It's obvious where the freeways are on the map. It's not so obvious where the other major corridors are, and your GPS unit doesn't really know this either. When you're building your internal map of how to get places, you should know about these routes.
- Fell Street / Oak Street attach to the Central Freeway and are one of the more straightforward, fast ways to cross the city east/west, especially outside of rush hour.
- South Van Ness / Van Ness / Lombard Street connect the freeway and the Golden Gate Bridge.
19th / Park Presidio run along the west side of the city, connecting 280 with the Golden Gate Bridge without you having to run through downtown.
- 19th can be pretty painful during rush hours; you can divert on Brotherhood Way and take Lake Merced / Sunset. Or even Great Highway, if you're feeling scenic.
- Geary Boulevard runs through the Richmond.
- Sloat, Ocean Avenue and Geneva are your east/west crossings on the south side of the city.
- Upper Market (which is not a traffic nightmare like downtown Market) turns into Portola, cutting a big diagonal across that part of the city.
- O'Shaughnassy Boulevard connects with Portola on top of the mountain, then can take you into the inner sunset via Woodside and Laguna Honda. Clarendon is the sneaky back way into the Haight and the Castro.
- San Jose Avenue connects 280 with the Mission, before you have to deal with the freeway interchange and Bay Bridge traffic. (If that's not an issue, just get off at Cesar Chavez).