♫ If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair… ♫
Being the 14th largest city in the United States, San Francisco is home of the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, gorgeous beaches and lots of friendly people. Apart from being a very liberal city, with varied cultures and diversity, it is also one of the biggest hubs of entrepreneurs and innovation.
Getting to San Francisco
When you plan your trip to San Francisco, bare in mind that the summer months in San Francisco can be rather cold (low to high 50ies) and are prone to it’s legendary fog. Make sure to pack and prepare to wear layers of clothing. Apart from doing a road trip from wherever you are coming, you can also make use of one of these public transportation options:
- By Plane: A large number of airlines fly into SFO. You can use Kayak to compare prices, and also look at low fare airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest.
- By Train: For those of you who live in the surrounding areas of San Francisco, using the Amtrak to get you to SF is one of the options if you don’t like flying.
- By Bus: Apart from using the CAShuttle Bus, Megabus has recently extended its service to the West coast and is now even leaving from as far as Los Angeles.
Getting around in San Francisco
- Bart: If you’re going to San Francisco, BART is a convenient option if you’re going to Union Square, along Market Street or somewhere near the Convention Center.
Highlights and what to do San Francisco
Although it is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, San Francisco quietly delivers a lot for the money. And with so much to see you won’t even know where to begin. But if you follow some of our tips, a lot of the fun stuff in San Francisco can even be free.
- Golden Gate Bridge: You can walk across the world’s most famous bridge, being 1.7 miles long or even bike across it. If you walk on the eastern side you can even see the bay and Alcatraz.
- Farmer’s Market: This farmer’s market is definitely one of a kind. The food vendors that set up every Tuesday and Saturday at the Ferry Building are remarkably committed to growing and selling artisan products. Try free samples and enjoy the art.
- Golden Gate Park: Take in some music on a lazy Sunday—and join in a century-old tradition. The Golden Gate Park Band has been playing free public concerts in the park for more than 100 years. Their lively programs feature marches, Broadway tunes, swing, and ethnic music. Sundays at 1 p.m. in the park’s Spreckels Temple of Music from April through October.
- Cable Car: Take a cable car ride through the hilly city stopping at Market Street and Fisherman’s Wharf as well as the museum. Admission is always free at the Cable Car Museum, where visitors can see antique cable cars as well tons of photographs, tools, and engines.
- Alamo Square Park: If you have ever watched the TV show Full House, you have to check out Alamo Square Park, where the row of the famous “Painted Ladies” Victorian houses resides.
- Alcatraz: Pay your respects to one of the world’s most infamous prisons, with over a million visitors a year. The audio tour, which features interviews with former inmates and guards, is powerful, chilling and evocative.
- Speak Easy: One of the institutions that resulted from the Prohibition Era (1920-1933) has recently been revived: the speakeasy. The venerable Café du Nord started life as a speakeasy in 1907, and its basement bar and music venue retain their classic Victorian interiors. See more bars & pubs in San Francisco.
Where to eat
Located near the Financial District, Palio D’Asti is well known for its happy hour. Buy two drinks between 4 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and get a free large pizza. In addition to their signature $5 margaritas and mojitos, Maya’s offers free botanas (Mexican finger foods) every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m. Check out Eater for more local listings of cheap deals in the Bay area.
For more information on the city’s events, attractions and things to do you can visit San Francisco’s Travel site, and let us know about hidden gems in the comments below!