San Francisco Tourism Guide

San Francisco Tourism Guide

Quick Guide

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Weather

JAN
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MAR
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APR
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MAY
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AUG
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OCT
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NOV
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DEC
10°C

Language
English

Currency
US Dollar

Visa free for up to 3 months

Cost of a beer
SG $8

Cost of a Meal
SG $101 (for two people)

Average Room Rate
SG $426

Exchange Rate – SG $1 = US$0.74

It’s likely that you already have a clear image of San Francisco in your mind, as is the territory that comes with being such a loved and recognisable part of the United States. Perhaps it’s the bridge, the cable cars or the winding, sloping streets. Happily, this is one holiday destination that really does live up to its reputation. It’s all of those things, but it’s also much, much more.

San Francisco is a city of hidden gems: full of depths and talents that few other than the lucky locals know exist. For every major tourist attraction, there’s also something new and exciting around the corner. The bay area might have plenty to celebrate from the past, but it also has plenty new to offer as well.

San Francisco’s Mission District is perfect for street art lovers, whether it’s large statement-making murals or edgy colourful graffiti. Every wall in this area is a potential canvas that’s always changing so you could never get bored walking these streets. 24th Street is a good place to start, and Balmy Alley is a tiny lane famous for murals.

Jaclynn Seah, theoccasionaltraveller.com

Things to do in San Francisco

Top Attractions

 

While we do try to avoid going for the obvious choices, what list of top attraction in San Francisco would be complete without arguably the city’s finest icon: The Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a beautiful, historic symbol of this great city. Does your trip to San Francisco even count if you don’t check it out at least once? Go find a good scenic spot and take a picture. You’ll find it more than lives up to its reputation.

 

Even if the Exploratorium wasn’t the amazing mind-altering experience that it is, it would still likely be on our pick of top attractions. Why? Because it feels like a perfect example of the desire for progression that makes San Francisco such an exciting place to be. But luckily, it is as amazing as you could hope. It’s a simply incredible experience that needs to be seen to be believed and is something this city should be very, very proud of.

 

We’re going to book-end our list with another Golden Gate icon: The Golden Gate Park. This scenic green setting is a worthy top attraction and feels like the nerve centre of the city. It has a little bit of everything that makes San Francisco great. It’s beautiful, a celebration of nature and culture, and has some pretty marvellous museums within it as well. Whether you’re going for a walk or spending the whole day there, the Golden Gate Park is somewhere you’re unlikely to ever forget.

With so much to see, do and experience in San Francisco, any list of attractions would only be scratching the surface of what’s in town. So consider this a starting point for your journey: the tip of the iceberg of just a select few examples of what’s available in the bay area.

Golden Gate Bridge

Let’s start off our list of things to do in San Francisco with one of the biggest icons of the city: the incomparable Golden Gate Bridge was built for $100 million, which may not sound like much but would be the equivalent of a few billion today. It finally opened in 1937 and has since become one of the city’s key symbols. It is considered by many as the most beautiful bridge in the world and is almost certainly one of, if not the most photographed. Of course, it is still a bridge, so as a tourist attraction, there’s few surprises as to what you can expect here. However, there’s plenty of scenic spots to get a good view through the day and create your own special memory of the bridge like so many have before you.

Price: Toll rates to cross the bridge are US$38.75 for 5 axles, US$46.50 for 6 axles and US$54.25 for 7 or more axles
Opening Hours: Pedestrian access to the East Sidewalk is available from 05.00 – 18.30 in Pacific Standard Time and 05.00 – 21.00 during Daylight Savings Time
Address: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA

Alcatraz Island

While there’s no doubting that Alcatraz Island is synonymous with San Francisco, it’s perhaps for slightly less pleasant reasons than many of the other historical sites available in the city. However, it’s certainly worth a visit, especially for history buffs. Here you’ll learn about one of the world’s most notorious prisons and about those who had the misfortune of calling the island their home. There’s excellent tour options too, meaning this is an educational journey as well as an unforgettable experience.

Price: Tour ticket prices vary from around US$35-37 for adults, seniors and juniors, and around US$23 for children (aged 5-11 years), depending on the tour
Opening Hours: Departures to the island are available every half an hour from 09.00 daily, with evening tours available
Address: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, CA, USA

Start off your morning in San Francisco with a cable car ride down to Pier 33 for a visit to the Alcatraz Island for a tour of the notorious prison. Relax at Fisherman’s Wharf for the rest of the afternoon and satisfy your craving for delicious seafood while enjoying the view of the sea lions lazing at the docks of Pier 39.

