Liberty, high-tech, multicultural, artistic... Frisco, the golden city, is also characterized by its ecological fibre and its softness of life. A unique and yet quite plural city at the mercy of the hills and districts, with its nicknames: SF, The City, City by the Bay, San Fran, The Golden City, Fog City... A tour guide on San Francisco will help you understand this fascinating and inspiring city. The city of seven hills is marked by a rich maritime past and successive waves of immigration, due in particular to the gold rush. Its geography and personality have made it the cradle of countless movements, such as the Beat Generation, the liberation of the LGBT community or American pacifism, and continue to inspire it with an extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit. And it's a whole variety to discover: SoMa and her generation of hipsters, Haight and her musicians, Castro and her gay population, Mission and her Hispanic enclave, Chinatown and Japantown... And new neighbourhoods are already emerging. The restored Piers du Nord, from where we board to join the Alcatraz prison. San Francisco is also the starting point for a possible road trip to the American West and Northern California, with a wild coast along Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean, redwood forests, but also fertile valleys in the Gold Country and Sacramento. Launch out on the Golden Gate Bridge and taste the Californian dream!

The must-see places in San Francisco

When to go to San Francisco?

San Francisco is an active and dynamic American metropolis all year round. However, here are some tips on when to leave, depending on your interests.

The high tourist season is of course summer in San Francisco and throughout Northern California, as many international travellers take their holidays in July/August. So you will see many Europeans at this time of year. Swimming enthusiasts, be careful! San Francisco is by no means a destination where it is good to relax by the sea. Whatever the season, the water is cold and the wind blows. So people come here more to surf than to swim in the sea. In summer, you will have to head to Half Moon Bay to find pleasant swimming areas. The best time to visit San Francisco is not necessarily in the summer. The Christmas holidays and the Thanksgiving Bridge are also very busy, with many Americans returning home. San Francisco lives all year round, but if you only had to choose two events in San Francisco, you could mention for example: the LGBT Pride, on the last Saturday in June, the festivities gather around the Civic Center and on Sundays it is the gigantic parade; and the Chinese New Year and Parade: the event has taken place since 1860, the Chinese New Year's Day in San Francisco is grand. Celebrations are taking place in other major Chinese centres in the region, including Oakland. Every year in February.

The low season begins in September/October and ends in March (excluding end-of-year holidays). You can try to negotiate prices for your hotels, especially outside San Francisco. If you want to avoid tourists, it is better to plan a trip in the spring or fall. January is often rainy, although you can have beautiful sunny days with temperatures around 20°C.

How to go to San Francisco? Our advice & tips

  • Organised trips
  • Going alone
  • Moving around

San Francisco is a common destination for French tour operators. Offers range from a city tour, usually within a week, to a visit to the state of California, via San Francisco. An organized trip may be of interest to those who do not speak English, and who plan to leave the city for excursions.

Discover our selection of travel agencies for this destination

Those who do not speak English will certainly be a little handicapped, but the locals form a multi-ethnic community, you can often exchange in Spanish or even Chinese.... And the inhabitants are very kind and always ready to help you. No difficulty to travel alone, rent a car, book your motels or hotels on a daily basis and leave according to the roads. In San Francisco itself, follow the grid of streets and avenues and our visiting tips.

San Francisco has a wide network of ferries to reach other cities in the bay, while avoiding traffic jams. San Francisco also has a good bus network. They are mainly intended for residents who visit their workplace and service is limited in the evenings and on weekends. The city also has a metro that is the best means of urban transport. Finally, the Cable Car, a rack and pinion tramway, criss-crosses the city

Prepare for your trip San Francisco

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San Francisco travel inspiration

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Practical information
When to travel?

San Francisco is an active and dynamic American metropolis all year round. However, here are some tips on when to lea...
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Weather forecast

The configuration of San Francisco Bay explains an extremely variable and misty climate. In the same day, you can go...
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Budget

San Francisco is an expensive destination. Expect about US$4 for coffee, US$20 for a meal in a restaurant and US$2.75...
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Formalities

You need a biometric passport to go to the United States. This passport qualifies for the Visa Waiver Program for sta...
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Health

There is no health risk when travelling to San Francisco and the United States. The health level is the same as in Fr...
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How to travel by yourself?

Those who do not speak English will certainly be a little handicapped, but the locals form a multi-ethnic community,...
Read more about it

How to get organized?

San Francisco is a common destination for French tour operators. Offers range from a city tour, usually within a week...
Read more about it

Getting around

San Francisco has a wide network of ferries to reach other cities in the bay, while avoiding traffic jams. San Franci...
Read more about it

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