San Francisco City Guide

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Visiting San Francisco

The doorways to San Francisco are always open. Visitors can arrive by car, public transit, ferry or bike. Its position at the waterfront, characteristic hills, compact streets and unique districts lead to the city being very congested, yet very walkable. The established trail network leading to and along key destinations such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park and the Presidio sits outside its urban core, connected to the city by an expansive public transit network. Bicycle lanes weave through the city.

Accordion

A great place to launch your day to explore the city, for either the first time or frequent visitor, is the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero—San Francisco’s waterfront promenade features an assortment of ports, retail, offices and restaurants. The historical Ferry Building with its impressive clock tower is a proud city landmark, visible for several city blocks. The history of the building and the attractions within are described in another part of this series of highlights about San Francisco. Beginning at the Ferry Building, visitors can select from a variety of destination options: catch public transit, bike or walk, to explore the urban core and the city’s many hills; or stroll along the Embarcadero and pass by an assortment of coastal amenities, museums, public art, restaurants and historic destinations.

Public transit in the form of busses and historic cable cars leads riders through the city center, up and down hills, through historic neighborhoods and unique districts, and leads directly into a network of hiking trails located on the city’s outer edge where visitors and residents alike can enjoy a network of short, easy and longer trails in and through Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, along the coast and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Longer trails lead into neighboring communities to the north and south.

The Bay Ridge Trails, spearheaded by a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization working to connect trails throughout the Bay Area, lead you through and out of the city, connecting hundreds of miles of trails in the Bay Area. And many local bike rental shops provide tours—both guided and self-guided—to help visitors learn about the city, its history, landmarks and natural areas.

Planning your visit

weather

Weather

San Francisco prime time is all year round. The city remains vibrant and busy all year. Coastal temperatures are mild, ranging from an average high of 70 degrees to an average low of 40 degrees. A few inches of rain falls on city streets during the winter. Dress in layers (lightweight jacket or sweatshirt) all year long to prepare for morning fog and strong afternoon winds.

transport

Public Transportation

The San Francisco Municipal Railway, known as MUNI, operates busses, streetcars, light rail, trolley busses and cable cars. To simplify transfers and paying fares on different transit lines, the Clipper Card is an all-purpose electronic transit card for use on MUNI, BART, CalTrain, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry. It can be purchased at many retail outlets or at clippercard.com.

A City of Hills

Wear comfortable walking shoes. San Francisco is known for its steep city streets and dozens of hills. Visitors can find guided and self-guided walking tours throughout the urban core. A pair of adjacent neighborhoods, Nob Hill and Russian Hill, offer outstanding views. Another option for high-up vistas is Telegraph Hill; climb 400 steps to reach Coit Tower at the top.

bicycle

Bike-Share Program

A regional bike-share program called Ford GoBike offers public bicycles in San Francisco, East Bay and San Jose. Riders can sign up to become a member to have access to station-to-station bike trips around town. For details, visit: www.fordgobike.com.

transport

Getting There

Most visitors will fly into San Francisco International Airport (SFO), about 13 miles from downtown. A little farther out is Oakland International Airport (OAK), approximately 20 miles from the city center. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains offer an easy and convenient way to get to and from either airport.

Self-Guided Tours

Things to see and do in San Francisco

Blazing Saddles

757 Beach Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com

A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and...

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Blazing Saddles

757 Beach Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com
A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and apps to create an exciting San Francisco Bay experience.

Blazing Saddles

550 North Point Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com

A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and...

Read More

Blazing Saddles

550 North Point Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com
A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and apps to create an exciting San Francisco Bay experience.

Blazing Saddles

2555 Powell Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com

A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and...

Read More

Blazing Saddles

2555 Powell Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com
A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and apps to create an exciting San Francisco Bay experience.

Blazing Saddles

Pier 41, Fisherman's Wharf, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com

A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and...

Read More

Blazing Saddles

Pier 41, Fisherman's Wharf, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com
A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and apps to create an exciting San Francisco Bay experience.

Blazing Saddles

465 Jefferson Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com

A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and...

Read More

Blazing Saddles

465 Jefferson Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com
A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and apps to create an exciting San Francisco Bay experience.

Blazing Saddles

2715 Hyde Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com

A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and...

Read More

Blazing Saddles

2715 Hyde Street, CA, san Francisco,
www.blazingsaddles.com
A San Francisco tradition for 30 years, Blazing Saddles features kids, tandem, electric, mountain and road bikes for rent and sale. The company provides bike tours, self-guided information, maps and apps to create an exciting San Francisco Bay experience.

Bay City Bike

1669 Haight St., CA, san Francisco, 94117
baycitybike.com

Provides bike rentals, safety equipment and guided bike tours for children, teens and adults to help you explore San Francisco up close and personal.

