San Francisco's most powerful industry brings roughly 15 million visitors to the city each year — its picturesque buildings, bridges and landscape, as well as its history, make it a perfect setting for some sightseeing. Tourists should heed the following advice, though: Check the forecast before you pack.

Use this page to explore information about the typical tourist attractions, but if you want to see the city from a resident's perspective, you should read the rest of the wiki!

Getting here

By plane

There are three major airports in the Bay Area: The San Francisco International Airport (which is actually about 13 miles south of the city), the Oakland International Airport, and the San Jose International Airport.

By train

Amtrak is an international rail system that doesn't have a station in San Francisco, but it has a connection to BART, which is the local light rail system with stations all over the Bay Area. Caltrain stretches about 70 miles south to Gilroy.

By car

Visitors coming from the north can take southbound Highway 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge into the city. Those from the east can take westbound Highway 80 across the Bay Bridge. Two freeways from the South Bay lead into the city: Northbound 101 and Highway 280 can get them here.

By boat

Several ferries carry visitors and commuters into the city from all over the Bay Area.

Getting around

Public transportation options include Muni, BART and cable cars. Taxis are relatively easy to flag down, especially in the northeastern part of the city, which is denser with tourists, commuters and shoppers. Visitors can also choose to rent bikes or cars.

Places to stay

Also see: Lodging


There are many hotels in San Francisco. The larger ones are generally located near Union Square, but lodging can be found in all corners of the city.


Visitors can visit craigslist for housing swaps and temporary sublets. These are often furnished, and some subleases come with the requirement that the visitor tend to the resident's pets or plants. Subleases typically appear all over the city, as opposed to downtown, so people choosing this option should familiarize themselves with the Muni and BART systems, or make sure to keep plenty of cab fare handy.


There is a number of hostels in the city where one can stay for a relatively small fee.

Places to go


Typical San Francisco food (i.e. seafood) can be found in restaurants all over Fisherman's Wharf. Adventurous visitors might try hot dog carts.


Bars abound in this city, with the highest concentration in North Beach, the Mission, the Haight and the Tenderloin.


San Francisco has an impressive collection of museums that showcase San Francisco history, as well as those specializing in art, natural history and science. There's also a zoo!


Perhaps the most popular shopping destination for San Francisco souvenirs is Pier 39 in Fisherman's Wharf. Union Square is the city's shopping district.

Shows & Entertainment

The city is full of music venues, movie theaters and comedy clubs.


Visitors to the city often choose to go on guided tours within the city and to surrounding areas (see "trips" below). Some of the most popular tours include a visit to Alcatraz Island, a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and a drive down Lombard Street (the squiggly part, anyway).


People staying in the area for more than just a couple of days might want to consider driving to Napa County for wine tasting or hiking in Muir Woods National Monument.

Related Links