San Francisco caters to a variety of visitors, from those seeking fine wines and fresh seafood to tourists in town for a parade. There's fun for families, romance for couples, and the year-round mild temperatures help make it all possible. This multicultural and progressive city on the West Coast of America knows how to celebrate life.
Best time to visit: Late spring and early autumn.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the largest and busiest of airports in the Bay Area and approximately 22 km south of the city centre. Oakland International Airport (OAK) is about 40 km from downtown.
Whether you love shopping, baseball, or the bar scene, the fun activities in San Francisco are plentiful. Learn its rich history on a walking tour or take in the breath-taking view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Twin Peaks Boulevard. Sports fans have many teams to watch and nightlife options include jazz gigs and musical theatre.
Alcatraz, otherwise known as The Rock, was the nation's toughest maximum-security prison from 1934 to 1963. Located on a tiny island in the Bay, it tops the list of where to go in San Francisco. These days, Alcatraz offers guided tours of the prison, rife with tales of failed escapes and its most infamous inmate, Al Capone.
The birthplace of Levi's is any shopper's heaven. Union Square is among the best places in San Francisco, as it offers high-end boutiques, large name-brand department stores as well as two giant shopping centres. Don't forget to take home some luxury Ghirardelli chocolate from its flagship store in Fisherman's Wharf.
Sports fans are spoilt for things to do in San Francisco. If American football is your thing, catch the 49ers or the Oakland Raiders. The Bay Area also has two baseball teams, the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. Nearby San Jose hosts hockey and soccer teams, and the Golden State Warriors NBA team is based in Oakland.
A city break in San Francisco must include indulging in its culinary delights. Visit Fisherman's Wharf for fresh seafood and North Beach for Italian delis and bakeries. Trendy restaurants fuse Western and East Asian cuisine. With Napa Valley nearby, you can expect plenty of delicious wine on the menu.
Shopaholics: Snap up a designer handbag from a boutique, or a pair of jeans from the Levi's flagship store.
Sport fans: Cheer on the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park beside South Beach Harbor.
Theatre buffs: Get half-price tickets in Union Square for Broadway-calibre musicals and plays.
Language: The language spoken in San Francisco is English.
Currency: The currency used in San Francisco is the US Dollar (USD).
Local time: San Francisco is 8 hours behind GMT/UK time.
Fly to: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the largest and busiest of airports in the Bay Area and approximately 22 km south of the city centre. Oakland International Airport (OAK) is about 40 km from downtown.
Flight time from UK: 11 hours.
Tourist information: Further San Francisco tourist information can be found at www.sanfrancisco.travel.
Visa & health: Before your holiday to San Francisco, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa for recommendations and advice on visas and health.
Temperature: Averages 15 (°C) in summer, 10 (°C) in the winter.
Best time to visit: Late spring and early autumn.
San Francisco has mild temperatures year-round, though winter can be rainy and windy. September and October are often warmer than summer months, and autumn is less crowded.
By trolley: Tickets for the iconic trolleys can be purchased onboard (exact change) or at cable-car kiosks.
By light rail or bus: Transfer between bus and light rail for districts such as Mission, Castro and Fisherman's Wharf.
By BART: The Bay Area Rapid Transit runs along Market Street. The commuter metro is useful for speedy travel between downtown and other parts of the Bay Area.
By taxi: Taxis are plentiful in San Francisco. Tipping (15%) is customary.
Chinese tradition: With its sizable Chinese community, San Francisco hosts the nation's largest Chinese New Year party. The first day in the Chinese lunar calendar is celebrated with parade floats and an 82-meter dragon winding through Chinatown.
LGBT Pride: One of the biggest gay pride events in the world runs the last weekend in June. The city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities celebrate with a colourful parade on Sunday morning.
Jazz spectacular: Summer kicks off each year with the 10-day San Francisco Jazz Festival. The greatest in jazz, Latin and world music perform in venues across the city.
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