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Bay City Bike

1669 Haight St., CA, san Francisco, 94117
baycitybike.com
Provides bike rentals, safety equipment and guided bike tours for children, teens and adults to help you explore San Francisco up close and personal.

Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate

3038 Fulton St., CA, san Francisco, 94118
goldengateparkbikeandskate.com

Rent skates and safety equipment, kids¿ bikes, mountain bikes or tandem bikes either by the hour or day. Rentals include helmet, lock and map. Repair services are also available.

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Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate

3038 Fulton St., CA, san Francisco, 94118
goldengateparkbikeandskate.com
Rent skates and safety equipment, kids¿ bikes, mountain bikes or tandem bikes either by the hour or day. Rentals include helmet, lock and map. Repair services are also available.

Bay City Bike

2800 Leavenworth St., CA, san Francisco, 94133
baycitybike.com

Provides bike rentals, safety equipment and guided bike tours for children, teens and adults to help you explore San Francisco up close and personal.

Read More

Bay City Bike

2800 Leavenworth St., CA, san Francisco, 94133
baycitybike.com
Provides bike rentals, safety equipment and guided bike tours for children, teens and adults to help you explore San Francisco up close and personal.

The Tuscan Fishermans Wharf

425 North Point St., CA, san Francisco, 94133
www.tuscanhotel.com

Enjoy services of the dedicated concierge team to arrange for tours and dining. Contemporary hotel with classic styling and full service amenities, located at Fisherman's Wharf.

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The Tuscan Fishermans Wharf

425 North Point St., CA, san Francisco, 94133
www.tuscanhotel.com
Enjoy services of the dedicated concierge team to arrange for tours and dining. Contemporary hotel with classic styling and full service amenities, located at Fisherman's Wharf.

Sir Francis Drake Hotel, A Kimpton Hotel

450 Powell St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.sirfrancisdrake.com

Visitors are greeted by costumed Beefeaters at the door, taking you back in time to the glamourous debut of this historic hotel in 1928. Impressive decorations with gold details, rich fabrics, plush...

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Sir Francis Drake Hotel, A Kimpton Hotel

450 Powell St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.sirfrancisdrake.com

Visitors are greeted by costumed Beefeaters at the door, taking you back in time to the glamourous debut of this historic hotel in 1928. Impressive decorations with gold details, rich fabrics, plush furnishings and ornately crafted staircases.

Hyatt Centric Fishermans Wharf

555 North Point St., CA, San Francisco, 94133
fishermanswharf.centric.hyatt.com

Strategically located at Fisherman's Wharf the Hyatt provides visitors an exceptional opportunity to be within walking distance to many of the city's most popular attractions. Luxurious, contemporary...

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Hyatt Centric Fishermans Wharf

555 North Point St., CA, San Francisco, 94133
fishermanswharf.centric.hyatt.com
Strategically located at Fisherman's Wharf the Hyatt provides visitors an exceptional opportunity to be within walking distance to many of the city's most popular attractions. Luxurious, contemporary guest rooms, fitness center, outdoor pool and dining options.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins

888 Howard St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com

Mark Hopkins namesake is one of four railroad barons who helped finance construction of the watern end of the Transconinental Railroad. The hotel is a local historical landmark sitting at the top of...

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InterContinental Mark Hopkins

888 Howard St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com
Mark Hopkins namesake is one of four railroad barons who helped finance construction of the watern end of the Transconinental Railroad. The hotel is a local historical landmark sitting at the top of Nob Hill featuring luxurious accommodations, classic character and breathtaking scenic views.

Fairmont San Francisco

950 Mason St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.fairmont.com

Visiting this luxurious hotel at the top of Nob Hill is a truly memorable experience for business or pleasure. Enjoy afternoon tea, stunning views of the city and special events for all throughout the...

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Fairmont San Francisco

950 Mason St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.fairmont.com
Visiting this luxurious hotel at the top of Nob Hill is a truly memorable experience for business or pleasure. Enjoy afternoon tea, stunning views of the city and special events for all throughout the year. Visit during December and view the famous two-story gingerbread house, lovingly decorated with thousands of home baked gingerbread bricks, icing and peppermint candies.

The Westin St. Francis San Francisco

335 Powell St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.westinstfrancis.com

The Westin St. Francis in Union Square is one of the city¿s iconic historic hotels with an impressive lobby of rich dark woods, marble beams and the Great Magneta Clock. Enjoy a ride on a cable cars...

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The Westin St. Francis San Francisco

335 Powell St., CA, San Francisco, 94102
www.westinstfrancis.com
The Westin St. Francis in Union Square is one of the city¿s iconic historic hotels with an impressive lobby of rich dark woods, marble beams and the Great Magneta Clock. Enjoy a ride on a cable cars stopping just outside their doors or a long, scenic walk uphill. Shopping, theatre, nightlife and dining options are close by.