Zhiqiang, www.passportchop.com

The Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Image Source: Kent Slade

Walt Disney is one of those companies that seem to have been around forever. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a world without Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Goofy and their many other beloved characters. Even the more modern examples seem to have been etched so deeply into our cultural psyche that it’s like they’ve always been there. However, Walt Disney does have a history and a fascinating one at that. The Walt Disney Family Museum focuses on the life and work of the founder from whom it takes its namesake. It’s an incredible journey from one man’s imagination to cultural icons, complete with a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland itself. This is truly an unmissable experience for anyone who is a fan of the house of mouse.

Price: Admission is US$25 for adults and US$15 for children (aged 3-12 years)
Opening Hours: Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday – Monday: 10.00 – 18.00
Address: 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA

San Francisco Cable Car Museum

San Francisco Cable Car Museum

Image Source: Pargon

If you’re looking for a great way to learn about the culture of San Francisco without spending too much money, then the completely free San Francisco Cable Car Museum might be right up your alley. The cable car, as much as anything, is one of the most important symbols of the city. In fact, if you ask someone to picture San Francisco, there’s a good chance that they’ll imagine a cable car rattling down a busy street, so much has this mode of transport become an icon of the bay area. Here, you’ll get to see examples of old cable cars, which bring to life those old images of the city, while providing a whole host of useful information about their history and impact.

Price: Free to visit
Opening Hours: Daily: 10.00 – 18.00
Address: 1201 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Image Source: Michael Fraley

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a celebration of this city’s long running love affair with art and culture. Never one to stay stuck in the past, this museum is a perfect display of the forward thinking nature of San Francisco, which makes it one of the most exciting places to live and to visit for artists and art lovers alike. Even if you’re not exactly the most educated on the art scene, anyone with eyes would find it hard not to be impressed when looking through the museum of modern’s art incredible collection. From Warhol to the façade inspired by the waterfront, everything about this attraction is a feast for the senses.

Price: General admission is US$25, or US$22 for seniors (aged 65+ years) and free for anyone under 18 years
Opening Hours: Monday & Wednesday: Closed, Tuesday & Friday – Saturday: 10.00 – 17.00, Thursday: 10.00 – 21.00, Sunday: 10.00 – 16.00
Address: 151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

Exploratorium

Exploratorium

Image Source: Victor R. Ruiz

Is your idea of a museum a rather dull walk through very important but not necessarily interesting documents, perhaps next to a long and detailed explanation that very few will actually read? Well, then the epically titled Exploratorium is here to open your eyes and mind to exactly what a museum can be. This isn’t a collection of dust-filled artefacts. This is an interactive experience like no other, aimed at bringing a sense of joy and wonder to learning. The hundreds of exhibits set out to change the way you view things like human perception, behaviour, the environment and physical phenomena. It’s an absolute triumph of educational experimentation, and is fun for all the family.

Price: Admission is US$29.95 for adults, US$24.95 for seniors (aged 65+), people with disabilities and youth (aged 13-17 years), US$19.95 for youth (aged 4- 12 years) and free for children (3 years or under)
Opening Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 17.00, Thursday evening (age 18+) – 18.00 – 22.00
Address: Pier 15 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo

Image source: Michael Fraley

If you’re a lover of nature, then there’s perhaps no more thrilling an experience in the bay area than at San Francisco Zoo. Famous as the birthplace of Koko the gorilla – who changed our perception of the animal when she learnt sign language – this is a zoo with far more to offer than a few famous inhabitants. In fact, at the time of writing, this zoo holds over 250 species, which is far too many to list here. Let’s just say though, that whether your interest is in large cats, bears, birdlife, monkeys, seals, creepy crawlies or any other number of weird and wonderful creatures, you’ll be more than happy with a trip to San Francisco Zoo.

