San Francisco - Things To Do & Attractions

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Top Things to do in San Francisco

Ride the Cable Car

San Francisco’s famous cable cars (trams) aren’t just another way of getting around – they’re an institution of the city! Regularly used by locals and a must-do tourist experience, the cable cars retain their old-world charm and are a unique way to get to many of the city’s most popular sights.

Pier 39

A gathering place for locals and must-see for visitors, Frisco’s most famous Pier has everything you could need with restaurants, shops and attractions. People-watch over a speciality Clam Chowder, or wander down the dock and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of San Francisco Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

The Sea Lions!

You could easily spend hours watching the entertaining antics of Pier 39’s resident (and very noisy!) California sea lions as they bask and play around K-Dock.

Aquarium of the Bay

20,000 local sea creatures are waiting to make your acquaintance as you enter a hidden world beneath San Francisco Bay! Come face-to-face with Sevengill sharks, marvel at the magnificent moon jellies and get hands-on with daily animal feedings and interactions at the Aquarium.

Golden Gate Bridge

This incredible feat of engineering is an icon of San Francisco and needs no introduction. You should definitely set aside a few hours to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge – it’s longer than it looks but the views are totally worth it!

Alcatraz

One of the top tourist spots in the US, you simply can’t visit San Fran and not take a tour of Alcatraz – an ex-military prison on an island just of the coast.

Tip: Alcatraz tickets sell out weeks in advance (especially in Summer) – so you MUST book in advance. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

San Francisco - Quick Facts

Language:
English
Flight Time from UK:
Approx. 10 hours
Currency:
US Dollars
Airports:
San Francisco International Airport
State
California
Opening Times:
  • Shops usually open from 9am to 9pm
  • Banks open 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday and some open half-days on Saturday.
Temperatures:
  • Average temperatures in San Francisco range from 11°C in December and January to 17°C in September and October.
  • The sea is at its warmest from August to October, reaching an average of 15°C.
Telephone:
  • Country code: +1
  • Emergency Services Number: 911
Electricity
120 volt

Getting Around in San Francisco

Hop-on Hop-off Buses
  • Probably the easiest way to get around all the major San Francisco attractions!
  • With tickets valid for 48 hours, these handy buses allow you to hop on and off as much as you like at stops throughout San Francisco.
  • Stops include Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Chinatown, Pier 39, Lombard Street and more.
Car
  • Driving in San Francisco can be a hassle and parking costly. If you do need to rent a car, try to avoid driving during rush hour (7:30 to 9:30am and 4:30 to 6:30pm).
  • All the big rental car operators can be found in the Bay Area and at the airports. There are also many smaller or local operators which can be cheaper.
Public Transport (Bus, Streetcar & Cable Car)
  • The city’s signature cable cars, streetcar system and nearly 100 bus lines are all operated by San Francisco’s main public transport system “Muni”.
  • A Muni Passport gives you unlimited travel on buses, streetcars, and cable cars, with different timescale options.
  • You can also buy tickets on-board buses and streetcars, or at Muni stations for the underground streetcars.
Streetcars
  • The Muni Metro streetcars run both above and below ground.
  • They run from 5am til midnight on weekdays, with more limited schedules on weekends.
  • Some lines operate 24 hours, but between 12:30am and 5:30am the streetcars are replaced by ‘Owl’ buses.
Taxi
  • It’s usually easiest to grab a taxi along the downtown streets. Taxis are increasingly accepting credit cards, but always ensure that you ask before getting in.

A cosmopolitan city that’s home to a variety of people, foods, music and sightseeing, San Francisco celebrates creativity and diversity – and really knows how to enjoy itself!

Although the city’s cool, laid-back atmosphere is bound to draw you in, you just can’t miss out on any of the fabulous things to do in San Francisco!

But it’s the little things that really make San Francisco what it is – from the “Crookedest Street” to Pier 39’s famous Sea Lions.

Check out the guides and tips above for our recommendations on San Francisco attractions.

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