws thousands of people every year. If you love movies, this is the perfect place to visit. You can also experience the city's holiday lights and enjoy the different seasons.

Regardless of your reasons for visiting, the best time to go to San Francisco depends on your personal preferences and travel plans. For example, if you are bringing a young child, you don't want to visit the city during the hot summer months. There is a higher chance of crime and other deviant behavior during this time of the year, so be extra careful around the city. You will also find San Francisco to be very crowded during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

If you are visiting San Francisco for the first time, you should plan your trip for the fall. The temperatures in the fall range from 63 degrees to 70 degrees, so you'll be more comfortable. However, be sure to check the weather forecast before heading to San Francisco. If you visit during these times, you'll have fewer crowds than in summer.


Things to Know

There are many things to keep in mind when planning your trip to San Francisco. While the city generally remains safe, there is a notorious pickpocket problem and a persistent homeless problem. You'll want to be aware of both, but don't let them deter you from visiting. You can usually spot the homeless at the popular Union Square area, where they will probably be asking for spare change.

The weather in San Francisco is mild during most of the year, but there are some days when fog rolls in and make the city feel cool. Always pack layers and warm clothing when visiting the city. San Francisco isn't Southern California, so you'll want to make sure you're prepared.

If you're looking for a cheap, comfortable place to stay in San Francisco, try looking for an Airbnb. These websites offer a variety of San Francisco rooms and apartments. Generally, you'll find prices that are cheaper than in most other areas of the city. The downside, however, is that these hotels are not as safe at night.


How to Get Around

When it comes to getting around San Francisco, it's best to walk, bike, or take public transportation. Most of the main sights and attractions are within walking distance, and public transportation is efficient and affordable. Muni, the city's massive municipal transportation system, offers bus and streetcar lines, as well as the famous cable cars. If you'd prefer a different experience, consider a bus tour, which is a more entertaining way to see the city.

Many visitors to San Francisco prefer walking or taking public transportation instead of using their cars. Parking can be difficult and expensive, not to mention the traffic. While parking costs are not outrageous, if you'd like to explore the Bay Area by car, consider renting a car. There are several rental agencies in the area, which will help you get around the city and enjoy the beautiful natural environment.

The city's underground system offers quick and affordable transportation. The F streetcar, K/T streetcar, L streetcar, and M streetcar lines offer convenient access to the downtown core. You can also take the N & J light rail train. Union Square, the center of the city, is easily accessible by bus, light rail, and all three cable car lines.


Best Hotels


1. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

the ritz carlton san francisco

Address: 600 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 296-7465

The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is a stunning hotel that is reminiscent of a movie set. It is housed in a 19th-century Neoclassical mansion that was once the headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. It boasts marble interiors and features art on the walls. The hotel also has fresh orchids in some rooms. Dining options at this hotel include The Lounge and Parallel 37. The JCB Tasting Lounge has eclectic details that give it a speakeasy feel. The bar features crooked screens and classical art.


2. Taj Campton Place

Taj Campton Place San Francisco

Address: 340 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 781-5555

Located on the edge of Union Square, the Taj Campton Place is one of San Francisco's finest hotels. This five-star property is within walking distance to many of the city's top attractions, including the Apple Store and Alcatraz Island. Its location makes it a convenient spot for both business travelers and vacationers. Besides its convenient location, the Taj Campton Place also boasts an outdoor pool, spa, and restaurant.


3. The St. Regis San Francisco

The St Regis San Francisco

Address: 125 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 284-4000

Located in the SOMA district of San Francisco, the St. Regis San Francisco offers rooms and suites with stunning city views. Rooms are appointed with contemporary furnishings and feature minibars. Select suites feature separate sitting and dining areas. Rooms also feature 24-hour butler service. The hotel has two restaurants, The Grill and the Lobby Lounge, which serves contemporary California cuisine in a modern setting. The hotel also offers a full menu of spa treatments at the Remede Spa.


4. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

Address: 757 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 633-3000

The Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is a renowned luxury hotel in the heart of SoMa. Its location on the top floors of the 48-story California Center building makes it one of the tallest hotels in the city. It has a unique, museum-like lobby with a white staircase, and its rooms are decorated in a modernist style. Guests can choose from soaking tubs or Jacuzzis, and the hotel also provides a 24-hour concierge service.


5. Argonaut Hotel

Argonaut Hotel a Noble House Hotel San Francisco

Address: 495 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: (415) 563-0800

Located in Fisherman's Wharf, the Argonaut Hotel is a historic red brick building that features nautical décor and exposed brick walls in the rooms. Many rooms offer stunning views of San Francisco Bay. The lobby features bright colors and eclectic furnishings. Guests rave about the quality of service and the wide range of amenities. One complaint, however, is the price of parking, which can be pricey.


6. Hotel Drisco

Hotel Drisco San Francisco

Address: 2901 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 346-2880

In the heart of the Pacific Heights neighborhood, Hotel Drisco offers spectacular views of the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. The hotel is also near various interesting restaurants and boutiques. The hotel offers a cozy ambiance and excellent service. Although the hotel lacks bathtubs, it offers a complimentary continental breakfast and evening wine aperitifs.


