Important: This destination may have COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, including specific restrictions for lodging. Check any national, local, and health advisories for this destination before you book.

San FranciscoUnited States of America

A city made for love, not walking – San Francisco is known for its great counter-cultural history and incredibly steep hills.

Conjuring up images of peace signs, psychedelic rock music and hippies with flowers in their hair, the San Francisco of today is all that – and now even more.

With such a rich history, the hippy dream is still alive and well in San Francisco but it has been somewhat replaced by the city’s growing reputation as a global technology and innovation powerhouse. Indeed, a tie-dyed shirt would look positively out of place in the city’s financial district! This said, the new San Francisco remains one of America’s most liberal and progressive cities and retains every bit of the laid back Californian atmosphere it’s so well known for.

Given the city’s remarkably steep hills, the San Francisco cable car system is a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way to get about. Of course, it can be very enjoyable to simply walk but it can be surprising just how tiring traversing even a few blocks can become!

San Fran is known for both the distinctive nature of its neighbourhoods and the quality of its tourist destinations. If you’re new to the city, Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place to find your bearings and sample a little of San Francisco’s famously fresh seafood.

The Wharf is also home to several of the city’s most popular attractions such as family friendly Pier 39 with its shops aquarium, as well as the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Wharf even boasts its own wax museum! From there it’s just a short walk toward Union Square to indulge in some serious retail therapy.

Diversity is a very important characteristic for San Francisco, which is why simply exploring the various neighbourhoods can be very rewarding in itself. San Fran is home to the US’ largest Chinatown which can be explored independently or part of a walking tour. Little Italy is also a popular destination for tourists looking for a little something different, something that can also be found in Japan Town.

For a more traditional San Fran experience, the Embarcadero on the eastern seafront offers spectacular views across the bay and countless charming restaurants. If you’d prefer to make something for yourself, the Embarcadero also features an impressive farmer’s market selling the best in fresh local produce.

With so much going on, you may find yourself needing a place to relax. The Golden Gate Park (beside the iconic bridge) features 1,000 acres of delightful green space to wander about in – or for something very different indeed, why not head to Pier 33 and take a tour of the notorious Alcatraz prison island? Thankfully the ferry offers return tickets.

San Francisco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in San Francisco

Downtown San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America

Downtown San Francisco

3/5(52 area reviews)

Known for its fascinating museums, popular shops and acclaimed art galleries, there's plenty to explore in Downtown San Francisco. Top attractions like San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Oracle Park are major draws. Catch the metro at Market St & Stockton St Stop or Market St & 4th St Stop to see more of the city.

Downtown San Francisco
Union Square featuring a skyscraper and a city

Union Square

4/5Very Good!(287 area reviews)

Known for its charming cafes and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Union Square. Check out top attractions like SHN Curran Theatre and Westfield San Francisco Centre, and jump on the metro at Powell St & Geary Blvd Stop or Powell St & Post St Stop to see more of the city.

Union Square
Fisherman\'s Wharf featuring a marina and a city

Fisherman's Wharf

5/5Exceptional!(4 area reviews)

Travellers love Fisherman's Wharf for its popular shops, and you can see more of San Francisco by jumping on the metro at Jones St and Beach St Stop or Jefferson St & Taylor St Stop. You might spend time checking out top sights like Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39.

Fisherman's Wharf
Nob Hill showing street scenes and a city

Nob Hill

4.5/5Wonderful!(78 area reviews)

Gourmet restaurants Chinatown and top sights from Van Ness Avenue to Grace Cathedral – discover Nob Hill, a destination also famous for its shopping.

Nob Hill
Civic Center

Civic Center

Noted for its shopping and restaurants, there's plenty to explore in Civic Center. Top attractions like San Francisco City Hall and Civic Center Plaza are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Market St & Van Ness Ave Stop or Van Ness Station to see more of the city.

Civic Center
Marina District which includes heritage architecture as well as a small group of people

Marina District

4/5Very Good!(80 area reviews)

The beautiful waterfront views and popular shops are just a few highlights of Marina District. Make a stop by Palace of Fine Arts or Fort Mason while you're exploring the area.

Marina District

Top hotels in San Francisco

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
3.5 out of 5
1500 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA
The price is £121 per night

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Van Ness Avenue and The Regency Ballroom. San Francisco City Hall and Orpheum Theater ...

