San Francisco in California is a laid-back city with liberal values, known for its hilly terrain, the Golden Gate Bridge and historic street cars. Holidays in San Francisco offer a fantastic mix of great attractions, beautiful architecture, delicious food, a fun nightlife and plenty of chances to relax and take it easy too. After all, you're in California!
The city is also famous for its fog, which is particularly frequent in summer, lending it a cooler climate than you might expect. Especially at this time of year you can easily experience a pretty drastic temperature change across just a short distance thanks to the hilly terrain, but any UK visitor should be used to these sorts of weather changes from the UK summer! Take layers and you will be fine.
The autumn is the best time for a holiday to San Francisco because it offers a gap between the foggy summer and the rainy winter, although with fairly consistent temperatures all year round, there is no one best time for finding cheap San Francisco flights. Instead, when you see a bargain you should snap it up!
All holidays in San Francisco from the UK will have to start with a flight to San Francisco International Airport. Direct services take around 11 hours to arrive, and thanks to plenty of healthy competition between airlines you should be able to find a pretty good deal. This is also a popular route for discounts so if you're looking to do a San Francisco holiday on the cheap keep your eyes peeled!
One-stop and two-stop flights are also easy to find, with travelling times upwards of 17 hours, usually with minimal savings over the direct routes. It's definitely worth checking all the options, and carefully checking your flight itinerary to make sure you're maximising your holiday time in San Francisco.
Once you've arrived you could arrange cheap San Francisco car hire from the airport, although you may find that you don't need it if your hotel is in a fairly central location. Alternative options for onward travel include taxis, you can hop on the free shuttle bus to the train station, or on the local bus - but be warned that these do not allow large luggage.
Depending on what you want to do on your holiday in San Francisco, there are different parts of the city that will suit you best. And to help you out we've put together this handy guide!
Golden Gate Area - a trendy and upmarket area known for great views and close proximity to the sights, not great if you're after a cheap holiday in San Francisco!
Fisherman's Wharf - the heart of the tourist attractions, you may find cheap hotels here but they won't be spacious!
Nob Hill and Russian Hill - plenty more upscale and boutique hotels here, as well as numerous lovely views.
Chinatown and North Beach - Chinatown and Little Italy combine to make a wealth of places to eat and offer cheap places to stay close to Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower.
Union Square and SoMa - shopping, art, theatre and skyscrapers abound, staying here is more about business hotels and it won't be that cheap!
Western Addition - an historic neighbourhood with lots of old buildings, it's also Japantown with plenty of hotels catering to the Japanese tourists.
Haight - the heart of the 60s hippy culture, it still offers an eclectic mix of things today and is the only place to stay on a holiday to San Francisco if you want to re-live the bohemian times.
Castro-Noe Valley - great restaurants and shops with a small town feel of open, walkable streets, it's the centre of the LGBTQ community.
Mission and Bernal Heights - offers the best nightlife in the city and is a great place to find cheap accommodation if you're willing to get off the beaten track.
Holidays in San Francisco must include a cable car ride, a trip to the largest Chinatown outside Asia, and of course a hike up somewhere to enjoy panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge - Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill is the traditional destination for this! If you want to get around and about get a San Francisco City Pass which includes a seven day transport pass for unlimited travel on buses and cable cars. Fisherman's Wharf is a must-see for tourist-centric action like the Wax Museum, and is where you'll find a world-famous firework display on the Fourth of July. Other attractions include taking the boat across to Alcatraz, the Exploratorium science museum and the Palace of Fine Arts. Make your 2013 or 2014 holiday to San Francisco extra special by timing it to coincide with one of the annual events such as Gay Pride or the Folsom Street Fair to participate in the LGBTQ side of things, or the Fringe Festival, the Haight Ashbury Festival or many more!
Need more info? Go to our San Francisco guide here.
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