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San Francisco

San Francisco is an exciting, cosmopolitan and diverse destination. Famous for its steep, rolling hills, iconic sightseeing attractions and prominent location off the Pacific Coast Highway. World-class shopping, beautiful outdoor spaces and a thriving nightlife are just the beginning.

Art, history and culture intertwine in this fantastic West Coast city. From the vintage cable cars, which are moving pieces of history, to the tie-dyed roots of Haight-Ashbury and the Victorian splendour of the ‘Painted Ladies’ that surround Alamo Square. Seen as one of the most artistic cities in the world, it’s not just the museums and galleries that will inspire you. San Francisco’s ability to embrace different social groups and subcultures is perhaps what makes it such an intriguing and eclectic place to visit. Beyond the well-known tourist attractions, you’ll find the vibrant Mission District, affluent Nob Hill and illustrious Castro District.

San Francisco
Golden Gate City Festivals.

Golden Gate City Festivals

One of the most diverse cities in the USA, San Francisco has it all. Since the 60s and the height of counter-culture, San Fran has been a musical and cultural hotspot. The SF Outside Lands Festival at the Golden Gate Park has some of the biggest names in music and food. Watch The Black Keys whilst drinking craft ale and eating gastronomic hot dogs from 7 to 9 August. Another great festival happens 17 and 18 October on the wonderfully-named Treasure Island, just near San Francisco Bay. Small but inspiring, the eponymous Treasure Island Festival provides two days of music and mayhem.

Find our cheapest flights to San Francisco

San Francisco areas

There's a lot to discover in San Francisco. Find the best place for you.

Union Square

A mecca for shopaholics, cosmopolitan Union Square is home to an abundance of shopping options, ranging from well-known department stores like Macys to exclusive designer boutiques. This one block plaza is a major tourist attraction, consisting of a 97-foot Corinthian column that is surrounded by palm trees, colourful flower stands and street performers. You will also find many high street favourites on nearby Market Street, and the theatre district, art galleries and beauty salons are also nearby.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see spot on San Francisco holidays. See the sea lions at Pier 39, watch the fishermen at work down ‘Fish Alley’ or enjoy the boardwalk style entertainment. Book the Jail and Sail experience and take a trip to the notorious island prison of Alcatraz. Sample the famous San Francisco sour dough or savour some locally made Ghirardelli chocolate. There is plenty of fun to be had at the museums and shops along the pier and other family-friendly attractions nearby.

Financial District

This area is home to some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers, with an abundance of modern and historic buildings and clusters of high-rise towers. It also offers plenty of ways to let your hair down, from retail therapy to dining out and trendy bars. Go shopping at the Embarcadero Center, enjoy exquisite cuisine at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market or mingle with the spree-loving locals at The Cocker Galleria - located in the heart of the Financial District.

Chinatown

Enter at the ‘Dragons Gate’, located between Grant Avenue and Bush Street, and explore this tightly packed warren of restaurants, shops, temples and street vendors. One of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia and the oldest in North America, you’ll become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, pagoda roofs and dragon parades. Hunt for exotic gifts or enjoy the extra special festivities and fireworks that happen over Chinese New Year.

Mission District

Situated in the heart of San Francisco, the Mission District, or ‘The Mission’ is a predominantly Latino neighbourhood. It features a collection of authentic restaurants, Mexican bakeries, produce markets and specialty shops. Mission Dolores is the oldest structure in San Francisco, while nearby Dolores Park has a Spanish flavour. Take a walk through this colourful area and enjoy a visual treat of eye-catching public art. Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley are known for their stunning, thought-provoking murals.

San Francisco: an insider’s guide

High Life Magazine

San Francisco skyline.

Local travel writer Gary Diedrichs reveals his favouite places to eat, drink and shop in America’s quintessential culinary city.

San Francisco weather

Prepare for the weather before your holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • 13°Jan
  • 15°Feb
  • 16°Mar
  • 17°Apr
  • 17°May
  • 19°Jun
  • 18°Jul
  • 18°Aug
  • 21°Sep
  • 20°Oct
  • 17°Nov
  • 14°Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 119
  • 97
  • 79
  • 38
  • 18
  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
  • 8
  • 25
  • 64
  • 112
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 5
  • 7
  • 8
  • 10
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6

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