San Francisco Lifestyle

There’s so much crammed into San Francisco’s little peninsula! San Francisco’s progressive atmosphere, blend of historic sites and eclectic cultural scene make it a wonderful place to visit for all types of travelers. From gorgeous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge to incredible food in Chinatown and historic spots like Haight-Ashbury, you could spend a lifetime exploring SF. This San Francisco travel guide will help you make a memorable trip to the City by the Bay!

Language: English is the main language spoken in San Francisco, but significant Chinese and Mexican populations mean that Chinese and Spanish are also spoken by many.

Credit Cards and Banks: ATMs are commonplace throughout the city and most stores, hotels, and restaurants will accept credit cards.

Climate: San Francisco’s mild climate features warm but not unpleasant summer days and rainy winters, although the city is famous for the fog, “Karl the Fog,” that often rolls in from the Pacific.

While it rarely gets very cold in San Francisco, there does tend to be regular rain between November and March. September and October are historically the warmest months in San Francisco, so I recommend visiting during late summer or early fall!

Helpful Tip: Typically, there can be significant weather differences in parts of San Francisco because of the city’s large hills and maritime location. Even on a sunny day, things can get chilly! Your best bet is to always carry a jacket, no matter what season.

Getting Around San Francisco

San Francisco is separated into many different districts and neighborhoods; each offering a unique flavor of the city! The most popular communities worth visiting are:

Golden Gate: Named after the iconic bridge, this part of the city is where many visitors start exploring. Some of the loveliest residential areas are located here, as well as some former military posts – Fort Mason and the Presidio. Visit “The Marina” neighborhood for fancier bars, restaurants, high-end fitness studios and more.

Fishermen’s Wharf: Another popular district for visitors, there are no longer fishing fleets operating here, but several museums and historic ships can be explored. Visit Pier 39 and note that the boat to Alcatraz Island also departs from this district.

Chinatown/North Beach: San Francisco is home to the largest Chinatown outside Asia and is a great place for shopping and eating. North Beach is also home to the Italian district. A walk down Filbert Street is a great introduction to the area.

The Mission: Home to cool kids, colorful cafes, and cultural cuisine, The Mission is the best district to soak up some local flavor.

Union Square & Financial District: At the heart of the city, this area is a popular place for visitors with great shopping and theaters in the city, along with a selection of great restaurants and bars.

Twin Peaks & Lake Merced: On the southern portion of the peninsula, this attractive area has distinctive peaks that give it its name. There is some good hiking around Lake Merced and the San Francisco Zoo is also a great place to visit for families.

You can fly directly into San Francisco International Airport and take an Uber or catch the BART (for less than $10 one-way). If you take an Uber, I recommend using Uber pool to save money. Most times that I’ve opted for this, I end up being the only passenger and pay 1/2 the normal Uber X fare. If you have the time, spend a few days (before or after) road tripping the Pacific Coast Highway and stopping at all the best spots in the state.