Price: Admission is US$16 for adults (aged 15-64 years), US$11.50 for seniors (aged 65+) and US$9.50 for children (aged 4-14 years)
Opening Hours: Daily: 10.00 – 16.00
Address: Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA

Golden Gate Park

It may seem a little strange to say that sometimes a park isn’t simply a park. But if that can be said about anywhere in the world then we can’t think of a better candidate than Golden Gate Park. While not quite as iconic as the bridge with which it shares a name, it certainly makes up for that in spectacle and space. This is an enormous, sprawling and beautiful piece of land, which really brings together the most hectic side of the city with a much more down to earth atmosphere. Home to a million trees, a conservatory of flowers and Japanese tea gardens, alongside events and two of San Francisco’s finest museums (in a city full of them), this is certainly much more than a patch of grass. A perfect place to spend the day relaxing, riding a bike, taking a hike or seeing the sights, Golden Gate Park has something for everyone.

Price: Entry is free
Opening Hours: 24-hours
Address: San Francisco, CA, USA

Anchor Brewery

Anchor Brewery

Image source: Orin Zebest

Having found life during the California gold rush, Anchor Brewery is the oldest craft brewery in America and today, its legacy can be felt all across the country and beyond. However, seeing the brewery for yourself is an experience far more fun, enjoyable and informative than you’re likely to have expected. Not only does the brewery’s history make for a fascinating tale in itself, but it’s also a story which coincides with the ever changing evolution of America itself. And of course, if you’re a fan of craft beer, then there’s no finer place to get it than right from the source, with a tasting session topping off proceedings to end the trip on a rather delicious note.

Price: Public tours cost from around US$25
Opening Hours: Daily: 11.00 – 19.00
Address: 1705 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

Beaches in San Francisco

For some reason, San Francisco – a city quite literally known as the bay area – doesn’t seem to get as much credit for its spectacular beaches as it should. This is a great shame and we can only assume it’s simply because there’s so many amazing things to experience, that these sandy stretches just slip some people’s mind. In fact, there’s so many beaches that instead of picking a couple of individual ones, we’ve instead decided to split it into beach areas to give you a better overview of what’s on offer.

Image source: russellstreet

First up are the beaches you can find west of the Golden Gate Bridge at the Pacific Shoreline. Here you can choose from a selection of great beaches, from the small (China Beach) to the supersized (Ocean Beach). Lastly, there’s Baker Beach, which is known for two things: having some truly astonishing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and arguably less spectacular views of its well-known Nude Beach: although that, of course, is all a question of personal preference.

Image source: Jérôme Decq

Next, there’s those found to the north of the Golden Gate bridge in Marin County. All three options here offer some truly stunning locations to spend an afternoon and are considered by many to be some of the city’s hidden gems. Known for their dark sands, Kirby Cove, the aptly titled Black Sands Beach and Rodeo Beach, are all fantastic choices for those looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Image source: Ingrid Taylar

Finally, we’ve got three Downtown waterfront beaches, which can be found east of the bridge. Crissy Field is split between its east and west distinctions and is well known for being a big spot for high-energy activities, such as surfing, swimming and even kite flying. Finally, there’s Aquatic Park, which is an excellent choice if you’re in the downtown area.

Shopping in San Francisco

There are probably few locations in the world which conjure up the picture of streets lined with small, artful, independent stores like San Francisco does. And that’s certainly true – those places exist and they’re as fabulous as you could hope for. But there are also shopping malls and streets that specialise in different trades. Here’s a few of our favourite retail destinations.

Union Square

Union Square

Image source: Wendy Piersall

Sometimes certain locations have earned their reputation for good reason and the iconic Union Square is a perfect example. This shopping hub is known as one of the finest places to shop in the bay area and, to put it simply, it more than lives up to the hype. You’ll find all the major labels and department stores here, from Barneys to Macy’s, with everything in between.

Opening Hours: Varies depending on store, but is usually between 10.00 – 20.00 and 11.00 – 19.00 on Sunday for major department stores
Address: 25 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA

Hayes Valley

Next up is the wonderful Hayes Valley. This neighbourhood in the Western Addition is just as much a joy to shop in as Union Square but offers something a little more independent and down to earth. Here you’ll find a ton of wonderful little boutique stores, featuring cutting-edge fashion, jewellery and even great ideas for home décor. You can even top it all off with a fine cup of coffee. It’s great local shopping with an added creative spark.

Opening Hours: Varies depending on store
Address: Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

Mission District

Another great location known for its independent stores, you could easily read our last entry and apply everything we said there to the excellent Mission District. However, that doesn’t mean these streets aren’t without their own individual charms. This vibrant neighbourhood boasts a wonderful selection of bars and restaurant to join its one-of-a-kind outlets.

