San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the world and a regular winner of awards for being the best city in the United States. San Francisco is perhaps most famous for its LGBT culture, start-ups, and the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is a city where the people are interesting and there is always something to do. It is also the gateway to one of the best road trips in the world – from San Francisco to San Diego along California’s Golden Coast. South Africans need a Tourist Visa to travel anywhere in the United States.
San Francisco is one of the most well-known cities in the world and one of the most beloved in the United States. It is known for its Victorian architecture, interesting districts, and robust art scene. One of the best things to do in San Francisco is wander around the different neighbourhoods like the Haight Ashbury District, Mission District, and Castro. Each area has a unique history and personality – Haight Ashbury is a hippie haven, the Mission has Latino roots and a strong street art and live entertainment culture. Of course you can’t visit San Francisco without visiting the pristine Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, and Ocean Beach. If you are in Chinatown, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory offers free tours to see fortune cookies being made. When the sun goes down, the city comes alive with live performances, events, and night tours.
San Francisco is known as a world class urban shopping destination. Some of the best shopping areas in San Francisco are Embarcadero District, Union Square, Fillmore Street, Hayes Valley, Haight-Ashburgy District, and the Mission District. The Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is a major drawcard in Embarcadero and Union Square, Fillmore Street, and Hayes Valley are hubs for luxury brands and boutique shops. The Haight-Ashbury District and Mission District offers shopping choices like vintage shops and record stores. In terms of costs in San Francisco, basic inner city hotels start from R800 per night to as much as R3500 per night (for two adults) depending on what kind of accommodation you go for. A meal at a regular restaurant averages R250 or R500 for a three course meal. A beer goes for about R100, a cappuccino for R70, and a bottle of wine from the stores about R220. The round-trip BART fare from Sand Francisco International Airport to downtown San Francisco is about R300. Top up fares start from R30 and go up to R225 depending on how far you travel.
There are quite a few good options for getting around San Francisco. The BART train is the best way to get from the airport to the city centre. You will need to catch the AirTrain (a free tram service) to the international terminal and catch the BART train from there to the city. Trains, buses, street cars, and cable cars operate regularly and are efficient for getting around within the city. A San Francisco Visitor Passport gives you unlimited access to public transport services. Taxis and ride sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are the best ways to get around at night. If you want to travel beyond San Francisco or go on road trip along the California coast, renting a car is the best option.
Where you stay on your trip to San Francisco is all part of the experience, and the city does not fail to deliver exceptional options. Elegant hotels with award-winning spas, apartment hotels in grand old buildings, bed and breakfasts in Victorian houses, and budget motels are abundant in San Francisco, so finding a place to stay won’t be difficult. The best areas to say in San Francisco are Fisherman’s Wharf and the marina, SoMa (South of Market), Mission District, Haight Ashbury, Embarcadero, and North Beach.
There are currently no direct flights to San Francisco from South Africa, but connecting flights are available from all major cities in South Africa. Connecting flights with one layover are about 23 hours. Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways, SWISS, and Turkish Airlines are major airlines operating flights to San Francisco. Flights land at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in downtown San Francisco.
Rent a bike and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and catch the ferry back to get two unique views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sausalito, the city on the northern end of the bridge, was a haven for bootleggers during the Prohibition Era and has been a sanctuary for many brooding artists and musicians over the years. Take a break and have lunch in Sausalito before heading back. Scoma’s of Sausalito is a beloved restaurant in Sausalito that serves up the best seafood in town. The bicycle and ferry trip takes about 3 hours. Walking across the bridge takes about 35 minutes from one end to the other.