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San Francisco Travel tips

Before you leave home, here are some San Francisco travel tips to help you pack and plan your itinerary.

If you need more San Francisco travel information, please contact the friendly staff of the C-Two boutique hotel in San Francisco California where you have booked your stay. We will be happy to provide all the San Francisco travel tips you need!



 

About San Francisco

The City of San Francisco proper, excluding surrounding areas, is the fourth most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a population of about 765,000. San Francisco is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, a metropolitan area that is home to more than 7.1 million people. The city is located at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate Bridge to the north.

 
 

Weather in San Francisco

San Francisco's climate is characteristic of California’s Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and dry summers. Since it is surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco's climate is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean, which tends to moderate temperature swings and produce a remarkably mild climate with little seasonal temperature variation.

Average summertime high temperatures in San Francisco peak at 70 °F (21 °C) and winters are mild, with daytime highs near 60 °F (15 °C). Lows almost never reach freezing temperatures. May through September is very dry, but rain is common from November through March. The combination of cold ocean water and the high heat of the California mainland create the city's characteristic fog, which can cover the western half of the city all day during the spring and early summer.

 
 

What to Wear

California is much more casual than the East Coast or Midwest. Shorts or jeans, tennis shoes, a tank top or t-shirt, and a sweater or light jacket will suffice on most trips to San Francisco. It's best to layer rather than pile on a heavy coat even in winter, as a surprising warm spell may be followed by gale winds blowing off the Pacific all in the same day. Bright colors head-to-toe are rarely seen: San Franciscans leave color shock for that one flashy accessory.

 
 

Parking

Driving in San Francisco may be challenging, but it's nothing compared to parking. Fortunately, C-Two Hotels’ offers self and/or valet parking with extremely competitive rates compared to downtown parking garages and the La Luna Inn even offers free parking. When venturing out and looking for street parking, some neighborhoods are worse than others, but none are good. Carry plenty of quarters and good karma. Public transit and parking garages can save you some grief. The SF Metropolitan Transit Authority maintains a list of public garages and lots in SF.

 
 

Public Transportation

San Francisco Public Transportation is served by two primary agencies: the San Francisco Municipal Railway (commonly known as Muni) and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

Muni

Muni provides service throughout the city of San Francisco on a variety of transit vehicles. Here is a brief explanation of these different modes:

Cable cars: these are historic cars which are cable-powered (cables are under the street). There are three remaining lines: the Powell & Hyde, the Powell & Mason, and the California.

Historic Streetcars: The F-Market and Wharves service runs from Fisherman's Wharf to the Castro, all on street-level tracks.

Metro, light rail vehicles, streetcars: these start underground in Metro stations then come above ground and run on rail on city streets. They travel from downtown San Francisco out to various neighborhoods. These are the J, K, L, M, N, S, and T lines.

Buses: these are the rubber tire vehicles that run on the majority of San Francisco lines. These can be either diesel buses or “trolley” buses, which are powered by electric overhead wires. They travel above ground only.

Rates/Fare Information

Here is some introductory fare information and some fare options you may be interested in (NOTE: prices may change without notice, always refer to the official MUNI website for current information).

Muni has a basic cash fare for all services except Cable Cars and Special Express Service. Regular MUNI fares Applies to buses, Metro, and historic streetcars. Does not apply to cable car fares or the Culture Bus. Note: Exact change required. No change given.

  • Adult: $1.50
  • Senior, ages 65+ and Youth, ages 5-17: 50¢
  • Disabled: 50¢
  • Child, ages 4 and under: Free

The above fares are good for 90 minutes with a transfer. Always ask for a transfer on all Muni lines except cable cars, even if you do not plan to transfer to another vehicle.

Adult & Youth (ages 5-17): $5.00 each way (single ride on a single cable car)

Senior (ages 65+) & Disabled: before 7 a.m or after 9 p.m.: $1.00 each way
7 a.m. to 9 p.m.: $5.00 each way

The Muni Passport is your ticket to unlimited travel on all Muni services. Ride Muni streetcars, buses, and cable cars as many times a day as you wish with your Passport. Available for 1 day, 3 consecutive days, or 7 consecutive days.

Muni Maps – click here for access to Muni Maps

BART

BART connects the City of San Francisco to the East Bay (Oakland and surrounding communities) and the rest of the San Francisco Peninsula, including the San Francisco International Airport. Generally, BART operates between 4am-Midnight on weekdays, 6am-Midnight Saturdays and 8am-Midnight on Sundays. Trains typically run every 15 minutes. Fares vary depending on the location and distance of your trip. A fare map is located in each station.

Download BART brochures, including fares and schedules

Using BART to/from the Airport

For a map of the BART system, click here