Looking for the most amazing vacation destination? Well, if you’re thinking of going to a destination filled with the perfect combination of culture, entertainment, beauty, and relaxation, there’s truly no better place than San Francisco.
You might be wondering, why is San Francisco such a great travel destination? Don’t dwell on it too much, because that’s exactly what we’re here to tell you.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the reasons for San Francisco’s immense popularity as well as the best time to visit San Francisco. We’re also going to talk about the hotels, accommodation, places to visit and top tourist spots in the city so you have the perfect travel guide to look to, when you’re in the area. So, sit back, relax, and read this article till the end.
Article's table of contents
- About San Francisco
- What is San Francisco Known For?
- Best Time to Visit San Francisco
- From March to May
- From June to August
- From September to February
- Airports in San Francisco
- Hotels in San Francisco
- Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel
- Things to Do in San Francisco
- Top Tourist Destinations
About San Francisco
San Francisco is one of the most famous cities in the northern California region of the United States. It is the cultural, financial and commercial center of the state of California.
Area of the city
The city and county of San Francisco are pretty huge in the area. The entire span of the city is about 231.91 square miles overall which is incredibly great in comparison to some of the other cities in the state.
The population of San Francisco according to an estimate in 2019 is around 881,000. It is the 4th most populous city in California and 16th most in all of the United States.
When we talk about tourism, in 2019, about 26.2 million people visited San Francisco which is an amazing number, which is why tourism is one of the biggest industries in San Francisco.
What is San Francisco Known For?
This question must be in your mind right now. Well, apart from being the financial and business center of California, San Francisco is famous for its delicious food, top-notch restaurants, high-quality tourism, beautiful architecture and amazing natural venues.
These are some of the things that bring tourists back to the city again and again for a good time. But the things San Francisco is known about are the universities, sports, beaches, and the amazing Chinatown region. Let’s take a look at why San Francisco is known for all these things.
Universities in San Francisco
San Francisco is a world famous hub of educational institutions and universities. There are many incredibly treasured and historic institutions operating within this city. One example of such an institution is the prized and historic Stanford University, CA offering many incredible degrees and bachelors to students all over the world even at Scholarships.
If you’re thinking of moving to San Francisco for educational purposes, there are many other options as well. There’s the San Francisco State University, the University of San Francisco among others. So, don’t hesitate seeking educational prowess from this renowned city.
Sports in San Francisco
When it comes to sports, San Francisco and its people are known to be true fanatics and if you ever visit the city, we highly recommend that you watch one of the games to truly immerse yourself in the incredible experience.
Whether its baseball or American football, San Francisco is far ahead of other cities by a mile. The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most popular American football teams based in the Bay Area and watching one of their games in the many sports grounds in the city is truly a treat for tourists.
In Baseball, the San Francisco Giants is another greatly popular name in United States and we all know how Americans love their baseball. So, all in all, you can say that San Francisco is a very sport loving city and its people are very passionate about the games as well.
On the other hand, If we talk about basketball we have to talk about the Golden State Warriors and their huge dinasty in the last couple of years, becoming one of the most dangerous basketball teams in the NBA.
Beaches in San Francisco
Since San Francisco is surrounded by the waters of the San Francisco Bay, there are a lot of amazing beaches in the Bay Area and that’s one of the many great things about San Francisco, California.
From the beautiful Baker beach to the incredible Mile Rock Beach, you’re going to see a lot of locals and tourists having the time of their lives enjoying in the somber temperature of San Francisco. These beaches are famous all around the world and give San Francisco a better name.
Chinatowns can be found throughout different cities all over the United States. The town usually celebrates Chinese culture, food and people and holds a lot of famous monuments, restaurants and festivals of the Chinese people and all kinds of people can visit and be a part of these activities together.
Arguably the best Chinatown in the U.S is the Chinatown region in San Francisco beyond the iconic Dragon’s Gate. It features traditional herbalists, bakeries, restaurants, street vendors, fruits, bars and karaoke clubs. It’s all that a tourist would ever ask for and it is what San Francisco is known for.
