Discover the vibrant city where the 60’s counterculture, Gay Pride, and tech start ups were born. Home to generations of immigrants that made it a beautiful cultural melting-pot, San Francisco offers an amazing cultural holiday for each visitor. Find gorgeous apartments for rent in San Francisco in your ideal neighborhood. The forty-two districts are spread over a few miles of steep hills, often covered in dense fog, and each has its own personality and cuisine. Every district of San Francisco is like a piece of a big puzzle of languages, cultures, origins and traditions encompassed into the identity of this cosmopolitan, multicultural and open minded town. To find the best deals, search and compare San Francisco apartments from top vacation rental websites with Likibu.
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How to get there
San Francisco airports
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the second largest in the state after Los Angeles. SFO is south in the county of San Mateo. From the airport, use the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) to get into the city quickly. It takes about 30 minutes to get downtown about $20. San Mateo County Transit Agency (SamTrans) offers buses from the airport to Transbay Center on the KX, 292, 397, 398. These buses cost $2-5 for a one-way ticket. Shared van and shuttles are available through private companies. Some make several stops therefore travel time can vary, 30-90 minutes. You can also use ride sharing apps which costs about $30-40. Taxis costs between $45-60.
You can also fly into Oakland International Airport (OAK). BART trains also run from OAK to the center and cost about $11. Other options include ride sharing apps, taxis, shuttles and limousines. San Jose Airport (SJC) is smaller and serves domestic flights.
On the road
For your visit to San Francisco, you can rent a car, use a taxi service, use ride-share services, or take public transportation. Most people rent a car upon their arrival. Another way to travel is by bus with Greyhound or Megabus. Tickets could be purchased in advance.
Climate in San Francisco
San Francisco weather is tricky and the Bay Area is known for it's year around fog. Keep that in mind when packing because with the fog comes winds and low temperatures. The bay weather is moderate and fairly consistent year around. Layers are the best way to go for this destination. Your basics should include a windbreaker, preferably something light but warm and waterproof. San Francisco is very hilly so bring some comfortable walking shoes! The fashion is quite casual and jeans usually work for everything. Tank tops or a light shirt is best for a layer underneath a sweater or jacket. Ladies can always try a dress with tights that you can take off if it gets warm during the day and put back on for the night. A scarf is also a nice layer to add.
The most important accessory is a nice day bag to hold your different layers and daily travel items. Sunscreen is advised. If you take a day trip out to wine country, pack warmer weather clothing and a hat.
Spring weather during April and May runs about 60 degrees during the day, cool nights, and possible rain. Summer is known for the June Gloom, the most foggy month of the year. September is the warmest month when temperatures get up to the70s and the lows are mid-50s. For September and October you can pack sundress or shorts but still bring pants and a light jacket for cooler nights. Winter isn't harsh but is the rainy season. Layers are recommended: a lightweight but warm jacket, boots, raincoat or umbrella.
Getting around the city
San Francisco is a lovely city in the hills of the Bay Area. Though it is drivable, with steep inclines, limited parking and fees, it's usually easer and more affordable to use public transportation, ride-sharing applications, or taxis. It is best to find a centrally located bedroom or property for your trip. That way you can easily walk or take public transportation.
It's not very common but in San Francisco, you can ride a national historic landmark. The manually operated cable cars are the last in the world and operate as the first car did on August 2, 1873. There are three cable lines still in use: Powell-Hyde (Hallidie Plaze to Fisherman's Wharf), Powell-Mason (Hallidie Plaza to Fisherman's Wharf), and California Street (Market Street to Van Ness). A ticket costs $7 and may be purchases with cash, on the MuniMobile app, or by Clipper card. Unlimited rides are available using a SFMTA visitor passport which is available at Visitor Information Centers.
Where to stay
Most Popular Neighborhoods in San Francisco
Renting an apartment in a central location is ideal if you plan on walking or using public transportation often. By comparing multiple sites, Likibu can help you find cheap apartments in San Francisco. Categorize property posting by number of guest, bed, room, bathroom. Find accommodations with specific amenities such as a full kitchen or a pool. Browse and discover the best vacation rentals in one of the unique San Francisco districts.
