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San Francisco holidays

 Sitting on a peninsula on California’s north-west coast, you’ll discover the hilly city of San Francisco (AKA the City by the Bay). This offbeat harbour-side destination is all about beautiful open spaces, a rich arts and cultural scene, and of course, the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge. Plus you’ve got Alcatraz Island just off the mainland. From Union Square and North Beach to Japantown, you’ll discover fascinating neighbourhoods at every turn, each with their own distinct atmosphere. It’s part of what make holidays to San Francisco so special. 

23°C °C

 July to October is the warmest months of the year. 

11 Hours

San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Recommended holidays in San Francisco

San Francisco Marriott Union Square

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • This San Francisco hotel is a block from Union Square. The Moscone Center and Fisherman's Wharf are within 1.25 miles.

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 1857 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

£1441

Hotel Majestic

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • With a stay at Hotel Majestic in San Francisco (Western Addition), you'll be convenient to Civic Center Plaza and Moscone Convention Center. This h...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 640 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

Handlery Union Square Hotel

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • Located at Union Square, the Handlery Union Square Hotel offers the perfect San Francisco lodging for vacationers and business travelers.

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 4120 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

£1076

Van Ness Inn

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • With a stay at Van Ness Inn in San Francisco (Marina District), you'll be minutes from Fort Mason and Ghirardelli Square. This motel is close to Lo...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 235 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

Carriage Inn

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights
  • This San Francisco hotel is South of Market Street (SoMa district), 2 blocks from Westfield San Francisco Centre, 3 blocks from the Moscone Center,...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 310 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

Hotel Vertigo

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • Hotel Vertigo is a sophisticated, multi-sensory escape with appeal to many points of view. Bookings of 5 rooms or more will be considered a group b...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 1428 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

Serrano Hotel

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • With a stay at Serrano Hotel, you'll be centrally located in San Francisco, steps from Marrakech Magic Theater and SHN Curran Theatre. This 4-star ...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 2934 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

Hotel Whitcomb

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • With a stay at Hotel Whitcomb, you'll be centrally located in San Francisco, steps from Orpheum Theater and San Francisco Public Library. This roma...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 3152 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

Chancellor Hotel on Union Square

7 Nights, Room Only
Hotel highlights
  • With a stay at Chancellor Hotel on Union Square, you'll be centrally located in San Francisco, walking distance from Powell and Market Cable Car Tu...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 5381 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

da Vinci Villa

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights
  • With a stay at da Vinci Villa, you'll be centrally located in San Francisco, convenient to Lombard Street and Pier 39. This hotel is close to Palac...

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 1063 reviews

What is included ?

  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service

San Francisco is known as ‘The City’ to the natives, but it feels like a mix of little villages thrown side by side. To the south is the up-and-coming Tenderloin; to the north the picturesque and serene Nob Hill. In the middle is Downtown, where The City hustles and bustles 24 hours a day, and you’ll find Union Square’s shops, theatres and the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art). Head north out of the centre to the buzzing Fisherman’s Wharf, to take in the fresh sea breeze and even fresher seafood.

Downtown San Francisco is wedged between Union Square’s upscale boutiques and the gleaming office towers of the Financial District; not to mention Chinatown, and the Civic Centre’s opera house, museums and libraries. Rise and shine early, or roll out a South of Market club, for breakfast with a side of people-watching.

Hotels in San Francisco’s Union Square are perfectly placed for all your shopping and city-hopping needs, via genteel cable cars. Set Downtown, this is where ladies of leisure come to lunch, and the suits of the Financial District and boutique shoppers criss-cross each other during rush hour.

Great for families (and a big hit with the local sea lions!), this waterfront district is all about seafood and sightseeing. Visit the Aquarium of the Bay in the bustling Pier 39 complex, whizz around on a Segway city tour, and catch the ferry out to prison-turned-nature reserve Alcatraz.

San Francisco holidays will take you to one of the world’s most iconic cities. This spectacular place is perhaps best known as the home of the breath-taking Golden Gate Bridge, and you’ll also find the famous Alcatraz Island prison a short ferry ride from the mainland. You can enjoy superb views from some of the city’s parks like Alamo Square Park, where you can see the Painted Ladies (a row of colourful Victorian townhouses) with modern downtown skyscrapers looming behind them. Travelling with the family? You’ll love the Walt Disney Family Museum and the San Francisco Zoo, where there’s plenty to see and do for the kids.

An absolute international marvel, the Golden Gate suspension bridge spans 1.7 miles across San Francisco Bay. Just one look and you’ll see why it’s the city’s most photographed icon, and why it’s the ‘money shot’ in so many disaster movies! Cycle over the bridge and you’ll discover the glorious Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is perfect for a picnic in the sunshine. Alcatraz Island is another top attraction; as well as exploring the former prison (which is supposed to be haunted) you can enjoy fantastic city views from its rocky outpost. Fancy a spot of shopping? Family-friendly Noe Valley is brimming with eclectic boutiques, toy stores and cafés.