Despite the fact that San Francisco is filled with busy roads with multiple kinds of vehicles, factories and business centers, one thing that miraculously remains high-quality within the city is the air.
The quality of air is very good in the city. San Francisco achieved the target of less than 10μg/m3 PM2.5 concentration and the city averaged at about 7.1 annual. This is incredible news for all the people of San Francisco.
In fact, it is great news for all the tourists who’re thinking of visiting the city, the quality of air will be great for visitors and it will be a fresh change in comparison to some of the other busy cities of the United States of America. So, another great thing that the city is known for is the quality of air.
Best Time to Visit San Francisco
If you’re looking for an incredible vacation in the Golden Gate city, you can visit any time of the year. However, if you’re looking for the best experience for the least prices, you’re going to have to schedule your visit for the best time to visit San Francisco.
In our opinion, the best time to visit San Francisco is between September and February. However, depending upon the number of tourists, accommodation, tourism prices and weather, tourism experiences ups and downs throughout the year. Let’s take a look at tourism in San Francisco in different periods of the year.
From March to May
Between the months of March and May lies the spring time in San Francisco, California. The tourism scene is fairly moderate throughout spring in this region. Let’s take a look at the weather, tourism, accommodation and overall experience in this period of the year.
The weather is mild within springtime in the Golden Gate city. You can expect dry weather without any significant rain which does make the city the perfect spot for travelling and vacation and people know it.
March weather in San Francisco goes from 62ºF (17ºC) the highest to 49ºF (10ºC) the coldest.
April weather in San Francisco goes from 63ºF (17ºC) the highest to 50ºF (10ºC) the coldest.
May weather in San Francisco goes from 64ºF (18ºC) the highest to 51ºF (11ºC) the coldest.
When it comes to tourism prices, visiting attractions, restaurant rates, and overall prices in the area, along with the ticket prices, you can expect higher than optimal rates but they’re still quite a lot less than peak tourism season. That’s why springtime is a viable travelling option to San Francisco.
In the months of spring, you won’t have much difficulty finding accommodation but if you’re looking for the perfect place, you’re going to have to struggle a little. Plus the overall prices of the hotels and rooms are going to be a little expensive since peak season will be approaching.
The overall tourism experience in springtime will be alright. You’ll have to pay a little more than you’d be comfortable with but the weather and everything will be fine. We’d still suggest waiting a while if you’ve got time, so you can have a great tourism experience of San Francisco.
From June to August
Within the months of June and August lies summertime in the city. This is the peak of tourism season and you’re going to see a lot of tourists all around the city in this period of the year. Let’s take a look at the whole tourism scene in the months between June and August.
The weather is pretty great for tourism in this time of the year. It is warm, dry, however it might rain sometimes but overall, the weather is incredible for tourists visiting from all over the world having fun and enjoying different activities within the city.
June weather in San Francisco goes from 67ºF (19ºC) the highest to 53ºF (12ºC) the coldest.
July weather in San Francisco goes from 67ºF (19ºC) the highest to 54ºF (12ºC) the lowest.
August weather in San Francisco goes from 68ºF (19ºC) the highest to 55ºF (12ºC) the coldest.
The tourism prices around this time of the year are going to be at the peak. Hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and everything else is going to be very expensive. So, monetarily this time of the year isn’t very great for you to travel to San Francisco.
Hotels and rooms aren’t going to be easily found in this time of the year. You’ll rarely find a good hotel for cheap in this time. Otherwise, all the hotels will either be packed or the prices will be so jacked up that all the budget you saved for the fun part of the trip will be used up in the accommodation.
If you’re thinking of visiting San Francisco in this time, you’re going to experience jacked up tourism prices and difficult accommodation. So, we believe that you should actually wait up until the colder season arrives so you can relax and have an incredible time while saving some money as well in San Francisco.