Opening Hours:
Varies depending on store
Address: Mission District, San Francisco, CA, USA

Macy’s Herald Square

The Westfield San Francisco Centre

Image source: jay.tong

From boutique streets to an enormous sprawling shopping mall, The Westfield San Francisco Centre is an absolute juggernaut of shopping. With nine floors of retail space and over 180 occupants at the time of writing, there’s a very good chance that, if there’s something you’re looking for, you’ll find it right here. This mall even includes a huge nine screen multiplex, so if you want to shop ‘til you drop, you can always round your trip off with a silver screen experience and a big bag of popcorn.

Opening Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday: 08.00 – 22.00, Wednesday – Saturday: 09.00 – 22.00, Sunday: 09.00 – 17.00
Address: 865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

Fun Facts About San Francisco

  • A diverse culture: It has one of the largest Chinatowns outside of Asia. With over 100,000 people living there, it’s of the most densely populated areas in the city. This is also joined by the largest Japantown in the United States: one of only three that remain in existence.
  • It’s densely populated: Part of the reason for the city’s high population density is its rather small size. San Francisco is only seven miles long and seven miles wide, hence also the lack of a need for many people to drive.
  • Hilly landscapes: You may notice that this city has a lot of climbs. This is because San Francisco is built upon no less than 50 hills.
  • A different kind of send-off: The city no longer buries the dead due to space limitations and only two cemeteries remain there.

Food in San Francisco

The city has always been known for counterculture and while Haight-Ashbury used to be its epicenter, these days the hipster movement has transformed districts such as the Mission and filled it with third-wave cafes, independent boutiques as the well as the hottest restaurants in town. However, it’s the unassuming “La Taqueria” – which has been in the same spot even before the Mission became cool – that steals the show with its award-winning tacos and burritos.

Bino Chua, http://iwandered.net

Almost as much as its iconic streets, San Francisco is known for having some of the greatest restaurants in the country and indeed the world. And its excellence doesn’t just extend to fine dining establishments. There’s plenty of great humble eateries for you to choose from too. Here’s just a few mouth-watering picks for you to sample during your visit.

Za Pizza

Image source: Jasmine

No matter where you are in the world, it’s always of vital importance that you know where to get a great pizza. It’s one of the essentials – like heating or running water – you’ve got to know that there’s some quality slices available just in case the urge takes you. Well, to save you some time, our first pick is the wonderful Za Pizza, where you can tuck into beautifully thin pizzas with tons of toppings in a relaxed, friendly environment.

Opening Hours: Sunday – Wednesday: 12.00 – 22.00, Thursday – Saturday: 12.00 – 23.00
Address: 1919 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA

Sweet Maple

Sweet Maple feels like the most quintessentially American eatery you’re ever likely to find. Serving up good hearty grub, there’s more to this restaurant than a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. This is a celebration of everything that makes American cuisine so great. Often it’s pushed below the likes of French and Italian in terms of culinary mastery, but after eating at Sweet Maple, you may be reconsidering where you’d place the food of the good ol’ US of A in the listings for best worldwide cuisines.

Opening Hours: Daily: 08.00 – 15.00
Address: 2101 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA

Don of the Bimini Twist

Don of the Bimini Twist

Image source: Cooking etc.

For many, going out for a bite to eat is about enjoying what you already know you love. However, other dining experiences are about giving the customer something that they’ve never tried before and taking their taste buds on a true culinary adventure. This is the case with Don of the Bimini Twist. Chef Don is a fishmonger and home cook who has a passion for seafood, which he shares with his guests, alongside delectable dishes. Bookings can be taken through the Eat With communal table website.

Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 17.00 – 23.00, Friday – Sunday: 19.00 – 23.00
Address: 188 King Street unit PH7, San Francisco, CA 94107, United States

Hakkasan San Francisco

If you fancy something with a little more of an Asian flavour, then there’s not many places better than Hakkasan San Francisco, which specialises in high quality Chinese cuisine. The food is simply excellent and a real treat for anyone who is looking for something a touch more refined than the usual takeaway affair you often find in western outlets.

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11.30 – 22.00, Sunday: Closed
Address: 1 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

The House of Prime Rib

The House of Prime Rib

Image source: Arnold Gatilao

There are no prizes for guessing the speciality of this rather literally named restaurant. Put simply, The House of Prime Rib aims to bring you the most succulent bites of meat anywhere in the bay area. While there’s many hot contenders for that crown in a city so known for great food, if someone were to tell us this were the best, we’re not sure we’d want to argue with them.

Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 17.30 – 22.00, Friday: 17.00 – 22.00, Saturday – Sunday: 16.00 – 22.00
Address: 1906 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA

Nightlife in San Francisco

Image source: angela n.

This is a city all about variety. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll likely not only find it here but find it in spades and at the highest possible quality. The nightlife scene is just another way that San Francisco excels in this regard. Whether you want to have a quiet drink, spend the night clubbing or go see a show, it’s all here.

Public Works

There’s so many world-class club in San Francisco that it can be hard to whittle it down to just a few for this list. However, we couldn’t live with ourselves without mentioning the truly epic Public Works nightclub. Having opened in 2010, it’s now a main staple of the San Francisco nightlife scene. Top of the line sounds, great DJs, marathon sets and packed dance floors: Public Works has all the ingredients you need for an unforgettable night out.

Entry Fee: Varies depending on event
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10.00 – 17.00, Friday: 10.00 – 17.00, 21.00 – 05.00, Saturday: 09.00 – 17.00, Sunday: Closed
Address: 161 Erie St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

DNA Lounge

DNA Lounge is a truly unique late night setting. This nightclub is all about breaking down barriers and redefining exactly what a venue can be. It’s open to all ages, features music from both live performers and DJs, along with burlesque performances, film screenings and more. It has seven bars, two stages, four dance floors and even a 24-hour pizza joint onsite. It’s won multiple awards for its contributions to the clubbing scene and it’s easy to see why.

Entry Fee: Varies depending on event
Opening Hours: 24-hours
Address: 375 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

Marrakech Magic Theatre

Image source: Jeremy Thompson

In a city as creative and unique as San Francisco, it was clear that its nightlife scene was never going to be comparable to your usual run of bars and clubs. That’s where the Marrakech Magic Theatre comes in. This is the home of magician and comedian Jay Alexander, who delights and thrills audiences with his one-of-a-kind show. It’s well worth the money and a fantastic evening all round.

Entry Fee: General admission is US$45
Opening Hours: Show times are Thursday – Saturday at 18.30 and 21.00 and on Sunday at 18.30
Address: 419 O’Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA

The Golden Gate Tap Room

The Golden Gate Tap Room is pretty much the perfect sports bar. It’s an enormous place with screens to match its hefty frame. There’s pool tables too, alongside a ton of other fun games, free Wi-Fi and a wonderful atmosphere. But best of all has to be its selection of beers. The Golden Gate Tap Room is a bar that takes its love of craft beers seriously and is a must visit for any connoisseurs out there or just anyone who wants to try something new.

Entry Fee: No entry fee
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11.30 – 02.00, Saturday: 09.00 – 02.00, Sunday: 10.00 – 02.00
Address: 449 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

Monarch

Image source: Michael Korcuska

We’ll end our rundown of a select few of some of San Francisco’s finest late night establishments with the best of both worlds. Monarch is both a vintage cocktail bar – perfect for having a delicious cocktail and feeling perfectly elegant while doing so – as well as a basement level club for dancing the night away. It’s a beautiful blend of two exceptional bay experiences.

Entry Fee: Club entry varies depending on event
Opening Hours: Sunday – Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Friday: 17.30 – 02.00, Saturday: 21.00 – 02.00
Address: 101 6th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

Top Tips for Travelling to San Francisco

  • Be aware of the weather: While your image of San Francisco is probably one of bright sunny days, and that is often the case, it can get very cold there. Therefore, make sure you bring some warm clothing just in case.
  • Make reservations: With a city as busy and popular as San Francisco, it should come as no surprise that things fill up fast. With that in mind, if you’re going to anywhere particularly popular, then you’ll want to book way ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
  • Expensive doesn’t mean better when it comes to food: While there’s certainly an amazing selection of fine dining restaurants in San Francisco, don’t be afraid to go cheap when it comes to eating out. It’s far better to go to a great takeaway joint than a mediocre restaurant.
  • Take advantage of what’s free: There’s plenty of amazing San Francisco experiences that are either very cheap or completely free, so do as many of these as possible. But better yet, there’s also often free events on, especially at Union Square, so have a look online to see if anything is happening during your visit.

