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

San Francisco, CA
Travel Guide

The city with a beautiful bay, famous red bridge and infamous fog welcomes you to enjoy art, history, shopping and outdoor activities.

San Francisco is simultaneously romantic, exciting, relaxing and intriguing. Rent a bike, walk, ride the trolley or drive to fascinating destinations. Tour San Francisco Bay by boat for unique views from beneath Golden Gate Bridge. Stop at Alcatraz Island; its former inescapable prison became famous in the film Birdman of Alcatraz.

At the bridge’s southern end is the Presidio, a former military base, now a large park with hiking trails, great bridge and shoreline views, Andy Goldsworthy sculptures, Baker Beach, the Walt Disney Family Museum and a life-size Yoda statue.

Entering the Marina District, attend a performance at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Travel east to the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood for shopping and dining. Enjoy a chocolate sundae at Ghirardelli, a local favorite for over 150 years. Visit the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park to see ships that sailed more than a century ago. Watch sea lions lounging on rafts near Pier 39. Continue on to the Embarcadero District. The Exploratorium at Pier 15 features interactive exhibits intertwining science, art and human perception. See the Giants play football at AT&T Park in South Beach.

Inland, shop at Union Square, drive down the very crooked Lombard Street and photograph the Painted Ladies Victorian row houses. Stand at the Haight-Ashbury corner, in the neighborhood where hippie counterculture developed in the 1960s.

Enter the Golden Gate Park to visit de Young Museum, filled with art, costumes and textiles. Explore botanical gardens, play golf or tennis, photograph the Japanese Tea Garden and wade in the Pacific Ocean.

Travel north to tall redwoods in Muir Woods, wineries in Napa and Sonoma and quaint shops in Sausalito. On a foggy day, stand atop Vista Point in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at the bridge’s northern end and gaze south across the clouds to see Sutro Tower rising from Twin Peaks, with the rest of the city hidden. When the fog clears, San Francisco’s skyline is a gleaming gem at the end of the golden bridge.

San Francisco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in San Francisco

Top Hotels 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 $109 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1

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! (2,166 reviews)

"Love the friendliness of the staff. How close it was to everything"…"

Reviewed on Feb 23, 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 $84 per night from Feb 28 to Mar 1

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! (2,424 reviews)

"Great experience very organize clean and sanitized"…"

Reviewed on Feb 25, 2021

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Fairmont San Francisco
Fairmont San Francisco
5 out of 5
950 Mason Street Atop Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA
The price is $242 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Grace Cathedral, SHN Curran Theatre, and 555 California Street. Westfield ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,336 reviews)

"Can’t wait to get back soon, best views from the room . Great staff , it was also beet to learn all the history of the fairmont and its guests. Thanks for all the great memories. The lobos family , see ya soon ."…"

Reviewed on Feb 23, 2021

Fairmont 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.

Vacation Rentals in San Francisco

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 $159 per night from Feb 27 to Feb 28

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! (659 reviews)

"They didn't clean my room until the day I checked out."…"

Reviewed on Feb 21, 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 $128 per night from Mar 7 to Mar 8

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! (1,069 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

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.

Getting around San Francisco

The best way to explore San Francisco’s downtown area is on foot, as it is compact and parking is sparse. Beyond the city center, get around using the Muni transportation network. Buy a daily pass that takes in buses, the light rail and the city’s historic cable cars, as well as the old-fashioned electric trolley cars of the F-line. Taxis are available in busy areas but they do tend to be expensive. Visit the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency website. Browse San Francisco rental cars.

Best time to visit

Perhaps surprisingly, San Francisco’s warmest season is in the fall. Aim to visit in September to enjoy the highest temperatures, with daily averages often being as high 70 F (21 C). Another advantage of visiting at this time of the year is that, as school summer vacations will be at an end, there may be far fewer visitors than in the summer months. That means more accommodations and shorter lines.

Popular places to visit in San Francisco

Top things to do in San Francisco

Read travel guides and advice on visiting San Francisco

Image for The Best Wineries Near San Francisco

The Best Wineries Near San Francisco

The Best Wineries Near San Francisco
Image for Peace, Love, and the SF Street Food Festival

Peace, Love, and the SF Street Food Festival

Peace, Love, and the SF Street Food Festival
Image for 20 Travel Adventures for 2020

20 Travel Adventures for 2020

20 Travel Adventures for 2020
Image for The Ultimate San Francisco to Los Angeles Road Trip

The Ultimate San Francisco to Los Angeles Road Trip

The Ultimate San Francisco to Los Angeles Road Trip
Image for 8 Lit Places to Celebrate Hanukkah Around the World

8 Lit Places to Celebrate Hanukkah Around the World

8 Lit Places to Celebrate Hanukkah Around the World
Image for Where to Take a Date in San Francisco

Where to Take a Date in San Francisco

Where to Take a Date in San Francisco
Image for 10 True Crime Vacation Destinations in the US

10 True Crime Vacation Destinations in the US

10 True Crime Vacation Destinations in the US
Image for Best piers in America

Best piers in America

Best piers in America
Image for America’s Favorite Cheap Places to Eat

America’s Favorite Cheap Places to Eat

America’s Favorite Cheap Places to Eat

Cities near San Francisco