From September to February
Fall time lasts between September and February in the San Francisco region. There aren’t going to be many tourists in the area in this time. Let’s take a look at the tourism scene throughout this time of the year.
The weather in this period, despite expectations, is fairly mild and sometimes warm as well. That’s something tourists don’t expect and that’s why most tourists avoid going to San Francisco in this time. We’re here to give you a bit of advantage with this insight.
September weather in San Francisco goes from 71ºF (21ºC) the highest to 56ºF (13ºC) the coldest.
October weather in San Francisco goes from 70ºF (21ºC) the highest to 55ºF (13ºC) the lowest.
November weather in San Francisco goes from 64ºF (18ºC) the highest to 51ºF (11ºC) the coldest.
December weather in San Francisco goes from 58ºF (14ºC) the highest to 47ºF (8ºC) the lowest.
January weather in San Francisco goes from 58ºF (14ºC) the highest to 47ºF (8ºC) the coldest.
February weather in San Francisco goes from 61ºF (16ºC) the highest to 48ºF (9ºC) the coldest.
Since the number of tourists reduces greatly when the fall time comes to the San Francisco region, the tourism prices including the food, tickets, hotels and transport becomes much cheaper which are all aspects of a great overall tourist experience if you’re looking for a cheap and epic visit.
If you take a look at the hotels and the accommodation in this time, you’re going to face no difficulty at all and the prices of the rooms are going to be much cheaper than the peak season as well. So, you won’t face any problems in this matter.
Visiting San Francisco, CA in this time of the year is going to be an epic adventure. It is truly the best time to visit San Francisco. The prices will be low, weather will be fine and the overall experience will be amazing. So, we’d definitely recommend you travel and tour the city with your friends and family.
Airports in San Francisco
If you’re thinking of visiting this beautiful city, you’re definitely going to want to know about the flight situation to the area. Lucky for you, San Francisco comes with a few landing options in terms of airports to help you get to and from the city without any delays and problems.
The city basically has one main airport in the form of the San Francisco International Airport. However, there are airports situated in nearby cities which offer cheaper and easier flights as well. From there you can reach the city by vehicular transport without a problem. Let’s take a look at all the airport options nearby the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Oakland International Airport
- Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport
- San Jose International Airport
For your ease, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about each of the airports options in the San Francisco area, so, you don’t have a problem booking your vacation flights to the city.
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is an international airport down south 13 miles from the main San Francisco city. It can be used to travel throughout North America and even in Europe and Asia.
With a beautiful view of the Bay Area, being connected to the waters, when flying over this airport in the sunset, you’re going to see the Bay Area and the beautifully aesthetic city lights making the perfect scene for tourists and visitors.
It is the largest airport in the Bay Area and the second largest after LAX Airport in all of California. Over 47 airlines fly using this airport and around 56 million passengers travelled through the San Francisco International Airport in the year 2017 alone.
You should choose this airport for landing and flying from if you’re looking for a beautiful view or you’re trying to get to Europe or Asia. You’ll have a wonderful time.
However, one concern that people have is the amount of fog, especially at night around the airport is too much which can sometimes cause delay and flight cancellation. In that case, you should choose the other airports in the vicinity of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Oakland International Airport
Situated across the Bay Area a little further from San Francisco, the Oakland International Airport is 10 miles south of Downtown Oakland and can be used as a landing site for San Francisco tourists.
It is pretty large in size and hosts multiple airlines and in 2019, about 13 million passengers flew to and from the Oakland International Airport, so you can take this route as well if you’re visiting San Francisco for the fun and entertainment aspect.
It is the third largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area after the SFO and SJC and allows travel within the United States and also cargo shipment to and from China and Japan.
The views however, when you’ll be landing won’t be as great as the beautiful views of the San Francisco International Airport but you’re going to have to compromise a bit in that matter.
In case of a foggy evening in San Francisco, you can take this route and then hire a taxi to drop you to the other side of the Bay Area in the San Fran city so you can have an incredibly time there. You also might find cheaper flights to this airport in comparison to SFO.
Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport
Located in Santa Rosa, the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport is a regional airport which is good for nation-wide travelling. It is a great landing destination for tourists visiting the country.
It is located 7 miles from Downtown Santa Rosa. Named after Charles M. Schulz the famed cartoonist of the comic strip Peanuts. Around 400,000 passengers travel through this airport every year.
If you’re looking to travel domestically, then the Charles M. Schulz airport is a good option since the airport and the city is not busy at all and the roads will be clear.
But going to San Francisco from this airport will be a slight problem with over an 80 minute drive to downtown San Francisco which will cost around $140. So, it’s better to opt for the other airports if you’re thinking of making way to the Golden Gate city for a travel and tourism experience.
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
San Jose International Airport is the official public airport of the city of San Jose. It is the second largest and busiest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area after the San Francisco International Airport.
In 2018, about 14.2 million passengers travelled to and from the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and a large portion of the people coming to the airport tend to go to San Francisco from here.
The San Jose International Airport offers flights to and from multiple cities within the US as well as Europe, Asia, Mexico and other regions. So, booking a return flight also won’t be much of a hassle through this airport.
In order to avoid bad weather, delayed and cancelled flights and other problems, you can also choose San Jose International Airport for your arrival and then travel to the city of San Francisco.
If that’s what you’re planning to do, you’re going to have to rent a car and it will take you to Downtown San Francisco for about $100 or so. If you’re not planning to spend an extra $100, then you can choose the Oakland International Airport for your San Francisco tour arrival.
Hotels in San Francisco
Now that you’ve made your way to the main city of San Francisco, you’re definitely going to be looking for a hotel room or a place of accommodation for yourself and your loved ones.
San Francisco is a big city and there are a lot of amazing hotels in the vicinity of this area. But we want to make sure that we get the best of the best with the most luxurious facilities in the city.
For that reason, we’ve researched and found some of the most popular and high-quality hotels and places that you can check-in if you’re visiting the wonderful city of San Francisco. Let’s take a look at them.
Hotel Fairmont San Francisco
Located at the beautiful destination of Mason Street, San Francisco, Hotel Fairmont is a beautifully constructed building housing multiple stories of rooms and suites for people who’re looking for the best kind of service.
Beautifully decorated and well-lit, the hotel is lush and luxurious right as you step out of your vehicle and gaze upon it, making it the perfect place to stay for people looking to enjoy an incredible vacation in the city.
The amazing hotel features 606 well-designed, stylish guest rooms along with 62 elegant and wonderful suites and there are also 10 of the best view-providing balcony suites from where you can see the city and the Bay Area and have a treat for your eyes.
This hotel features all the modern luxurious amenities that you would ever want in a hotel. From Spa to Jacuzzi, Fitness center to Mini Bar, Daycare to Concierge, you’re going to experience some of the best Californian service in Fairmont Hotel without a doubt.
If you’re coming to the vacation with a big budget, you’re definitely going to want to come to Hotel Fairmont San Francisco, because when it comes to luxurious lifestyle and high-quality amenities, although expensive, this hotel has the best to offer.
Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco
A much more affordable and still incredibly amazing accommodation is offered by Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel. The hotel looks beautiful and offers incredible views. The building’s architecture is modern and incredible looking, well-suited for tourists from all around the world.
It is incredibly famous for the 19th floor Top of the Mark Bar.
The rooms are well-kept, decent, clean and perfect for tourists who want to spend great nights in the San Francisco area and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. So, don’t hesitate going to the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel if you’re in the area.
Whether you’re looking for a humble abode or a stylish, incredibly large luxurious suite, you’re going to find the perfect room for yourself in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel. The rooms are all fixed with great interior design, high-quality furniture and fittings and room-service is available in all the rooms.
There are many high-quality, incredible amenities available in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel. You’re going to find rental cars, sports courts, daycare centers, the special Top of the Mark bar as well as other exceptional amenities in this hotel.
