San Francisco city guide
Category: San Francisco
Luggage storage in San Francisco | Make your life easier
Read this guide to find out the best luggage storage places in San Francisco! Don’t miss the opportunity to book the top services and save money!
Amazing things to do alone in San Francisco, from hiking trails to spas
Many people would like to move to California forever, others decide to visit this great state on their own and then go back home. If you are one of them, here you’ll find all the best things to do alone in San Francisco.
San Francisco city guide 2021/2022 edition
Get the most out of your San Francisco moments with this fantastic city guide! Get to know all the information about the city, public transport system and best places to visit.
With its endless panoramas and green hills, San Francisco will be a place of unforgettable adventures. From the first day of vacation, you’ll find yourself in a constantly changing area that never lacks elegance.
The San Francisco Bay Area, the Golden Bridge, and the thrilling Alcatraz Island are just a few of the city’s must-see attractions.
San Francisco city guide | The Bay at a glance
- Airports – San Francisco Airport is the main international airport serving the city of San Francisco, California. It’s also the largest airport in Northern California and the second busiest after LAX.
- Time Zone – USA (GMT-7).
- Currency – The official currency of San Francisco is the U.S. dollar. You’ll find several places in the city where you can exchange money (always watch out for conversion rates!).
- Climate – San Francisco’s climate is Mediterranean with cool summers. Both winter temperatures and rainfall frequency are similar to the European and North African Mediterranean climates. However, summers are cool due to the cold current flowing along the California coast, which also causes the classic fog in the bay.
- Population – With 875,114 residents (2021), San Francisco is the 15th most populous city in the States and the fourth most populated in California.
- Visitor information – 749 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States: 749 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States
- Languages – The official language of San Francisco is American English. However, more than 17% of the total population is native Chinese, speaking Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese. 10.4% speak Spanish. There are Tagalog minorities (including Filipino).
Best time to visit San Francisco
Undoubtedly, the best time to visit San Francisco is in the fall, from September to November. We recommend these months because they are the least crowded and still offer an excellent climate.
San Francisco’s climate is also perfect in spring and summer. Rember that from June to August the prices are much higher.
However, having a predominantly Mediterranean climate, San Francisco can be visited without too many problems throughout the year.
San Francisco festivals and events
- Chinese New Year Parade – Chinese New Year is a well-known celebration in San Francisco, precisely because the Chinese community represents a large portion of the population. There is no precise date, as it begins in conjunction with the year’s first new moon. It can fall in late January or early February (2022=February 1).
- S.F. Pride Parade – A parade organized by the movements for equality of LGBTQ rights. It is held every year in June.
- Fog City Magic Fest – It happens in February and offers four days of mystery and wonder. Perfect if you’re in town with your kids!
- Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown – This is the time to celebrate the cherry blossoms blooming in one of the three remaining Japantowns in the USA. The festival is held in April and features food booths, martial arts performances, music, and a Grand Parade.
- San Francisco International Arts Festival – This is a multicultural visual arts and performance festival in late May and early June at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture.
- Outside Lands Festival – A music festival held annually at Golden Gate Park. It’s the largest independently-owned music festival in the United States and happens in October.
- Castro Street Fair – A San Francisco LGBT street festival and fair usually held on the first Sunday in October in the Castro, the city’s main gay-friendly neighborhood.
- San Francisco Jazz Festival (SFJAZZ) – An annual three-week music festival organized by SFJAZZ, a nonprofit organization dedicated to jazz and jazz music education. It usually takes place in October
San Francisco city guide | How to get around
Getting around by public transport in San Francisco is the most convenient option and will save you a lot of time. Driving around the city can be very challenging and finding cheap parking an almost impossible task!
Public transport and car rental services
“Muni“, San Francisco’s municipal transportation agency, has many buses, streetcar, and cable car routes. This extensive network makes renting a car unnecessary. However, if you want to rent a car for personal convenience, here are the best companies:
San Francisco’s neighborhoods are compact and have easily navigable streets, so you can easily explore on foot.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
BART has a high-speed rail service to get you around the surrounding areas and the San Francisco airport. Fares depend on distance but are cheap compared to car rentals.
5 top-rated things to do in San Francisco
1. Walking tour San Francisco
Don’t take a self-guided tour of San Francisco but choose one of the agencies that organize such paths. You won’t need a San Francisco tour map but just a comfy pair of shoes and your favorite camera. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Free tours by foot San Francisco
- Chinatown tours
- Free Chinatown walking tour San Francisco
- San Francisco City Tour Bus
2. Visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is managed by a nonprofit organization and houses a world-famous modern and contemporary art collection.
It was the first museum on the West Coast to be dedicated solely to 20th-century art. Its collection includes more than 33,000 artifacts, including paintings, statues, design objects, photographs, and media.
Among the art museums in the city, it’s undoubtedly, the most famous one and is located on 3rd St, in the Yerba Buena quarter.
3. Explore the California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is primarily a research institute and natural history museum located within San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
To give you an idea of the size of this institution, before 2020, the California Academy of Sciences had about 500 employees and annual revenue of about $33 million.
The museum inside the Academy deals with different topics, from climate change to the evolution of humankind. You’ll also find the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
4. Do you like taking pictures?
Many places in San Francisco offer beautiful views, one of them is the Coit Tower, a 210-foot tall tower located in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. From this tower, you’ll enjoy incredible panoramic views of the entire city and the bay.
Coit Tower is a building that symbolizes North Beach, a vibrant neighborhood also called San Francisco’s Little Italy. Here you’ll find plenty of live music venues (mainly blues and jazz) and international stores. North Beach is perfect for taking photographs at any time of day.
If you love admiring and photographing America’s best street artists, then you’ll have to check out the Mission District.
While in town, don’t forget to visit Angel Island, an impressive naturalistic place designed as National Historic Landmark.
5. Lose yourself in the Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is an iconic park of 1,017 acres and is much larger than Central Park in NYC. Administered by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, it boasts meadows, bucolic lakes, museums, and other points of interest.
Entering the park is free. However, there’s a fee for activities and attractions. If you don’t want to visit the park on foot or bike, you’ll find a shuttle bus on weekends and holidays.
Inside Golden Gate Park, you’ll find plenty of picnic areas with barbecue grills and tables. This makes it the perfect place for birthday parties and outdoor gatherings. Check the fees here.
Other popular attractions
- The Palace Of Fine Arts
- The Painted Ladies
- Union Square.