When visiting San Francisco, most travel professionals will agree that renting a car is more trouble than its worth. Not only is it difficult for tourists to master driving the citys winding streets, but you will also find that parking is very expensive and spots are almost impossible to find.
So how should you plan on getting around the City by the Bay? Luckily, you have several great options.
One of the best parts about visiting San Francisco is how easy it is to get around by simply using your feet. Many of the citys neighborhoods are very close to one another, and you could easily plan an entire days worth of activities and meals all within one square mile. Of course, if San Francisco is known for one thing, its the number of hills within its boundaries.
You need to be prepared to encounter extremely steep hills- ome of the steepest in the country- so you should always wear comfortable shoes whenever you set out to traverse the city. Dont be deceived when you find that your destination is only a few blocks away on the map because those few blocks could include climbing or descending at least one steep hill.
Remember to always allow plenty of time to get where youre going and pace yourself as necessary.
The San Francisco Municipal Railway (nicknamed Muni) provides some of the most useful ways for tourists and locals alike to navigate the city. This complex network of buses, cable cars, and streetcars gives you access to every corner of the city.
Fares can be paid in cash, but if you are planning an extended visit, it will likely be more cost-effective to buy one of the 1-, 3-, or 7-day Passports that give you an unlimited number of rides for a relatively low cost.
The historic cable cars are something of an attraction by themselves, since they are the only moving landmark ever to be recorded by the National Register of Historic Places. Munis buses and trolleybuses cover the widest area of the city (you will recognize the trolleybuses by the overhead electrified lines that power them).
Pick up a map from one of the many vendors that sell the Muni Passports or download an app to your phone in order to get personalized bus directions.
More popular among locals than it is for tourists, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART) system connects San Francisco with several other cities in the region. Even visitors might opt to ride the BART occasionally, however. If you want quick transportation between Downtown and the Mission District, for instance, there is a direct line between these two neighborhoods.
You can also use the BART to access popular attractions outside of the city, such as the UC Berkeley campus and the Oakland Coliseum (where both the Raiders and the As play their home games).
4. TAXI SERVICES
Like in many other big cities, yellow cabs can be easily hailed on the street, though they can often be one of the most expensive ways to get across San Francisco. Recently, many tourists and locals have begun opting for one of the alternative taxi companies that inundate the area, such as Uber and Lyft.
Accessed via mobile apps, both of these companies will send a private car your way by using the GPS coordinates from your smartphone.
The drivers will take you anywhere you want to go based on fares that are predetermined by the companies. You will often notice Lyft cars driving around the citythey are extremely recognizable by the oversized pink mustaches adhered to their front bumpers.
5. UBER CARS
Uber cars tend to blend in a little more, and you will likely only notice one if you order it for yourself. Depending on the time of day, these services can be much cheaper or much more expensive than traditional cabs, so you should always be vigilant when deciding how you want to ride.
Most tourists who visit San Francisco will find that they use several different modes of transportation in one trip, depending on where in the city they want to go, how much they want to spend, and how long they want it to take.
By understanding your various options to get around, you can make an informed decision each time you set out. Just because you dont want to deal with a rental car doesnt mean that your potential to explore San Francisco will be limited. Take advantage of walking, public transportation, and taxi services, and you can easily access the entire city.