Spruce

3640 Sacramento St., CA, san Francisco, 94118
www.sprucesf.com

Located in Presidio Heights, Spruce's character and charm welcomes guests. Esquire magazine named it one of America's best new restaurants. The coveted Michelin Guideawarded it with one star. As...

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Spruce

3640 Sacramento St., CA, san Francisco, 94118
www.sprucesf.com
Located in Presidio Heights, Spruce's character and charm welcomes guests. Esquire magazine named it one of America's best new restaurants. The coveted Michelin Guideawarded it with one star. As visitors pass through the foyer, they enter a private dining room, library and cafe. A selection of pannini and seasonal salads are among the local residents' favorites.

Sessions

1 Letterman Drive, Presidio, CA, san Francisco, 94123
www.sessionssf.com

Specializing in serving locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Meats and seafood are raised sustainably. Diners enjoy small plates designed for sharing. Sessions serves dinner, lunch, brunch,...

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Sessions

1 Letterman Drive, Presidio, CA, san Francisco, 94123
www.sessionssf.com
Specializing in serving locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Meats and seafood are raised sustainably. Diners enjoy small plates designed for sharing. Sessions serves dinner, lunch, brunch, beer, cocktails, wine and Sunday chicken dinners. Beer lovers will find a perfect match for their meal from a selection of 100 different varieties of craft beers.

Boudin at Fisherman's Wharf

160 Jefferson St., Lower Lev, CA, san Francisco, 94133
www.boudinbakery.com

Enjoy Boudin's flagship restaurant and bakery at the Wharf for lunch or dinner. Take a self-guided tour of its museum overlooking the commercial bakery. Visitors can also watch bakers knead and shape...

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Boudin at Fisherman's Wharf

160 Jefferson St., Lower Lev, CA, san Francisco, 94133
www.boudinbakery.com
Enjoy Boudin's flagship restaurant and bakery at the Wharf for lunch or dinner. Take a self-guided tour of its museum overlooking the commercial bakery. Visitors can also watch bakers knead and shape dough into alligators, teddy bears, turtles and other animals. Stroll the gift shop to find gourmet gifts, cookbooks, baskets and other dining accessories.

Ferry Building

OneFerry Building, The Embar, CA, san Francisco, 94111
www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

This historic and recently restored San Francisco landmark opened in 1898 and became the focal point for anyone arriving in the city by train. The building is strategically located at the foot of...

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Ferry Building

OneFerry Building, The Embar, CA, san Francisco, 94111
www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com
This historic and recently restored San Francisco landmark opened in 1898 and became the focal point for anyone arriving in the city by train. The building is strategically located at the foot of Market Street, with an iconic clock tower in front as a city landmark for more than 100 years. In addition to serving as the city¿s ferry dock, the Ferry Building¿s contemporary role is ¿a community gathering-place for the celebration of local culture and cuisine,¿ featuring certified farmers markets and more than 50 shops, bakeries and bookstores to browse.

Presidio

, CA, san Francisco,
www.presidio.gov

This former military base is open for public use and recreation. The area is divided into four distinct sections Golden Gate, Crissy Field, Main Post and Southern Fields. More than 25 miles of...

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Presidio

, CA, san Francisco,
www.presidio.gov
This former military base is open for public use and recreation. The area is divided into four distinct sections Golden Gate, Crissy Field, Main Post and Southern Fields. More than 25 miles of multi-use trails weave through the Presidiio.

Golden Gate Bridge

, CA, san Francisco,
goldengatebridge.org

This world famous bridge, opened in 1937, crosses the San Francisco Bay to connect the city of San Francisco to Sausalito and the Marin headlands. Hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists walk 1.7 miles...

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Golden Gate Bridge

, CA, san Francisco,
goldengatebridge.org
This world famous bridge, opened in 1937, crosses the San Francisco Bay to connect the city of San Francisco to Sausalito and the Marin headlands. Hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists walk 1.7 miles to cross the bridge with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Pacific Ocean.

Golden Gate Park

, CA, san Francisco,
goldengatepark.com

Golden Gate Park stretches more than 1,000 acres in a long, narrow strip bordering on the northern edge of the city. The park features more than 100 points of interest, including world-class museums...

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Golden Gate Park

, CA, san Francisco,
goldengatepark.com
Golden Gate Park stretches more than 1,000 acres in a long, narrow strip bordering on the northern edge of the city. The park features more than 100 points of interest, including world-class museums (California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum), Japanese Tea Gardens, Conservatory of Flowers, Music Concourse, lakes, bicycle tours, vintage carousel and playground.
Accordion

San Francisco Bay Trail

California - 301.5 miles

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a colossal effort to create a 500-mile multiuse trail encircling its namesake bay. Along its course, the trail will...

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