A central hub and shopping area, Union Square is a great place to stay. For arts museums, and culture, stay in the Civic Center or Hayes Valley neighborhood. If you enjoy jazz music, check out rentals in Fillmore. If you like waking up to skyline views and starting your morning off with a run, stay in Embarcadero also known as the Financial District.
Right on the water, Fisherman's Wharf is where you can feel the sea-breeze and try the freshest seafood. Here you can walk along the shoreline, take panoramas from Pier 39, or get to Alcatraz Island.
Find apartments for rent in South of Market, or SOMA, where you can walk to restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, and beautiful parks. Enjoy the waterfront areas of South Beach in the South End Historic District.
The Mission District is home to the oldest building, stylish art galleries and restaurants. It is an historic area with hispanic roots and vibrant with street art. Nearby is the quiet, often sunny Potrero Hill. This residential area offers lovely views of the bay and skyline. IT is home to trendy eateries and bars, including the historic Anchor Brewing Company.
Nob Hill offers the classic San Fran experience. Being naturally elevated, it offers great views of the bay and tourist attractions such as Grace Cathedral.
For family vacations, a home rental in Noe Valley is ideal. This residential area is charming and pedestrian-friendly. Castro and close-by Noe Valley are LGBTQ neighborhood that are vibrant and full of energy. Pacific Heights is also a great option as it has several parks. Presidio is a former military base now turned scenic neighborhood with picnic areas and hiking trails.
Bright colors, Victorian houses, and thrift stores can all be found in Haight-Ashbury, birthplace of the 1960s hippies movement. If you want to hangout at the beach or go surfing, stay in the Sunset District.
Things to do in San Francisco
Attractions and Monuments
Among all the things to do in San Francisco, Pier 39 is a great place to start. This pier not only offers great views, it is also a shopping center full of attractions, dining options, entertainment, and shopping. Snap photos of the sea lions, chow down on chowder bread bowls, and taste some classic Californian wine. Pier 39 offers attractions for everyone and is a good place to start your visit.
Golden Gate Bridge
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is an architectural feat. After ten years of planning and four years of construction, the bridge opened in 1937. Today is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Pedestrians and cyclists may use the sidewalks of the bridge or you can drive across. There are vista points at each side, north and south. Make sure to check out the view from the south tower! Treasure Island, the manmade island in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge, is also a must see while in San Francisco.
A former prison, Alcatraz held some of the most notorious criminals, including crime lord Al Capone, in American history. The island is located in San Francisco Bay, the world's largest landlocked harbor. Alcatraz Island in now a National Park that is open for visits. You must take a ferry to get to the island and it's recommended to wear layers as the weather can change significantly throughout the say. There is no official tour so you can discover it at your own pace, however there is an audio tour available for purchase.
A must-see are the lovely Painted Ladies. These postcard perfect Victorian houses of Hayes and Steiner Street is the most photographed spot in San Francisco. Head to Alamo Square to visit these stunning Queen Anne era homes. They contrast against the skyscrapers in the background with their large porches and balconies. These homes survived the Great Earthquake and fire of 1906. Their beautiful architecture has been featured in countless films and series. Stop by after noon or during sunset to capture your own postcard worthy photo!
In 1933, Lillie Hitchcock Coit donated $125,000 for the building of this elegant tower "for the purpose of adding beauty to the city which I have always loved." The 210-foot Lillian Coit Memorial Tower sits on Telegraph Hill and offers amazing 360 views. The bottom floor of the tower is decorated with fresco murals depicting everyday life during the 1930s. Though parking is available, it is limited and public transportation is recommended.
