San Francisco Travel Guide

San Francisco is an eccentric, bohemian city that opens its arms to all comers and proves extremely difficult to leave. Renowned as the world's most free-spirited city, a holiday in San Francisco sends one on a roller-coaster ride of fun in keeping with the trams that traverse its steep, hilly streets. From its diverse neighbourhoods to its bayfront pleasure-land and the offshore bulk of the Alcatraz prison, it is a city of unique charm and character. The locals know how to have a good time, and restaurants and entertainment venues aplenty await travellers among the quirky, Victorian buildings and crooked streets.

There are so many facets to a holiday in San Francisco, from history to hippies, prisons to parks, seafood to shopping, and art to architecture, that the city can truly be said to offer something for everyone. San Francisco is also rated as one of the world's most 'gay-friendly' cities and its annual Gay Pride parade is a popular event.

Best time to visit San Francisco

The weather in San Francisco stays a stable 'cool to mild' throughout the year. Fog can put a damper on things in the summer (June to August), and rain is plentiful during the winter months (December to February). There is no 'best time to visit', and San Francisco welcomes visitors all year round.

What to see in San Francisco

-Explore San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest of its kind in the US.

-Visit the formidable island-fortress of Alcatraz.

-Admire panoramic views of the cityscape from Coit Tower.

-Visit San Francisco's most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge.

What to do in San Francisco

-Go sightseeing on the famous cable cars, the only moving National Historical Monument in the US.

-Enjoy leisurely meals and shopping sprees at Fisherman's Wharf.

-Relish thrills at the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

-Walk along Lombard Street, 'the crookedest street in the world'.

Beyond San Francisco

San Francisco boasts enough attractions to fill multiple holidays, but those wanting to travel further afield will find many glorious sights close by. The Napa Valley beckons wine lovers; the giant redwoods can be visited in Muir Woods and the Redwood National and State Park; and even the expanses of Yosemite National Park are within reach for a weekend getaway.

Getting there

San Francisco International Airport, situated 14 miles (23km) south of the city, is the second busiest airport in California. Direct flights to San Francisco are available from several cities in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

Did you know?

-The Chinese fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco.

-The famous orange of the Golden Gate Bridge was supposed to be merely a sealant; the bridge was meant to be painted black and yellow.

-In 1906, three quarters of San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake and fire.