Getting round in San Francisco – Lonely Planet

Video Getting round in San Francisco – Lonely Planet

With notoriously unhealthy site visitors and next-to-impossible parking, it is best to keep away from driving till it is time to go away San Francisco. Thankfully, there are many glorious methods to get round.

Most locals stroll, bike, trip Muni (the general public transit community of buses and streetcars) or ride-share as a substitute of taking a automotive. Town additionally has three cable automotive traces which are frequent, sluggish and scenic; using one is a should for first-time guests. This is learn how to navigate San Francisco.

Discover San Francisco on foot

Repeatedly ranked as one of the vital walkable cities within the US, most main sights in San Francisco are reachable on foot and strolling is at all times one of the simplest ways to discover a neighborhood.

Beginning in 2020, quite a few streets throughout town are closed to vehicular site visitors a number of days per week — some, corresponding to John F Kennedy Dr in Golden Gate Park, at the moment are closed for the foreseeable future.

Strolling trails

San Francisco has loads of guided strolling excursions on provide. However you’ll be able to simply simply set off by yourself for an amazing day of exploring, particularly in such locales because the Presidio. It has a lot of trails outlined by SF Crosstown Trails, which join town’s neighborhoods, open areas, and native trails.

Their epic, eponymous 17-mile path from Candlestick Level to Lands Finish is split into 5 sections, which may be tackled individually and provides an amazing overview of town.

Biking is a superb option to discover the waterfront in San Francisco © Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Photographs

Cycle alongside the waterfront

San Francisco goals to be essentially the most bike-friendly metropolis within the US, and plenty of locals have already jumped on the saddle. Many areas, corresponding to Ocean Seaside, the Marina and the waterfront are perfect for biking.

San Francisco has an in depth bike community and most sights are reachable on two wheels. The community covers 448 miles. A map of the bike community is accessible. The non-profit San Francisco Bicycle Coalition additionally presents maps and knowledge for cyclists.

Bike Share

Bike-sharing is accessible citywide by way of Bay Wheels. Each conventional bikes and e-bikes (electrical bikes with detachable batteries) may be employed from stations all through San Francisco, the East Bay and San Jose, and can be found for single journeys, day use or with month-to-month entry passes.

Bay Wheels stations are situated downtown, and at main intersections – however bikes come with out helmets, and biking with out correct safety is harmful so carry your personal helmet.

You need to use Muni to see each a part of San Francisco

Muni operates bus, streetcar and cable automotive traces. Buses and streetcars are referred to interchangeably as Muni. Some areas are higher related than others, however Muni spares you the expensive trouble of driving and parking – and it is typically sooner than driving.

Muni streetcars run in a subway beneath Market Avenue, the place they’re known as Muni Metro. Traces J, Okay, L, M, N and T are glorious technique of reaching far-flung components of town. There may be additionally the pleasant historic streetcar line F, which runs above floor on Market Avenue and runs to Fisherman’s Wharf alongside the waterfront.

A brand new subway line linking the Giants stadium, Caltrain terminal, downtown and Chinatown is ready to open in 2022. It can permit simple transfers to all of the streetcar traces.

Map and schedule

For route planning and schedules, seek the advice of Transit 511. For real-time departures, see, which syncs with GPS on buses and streetcars to supply finest estimates on arrival occasions.

Important and free Muni Avenue and Transit Maps can be found on-line. Additionally helpful is the MuniMobile app, which you can too use to pay fares. Notice that service and schedules are continually altering on account of Covid-19, so test all routes and schedules prematurely.

Nighttime schedule

Nighttime and weekend service is much less frequent than on weekdays. Owl service (half-hourly from 1am to 5am) operates solely on just a few principal traces; for schedules, see All Nighter 511.

Tickets and prices

On buses and streetcars, tickets purchased from drivers (precise change required) or at underground Muni stations (the place machines give change) price $3. With a reloadable Clipper card or through the use of the MuniMobile app, the fare is simply $2.50. A single fare is nice for 2 hours of rides.

Fares are 50% much less for individuals age 65 and older. Anybody age 18 or youthful rides without spending a dime.

At first of your Muni journey, free switch tickets can be found for extra Muni journeys inside 90 minutes (not together with cable automobiles or BART). After 8:30pm, buses challenge a Late Night time Switch good for journey till 5:30am the next morning.

Touring on a cable automotive is an absolute should for any first-time guests to San Francisco © Daniel Viñé Garcia / Getty Photographs

Cable automotive tickets

Cable automotive tickets price $8 per trip and may be purchased at cable automotive ticket kiosks or on-board from the conductor.

Muni Customer Passport passes

A Muni Customer Passport (1/3/7 days $24/36/47, with the MuniMobile app $13/31/41) permits limitless journey on all Muni transportation, together with cable automobiles. It is bought at ticket kiosks and different areas.

Muni Day Cross

The nice cut price on the Muni is the day move which prices solely $5 whether or not purchased with the MuniMobile app or at a farebox or kiosk. It permits limitless rides on your complete system apart from the cable automobiles.

Clipper Card

Clipper Playing cards are a reloadable fare system that works on Muni, BART and different transit techniques throughout the Bay Space. It mechanically deducts fares and applies transfers (e.g. just one Muni fare is deducted per 90-minute interval). You may put a Clipper Card in your telephone without spending a dime or buy a bodily card for $3.