This city’s bursting with iconic venues. Jazz and blues fans will love to soak up the atmosphere at Jazz at Pearl’s, Yoshi’s, and John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room. The Mission District (the city’s oldest neighbourhood) has become one of the trendiest areas for the current San Francisco music scene. Valencia Street has become a hotbed for energetic music clubs, offering everything from punk to funk. The century-old Great American Music Hall in Tenderloin is still one of the best places for seeing live music. San Francisco is a gay-friendly city, and there are plenty of gay clubs throughout the Downtown area.

Looking for the finest seafood in town? Hop on a boat over the bay to Sausalito for super-fresh crabs, lobsters, and sea bass (Scoma’s and Seafood Peddler are two firm favourites). There are lots of restaurants to choose from at the bustling Pier 39 leisure complex on Fisherman’s Wharf, down on the seafront. If you need a caffeine boost then the hip neighbourhood of Haight-Ashbury is the place to go. You’ll also find yourself on the doorstep of California’s wine country during your San Francisco holiday, so why not take a trip to the beautiful Napa Valley?

If you’ve never been one to take the straight and narrow path, you’ll love Lombard Street. It’s known as the most crooked street in the world and features steep hills, sharp turns and a line-up of beautiful Victorian mansions. You’ll want to drive carefully as it’ll feel like you’ve jumped onto a thrilling rollercoaster ride. Its steep slope is sure to send chills running up and down your spine, but it’s well worth a visit and is often a key attraction in many of the city tours. You could also play it safe and explore the jagged street on foot, but if you really want to experience the thrill of it, you’ll need to hop in a car.

In the mood for some downtime? Head over to the beautiful Marina and enjoy the mesmerising music played by the Wave Organ. There’s no musician in sight, it’s just a very unique and innovative art installation that accurately depicts the movement of the waves to create enchanting songs. Designed by Peter Richards, this unusual sculpture has 25 organ pipes in total. Each one is located at different elevations, which allows it to capture the sound of the rising and falling tides. It’s known to be a very peaceful and almost magical experience, inviting you to become completely submerged in its rhythm as you overlook the San Francisco Bay.

The Alcatraz Island is home to one of the world’s most legendary prisons. From 1934 to 1963, the federal penitentiary kept the streets of San Francisco safe from notorious criminals such as Robert Stroud, also known as the “Birdman” and Al “Scarface” Capone. Nowadays, it’s a lot less dark and mysterious and more beautiful than ever. Nesting seabirds rest in rock crevasses while rare plants grow in the stunning gardens. Back in its days of operation, trusted inmates were able to spend time in the gardens before returning to their dreary cells for the night. You can take an intriguing tour of Alcatraz Island and its prison, following a park ranger through its grounds before exploring inside the prison. Watch out though, you never know when an escaped prisoner could be lurking in the dark.

San Francisco is best for...

Explorers: Tick the city’s famous landmarks off your list during San Francisco holidays; don’t miss the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island prison, and Muir Woods National Monument.

Wine buffs: This place is the gateway to California’s stunning wine country. Take a tour of the famous Napa Valley and experience the region’s best vineyards (and their fruits) for yourself.

Families: It’s a child-friendly city with all kinds of fun-filled attractions for kids of all ages, including The Walt Disney Family Museum, where you can discover the origins of Mickey Mouse.


Fast facts


Language: English.

Currency: American Dollar ($).

Local time: 8 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 13 miles south of the city.

Flight time from UK: 11 hours.

Tourist information: Find further California tourist information here before travelling on holiday.

Visa & health: Ahead of your holidays to San Francisco, it’s well worth clicking here for visas and health recommendations and advice.


Getting around

By Muni: Do as locals do and make your way around the city on the Muni public transport system, which includes buses, metros, cable cars and more.

By streetcar: Hop on board an historic streetcar at any of its stops. This fabulous fleet of elegant bus-like vehicles come from all over the world. It’s also a great way to see the sights of the city and to get around on a budget.

By hire car: If you want to freedom to explore beyond the city, it’s well worth hiring a car. You could begin your all-American road trip right here.


Weather and climate

Temperatures: Highs of 23°C in summer and lows of 7°C in the winter

Best time to visit: July to October is the warmest time of the year.

The city sits in a bay, and has its very own unique microclimate. That means the weather can look and feel very different across the city, with the early morning Bay fogs almost legendary. Summer and early autumn are pleasant and dry, while winter tends to be cooler and rainy. It’s worth packing a few layers to cover all bases; temperatures can rise and fall quickly.


Events

Cherry Blossom Festival: Every April, Japantown comes to life in this amazing festival. The whole neighbourhood is bursting with colour as the cherry blossom trees bloom. This festival celebrates Japanese and Japanese-American culture, featuring music, performers and more.

San Francisco International Film Festival: Also held in April, The SFIFF is one of the top film events in the country, and a big hit with indie film makers. Fans of the silver screen flock to the city to experience the longest-running film festival in the US.

Gay Pride Parade: This world-famous parade has been held in Castro since the 1970s and takes place in June every year.


 More about San Francisco
San Francisco OverviewThings To DoWeatherPhotosFAQSCurrency

Weather in San Francisco
Jan, Feb, March, April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec

Resorts near San Francisco
Los Angeles

Similar destinations
Mexico, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Spain

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