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San FranciscoUnited States of America

San Francisco is a diverse city that celebrates cultural diversity at every turn.

Today’s San Francisco is one of the world’s leading technology powerhouses and a hub for start-up companies. It’s a total contrast to its reputation as the heart of the counter-culture movement back in the Sixties, but the laid-back liberal vibe from back then still remains. Casual wear has long since replaced the tailored suits and smart ties of the city’s Financial District.

The Golden Gate Bridge springs to mind as one of San Francisco’s most famous monuments and is not to be missed. Walk along this feat of engineering for breath-taking views or hire a bike and cycle the sidewalks toll-free, at any time of day.

The undulating hills and cable cars that criss-cross the city are synonymous with San Francisco. A cable car is an ideal way to see some of the main sights like Fisherman’s Wharf, perfect for souvenirs, Chinatown, the largest outside of Asia, North Beach, formerly a Bohemian part of the city and Union Square with its excellent shopping.

The attractions here are as diverse as the weather. Stroll the Embarcadero, along the eastern sea front where you can dine accompanied by views over the bay or pick up some fresh produce from the farmers’ market. Wander through the 400-hectare Golden Gate Park. Jump on a ferry to the seaside village of Sausalito. Wherever you go, take some warm clothing with you as it gets cold out on the water, even on the sunniest days.

For a change of pace, head to Pier 33 and jump on a ferry to the notorious Alcatraz prison. Book two to three days ahead if you can, as tours tend to get booked up early. The Cell House Audio Tour gives an interesting insight into what life was like on the island known as “the Rock”, with recordings from former inmates and wardens.

The weather in San Francisco can change from one hour to the next and between one neighbourhood and another. For the best chance of catching some sun, visit the city between September and November. During the winter, you’ll experience wind and rain, but it’s also good for deals on accommodation. The city gets crowded in the summer, especially during festivals such as the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade in late June.

San Francisco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in San Francisco

Union Square which includes a skyscraper and a city

Union Square

4/5Very Good!(249 area reviews)

Known for its charming cafes and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Union Square. Check out top attractions like SHN Curran Theatre and Westfield San Francisco Centre, and jump on the metro at Powell St & Geary Blvd Stop or Powell St & Post St Stop to see more of the city.

Union Square
Fisherman\'s Wharf featuring a city and a marina

Fisherman's Wharf

4.5/5Wonderful!(7 area reviews)

Travellers love Fisherman's Wharf for its popular shops, and you can see more of San Francisco by jumping on the metro at Jones St and Beach St Stop or Jefferson St & Taylor St Stop. You might spend time checking out top sights like Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39.

Fisherman's Wharf
Nob Hill which includes a city and street scenes

Nob Hill

4/5Very Good!(59 area reviews)

Gourmet restaurants Chinatown and top sights from Van Ness Avenue to Grace Cathedral – discover Nob Hill, a destination also famous for its shopping.

Nob Hill
Civic Center

Civic Center

Noted for its shopping and restaurants, there's plenty to explore in Civic Center. Top attractions like San Francisco City Hall and Civic Center Plaza are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Market St & Van Ness Ave Stop or Van Ness Station to see more of the city.

Civic Center
Marina District featuring heritage architecture as well as a small group of people

Marina District

4/5Very Good!(76 area reviews)

The beautiful waterfront views and popular shops are just a few highlights of Marina District. Make a stop by Palace of Fine Arts or Fort Mason while you're exploring the area.

Marina District
North Beach showing skyline and a city

North Beach

4.5/5Wonderful!(124 area reviews)

Travellers love North Beach for its popular shops, and you can see more of San Francisco by jumping on the metro at The Embarcadero & Bay St Stop or Beach St & Stockton St Stop. You might spend time checking out top sights like Pier 39 and Exploratorium.

North Beach

Top hotels in San Francisco

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
InterContinental San Francisco
InterContinental San Francisco
4.5 out of 5
888 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is NZ$200 per night

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Westfield ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,128 reviews)

"Loved the hotel. Service was wonderful and my car was safe in the secured parking garage."…"

Reviewed on 11 Aug. 2020

InterContinental San Francisco
SFO Airport Hotel, El Rancho Inn BW Signature Collection
SFO Airport Hotel, El Rancho Inn BW Signature Collection
3 out of 5
1100 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA
The price is NZ$126 per night

Situated near the airport, this motel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Millbrae Square Shopping Center and within 3 miles (5 km) of Artichoke Joe's Casino and The Shops ...

4.1/5Very Good! (2,378 reviews)

"I always stay here because it’s the best bang for the buck"…"

Reviewed on 5 Aug. 2020

SFO Airport Hotel, El Rancho Inn BW Signature Collection
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is NZ$209 per night

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Ferry Building, Lombard Street and Pier 39. Oracle Park and Palace of Fine Arts are also ...

3.8/5Good! (2,044 reviews)

"Very clean and awesome service! Will forsure go back and stay there!"…"

Reviewed on 11 Aug. 2020

Hilton San Francisco Financial District

Popular places to visit in San Francisco

Pier 39
Image for Pier 39

Pier 39

4.5/5(308 reviews)

This waterfront location has a mix of thrilling rides and lively street entertainment, but watching the sea lions hanging out in the bay wins the day!

Golden Gate Bridge
Image for Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

4.5/5(293 reviews)

One of the most iconic bridges in the world, walk the 2.7-kilometre marvel of engineering for the best views over the bay and the ocean beyond, fog permitting.

Alcatraz Island
Image for Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

4.5/5(190 reviews)

Take a trip to “The Rock”, home to the infamous and abandoned island prison, and discover how it earned its reputation as a bleak and unforgiving place.

Top activities in San Francisco

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour
Image for San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour

NZ$85
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco
Image for Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

NZ$185
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias
Image for Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias

Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias

NZ$250
Per adult
92% of travellers recommend
Escape From the Rock - Cruise Around Alcatraz Island
Image for Escape From the Rock - Cruise Around Alcatraz Island

Escape From the Rock - Cruise Around Alcatraz Island

NZ$65
Per adult
78% of travellers recommend
Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco
Image for Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco

Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco

NZ$248
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour
Image for Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour

Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour

NZ$420
Per adult

Reviews of San Francisco

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
234
5 - Excellent 44.827586206896555%
4 - Good
237
4 - Good 45.40229885057471%
3 - Okay
36
3 - Okay 6.896551724137931%
2 - Disappointing
15
2 - Disappointing 2.8735632183908044%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

28 Mar. 2020

Due to the virus many places were closed but will be coming back to visit the restaurants.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

23 Feb. 2020

Great city and public transportation is easy to use to get around

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

23 Feb. 2020

Lots to see especially tourist spot n plenty of restaurants

5/5 - Excellent

Laurie

20 Feb. 2020

So colourful, so much to do and see, Three days is not enough. The three day cable car/tram/bus Passport is great value and much better than the Hop on Hop Off bus..

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

17 Feb. 2020

Busy place and expensive, but a jewel of a city!

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

12 Feb. 2020

STAY AWAY FROM TENDERLOIN AND UNION SQUARE ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT!! Those places are full of crackheads that will rob you. The cable car was cool but it’s over priced and the staff are rude and aggressive.

Cities near San Francisco

Oakland showing a city, a bay or harbour and general coastal views

Oakland

Alameda

Alameda

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