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Explore San Francisco

Explore San Francisco with Expedia’s Travel Guides to find the best hotels, flights, holiday packages and more!

Book Your Affordable Car Hire in San Francisco

Look out from the peak of Russian Hill and you'll be treated to the sight of in San Francisco's colourful Victorian houses–known locally as the 'painted ladies'–set against the glittering backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. And the views don't stop there: whether you’re driving down Fulton Street towards the natural wonders at Golden Gate Park or taking 17th street to the historic Castro Theatre, you’ll be captivated by the sights of this iconic city.

Further afield, San Francisco is the ideal starting point for trips along the west coast of the United States. Las Vegas is an 8-hour drive by car from San Francisco, and the glitz of Hollywood can be reached in about 5 hours’ driving time down the I5 south.

If you're exploring San Francisco car hire options, make Expedia your first port of call. Whether you’re taking a short journey in the city in a compact car or considering a drive through the Nevada desert to the northeast in a 4x4, we offer several affordable vehicles and price comparison tools. Book today to avoid disappointment.

Navigating the San Francisco Hire Car Market

The narrow streets and steep hills of San Francisco mean it’s imperative you select the right hire car for your trip. There are multiple companies offering hire vehicle options from San Francisco Airport, including:

  • Hertz
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car
  • Dollar
  • Avis
  • Alamo

When you select a hire car, remember that you’ll be driving up and down many steep hills, and so you might consider choosing an automatic rather than a standard to avoid parking challenges. Those planning on taking a trip outside the city will benefit from one of the many luxury vehicles in the car hire market in San Francisco. Whether you’re setting off to the south to explore Hollywood or heading north of the city, you might find a large saloon vehicle combines optimal comfort and driving performance.

Traffic can be a challenge for those not used to the bustling city streets in San Francisco. You should also note the following as you navigate your way across the city:

  • Parking tickets can be expensive, so ensure you use the meters found throughout the city.
  • Hotels are often more affordable for parking services than local garages.
  • Watch for taxis making their way in and out of traffic on the crooked city streets.
  • Generally, the speed limit on freeways is 65 MPH, and 35 MPH on city streets.
  • You must have at least 2 people in the car to drive in most carpool lanes throughout the city–the number of occupants required will be noted on carpool lane signs.

Your Local San Francisco Car Hire Trip Options

Hiring a car frees you from reliance on the San Francisco public transit system when visiting the city. It also gives you the opportunity to explore areas such as the California wine country in the northern Bay Area. Napa Valley is a short 90-minute drive from the city, and Sonoma County is just an hour away. Both areas offer Michelin-rated restaurants and world-class viticulture.

For the adventurous traveller, there’s Yosemite National Park, within 4 hours’ driving distance via the CA-120 E highway. In large cities, such as San Francisco, you’ll find a variety of car hire locations. For example, Enterprise has a hire location in the south of the city at 45 Charter Oak Avenue and to the north of the city at 350 Beach Street in North Beach, giving you multiple pick-up and drop-off points for convenience.

Expedia.co.uk now offers a comprehensive filter system, allowing you to compare the various car hire options throughout San Francisco.

Your San Francisco Car Hire Questions Answered

What is required to hire a car?

In San Francisco, most companies require you to have a driving licence in good standing, a credit card and proof of insurance.

When is the best time to hire a car?

When reserving a car for your trip, try to call or contact the company midweek to save on hire costs.

Do car hire companies offer satellite navigation systems?

Most companies will offer satellite navigation system as part of the hire.