The prices of the rooms depend upon the type of room you’re renting for your visit to the city. Standard rooms are less expensive, then come executive rooms for a slightly higher price and then suites which are expensive but provide all the luxuries you’re going to need.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Exceptionally designed, stylish and modern looking, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis is a wonderful piece of San Francisco Architecture. And it’s meant for the luxurious for sure.
The views from the top of the building and the rooms, are incredible. The interior is amazingly designed, it is full of all the luxuries and amenities that you’d want in a hotel and everything in between as well.
Overall, if you choose to visit San Francisco and you’re looking for luscious vacation destination, the Marriott Marquis is going to be the best place for you for a less expensive price than the Fairmont Hotel. So, definitely check out the rooms and make a booking if you find what you’re looking for here.
Modern and contemporary rooms filled with incredible furniture and fittings, neatly kept and well-designed are what you’re going to find in this hotel. From one bed and two bed guest rooms to Presidential Suites, you’re going to find a lot of variety depending upon the level of luxury you’re desiring.
Marriott Marquis San Francisco features a spa, pool, Jacuzzi, bar, daycare and much more. So, if you’re making your way to San Francisco and you choose this hotel, one thing you don’t need to worry about are the incredible amenities offered by them.
The prices vary but in the best time to visit San Francisco, the prices are going to be affordable and moderate for the guest rooms and suites in comparison to other luxury hotels. With a decent budget, you’ll have a great time in Marriott Marquis.
Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel
Situated on O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel is an incredibly huge sky-rise hotel which the best of luxuries available to give you the best of everything the city has to offer.
From the suites above, the view of the city and the Bay is incredibly beautiful and it looks heavenly. This is an adventure in itself for tourists coming from all over the world to San Fran.
If you’re thinking of having a luxurious and impressive stay in the city, getting a suite in the Hilton is going to be one of the best decisions of your tour. We’d definitely suggest you take a look at the deals for this hotel and book a room if you find what you’re seeking in terms of accommodation.
In terms of accommodation variety, there’s a lot to choose from. There’s the simple double bed, the deluxe double bed, the skyline and the balcony skyline along with the incredible king bedroom as well and all of these rooms come with room-service availability.
You’re going to find the best of everything when you take a look at the amenities offered by the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel. There’s a Jacuzzi, daycare, poolside drinks, bar, rental, fitness center and much more available. So, you’re definitely going to love spending time with your loved ones in the hotel.
For the incredible amenities and deluxe rooms that are available in this hotel, the rates are very good. However, they can be a little overwhelming for some. But if you’re planning to spend a lot of money on some other 5-star hotel, we’d definitely suggest choosing Hilton and having the time of your lives.
Things to Do in San Francisco
Now that you’ve got a place to stay and you’re looking for some adventure, you might be wondering, where to go and what things to do in San Francisco to make the trip memorable? Well, we’ve made a list of things you should try out if you’re in the city, so don’t worry about make sure you follow the guide wholeheartedly.
Relaxing at the Beaches
If you’re a beach bum and you love to put on some sunscreen and lie on a mat getting the perfect tan on a lovely beach with your loved ones, then San Francisco and the Bay Area are some of the most perfect places for your relaxation desires.
As we mentioned, San Francisco is famous for the incredible number of beaches here. From China Beach to Ocean Beach and Crissy Field East Beach along with many others, splash water, play beach ball, go surfing and have a great time in the beautiful city of San Francisco.
Dining in the Restaurants
Looking for delicious local and international food from some of the best 5-star restaurants in all of America? Well, you’re definitely in the right place if that’s so. In the Downtown area, there’s so much amazing places to choose from that you might have difficulty making a decision.
There’s Liholiho Yacht Club Restaurant, then there’s the House of Prime Rib, La Taqueria among many others as well. So, if food is what you’re out looking for, San Francisco has definitely got you covered.
