Flights to San Francisco (SFO)

Flights to San Francisco make for an interesting travel experience. This city is full of contradictions, from the weather to the locals.

Flights to San Francisco

Catch a flight to San Francisco and immerse yourself in the type of town where you can choose between a bargain burrito at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint off Market Street and an exquisite tasting menu on Spear Street (both of which are guaranteed to be tasty). This is a place where the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge is bathed in sunshine one moment, and shrouded in fog the next.

Whatever the weather, the architecture in San Francisco is always impressive. As well as its iconic bridge, there’s also Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. It was built in the 1930s in the legacy of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who left a $125,000 bequest to the metropolis “for the purpose of adding beauty to the city which I have always loved”.

It’s a beautiful place, yes, and eclectic too. San Francisco is a community where hipsters live in in the Tenderloin ("TL" to the locals) next to the offices of multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter and Uber. AirBnB, the service that lets people rent out their apartments, started here, and continues to thrive. In fact, staying in a resident's cool loft apartment while they’re out of town can be even cheaper than a hotel, and makes you feel like a true local.

Given San Francisco’s size – less than a million people cram into the 11km by 11km area – it has historically played a huge role in the culture of the US. As a result, many of the things to do in San Francisco have a historical element to them as well as a modern function.

Decades ago, the city was at the heart of the 1960s hippie movement that culminated in 1967’s Summer of Love. It even inspired Scott Mckenzie's iconic song San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair). If you have any interest in that era, then San Francisco’s famous Haight-Ashbury is an awesome place to visit.

Back in the day, this neighbourhood was the haunt of icons such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Record shopping at Amoeba Music in this neighbourhood and browsing the books at City Lights offer a glimpse into the past as well as a chance to score a very cool souvenir.

When it comes to food, there's a rumour that if everyone who lived in San Francisco went out to eat at the same time, they could all find a seat at a restaurant. While the truth of that urban legend is debatable, the reality of the city as one of the best foodie destinations in the United States is not. Nowhere presents the vast range of options – from cheap, good Mexican food to expensive new American classics – in such a small space.

San Francisco's proximity to farms means exceptionally fresh produce that every restaurant uses, making even the least expensive options healthy and wholesome. The best restaurants in San Francisco all look forward, from the ground-breaking Nopa to Range, where the food's so fresh you'll feel like it might have walked off, well, the range.

Today, the Summer of Love may be over, but that positive, creative vibe remains strong in the City by the Bay.

Watch the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park

America's national past time – baseball – doesn't get any better than a summer’s night at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants have reached the World Series on multiple occasions and their line-up has over the years been stocked with fun young players including Buster Posey and Pablo "The Panda" Sandoval.

24 Willie Mays Plaza
CA 94107
+1 415 972 2000

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most famous bridges in the world spans more than a kilometre across the water. The views of downtown San Francisco on one side, the Marin Headlands on the other, and the Pacific Ocean all around are worth every step. Be sure to bring a jacket though, as the wind can get a bit chilly.

Golden Gate Bridge
CA 94129
+1 415 921 5858

Hike the Filbert Steps at Telegraph Hill

There’s no denying that San Francisco is a rather hilly destination, which makes for a challenging but exhilarating hike. The steps up the winding stairs of Telegraph Hill number in the hundreds, but you'll be distracted by the stunning houses and gardens of the North Beach neighbourhood. Of course, you could always ride to the top and walk down instead.

Filbert Steps
Filbert Street at Sansome Street
CA 94133

Go to Alcatraz

It used to be one of the most famous prisons in the United States and now it's a truly excellent tourist attraction. Check out where the baddest of the bad guys like Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz), and George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly were sent.

Alcatraz Island
CA 94133
+1 415 561 4900

Browse the shelves at Haight-Ashbury’s Music Shops

Haight-Ashbury might be the perfect place for a music store, given its history as a prominent hippy and happening neighbourhood during 1967’s Summer of Love. Today, it’s home to plenty of cool shops where you can pick up anything from vinyl records and posters to concert T-shirts. Be sure to check out the guitars at Haight Ashbury Music Center.

1540 Haight Street
CA 94117
+1 415 863 7327

Browse the books at City Lights

Allen Ginsberg. Jack Kerouac. William Burroughs. Charles Bukowski. The Beat Generation poets might be gone, but their legacy lives on in this historic San Francisco institution. You can spend hours lost among the shelves, picking out the perfect presents for your literary friends (and keeping a couple for yourself, too).