Hotels in San Francisco

When it comes to a city with the high standards of San Francisco, you can expect some truly exceptional accommodation options. In terms of sheer quality, it might have one of the most consistently good selection of places to stay in the states. So, choosing just a select few means that we’ve had to ignore the good and focus on the greats. Here’s just some of the fine establishments available to enjoy in San Francisco, no matter what your budget may be.

Luxury Hotels in San Francisco

Four Seasons San Francisco

San Francisco is no slouch when it comes to luxury accommodation and there are few better ways to kick off our list of the best high-end hotels in the city than with the Four Seasons. This internationally recognisable chain is well-known for being the absolute pinnacle of world-class accommodation and, as you’d expect, their incarnation in the bay area is no different. However, one thing that does make this chain special is that it never feels formulaic. Indeed, each Four Seasons has its own sense of character, which is influenced by its setting. This gives the Four Seasons San Francisco a great individual style and personality. Facilities are incredible, featuring a full service spa, onsite restaurant, health club and much more.

The Fairmont San Francisco is one of the most iconic hotels in the bay area and with good reason. This luxury accommodation has been providing the finest quality hotel experience for over 100 years. Its history is so respected that it has recently been added to the National Register of History Places and is a member of Historic Hotels in America. However, this is no mere place of interest. This hotel feels as vital and as amazing a place to stay as it has at any time in its long tenure. Stunning décor means that The Fairmont San Francisco pulls off a tightrope walk between style and audaciousness that very few of its contemporaries can match. And while the hotel may be old, it’s facilities are far from out of date, featuring two restaurants, two bars, a health club and even an onsite nightclub.

The historic Taj Campton Place has been providing a world-class service since the early 1900s and has rightly earned its legendary reputation within the bay area. It feels as though this hotel symbolises the absolute peak of opulence in a city with plenty of high-end candidates. Facilities include onsite restaurants (two with Michelin star ratings), bars, a 24-hour rooftop gym and much more, all located in the shopper’s paradise known as Union Square.

If you’re looking for an unpretentious and stylish hotel in the bay area, look no further than the Loews Regency San Francisco. It offers a slick and chic place to stay that provides you with some of the best that money can buy, executed with the best possible taste. Stunning views of the ocean are matched by great facilities, including a fitness centre, bar and hotel spa. It delivers all this and more while being a short walk away from some of San Francisco’s finest attractions.

Another big hitter is the Ritz-Carlton. First we have the building itself, which is found in the picturesque Nob Hill: a stunning early twentieth century historical and architectural masterpiece all in its own right. Then there’s the location: a mere couple of miles away from the north beach neighbourhood and even less from Chinatown. It’s also a short drive from the airport, meaning there’s no need for an unnecessary addition to your trip. The building is also as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside, with breath-taking décor and world-class quality. Facilities include two bars, a restaurant, spa, steam room, fitness centre and more.

But that’s not all from the Ritz-Carlton in the Bay Area: far from it. They’ve got one more, truly spectacular trick up their sleeve when it comes to making an impact in the San Francisco luxury hotel market. The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is something very special indeed, and it offers a distinctly different experience, not only from our previous entry but from everything else on this list. It’s the only luxury oceanfront resort which includes award-winning dining, golfing and spa facilities. Really, compared to many hotels on this list, which focus on being within the hustle and bustle of the city, Half Moon Bay gives luxury travellers the opportunity to enjoy a much more laid back, but no less high quality, hotel experience. In addition to the facilities mentioned, there’s also an indoor pool and 24-hour fitness centre, among many other examples.

Mid-Range Hotels in San Francisco

San Francisco Marriot Marquis

Although we might be dropping down a notch or two in price range, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to sacrifice too much in the way of quality. Evidence of this is the spectacular San Francisco Marriot Marquis. The sparkling first impression of the building alone assures you that, even when you’re not paying the highest prices, you can still get more than a taste of affluence in your hotel experience. Happily, it’s as stunning on the inside too, with gorgeous minimalistic rooms that boast great views and quality furnishings. Facilities include three restaurants, two bars, a fitness centre, steam room, coffee shop and more.

Beautiful in the most classic of senses, The Orchard Hotel is designed inside to out and from corner to corner with only the finest of taste. How you like your décor is really a matter of taste but if any style can be described as timeless, then this is it. Spacious, stunning and the absolute highest of quality, the rooms at Orchard Hotel don’t need any gimmicks in order to be impressive. Frankly, there’s some very expensive hotels that could take some serious style lessons from this establishment, which comes in at cheaper than you might expect, with rates starting from around SG$300 a night. Facilities include an onsite restaurant, valet parking, bar and fitness centre.

