San Francisco

Image for San Francisco showing a bridge and a bay or harbour

Visit San Francisco

A city made for love, not walking – San Francisco is known for its great counter-cultural history and incredibly steep hills.

Conjuring up images of peace signs, psychedelic rock music and hippies with flowers in their hair, the San Francisco of today is all that – and now even more.

With such a rich history, the hippy dream is still alive and well in San Francisco but it has been somewhat replaced by the city’s growing reputation as a global technology and innovation powerhouse. Indeed, a tie-dyed shirt would look positively out of place in the city’s financial district! This said, the new San Francisco remains one of America’s most liberal and progressive cities and retains every bit of the laid back Californian atmosphere it’s so well known for.

Given the city’s remarkably steep hills, the San Francisco cable car system is a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way to get about. Of course, it can be very enjoyable to simply walk but it can be surprising just how tiring traversing even a few blocks can become!

San Fran is known for both the distinctive nature of its neighbourhoods and the quality of its tourist destinations. If you’re new to the city, Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place to find your bearings and sample a little of San Francisco’s famously fresh seafood.

The Wharf is also home to several of the city’s most popular attractions such as family friendly Pier 39 with its shops aquarium, as well as the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Wharf even boasts its own wax museum! From there it’s just a short walk toward Union Square to indulge in some serious retail therapy.

Diversity is a very important characteristic for San Francisco, which is why simply exploring the various neighbourhoods can be very rewarding in itself. San Fran is home to the US’ largest Chinatown which can be explored independently or part of a walking tour. Little Italy is also a popular destination for tourists looking for a little something different, something that can also be found in Japan Town.

For a more traditional San Fran experience, the Embarcadero on the eastern seafront offers spectacular views across the bay and countless charming restaurants. If you’d prefer to make something for yourself, the Embarcadero also features an impressive farmer’s market selling the best in fresh local produce.

With so much going on, you may find yourself needing a place to relax. The Golden Gate Park (beside the iconic bridge) features 1,000 acres of delightful green space to wander about in – or for something very different indeed, why not head to Pier 33 and take a tour of the notorious Alcatraz prison island? Thankfully the ferry offers return tickets.

San Francisco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in San Francisco

Union Square showing a city and a skyscraper

Union Square

4/5Very Good!(274 area reviews)

Fashion puts its best foot forward in this vast shopping plaza.

Union Square
Fisherman’s Wharf showing a city and a marina

Fisherman's Wharf

5/5Exceptional!(4 area reviews)

Dating back to the middle of the 19th Century, this historic wharf has been through many incarnations. Today it’s bursting with fun, sea lions and restaurants.

Fisherman's Wharf
North Beach showing a city and skyline

North Beach

4.5/5Wonderful!(125 area reviews)

Better known as Little Italy, this neighborhood was once a hotspot for counterculture and features an array of bars, jazz clubs, galleries and cafés.

North Beach
Nob Hill showing a city and street scenes

Nob Hill

4.5/5Wonderful!(78 area reviews)

Examine architecturally significant buildings, visit the Cable Car Museum and enjoy magnificent views of greater San Francisco in this affluent district.

Nob Hill
Marina District showing heritage architecture as well as a small group of people

Marina District

4/5Very Good!(77 area reviews)

Visit the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and marvel at views of the Golden Gate Bridge at this popular waterfront neighborhood.

Marina District
South of Market which includes a city, a park and skyline

South of Market

3.5/5Good!(107 area reviews)

From baseball games to top-notch art exhibits, find endless entertainment in one of San Francisco’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.

South of Market

Top hotels in San Francisco

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hotel Whitcomb
Hotel Whitcomb
3.5 out of 5
1231 Market St, San Francisco, CA
SG$85
per night
Feb 21 - Feb 22

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this historic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Orpheum Theater, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and Bill Graham Civic ...

3.3/5 (10,718 reviews)

"I loved the decorum and general feel in the middle of San Francisco"…"

Reviewed on 19 Jan,2020

Hotel Whitcomb
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco
4 out of 5
250 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA
SG$169
per night
Feb 16 - Feb 17

Located in North Beach, this boutique hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf, Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, and Aquarium of ...

4.1/5Very Good! (4,993 reviews)

"Great location and with the courtyard games it's a great way to decompress from the city, loved it"…"

Reviewed on 13 Jan,2020

Hotel Zephyr San Francisco
The Park Central San Francisco
The Park Central San Francisco
4 out of 5
50 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
SG$204
per night
Feb 21 - Feb 22

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this golf hotel is within a 5-minute walk of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Moscone Convention Center. Powell and ...

4.3/5Excellent! (6,522 reviews)

"I plan on staying at this property any timei come to San Francisco, everything was perfect! I consider this to me MY hotel!"…"

Reviewed on 13 Jan,2020

The Park Central San Francisco

Popular things to do in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge
Image for Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

4.5/5(350 reviews)

Don’t drive it, walk it. Walking this 2.7 kilometre iconic bridge is a real experience, best appreciated on two legs.