261 Columbus Avenue
CA 94133
+1 415 362 8193

Yank Sing (Asian)

A lot of San Francisco's cuisine features a distinct Asian influence, and this dim sum joint is a classic example of that. Yank Sing is located in the heart of Spear Street, right in the middle of the financial district. The service is excellent, even during the lunch rush, and it’s a perfect spot for people watching.

101 Spear Street
CA 94105
+1 415 781 1111

Range (International)

This place is pure San Francisco: effortlessly unpretentious, yet exceptionally good. Whether you’re propping up the bar or chilling out in the dining room, the atmosphere is lively and the menu is brilliant. The chefs know how to make the most of locally sourced produce. After your meal, take a lazy post-dinner stroll along Valencia Street.

842 Valencia Street
CA 94110
+1 415 282 8283

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant (Halal/Cantonese)

This quirky little restaurant is a hidden gem in the Sunset District that serves up halal Beijing-style cuisine. Like the neighbourhood it sits in, Old Mandarin has a relaxed, fuss-free vibe. Bring a big group of friends to make the most of the massive hot pots, generous beef pancakes and lamb dumplings.

3132 Vicente Street
CA 94116
+1 415 564 3481

Nopa (Californian)

It’s best to book ahead for a guaranteed seat at this hugely popular restaurant in trendy Upper Haight. It’s worth it though, because the food is truly excellent. Nopa specialises in wood-fired Californian cuisine using local ingredients, washed down with a good selection of artisanal beverages.

560 Divisadero Street
CA 94117
+1 415 864 8643

La Taqueria (Tex-Mex)

Whether you're stopping for a filling lunch or a late-night snack, La Taqueria's massive burritos and quesadillas packed with cheese, veggies, and meat are the ultimate San Francisco treat. Located in the heart of hip Mission Street, you’ll find yourself sharing table space with everyone from long-term residents to cool kids in bands.

2889 Mission Street
CA 94110
+1 415 285 7117

Foreign Cinema (International)

The name says it all: come for dinner, stay for a movie. Or come for brunch on the weekends, a packed, festive affair where you mingle with other diners at long tables. Foreign Cinema arrived in Mission in 1999, but it’s ageing as well as your favourite black and white film.

2434 Mission Street
+1 415 648 7600
CA 94110

Orchard Garden

The international charm of Singapore's Orchard Road comes to San Francisco, a stone’s throw from the Financial District and the popular shopping destinations in Union Square. If you’re eco-conscious, you’ll really enjoy the green building that houses the Orchard Garden. The prices won’t break the bank either.

466 Bush Street
CA 94108
+1 415 399 9807

Hotel Vitale

The Hotel Vitale has some of the best views in San Francisco, over the Embarcadero and across the Bay Bridge from the rooftop deck. You’ll be itching to get out and explore the rest of the city, and fortunately a lot of it is within walking distance. Cross the street to the historic Ferry Building for some of the best restaurants in the city.

8 Mission Street
CA 94105
+1 415 278 3700

Hotel Kabuki

Just steps from the popular shopping destinations on Fillmore Street, this boutique hotel is a comfortable, Japanese-influenced oasis in the middle of the chaos of downtown San Francisco. Rooms feature sliding shoji screens, designed to maximise natural light and your personal relaxation.

1625 Post Street
CA 94115
+1 415 922 3200

Clift San Francisco

The Clift might be nearly a century old but an infusion of modernity has it maintaining its status as one of the hippest hotels in San Francisco. The Union Square location provides easy access to most attractions while the Eames chairs and Salvador Dali coffee table add an artistic element.

495 Geary Street
CA 94102
+1 415 775 4700

Argonaut Hotel

This boutique hotel in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf makes an ideal base for exploring the popular East Side of San Francisco, not least because of its easy access to public transport and paths along the water. The rooms are nice and spacious, and nautical-themed to match the views of the bay.

495 Jefferson Street
CA 94109
+1 415 563 0800


This isn't so much a specific place as it is a state of mind. AirBnB, the service that lets people rent out their apartments, started in San Francisco and there are hundreds of offerings that travellers can choose from. Why not try one of them on your next stay? They can be cheaper than hotels and you never know who you might end up meeting.

Airbnb HQ
888 Brannan Street
CA 94103

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