San Francisco travel guide

WEATHER AND CLIMATE

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.

SAN FRANCISCO IS BEST FOR...

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.

FAST FACTS

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.

GETTING AROUND

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.

EVENTS

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.