The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is more than a regular city in Northern California, it’s one of the most popular destinations in the world, and there’s no doubt why, the impressive architecture, cultural diversity, tech scene, and variety of attractions are all features that make it a fascinating location for travelers from all over the world. Visiting San Francisco is all about enjoying the landscapes, streets, and food surrounded by hippies, students, artists, tech giants, and more. You’ll be amazed by what you’ll find here.

We know there are many things to do and see in the Golden City, that’s why we created this ultimate San Francisco travel guide for those who want to know more about this metropolis and some helpful tips to make the most out of their trip. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or you’ve been here before, this guide will surely be useful.

Aerial view of San Francisco

Top things to see in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Constructed in 1937, this art deco suspension bridge is one of a kind in terms of engineering and one of the world’s most famous structures. Walking across this 1.7-mile landmark is an activity not to be missed, as you’ll be able to appreciate its unique design and landscape, and take some incredible photos.  

Golden Gate Bridge

Alcatraz Island

Once a former federal prison, Alcatraz is an attraction now managed by the National Park Service, which offers tours and transportation to the island. If you decide to take a guided tour, you’ll learn about the history of the island and its famous criminals, including Al Capone. Be sure to get your ferry tickets in advance as they sell out quickly, you can purchase them in person or online.

Alcatraz Island at San Francisco Bay

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre 

The Palace of Fine Arts located in San Francisco’s Marina District is a monumental Greco-Roman building by Bernard Maybeck, a renowned California architect. Originally built to exhibit works of art this theatre is primarily used today as a venue for private events, but it’s still possible for visitors to explore it free of charge.

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

Mission Dolores Park

If you’re a park enthusiast or merely someone who enjoys beautiful views, you’ll love Mission Dolores Park. Formerly a Jewish cemetery and refugee camp, this park is currently a 16-acre gathering spot for locals. The best time to be here is probably in the evening to witness the sunset from a unique perspective. 

Mission Dolores Park

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 

Also known as the SFMOMA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses more than 33,000 works of art. It’s one of the largest modern art museums in the United States and the first contemporary art museum on the West Coast. You can buy tickets online or in person. 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in America. It’s one of the main tourist attractions of the city, and therefore, an emblematic spot you can’t miss. Its streets full of color, tradition and delicious food will delight you.

Red Chinese lanterns in Chinatown of San Francisco

How to save money during your trip

As you probably know, San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, so you can expect to spend a significant amount of money here. To avoid breaking the bank, the following tips will help you save money while enjoying the city:

Accommodation – A great way to save money is to book an Airbnb instead of a hotel, or there’s also the option of staying with a local through the Couchsurfing platform; the latter option is only suggested for those travelers who don’t mind sharing with strangers.

Transportation – Getting from place to place in San Francisco is easy thanks to public transportation, but if you don’t want to take the bus or a cab the best way to get around the city and save money is to share rides on Uber or Lyft.

Go City San Francisco Pass – Getting a Go City Pass to explore San Francisco is a game-changer. This pass is perfect if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing around the city. Go City offers two different pass options, the All-Inclusive and the Explorer pass, the first is a 1, 2, 3, or 5-day pass to explore as much of SF as you can, and the second allows you to go at your own pace by selecting 2 to 5 attractions to visit. Prices range from $57 to $156.

Happy Hour – The wide availability of happy hours at bars and restaurants (which usually take place from 4 to 6 P.M) will help you save money.

Free Walking Tours – Joining a free walking tour is a convenient way to learn about San Francisco’s history without spending a lot as you only have to tip the guide. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and a hat for this activity.

Best time to go

San Francisco’s weather is generally good all year round but it will vary depending on the season in which you visit. There may be slight weather differences throughout the city due to its coastal location and tall mountains.

The warm season runs from June to October with an average temperature of above 69°F. The hottest month is September, with an average high of 72°F and a low of 58°F. 

The cool season starts in December and ends in February with temperatures below 59°F. The coldest month is January, with an average minimum of 46°F and a maximum of 57°F.

Regardless of the month, it’s advisable to bring a jacket, rain gear, and warm clothes just in case.

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

Current time in San Francisco

Final thoughts

San Francisco is a destination full of life, picturesque landscapes, and unparalleled experiences for everyone. If visiting this city has crossed your mind, now that you’ve read this guide you’ll be able to do so by having some knowledge about a few of the most popular places to see in San Francisco and how to enjoy your trip to the fullest. We only talked about a couple of its attractions, but there are countless things to explore that we’re sure you’ll love.

Start typing and press Enter to search