San Francisco is a wonderfully unique city full of life and color. Home to the famous former prison Alcatraz; it is also known for the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Fisherman’s Wharf. From stunning city landmarks to secret prohibition bars, there are endless exciting things to do in San Francisco.
For information on currency, vaccinations, best time to travel, budget tips, and more visit our page on Traveling America.
How To Get There
San Francisco is located in Northern California along the west coast of the United States. It is easily accessible by The San Francisco International Airport, by car, or by bus from several cities nearby.
Best Time To Travel
The best time of year to visit San Francisco is from April to June or September to October. The crowds are more manageable than in the summer and the weather is usually actually warmer. July and August are typically cold and windy whereas San Francisco is known for its Indian summers in September and October. January and February will offer the cheapest time to travel but the weather will be cold.
Average Daily Budget
Your budget in San Francisco will vary greatly depending on where you stay and what you choose to do. It is possible to do SF on a budget; and it is also very possible to spend a pile of money!
San Francisco on a Budget: $125-150 USD per day. Staying in an Airbnb, eating 1 meal per day at home, and walking/taking the buses everywhere.
- Budget Accommodation: $70 USD/ night ($140 USD/night split between 2 people)
- Subway/ Walking: $5 USD per day
- Entrance fees/tours: $15 USD per day
- Food: $35-50 USD per day
San Francisco Mid-Range Travel: $215-290+ USD per day. Staying in a hotel, eating all meals out, taking tours, going to multiple museums, shows, and taking taxis everywhere.
- Hotel Accommodation: $100+ USD/ night ($200+ USD/ night split between 2 people)
- Taxis and bus tours: $25-50 USD per day
- Entrance fees/ tours: $30-40 USD per day
- Food: $60-100 USD per day
Walking: It is possible to walk almost everywhere you want to go in San Francisco. It does take extra time and your feet will be tired at the end of the day but what better way to see the city and work off all that delicious food?
Buses: The bus system in SF is excellent! It is efficient, cheap, and easy to navigate. You can get a daily pass for around $5 USD per day, but keep in mind this does not include the tourist cable cars.
Cabs: Taxis in San Francisco are typically the most expensive method of transportation. It`s a better call to take an Uber or a Lyft!
Tours: The Big Bus Tour is one of the most popular tours. It can be a great option for someone who doesn’t want to do a ton of walking or if you are on a tight timeline. The price is $49 USD per day and you can hop on and hop off as much as you like. Be prepared to wait in lines to re-board the buses especially in the heavy tourist areas.
Airbnb: Airbnb can be a good option in San Francisco. You can typically get a great apartment in a central location for about $250 USD per night. Booking early is key to getting the best deal and the best location.
Hotels: It is tough to find a hotel for every price range in SF. If you are looking to save some money you might consider staying slightly outside of the main tourist areas. If you want to be right in the action a hotel is going to cost you upwards of $350 USD per night.
- Walk as much as possible
- Rent a place with a kitchen and cook 1 meal at home per day
- Book your hotel or Airbnb as early as possible
- Don`t shop or eat at Fisherman`s Wharf
- Pan your days in areas of the city to avoid numerous taxi/uber rides
- Get familiar with the local bus system – it`s MUCH cheaper than the tourist trams!