If times are changing, they’ll change first in San Francisco. With a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it receptivity to style and cultural trends, San Francisco’s bohemian charm is unique to most cosmopolitan cities. Modern pursuits like independent boutiques, speakeasy bars and cool cafes mesh with the city’s rich history and the picture-perfect Victorian architecture seamlessly. This urban combination of old and new is sprawled across the peaks and troughs of the Californian hills, held together by an iconic backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay below. The home of social revolutions and good times, San Francisco is the breeding ground for new ways of thinking, feeling and of course, wearing. Eccentric fashion, music and a thriving gourmet scene dominates in this charming city, where the out of the ordinary is, well, ordinary.
Get stepping. A walking city, the slog up San Francisco’s steep hills is worth it, with climbers rewarded epic views of the city, bay and Golden Gate Bridge below. Hikes around the Land’s End national park offer particularly spectacular sights, so be sure to take the time out for this San Francisco day trip.
Explore the alleys of Chinatown. Famous as the largest Chinese enclave this side of the Pacific, Chinatown in this city is best explored through the side streets, just off the town’s main tourist track, Grant Street. Many San Francisco day tours explore Chinatown’s alleys, and are ideal for those seeking a more in-depth look at this city’s unique and diverse culture.
Keep under wraps. From summer to winter and everything in between, layers are your best friend when you’re exploring San Francisco attractions. Always keep a cardigan handy, the city’s temperamental weather darts between rain and shine and back again, and is famous for its foggy mornings.
Weird is wonderful. This city of innovators thrives off individuality, so don’t be scared to be you on your San Francisco sightseeing days.
Good to know
Best time to visit
This city has year-round appeal, with the population of forward-thinking creatives ensuring there is always new things to do in San Francisco’s urban playground. Weather-wise, the best time to take in this City by the Bay is the post-summer months of September and October, when the climate is reliably agreeable and tourist crowds dissipate in the streets and on San Francisco tours.
Navigating mountainous San Francisco calls for good walking shoes, savvy queue-avoidance and a good game plan. These tips should help you on your way…
When considering what to do in San Francisco, you can’t go past the city’s iconic cable cars. The cars don’t just look good, they’re also ideal in getting from A to B, and run between most of the city’s key spots. Avoid the bank of tourist queues and opt for the less-populated California Street Line if you can, or walk a block or two up from the line’s first stop and catch the car from there.
The city’s bus system offers cheap, far-reaching travel. Avoid boarding in rush hour however, if you’re fond of personal space.
With something new to discover on every corner, San Francisco’s a great city for walking, just be sure to wear comfortable shoes - the hills are killer.
Like in all urban metropolis, visitors to San Francisco should be alert for the duration of their stay. Ensure your trip goes off without a hip with these key precautions…
Avoid high-crime neighbourhoods where possible. The Tenderloin in downtown San Francisco is known for petty crime. Tread carefully, especially in the evenings.
For immediate assistance in an emergency, call 911.
Pickpockets operate on the city’s public transport systems so be sure to only carry small change and hold your bag to your front on-board.