Grace Cathedral is a stunning Episcopal church on Nob Hill. At the heart of the city, you can visit and admire the art and architecture, light a candle for a loved one, or walk through and mediate in one of the two labyrinths. Take a historical guided tour and climb to the top of the South Tower for lovely views. Tours must be booked in advance and cost $25 per person. You can also use the self guided tour on the app GraceGuide. Check the calendar to attend live performances, including the traditional Evensong service. Yoga class is offered on Tuesday nights. Also, at night the Rose Window is lit up
A great family activity is catching a Major League Baseball game at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. If you are a baseball fan, also check out the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Rental houses are perfect for your next family vacation. When touring the city, check out other parks and family friendly activities.
Staying downtown near your vacation rental is nice for a short visit, but if you have time, check out these day trips! San Francisco is located near the heart of Californian wine country. Discover wine tours which begin at a central pickup location. You can then visit several wineries, sample local wines and learn from a guide. Both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley
Interested in global technology? Head to the south of the San Francisco Bay Area and stop at Silicon Valley, home to start-up companies such as Apple. Facebook, and Google. While there, visit the Computer History Museum, NASA's Ames Research Center, and the nearby Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.
Visit San Francisco during one of its world renowned annual events to see the funky city in full color. There are many cultural, food, beer, and wine festivals year around so double check when planning your trip.
Grab a beer with friends for the Saint Patrick's Day Festival & Parade. Catch the lively Chinese New Year's Parade in Chinatown.
In April, admire the gorgeous blossoms and try traditional cuisine at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. Watch one of over 150 films and events at North America's longest-running film festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) along with the locals with parades, fireworks, and music.
One of the first cities to promote and pass a gay rights ordinance, the LGBT Pride Parade in June is an integral summer activity. The Annual World Naked Bike Ride in June began as an environmental protest against oil and is not to be missed. Check out the outrageous Folsom Street Fair for a taste of the extraordinary.
Some of most popular music festivals are Stern Grove Festival, Outside Lands, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival. Discover well-known and new talent artists while listening to live concerts at the free Alice Summerthing Festival.
Attend Christmas lighting ceremonies and Santa parades during December. Start the New Year off right with the beautiful NYE Fireworks Over the Bay.
Art and Culture in San Fransisco
San Francisco is a dynamic, spirited town with plenty of artistic and cultural activities. All San Francisco museums offer free admission on the first Tuesdays of each month.
The California Academy of Sciences is one of the largest natural history museum in the world. It features an aquarium, planetarium, four-story tall rain forest, and more. For exhibits of contemporary art, go to the San Francisco De Young Museum. Here, visitors can see Oscar De LA Renta's fashion design collections. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses lovely pieces of art and sculptures within its new architectural space. The Exploratorium is a hands-on science museum where young and old alike can learn and discover new things. Visit the romantic, scenic Palace of Fine Arts Theater. The exquisite arts and science museum was the site of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. Discover over 4,000 years of ancient and European art history at the Legion of Honor. This museums also offers a lovely view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Fans of Disney's iconic life, legacy, and films, should check out the Walt Disney Family Museum. If you enjoyed riding the cable cars, tour the free Cable Car Museum to learn more how they function and about their history.
Food and drink in San Fransisco
If you are a foodie and love homemade paste, get your fill of Italian-American dishes by stay near Little Italy. Prefer Asian cuisine? Head over to Chinatown or Richmond for local Chinese restaurants, food markets and street food. Stop by Japantown for authentic Japanese culture. The Mission District is a great place to find authentic Mexican food. A mission burrito is a must eat while visiting. Try some famous San Francisco sourdough bread and seafood atFisherman's Warf. Head to Ghirardelli Square to experience the original chocolate manufacturing. Italian immigrant Domenica "Domingo" Ghirardelli began making chocolate in the 1850s.
Check out Anchor Steam Beer, America's first craft brewery. Founded in 1896, take a tour and enjoy beer tastings. Martinis were invented at the Occidental Hotel. Though the original structure was destroyed, ,find this classic cocktail at any bar in North Beach. Also find a nice espresso at cafes frequented by Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Try an Irish Coffee, recreated and commercialized by the Buena Vista Cafe on Hyde Street. The town also claims to have invented the delicious, tropical Mai Tai. Head down to a tiki-bar to taste this Jamaican rum cocktail.