Pier 39
Image for Pier 39

Pier 39

4/5(352 reviews)

Head to the waterfront for thrilling rides, captivating street performers and plenty of souvenir shops. But the main draw has to be the resident sea lions.

Alcatraz Island
Image for Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

5/5(238 reviews)

Now a National Park, this rocky island was once home to one of the most feared prisons in the United States.

Top activities in San Francisco

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour
Image for San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour

SG$67

Explore San Francisco with a birds eye view of the city by the bay. Cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Learn about the city from our entertaining live tour guides as they provide you with rich history and insider tips. Become a Local Expert on a Big Bus Tour.

Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco
Image for Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

SG$161

Join us on a fun and relaxing Napa Valley Wine Tour on one of our luxury coaches. During our full day tour from San Francisco, you will visit renowned Napa Valley and Sonoma Wineries for tasting, learn about winemaking techniques, and shop for wines and souvenirs in local shops.

Redwoods & Wine Country Escape to Sonoma & Napa with Optional Gourmet Lunch
Image for Redwoods & Wine Country Escape to Sonoma & Napa with Optional Gourmet Lunch

Redwoods & Wine Country Escape to Sonoma & Napa with Optional Gourmet Lunch

SG$188

For over a decade Extranomical Tours has been creating amazing memories on our Redwoods and Wine Country Escape tour from San Francisco. This award-winning tour combines two of California’s best experiences: Coast Redwoods in Muir Woods and California’s Wine Country! It’s the only Woods & Wine tour to include all wine tasting fees and a gourmet lunch upgrade.

Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias
Image for Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias

Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias

SG$218

Spend a day soaking up the natural splendor and breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park on this full-day excursion from San Francisco. Trek to a grove of giant sequoias, marvel at features like El Capitan, and enjoy free time to explore the park's outdoor wonders and historic lodges on your own.

2-Day, 2-Tour Alcatraz & Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito
Image for 2-Day, 2-Tour Alcatraz & Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

2-Day, 2-Tour Alcatraz & Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

SG$121

Catch a boat ride to Alcatraz, cruise over the saffron spans of the Golden Gate Bridge by bicycle, and coast down winding roads to the charming streets of Sausalito on this 2-day guided tour.

Private Napa Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco
Image for Private Napa Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco

Private Napa Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco

SG$203

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Stop At: Domaine Chandon, 1 California Dr 1 California Dr., 94599, Yountville, Napa Valley, California, Yountville, CA 94599-1426 This is a classic place Duration: 1 hour Stop At: Madonna Estate,

Reviews of San Francisco

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
302
5 - Excellent 53.45132743362832%
4 - Good
208
4 - Good 36.8141592920354%
3 - Okay
46
3 - Okay 8.141592920353983%
2 - Disappointing
6
2 - Disappointing 1.0619469026548674%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 0.5309734513274337%

1/5 - Terrible

Verified traveler

Jan 18, 2020

Do not stay downtown. Sadly, it is just an awful experience these days. The municipal government should be embarrassed by the current state of this great city.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 5, 2020

San Francisco is a great city and is definitely worth a visit, it does have a huge problem with homeless people, which I found very upsetting, especially when elderly people are begging you to buy them a meal (not asking for money as they do in UK)

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 4, 2020

Even though we didn’t experience any problems, there are some areas In San Francisco that have an obvious homelessness problem which can be quite intimidating and confronting at times. Despite this San Francisco is an interesting and vibrant city.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Dec 18, 2019

Dive bars are highly recommended and much more welcoming and affordable for tourists. Buy a clipper card for getting around on the local transport network as you don't really want to be walking around the streets at night in a lot of the city

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 16, 2019

A fantastic city to visit

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 12, 2019

Great city - loved the vibe the sites and the people are super friendly. Highly recommend it. Weather was great for December really mild - in 10 days 1 day of rain - so much to see and do.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting San Francisco

8 Lit Places to Celebrate Hanukkah Around the World
Image for 8 Lit Places to Celebrate Hanukkah Around the World

8 Lit Places to Celebrate Hanukkah Around the World

Discover how Hanukkah is celebrated around the world.

Where to Take a Date in San Francisco
Image for Where to Take a Date in San Francisco

Where to Take a Date in San Francisco

Romancing our way through the City by the Bay

10 True Crime Vacation Destinations in the US
Image for 10 True Crime Vacation Destinations in the US

10 True Crime Vacation Destinations in the US

For true crime fans, there’s nothing quite like standing in the spot of an infamous murder or strolling the streets once stalked by serial killers.

Other places like San Francisco

Chicago
Image for Chicago
Chicago
Boston
Image for Boston
Boston
Toronto
Image for Toronto
Toronto
Vancouver
Image for Vancouver
Vancouver