San Francisco Travel Guide

San Francisco is considered one of the prettiest cities in the United States, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Residents are proud of its place in history: once a Spanish fort, it zoomed to prominence during the Gold Rush Days and later demonstrated its resiliency after three-quarters of the city was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Today, it is a towering financial and cultural center that cherishes old traditions while embracing diversity.

Built on steep hills, the city is a cluster of eclectic neighborhoods – like the Castro, Pacific Heights, Chinatown, Russian Hill – each with its own attractions and festivals.

Whether navigating the twists and turns of Lombard Street or enjoying the fun of Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco has something for you.

Flights to San Francisco

Flying to San Francisco is a breeze because finding cheap flights to San Francisco is so easy, thanks to two great airport options.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO): This facility is home base for Virgin America as well as a United hub; SFO serves North America and is a gateway to Europe, Asia and Australia.

Oakland International Airport (OAK): This is a popular domestic alternative to San Francisco and is a focus city for Southwest.

Attractions in San Francisco

There is something to see or do almost everywhere in San Francisco, but a delightful experience can be had simply by hopping aboard a cable car or wandering the twisting streets before stopping in a pleasant cafe to people-watch.

Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz – See the picturesque bridge, then head out to the old island prison that housed the likes of Al Capone and the Robert “The Birdman” Stroud. The prisoners are all gone now, but some say ghosts remain.

Aquarium of the Bay – See sharks, octopus, colorful stars and masses of jellyfish; then head to the hands-on exhibits and pet a Bat Ray – if you dare.

Chinatown – Visit the Chinese Historical Society, shop for jade or herbal remedies, tour the century-old Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, and dine on delectable dim sum.

Shopping and Restaurants in San Francisco

Did you get a deal on flights to San Francisco? Good – now splurge on food and fun.

Dining: San Francisco is a banquet, and everything’s on the menu: excellent seafood, fine Italian fare, authentic Chinese, and food from almost everywhere else in the world. While you’re there, grab an Irish Coffee – San Francisco introduced it to America.

Shopping: A wonderful place to get antiques and art, flowers and produce, or stunning hand-crafted jewelry. Don’t forget the chocolate; the name Ghiradelli should ring a delicious bell.

Smart Tip

You’ll recognize the beautiful Victorian row houses at Alamo Square, as it’s one of the most photographed scenes in the city. Take your own souvenir photo of San Francisco here – just drop by Hayes and Steiner Streets.

More Information on San Francisco

What else is there to do in San Francisco? Millions of things – and these sites can tell you all about them:

Only in San Francisco – As this official visitors site puts it, “Cool fog, hot restaurants, neighborhoods to explore, cultures to experience.” And they provide the “who, what, where, and when” on how to see and do it all. Numerous attractions and an “insider’s guide”.

San Francisco Guide – Hotels and nightlife plus sightseeing activities and wine country tours.

Bay City Guide – Guide to custom tours, events and festivals, plus discount coupons.


Updated: January 12, 2016