Planning a trip to somewhere new is always a little tricky. We just had this experience with a recent trip to San Francisco. It was Danetta’s first time to the bay area and Amber hadn’t been since she was a teen (which was some years ago :)), so we didn’t really know the ins and outs of a San Francisco trip. Now that we have come and gone, we definitely have some helpful tips to share with you!
Tips for Visiting San Francisco:
Wear your walking shoes: You will likely log some serious mileage on your feet during your visit to San Francisco. And in case you didn’t already know, there is no flat ground in this city. We know it’s going to be tempting to wear your cutest shoes, but we highly suggest going for comfort over fashion! You will thank us halfway through your visit.
Dress in layers: The average temperature in San Francisco is around 60 degrees, so plan to dress in layers. When you are by the ocean it gets breezy and you will likely want a jacket. Just keep your options open so you can be comfortable during your visit.
Plan to park and walk or call Uber: Parking costs in San Francisco can add up so quick…it’s quite expensive to park ($50-75 a day). We found one of the cheapest ways to park is to pick one central place to park and plan to walk. Most of the parking garages have a maximum cost, so to get the most from your money, plan to keep your car there all day and walk. Another way to go would be to utilize Uber, get dropped off and plan to walk the city.
Get tickets ahead of time for Alcatraz: We loved visiting Alcatraz and would be sad if you didn’t get tickets to visit because it was booked. We went in June and had no problems getting a ferry to the island, but during their busy season you need to think ahead.
Plan for traffic: Traffic in the bay area is very slow so don’t let mileage fool you. Even though you may not be going very far plan plenty of time to get to your destination. Traffic is slow, especially during rush hours (morning and evening) so plan ahead! Try to avoid driving during the morning and evening commute, walk when possible, and plan lots of driving time to avoid frustration.
Location, location, location: Choosing a hotel is all about the location. We stayed out by the airport which gave us a little more for our money. We had a higher rated hotel for less money, so that part was fantastic. But although we were only about 25 miles away from the bay area, our travel time was quite a bit more. Again, don’t be fooled by mileage and keep it in mind when picking a hotel.
There’s more than one side of the bay: You will likely spend most of your time on the South side of the bay. This is where all of the hustle and bustle of San Francisco is happening, but don’t forget there is another side of the bay. If you cross the bridge you will find some quaint little towns with some fun places to eat. We enjoyed a nice and quiet lunch on the North side with amazing views. So if you want a break from the “city” feel, venture across the bridge and spend some time.
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Not only do we have some great tips for your San Francisco trip, but we have some fun ideas for you while you’re there. Check out what we loved on our trip-Beginner’s Guide to Visiting San Francisco!
Have fun in San Francisco!