Checking out the Nightlife
Now, San Francisco is an incredibly modern and liberal city with the best of the best karaoke clubs, dance clubs, bars and night clubs out there. So, if you’re looking for a fun and exciting adventure with your friends, it is truly the place to have the best fun ever.
There are a lot of great clubs to choose from. Whether you’re a fan of a low-key bar with drinks only or a club with the dance mode on, Monarch, the DNA Lounge and many other clubs are waiting for you to have an epic adventurous night in the heart of the city.
Enjoying the Natural Beauty
When it comes to natural beauty, San Francisco has no lack of aesthetically pleasing stunning natural views either. There’s truly a lot to explore for nature lovers within this city.
With the widely green and beautiful Glen Canyon Park to the incredible Chain of Lakes in the extremely popular tourist attraction, the Golden Gate Park, there are a lot of beautiful natural scenic destinations in the area to explore. So, let go of your nature loving side in the green and wild of San Francisco.
Top Tourist Destinations
Looking to witness the incredibly popular and historic attractions millions of tourists have witnessed and experienced in their lifetime? Well, here are some of the most important and popular tourist destinations in the city of San Francisco that you should visit when you’re there.
Golden Gate Bridge
One of the biggest suspension bridges in the entirety of the USA, providing some of the most spectacular views to vehicle drivers moving over it, the Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see location. It spans over the Golden Gate, which is the one-mile wide strait connecting the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, thus named the Golden Gate Bridge.
The iconic and incredibly popular Union Square is a 2.6 acre square with brand stores surrounding it in downtown San Francisco. It is considered the center of the city and is very popular among tourists because of how all the shopping centers, hotels and restaurants are incredibly close to this particular square shaped area.
Alcatraz Island is an Island in San Francisco which is located about 1.25 miles offshore from the city itself. In the 20th century from 1934 to 1963, the Island hosted the meanest and worst criminals of the US in the Alcatraz Federal Prison. There’s also a lighthouse and military fortification on the island and the historic importance of the island brings so many tourists to it. If you want to cement your name in history, you can also visit the Island and have a great time.
Ghirardelli Ice cream and Chocolate Shop
The original Ghirardelli Ice cream and Chocolate Shop located in San Francisco doesn’t offer factory tours anymore but still makes some of the best and most delicious ice cream and chocolates in America. So, visiting the shop with your friends and family for a quick sweet treat is definitely a great decision. We assure you, your sweet tooth is going to be well taken care of if you visit the Original Ghirardelli Ice cream and Chocolate Shop.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Formerly known as the San Francisco Maritime Museum, the Maritime National Park is a park located within San Francisco that has become an incredibly popular tourist destination. The park provides a view of a fleet of historic vessels, a visitor center, maritime museum and a library. You can truly feast your eyes at the ginormous creations of man by looking at the incredible vessels here.
The south-facing gate at the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue, the Dragon’s Gate is an architectural beauty of a monument that brings you to a world of a completely different culture and vibrant colors in the form of Chinatown. Tourists come and go through the gate to experience the incredibly diverse cultural values that the shop owners, residents and crowd in Chinatown follows.
California Coastal National Monument
The most important and amazing monument, worth incredible value to the people of California and the tourists visiting the city of San Francisco is the Californian Coastal National Monument which goes along the entire coastline of California.
It is one of the most viewed monuments in the United States of America. And the next time you visit the city of San Francisco, you’re going to know that you’re witnessing what is a monument of incredible importance and immense worth to the people of the city, state and the country.
San Francisco is a beautiful city. It truly has something for everyone. Great educational institutions, top food places, amazing museums and theme parks, incredibly fresh air, you’re going to find all of this in the city.
We assure you if you follow our guidelines, visit the places we’ve suggested and go at the best time to visit San Francisco, you’re going to have the best time in the city and have amazing memories to cherish.
So, whether you’re a tourist visiting with your loved ones or you’re thinking of moving to the city, feel free to do so, because it’s going to be one of the best decisions in your life.