Getting Around San Francisco
The best ways to get around San Francisco are on foot or by public transportation. Most of the popular attractions are within walking distance of the city center, and the large municipal transportation system (called the Muni) operates bus and streetcar lines, leaving little need for your own set of wheels. You can also travel by cable car (also operated by Muni), which is a more entertaining, albeit slower, way to see the city. To get into the city from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you can use the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter rail or you can take a taxi for around $40 one way.
|On Foot||All of San Francisco's neighborhoods can be explored in the heal-to-toe fashion thanks to their compact size and easily navigable streets. However, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar area after dark, consider opting for public transportation or a taxi instead.|
Easy-to-navigate bus, streetcar and cable car routes on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's "Muni" system render a car unnecessary. Individual rides on all three forms of transportation cost about $2, although there are discounts for children and senior citizens. If you plan to ride a lot, consider purchasing a Muni Passport, which offers unlimited rides for one, three or seven-day periods (prices range from $14 to $27). The San Francisco CityPass is another option, offering unlimited Muni rides for a week as well as free entry to some of the city's top attractions for $67.
You can avoid rental car fees even if you plan on seeing more of the Bay Area than just San Francisco. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) provides high-speed rail service to the surrounding areas, as well as SFO airport. Fares are dependent on distance, although you can expect to pay about $7.95 for a one-way trip from the airport, and about $1.75 for a ride within city limits.
|Taxi||Unlike some other major U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco taxis aren't always easy to catch, let alone find. If you need to get someplace quickly, your best bet is to call ahead. However, if you're not in a rush, you'll save a lot of money by sticking to public transportation. Taxi fares start at around $3, and each additional mile tacks on another $2 or so, with every minute you spend stuck in traffic costing about $. 50.|
|Car||You don't need a car to explore central San Francisco; most of the top sites are within walking distance or are easily-reached by the Muni. Plus, driving in this city is stressful thanks to aggressive drivers, bumper-to-bumper traffic and parking rates of up to $30. However, for those of you hoping to spend a lot of time exploring the rest of the Bay Area (especially places not serviced by the BART), a car is your best option. You can find most major rental agencies at the SFO Airport. Be aware that prices can fluctuate dramatically based on the season.|
The Golden Gate Ferry Service offers water transportation between central San Francisco (Market Street in the Financial District) to nearby communities such as Sausalito, Tiburon and Larkspur. One-way fares cost around $8 for adults, and the ride takes about 1/2 hour. Ferry service between San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf) and several outlying communities (including Sausalito and Tiburon) is also provided by the Blue & Gold Fleet. One-way fares range between $6.50 and $10.50, depending on the destination.