Top Tips

  • Bring a coat with you!

    San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate, but overall it is cool to downright freezing at times. An old quote from Mark Twain sums up this sentiment: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It can also be very windy, making the wind chill unbearable. Even on a warm day, in the 20′s, you will need a coat at night as the temperature always dips in the evening. Overall, its best to dress in layers and, though a fashion faux paux, wrap a jacket around your waist. It is better than freezing, especially at night.

  • Do your research

    Go to YELP or ask locals in the neighbourhood you happen to be in for good and cheap places to eat. Read reviews for a real sense of quality and price and try not to overspend on food as you can generally eat decent food for less than 12 bucks. Crepe houses, Naan-N-Curry, Cha Cafe at 3rd and Folsom, Peasant Pies in Noe Valley, and Sweet Tarts in the Castro are some good and cheap restaurants. This is just a sampling; there are many more affordable restaurants.

  • Watch out for tourist traps

    Avoid tourist traps like Pier 39. Go for the Seals and leave unless you need souvenirs for back home. Also, take advantage of many of the free attractions like the Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge. These places are free, can be touristy, but are unique and exciting.

  • Explore

    San Francisco is highly diverse and each little neighbourhood offers something different. There are also “off the beaten path” neighbourhoods that are not well known, but areas like Dog Patch, Cole Valley, Mission Bay, and Alamo Square are characteristic of the charm and diversity of the city.

  • Don’t be shy, Ask!

    If lost or you can not find your way, ask locals for directions. Asking for directions is the best way to get around in San Francisco. The locals know how to get to most places quickly and cheaply. The only problem is that different locals will have different routes to where you want to go. Just ask several people, and go with the simplest directions.

  • Walk!

    Do not rent a car when staying in San Francisco. It is best navigated on foot. It is a small city, and buses, the underground Muni system, and BART are adequate for travel within the city and to most points of interest in the surrounding area.

  • Look out for sketchy neighbourhoods

    In general, San Francisco lacks urban sprawl and there are not many dodgy areas. However, there are certain pockets where you need to be alert and careful. If you are in the Mission (around 16th and Mission), Tenderloin, Bayshore/Huntington Point, Civic Centre and Nopa areas during late hours, be sure to travel in groups.

  • Be careful of your morals

    San Francisco is host to a huge homeless population. Most of the homeless are harmless, but in areas like the Haight, homeless hippie punks abound and are ruining the neighbourhood. They are often rude, druggies, and should be avoided. Let SF deal with its homeless population. However, someone may come along that seems really sincere, and there are some good people who need a helping hand.

  • Hold on to your shrapnel

    When visiting, keep quarters on hand and remember to get your transfer. Transfers last 90 minutes, and this beats paying 25 bucks for a 7 day pass.

  • Always carry a map

    The streets are not organised in a typical grid like down town New York and in fact, many streets curve or run diagonal to others. Also, San Francisco is built on seven primary hills, and this and this makes navigating the streets of San Francisco even more difficult. To avoid getting lost, it is best to carry a map.