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San Francisco is widely recognized as the cultural and commercial center of California. It is hugely popular as a tourism base for both US and foreign visitors and is highly targeted towards maximizing the enjoyment of the millions of visitors who arrive in the city throughout the year.
Known for its cooler than average summers and it’s steep, rolling hills, San Francisco is ablaze with tourist attractions and impressive landscape. Mixing architectural brilliance with natural scenery, it is a must-stop visit on any journey of the US.
As you would expect, San Francisco offers huge multicultural diversity, and its Chinatown district is second only in size to that of New York.
There is a constant party atmosphere and you can expect a warm welcome from the ‘Frisco’ locals, who recognize just how important the tourism trade is to maintaining San Francisco’s strong local economy.
Arriving San Francisco Airport
San Francisco Airport is the 2nd largest airport in California, behind Los Angeles, and sees a phenomenal amount of traffic pass through its terminals on a daily basis.
However, the airport is fully equipped to handle this incessant volume, and check in and baggage collection procedures are dealt with in an extremely efficient manner.
The airport recognizes that San Francisco is a central US hub for tourism, and all processes are geared towards getting you out of the airport as quickly as possible (in the nicest possible way!).
This also applies to car rental processes. Many visitors compliment the car rental staff for being helpful and extremely speedy in their actions.
As you would expect, San Francisco Airport is geared towards tourists and there are a large amount of shopping outlets and restaurants you can visit before leaving the airport. Prices are fairly expensive though and you may want to concentrate on leaving the airport and locating your accommodation.
Taxi cabs from the airport to the heart of downtown San Francisco can be expected to cost you around $20 -$25.
Driving In San Francisco
As you would expect from a city popular with US tourists and foreign visitors alike, San Francisco’s roads are extremely busy throughout the day and even in to the early night.
The city operates a one-way system and you will need a reliable GPS system to help you avoid unnecessary delays and frustrating native drivers.
It is advisable to park your car in Downtown San Francisco and to use public transport to reach the many tourist attractions that San Francisco offers.
Most are reachable through the use of the city’s many buses and trams, and car parking fees, though slightly expensive, are reasonable enough considering the frustration you may feel from travelling to the attractions by car.
San Francisco Driving Tips
- Drivers are responsible for all passengers wearing seatbelts. If pulled over, it is the driver who will be charged for failing to ensure that seatbelts are worn at all times.
- San Francisco has a high percentage of one-way driving systems. Be sure to have an updated GPS system to make navigating the city that much easier.
- All children aged 8 or under must travel in a child seat or booster seat with a suitable restraining device.
- As with elsewhere in the US, drink driving is strictly prohibited. You will be pulled over and charged if you attempt to drink while you are driving.
- Mobile phone usage of any kind is strictly prohibited. Police officials operate a ‘no tolerance’ approach to mobile phone use while driving.
- Americans drive on the right side of the road. Only use the left lane while performing overtaking maneuvers.
Things To Do In San Francisco
- Golden Gate Bridge – One of the most recognizable man-made structure on the planet – you can’t visit San Francisco and not take a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Alcatraz – Take a tour around the most (in)famous prison in Global History. For those with historical interests, this an absolute must.
- Walt Disney Family Museum – Perfect for those with young children, watch the magic of Disney come alive right before your eyes.
Restaurants In San Francisco – Recommended
- The Bimini Twist – Arch St, San Francisco, CA 94132
- Kokkari Estiatorio – 200 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Front St.)
- Holywood Cafe – 530 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94133-1312