7. The Inn Above Tide

The Inn Above Tide San Francisco

Address: 30 El Portal, Sausalito, CA 94965
Phone: (415) 332-9535

The Inn Above Tide is an elegant combination of a boutique inn and a seaside retreat in the heart of Sausalito. Its vantage point provides sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and Angel Island. Its spacious rooms and suites offer light wood furnishings and fireplaces, iPod docks, and binoculars. All of them feature views of the bay or the city. Bathrooms feature deep soaking tubs and Bulgari toiletries.


8. Fairmont San Francisco

Fairmont San Francisco
ICE Portal

Address: 950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 772-5000

Whether you're a business traveler or a tourist, the Fairmont San Francisco is a good place to stay. The hotel offers luxury accommodations and the classic Fairmont service. Guests can dine at the Tonga Room, a famous tiki-themed supper club where tables are placed around a former Olympic-sized swimming pool. While a tiki band plays on a boat that crosses the pool, a gastronomic delight awaits you.


9. Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Palace Hotel a Luxury Collection Hotel San Francisco

Address: 2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 512-1111

In addition to its elegant common spaces and well-appointed guest rooms, the Palace Hotel offers the Landmark 18 Museum, a fascinating exhibit of historic photos and memorabilia. The hotel is 8 stories high, with interior corridors and 556 guest rooms. It is one of San Francisco's most historic landmarks.


10. Grand Hyatt at SFO

Grand Hyatt at SFO
ICE Portal

Address: 55 S McDonnell Rd, San Francisco, CA 94128
Phone: (650) 452-1234

The Grand Hyatt at SFO is located on the grounds of San Francisco International Airport. It features 296 rooms and suites with free Wi-Fi and convenient room service. There are also amenities including a fitness center and massage services. The property also provides parking for its guests. There is a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.

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Best Restaurants

San Francisco has one of the best dining scenes in the United States, and there are over 4,000 restaurants within the city's seven square miles. It is also home to some of the finest products and farms, making it a great destination for food lovers. Many of the city's restaurants have Michelin stars, making it one of the top food cities in the world. You'll find everything from fine dining to casual fast food.

The variety of food options in San Francisco is incredibly diverse, with everything from classic dishes to contemporary takes on ethnic favorites. The city is home to a variety of different neighborhoods, so you'll be spoilt for choice. The diversity of cuisines in San Francisco means that no two meals will be the same.

The most exciting restaurants in San Francisco offer a unique combination of flavors and experiences. A popular Thai restaurant near the Embarcadero is Osha Thai, which serves classic Thai cuisine with a twist. The decor is stylish and classy, and you can also enjoy a meal on the patio with heat lamps. The restaurant also offers $1 oysters during happy hour.

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Things to Do

When planning your trip to San Francisco, make sure to include a visit to the Sutro Baths, a former indoor pool, and spa. Though the building burned down several decades ago, the ruins are still an interesting historical site. SF City Guides offers guided tours through the ruins, which are located in Golden Gate Park.

One of the most famous San Francisco attractions is the iconic city bookstore, City Lights. Established in 1953, City Lights served as a performance venue and bookstore and gave voice to the Beat Poets movement. Today, the historic venue serves as a reference for San Francisco's counterculture. It features a poetry room and a collection of quirky staff photos.

You can also visit the Coit Tower, which is 210 feet tall and offers panoramic views of the city. From this high point, you can see the iconic Pier 39, downtown skyscrapers, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.


Neighborhoods to Know

There are many neighborhoods in San Francisco, each with its own distinct characteristics and stories. From the historic Mission District to the hip Castro, here you can sample everything from award-winning restaurants and bars to cutting-edge arts. No matter what you're looking for, you're sure to find it.

The twin peaks of the Twin Peaks neighborhood are a popular destination for urban hikes. The neighborhood sits above the rest of the city and is easily accessible by car. The neighborhood has a distinct feel and is often foggy. Many homes here were built in the 1950s and 1960s. It's also known for its historic African American community, which was represented by musicians such as Duke Ellington. The neighborhood is home to many working-class families and diverse restaurants.

The Marina is another great neighborhood to explore. The area is a nice respite from the busy city. It's home to the Palace of Fine Arts, an impressive dome with Roman-style columns, and some of San Francisco's hippest shops and bars. There's even a Fort Mason events center, a unique venue for live music and other entertainment. This neighborhood is located on the north side of San Francisco just west of Fisherman's Wharf. To the south of the Marina District is Pacific Heights, a neighborhood of single-family homes and loft apartments.



San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate with cool summers. The bay's fog acts as a natural air conditioner and helps keep the city cool. San Francisco's international airport is located south of the city and overlooks the bay. It can be hot during the summer, but the climate is generally moderate.

San Francisco receives 80% of its annual rainfall in five months. The rainiest months are November through March. April is a generally sunny month. The other months receive less than 5% of the city's annual rainfall. Most people visit the city between May and October when the chances of rain are lower. However, fog can occur in May and July, which usually affects the western part of the city.

The best time to visit San Francisco is between late June and early October. During these months, temperatures are mild, and hotel prices are not at their highest. The city is also less crowded, so early autumn is a great time to visit.




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