Budget Hotels in San Francisco

When people think budget hotels, the image in their mind is often one that’s rather plain, dull and simple: perhaps not necessarily lacking in much but certainly not having much personality. It doesn’t have to be this way and accommodations like Calista Organic Hotel are the perfect antidote to the drab and dreary. In terms of décor, it’s certainly minimalistic. Its rooms perfectly utilise every inch of space with maximum precision. But what’s really impressive about this hotel is, despite its simplicity, it manages to retain a sense of charm and a cool factor that sets it apart from the crowd. This is also helped by its great location in Downtown San Francisco. Facilities include a concierge service, free public Wi-Fi, kitchenette and more, with rates starting from around SG$160 a night.

Found in the bright, vibrant Castro District, this is another affordable establishment that, just like our previous entry, proves that budget does not mean a lack of personality. There’s certainly very few who would accuse Beck’s Motor Lodge of that. A charming and unique motel, its first impression may be somewhat basic, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have plenty to offer. In fact, we think you’ll be amazed at just how much space in the guestroom you get for the price, especially considering its excellent location close to those iconic cable car lines and a few minutes walk from many of San Francisco’s most loved areas. Facilities here include a sundeck, onsite laundry, free self parking and more.

For more hotels in San Francisco, explore the Expedia Singapore website and find the best accommodation for your stay.

Exploring San Francisco is a breeze with their convenient Hop-On/Hop-Off Big Buses. With a professional guide on board providing live commentary, it is one of the best ways to learn about the city’s history, culture and see the top sights, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, North Beach, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sian Hoi, https://www.aspirantsg.com/

Getting Around In San Francisco

San Francisco is a unique city, and this is no more obvious than when you first begin to start making your way around the place. However, its often confusing layout is helped by the fact that it’s rather small and, with a little guidance, you should be moving around with the ease of a local. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to take advantage of Google maps and any other tools at your disposal to make your journey less stressful.

Getting Around San Francisco

Image source: Justin Ennis

Driving

Let’s start off with the worst possible transportation option. There’s a reason no one drives here and, unless you’re absolutely determined to do so, we advise you don’t either. Getting a parking space is both a logistical nightmare and expensive. If you rent a car, you’ll likely regret your decision.

Walking

With a city as small as San Francisco, walking is a good option. Do keep in mind though that you may find it trickier than you think unless in good shape, due to the hilly landscape. Most people mix walking with use of other public transport for a combination of ease and cost efficiency whenever possible.

Cable Cars

Muni Cable Car at San Francisco, CA

Image source: Mike Roqué

Getting on a cable car is a great deal of fun and feels like a necessary experience for newcomers in the city. However, they’re not necessarily the most convenient, as you’ll likely soon discover. They can be of use in certain location but there’s usually better options with shorter wait times.

City Bus System

The bus service in San Francisco is fairly decent, with routes that travel to a wide variety of places. They are especially useful to get to beaches and the Golden Gate (both the bridge and park).

Taxis

Image source: Nav Jagpal

These are certainly a better option than driving, although they can be expensive. It’s definitely worth it though if there’s several people wanting to travel to the same destination.

Bay Area Rapid Transit

A cheap, effective way of getting around the bay area, this covers six routes and 46 stations. It’s one of the most useful transportation methods in San Francisco.

Best Time to Visit San Francisco

Strangely enough, fall (specifically between September to November) is considered by many to be the finest time to visit San Francisco. This is thanks to its warm temperatures and due to it being less busy than spring. However, spring’s popularity is justified, with a lack of rain and mild weather making it a particularly beautiful time to see the city. Both are excellent choices, as winter may get too cold for many.

Flights to San Francisco

Image source: Simon Law

When landing in the bay area, you will arrive at the San Francisco International Airport. The largest airport in Northern California and the second busiest in the whole of the state, it serves as a travel hub, welcoming holidaymakers from across the globe to this iconic USA destination. It is also conveniently located just 21km south of downtown San Francisco, so it is easy enough to travel into the city via train or hired vehicle.

There are two airlines that fly between Singapore Changi Airport and San Francisco, with around 15 flights available per week. The total journey between the two airports is 13,596km, with an average flight time of 16 hours and 15 minutes.

Visit the Expedia website to find the best prices for flights to San Francisco.