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San Francisco

City Guide and Travel Tips

The 'City by the Bay' sets our beloved laid-back Californian lifestyle into a colourful, flamboyant city with winding streets and cable cars that set you back in time. Cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge with flowers in your hair, feast on seafood at Fisherman's Wharf before planning your fictional escape from Alcatraz.

Top Things to See & Do in San Francisco

  • The Golden Gate Bridge
    A selfie with the iconic bridge is a must-do but why don't you cycle or walk the Golden Gate Bridge for a different perspective on San Fran and the bay?
  • Ride a Cable Car
    San Francisco is the only place in the world where you can still step into manually operated cable cars, so jump aboard! It's the best way to get around the steep Seven Hills and offers incredible views over the bay.
  • Fisherman's Wharf
    Fisherman's Wharf is a hot spot for seafood lovers and tourists. Located at Pier 39, many attractions such as the Ripley's and the Wax Museum can be found here as well as a shopping centre and plenty of restaurants and bars. Hear sea lions bark at the pier and if you want to see more marine mammals, pay a visit to the Aquarium of the Bay.

  • Alacatraz
    Put your black and white striped suit on and uncover the mysteries of Alcatraz Island, home to one of the most famous prisons. Did you know that mob boss Al Capone played banjo in the inmate band? This and many other fun facts await you. For extra spook, we recommend the night tour...
  • Foodie Experiences
    San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city with a a hippie vibe and that means: amazing food with global influences, local eco-friendly produce and options for vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike.
  • The Presidio
    A visit to the Presidio Park is a must do for everyone- mountain-bikers can get their thrill on, beach lovers can get their tan on and history buffs can explore the ex-military base.

San Francisco Neighbourhoods

San Francisco is super multi-culti and its neighbourhoods, shaped by history and time, are unique, urban and simply cool. We are talking vintage shops, hip bars and cafes, breweries and  anything trendy. So go and explore and see what your fave area in San Francisco is.
downtown
Hayes Valley
Street food served out of shipping containers, craft coffee and beer, local designer boutiques and indie bookstores are topped off with green park space making this neighbourhood one of the local's favourites.
mission district
The Mission District
Spanish missionaries once visited this trendy neighbourhood leaving it with Latin vibes that can still be felt, seen and tasted today. The best taquerieas, coffee and cocktails can be found here.
russian hill
Russian Hill
Russian Hill is one of the oldest and most charming neighbourhoods known for it's home to one of the windiest streets in the world. You might get vertigo as you drive down Lombard Street.
dogpatch
Dogpatch
Abandoned warehouses by the docks have been rebuilt and converted into apartments, art studios and restaurants - Dogpatch is as hipster as it gets and the number one spot for foodies and artists carries San Francisco's history in its walls.

Our favourite San Francisco Hotels

2* Good Hotel
• Friendly, clean and chock-a-block full of mod-cons including iPod docks & flatscreen TVs
• Get active in the heated pool or nearby fitness centre
• Rent one of the hotel's bikes and tour the city using pedal power
From $80pppn
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USA San Francisco Hostel
• This downtown hostel offers tons of amenities - a theatre, yoga room & football table
• Stay in a private room, or a dorm that feature exclusively-designed 'privacy pods'
• Free walking tours and daily activities
From $75pppn
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3* Cova Hotel
A modern hotel that covers all the basics, plus extras such as a 24 hour gym, complimentary breakfasts and a shuttle service to Fisherman's Wharf. Feel right at home with rooms that offer free Wi-Fi, plasma TV and French balconies.
From $135ppn
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Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Bay in a day with Alcatraz
Bay in a day with Alcatraz
Seek and you shall find! This tour is for those who want experience the history and culture of San Francisco. Ride in comfort, walk the streets, float on the beautiful San Francisco Bay, and get insider information all day. You'll explore the legendary waterfront, coffee break at the Ferry Building, visit the notorious Alcatraz Island, wander through a historic Italian neighbourhood, visit Chinatown and Nob Hill, and journey across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
From $260
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Redwoods & Wine Country
California's famous wine country lies less than an hour away from San Fran. Pop by the redwood sequoia trees at Muir Woods before visiting three family-run Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries. Enjoy an insightful tour and a complimentary tasting session at each before ending the day at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
From $205
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City
1,2,3 days City Sightseeing
Hop-on and hop-off around the Golden Gate City, all dependent on what you want to see and how much time you have. Choose from the Downtown, the Official City Tour, the Sausalito Tour and the popular Night Tour. Planning on a longer stay? Opt for a one, two or three-day pass incorporating some or all the above tours.
From $88
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yosemite
Total Yosemite experience & giant sequoia trees
Explore Yosemite's best bits, including El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite and Bridalveil Falls and Inspiration Point (aka Tunnel View). Walk among the giant sequoia trees (weather permitting), keep your eyes peeled for black bears, deer, beavers and birds, and enjoy the sunset on your return to San Fran. Overnight option available.
From $275
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When is the best time to visit San Francisco?

San Francisco is cool all year round but this doesn't just refer to the vibes, the city is also surprisingly cold for California with an average temperature of 14°C. In summer the city gets quite frequently swallowed by fog, giving it the nickname the 'Fog City' so the best time to go is in Spring and Autumn. Temperatures will be moderate and skies will be much clearer for awesome views on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Need a little more inspiration? Check out the STA Travel blog!

STA Travel Blog

10 Pictures that will make you fall in Love with San Francisco

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STA Travel Blog

7 of the Best Places to Eat and Drink in San Francisco

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Hidden gems in San Francisco

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