COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

San Francisco
Travel Guide

Streetcars rattle up and down the city famous for steep hills, hippie history and the toughest place to make a jail break.

Once the center of the counter-culture movement of the sixties, San Francisco is now one of the world’s technology powerhouses and a hub for start-up companies. Although you'll no longer find Janis Joplin or the Grateful Dead singing to sold-out crowds, the laid-back liberal atmosphere remains. Fleece jackets and tennis shoes long ago replaced suits and ties in the city’s Financial District.

San Francisco is known for its distinctive neighborhoods and tourist areas. Hitch a ride on cable car as it hauls you over the city’s steep hills to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you can try fresh seafood or a bowl of creamy clam chowder. Browse bohemian bookshops and soak up some music history in Haight-Ashbury. Stroll through Union Square for some serious shopping, or hang onto your hat as you walk the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

The attractions here are as diverse as the weather. Experience the city’s multiculturalism in Little Italy or Japan Town. Take a walking tour of North America's largest Chinatown. Along the eastern seafront, stroll the Embarcadero, where you can dine with views over the bay or grab some fresh produce at the farmers’ market. Wander through the 1000 acres (405 hectares) of Golden Gate Park. Board a ferry for a trip to the seaside village of Sausalito. Don't forget your jacket as even on the sunniest day it gets cold out on the water.

For a change of pace, head to Pier 33 and jump on board a tour to Alcatraz Island. Listen to fascinating, personal accounts of life at one of the world’s harshest prisons or stroll the grounds and the old cellblocks. Tours are popular, so it's best to book ahead.

Weather in San Francisco can change by the hour and from one neighborhood to the next. For the best chance of consistent sunshine, visit September through November. Winter means wind and rain, but also the best deals for accommodation. The city is crowded in summer for festivals such as the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade in late June. This is one of the biggest celebrations of diversity in the country.

San Francisco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in San Francisco

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is CA $125 per night from Mar 9 to Mar 10

Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square. Lombard Street and Alcatraz Island are ...

4.1/5Very Good! (2,196 reviews)

"Several staff members helped us out at various times with requests and they were all amazing! Very accommodating. Probably the beat customer service I have experienced. Everything was clean and tidy. The lobby was pretty. Most superficial finishes to the hotel and room were nice. However, the cross ..."…"

Reviewed on Mar. 8, 2021

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is CA $102 per night from Mar 26 to Mar 27

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Ferry Building, Lombard Street, and Pier 39. Oracle Park and Palace of Fine Arts are also ...

3.8/5Good! (2,461 reviews)

"Everyone was very nice and promoted safety during our stay."…"

Reviewed on Mar. 8, 2021

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is CA $171 per night from Apr 8 to Apr 9

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Moscone Convention Center, Ferry Building, and Oracle Park. Chase Center and Pier 39 are ...

4.3/5Excellent! (2,361 reviews)

"Great view of the city. Though I did have to wait a bit for my room to be cleaned to check in"…"

Reviewed on Feb. 25, 2021

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Sonesta ES Suites San Francisco - Airport
Sonesta ES Suites San Francisco - Airport
3 out of 5
1350 Huntington Ave, San Bruno, CA
The price is CA $161 per night from Mar 9 to Mar 10

Situated near the airport, this aparthotel is 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from South San Francisco Convention Center and within 9 mi (15 km) of San Francisco State University ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (661 reviews)

"I have a bigger sized family (4 young kids, one being autistic) and finding a good place to stay is hard. We loved to Sonesta so much that we are planning more getaways at some of their other properties. This location is easy to get to and is away from all the Frisco hussle and bustle. There is a ..."…"

Reviewed on Mar. 7, 2021

Sonesta ES Suites San Francisco - Airport
HYATT house Belmont/Redwood Shores
HYATT house Belmont/Redwood Shores
3 out of 5
400 Concourse Dr, Belmont, CA
The price is CA $162 per night from Mar 14 to Mar 15

Situated in Belmont, this aparthotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Los Prados Park, Marlin Park, and Hiller Aviation Museum. Laurie Meadows Park and Casanova Park ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,073 reviews)

"The main reason for choosing hotel was for the kitchen, staff was friendly and courteous, clean room, no problem with parking, quiet area, breakfast with stay was bonus. WiFi was slow."…"

Reviewed on Feb. 23, 2021

HYATT house Belmont/Redwood Shores
Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Francisco
Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Francisco
3 out of 5
2620 Jones St, San Francisco, CA
The price is CA $192 per night from Apr 7 to Apr 8

Located in North Beach, this condo resort is within a 10-minute walk of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, Ghirardelli Square, and Lombard Street. Pier 39 and ...

4.4/5Excellent! (34 reviews)

"Good sized, clean rooms, friendly staff, excellent location for Fisherman’s wharf / Alcatraz & easy access via cable car/F line to Union Square. No in house restaurant but good options within 5 min walk."…"

Reviewed on Mar. 22, 2020

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Francisco
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in San Francisco

Top things to do in San Francisco

Reviews of San Francisco

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
579
5 - Excellent 50.30408340573415%
4 - Good
461
4 - Good 40.05212858384014%
3 - Okay
91
3 - Okay 7.90616854908775%
2 - Disappointing
17
2 - Disappointing 1.476976542137272%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 0.26064291920069504%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Mar 21, 2020

The number of amazing sights and restaurants makes SF a must go to. The people and the culture make this place great Yes, there is a heavy homeless population. But many keep to themselves or their group and don’t bother you.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Mar 7, 2020

I really liked it there, the friendliness of the people and the sight seeing. There is no shortage of things to do and I particularly liked a rock concert I went to at a nearby theater.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 29, 2020

Our favourite city: people, food, things to so, climate and overall vibe. We love it!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 21, 2020

Great place! Lots to do

4/5 - Good

Ja

Feb 19, 2020

San Francisco is great city when you know which areas to avoid. It can quickly get uncomfortable with the amount of homeless people, however, it's a beautiful city otherwise and lots of great places to go and see.

5/5 - Excellent

Chris

Feb 16, 2020

Nice

Read travel guides and advice on visiting San Francisco

5 Iconic USA Road Trips

5 Iconic USA Road Trips

5 Iconic USA Road Trips
Best Baseball Stadiums in North America

Best Baseball Stadiums in North America

Best Baseball Stadiums in North America
Top 5 Food Trucks in America

Top 5 Food Trucks in America

Top 5 Food Trucks in America
Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa

Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa

Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa
Best U.S. Cities to Visit in Winter

Best U.S. Cities to Visit in Winter

Best U.S. Cities to Visit in Winter
7 Must-Visit Landmarks in San Francisco

7 Must-Visit Landmarks in San Francisco

7 Must-Visit Landmarks in San Francisco
Best Things to Do During a Weekend Trip in San Francisco

Best Things to Do During a Weekend Trip in San Francisco

Best Things to Do During a Weekend Trip in San Francisco
Bookworms Unite: Top Five Bookstores in San Francisco

Bookworms Unite: Top Five Bookstores in San Francisco

Bookworms Unite: Top Five Bookstores in San Francisco

Cities near San Francisco