Downtown Muni/BART stations have machines that promote Clipper playing cards and fare credit score. Clipper Playing cards, whether or not digital in your telephone or in bodily kind, may be linked to a bank card in order that they mechanically refill with worth.

Transcend town middle on the BART

BART (Bay Space Speedy Transit system) is the quickest hyperlink between downtown and San Francisco Worldwide Airport, Oakland and Berkeley. 4 of the system’s six traces move by way of SF. BART serves downtown, Market Avenue and the Mission District properly however doesn’t attain most different areas of town.

Tickets and fares

The reloadable Clipper Card system is the one option to pay your fare on BART. You should purchase one for a one-time payment of $3 at BART stations, or buy one nearly and set up it in your telephone (that is free). Notice, if you happen to’re arriving at SFO, arrange your telephone with a Clipper Card earlier than you arrive so you’ll be able to keep away from the lengthy traces of jet-lagged passengers making an attempt to make use of the BART ticket machines.

BART fares are based mostly on distance, so that you’ll want your Clipper Card (or telephone) to each enter and exit the system. The fare from SFO to downtown San Francisco is $9.65.

You may simply discover outdoors town utilizing the Caltrain app to shortly buy a ticket © lechatnoir / Getty Photographs

Go for a day journey on the practice

Caltrain is the practice service linking San Francisco to cities alongside the Peninsula south of town and on to the South Bay and San Jose. It runs companies not less than hourly all through the day and in all fairness quick and really comfy.

Purchase tickets from machines in stations, utilizing the Caltrain app or with a Clipper Card. From the depot at 4th and King Sts in San Francisco, Caltrain heads south to Millbrae (connecting to BART and San Francisco airport; half-hour), Palo Alto (one hour) and San Jose (1½ hours).

Relaxation your weary legs in a taxi

Taxi fares begin at $3.50 and run about $3 per mile. Add 15% to the fare as a tip ($1 minimal). For the quickest service in San Francisco, obtain the Flywheel app, which dispatches the closest taxi.

Lyft and Uber are based mostly in San Francisco and are ubiquitous. Notice that with surge pricing, conventional taxis are sometimes cheaper.

Take to the water and journey by ferry

The enduring Ferry Constructing is a vacation spot in itself, not the least for its glorious consuming and ingesting choices plus the nice bay views. It is also the bottom for ferry routes that radiate out throughout the Bay Space.


Alcatraz Metropolis Cruises runs the boats for the Nationwide Park Service that serve ‘The Rock.’ Boats depart from Pier 33 all through the day; advance reservations are important.

East Bay

San Francisco Bay Ferry operates from each Pier 41 and the Ferry Constructing to Oakland/Alameda, Richmond and Vallejo within the East Bay.

Marin County

Golden Gate Transit Ferries runs common ferry companies from the Ferry Constructing to Marin County ferry terminals in Larkspur, Tiburon and Sausalito. These ferries move Alcatraz and provide nice sightseeing along with very important transit.

Blue & Gold Fleet operates ferries to Tiburon and Sausalito from Pier 41 close to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Driving in San Francisco is often not definitely worth the stress © Benny Marty / Shutterstock

When you can, keep away from driving in San Francisco: heavy site visitors is a given, road parking is more durable to search out than real love, meter readers are ruthless and car break-ins are a plague.

Site visitors

San Francisco streets principally comply with a grid bisected by Market St. Keep away from driving throughout rush hours. Earlier than heading to any bridge, airport or different site visitors choke-point, test for site visitors updates.


For real-time particulars on learn how to discover parking within the metropolis, and in addition learn how to pay your parking meter by app, see SF Park. Parking is hard and expensive, particularly downtown. Resort parking prices $30 to $60 per day, about the identical as public parking heaps and garages.

Parking Restrictions

Parking restrictions are indicated by the next color-coded sidewalk curbs (in some well-liked neighborhoods, it may look like all the few accessible parking spots have restrictions):

Blue Disabled parking solely; placard required.

Inexperienced Ten-minute parking lot from 9am to 6pm.

Crimson No parking or stopping.

White For choosing up or dropping off passengers solely; observe posted occasions.

Yellow Loading zone throughout posted occasions.


All main automotive rental corporations function at SFO (San Francisco Worldwide Airport) and at areas throughout town and area. Charges range relying on demand – when massive conventions come to SF, chances are you’ll discover no automobiles accessible in any respect. Notice that taxes and costs vastly improve the preliminary charges quoted.

A wise technique is to keep away from renting a automotive throughout your time within the metropolis and wait till you enterprise additional afield. Notice that something left seen in a automotive is taken into account truthful sport for smash-and-grab thieves.

Accessible transportation in San Francisco

Muni, BART, Caltrain and the ferries are all totally accessible. Town streets are additionally principally accessible to individuals with differing mobility wants.

For extra data on accessible journey, obtain Lonely Planet’s free Accessible Journey e-book.

Why I like strolling in San Francisco

I’ve walked cumulatively 1000’s of miles in San Francisco. Even on routes I’m very conversant in, there’s at all times a brand new discovery. Whether or not it’s an idiosyncratic store, a good looking piece of road artwork, the wafting enticement of a bakery or only a shock view that dazzles, I’m by no means bored exploring town by the bay on foot.

I pair my adventures with the unbelievable Muni Day Cross, which for less than $5 lets me pop across the metropolis between walks all day – and evening – lengthy.

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