4.1/5Very Good! (2,245 reviews)

"Upon arrival I was upgraded to a nicer room with the most breathtaking view. The bed was very comfortable, plush pillows. Parking was an arm and a leg, but meh I mean what do you expect in the city. Great customer service. Enjoyed my stay."…"

Reviewed on 30 Jun 2020

Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is £110 per night

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Ferry Building, Lombard Street and Pier 39. Oracle Park and Palace of Fine Arts are also ...

3.9/5Good! (3,415 reviews)

"Anthony was a wonderful help to me from the time I arrived late into his shift when I needed assistance ordering food late A huge thank you for him going the extra mile"…"

Reviewed on 3 Jul 2020

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
InterContinental San Francisco
InterContinental San Francisco
4.5 out of 5
888 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA
Free cancellation
The price is £105 per night

Located in Downtown San Francisco, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Westfield ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,127 reviews)

"Clean and quite friendly staff parking is a little pricey"…"

Reviewed on 7 Jul 2020

InterContinental San Francisco

Popular places to visit in San Francisco

Pier 39
Image for Pier 39

Pier 39

4/5(364 reviews)

This waterfront attraction offers thrilling rides, innovative street performers and colorful souvenir shops, but it’s the sea lions that win the day. 

Golden Gate Bridge
Image for Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

4.5/5(362 reviews)

Cars trundle across it and ships sail under it, but the best way to experience this iconic bridge is on foot. 

Alcatraz Island
Image for Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

5/5(247 reviews)

Escape to “The Rock,” home of the infamous and abandoned island prison, and discover how it earned a reputation as a cold and unforgiving place.

Golden Gate Park
Image for Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

4.5/5(323 reviews)

This beloved park offers relaxation among trees, flowers and wildlife, right in San Francisco’s backyard. 

San Francisco Bay
Image for San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay

4.5/5(145 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at San Francisco Bay, a popular spot to commune with nature in San Francisco. Make some time to visit the shops while you're in the area.

Lombard Street
Image for Lombard Street

Lombard Street

4.5/5(298 reviews)

You can learn more about the history of San Francisco during your trip to a top site such as Lombard Street. Experience the acclaimed art galleries and fascinating museums in this vibrant area.

Top things to do in San Francisco

Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco
Image for Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco

Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco

£126
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco
Image for Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

Napa Valley & Sonoma - Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

£94
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias
Image for Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias

Total Yosemite Experience with Giant Sequoias

£127
Per adult
92% of travellers recommend
Escape From the Rock - Cruise Around Alcatraz Island
Image for Escape From the Rock - Cruise Around Alcatraz Island

Escape From the Rock - Cruise Around Alcatraz Island

£33
Per adult
78% of travellers recommend
Golden Gate Bay Cruise: sail around Alcatraz!
Image for Golden Gate Bay Cruise: sail around Alcatraz!

Golden Gate Bay Cruise: sail around Alcatraz!

£27
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour
Image for Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour

Private Tour: San Francisco Sightseeing - 3 Hour

£41
Per adult

Reviews of San Francisco

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
311
5 - Excellent 52.801358234295414%
4 - Good
219
4 - Good 37.18166383701188%
3 - Okay
48
3 - Okay 8.149405772495756%
2 - Disappointing
7
2 - Disappointing 1.1884550084889642%
1 - Terrible
4
1 - Terrible 0.6791171477079796%

5/5 - Excellent

JudyFrumin

30 Mar 2020

It was great although the Corona virus had started,we were there from March 6th to 10th.It’s a fabulous place and we managed to do many things before it went into lockdown.Recommended Must do things once it opens up again.Alcatraz,SFMOMA and more

1/5 - Terrible

Verified traveller

20 Mar 2020

Expedia sucks, worst company ever.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Feb 2020

Very nice City worth for visiting

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Feb 2020

LIKE 4 TIMES BIGGER BRIGHTON IN UK! LOVED MARINA AREA! AND NORTH SANFRANCISCO

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

23 Feb 2020

The main tourist areas are good to see. We won’t return though. We saw a lot of drug taking on the streets (injecting heroine and crack pipes). Many groups of men hanging around on corners asking for money. Very frightening and intimidating.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

23 Feb 2020

Nice - but lots of homeless people

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