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San Francisco City Guide

From grand, sweeping views to neighborhood color and character, from glimpses of history to world-class restaurants — San Francisco is home to a little bit of everything

  • Explore the arts & culture, shopping, nightlife, and dining that San Francisco has to offer, and start planning your visit!

    Here are just a few of the city’s most popular attractions:

    PIER 39: Enjoy dining, entertainment, shopping, and unbeatable views of the city and the bay when you visit one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco.

    Golden Gate Bridge: Spanning 1.7 miles from San Francisco to the Marin headlands, this breathtaking bridge is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Walk or bike on the bridge’s sidewalks and take in the view!

    Golden Gate Park: Golden Gate Park stretches for three miles on the western edge of the city, and is home to many attractions including the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Conservatory of Flowers.

    Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz was the site of the first lighthouse in the Western United States but became a federal penitentiary from 1934-1963, housing famous convicts such as Al Capone. Visit the island and take a tour of the famous cell house.

    SFMOMA: Check out the recently-reopened museum, which includes 170,000 square feet of new and renovated galleries.

    The Presidio: Formerly a military post, this national park site features spectacular vistas, beautiful trails, and historic and architectural treasures.

    Yerba Buena Gardens: See this award-winning public facility, featuring public art, museums, a historic carousel, ice-skating, and bowling centers.

    Asian Art Museum: Explore one of the most complete collections of Asian art in the world, spanning cultures from Turkey to the Philippines over 6,000 years.

    The Exploratorium: Newly renovated and now open on Pier 15 on the Embarcadero at the heart of the waterfront, the Exploratorium boasts more than 600 hands-on exhibits.

    San Francisco Zoo and Gardens: This historic treasure is home to 1,000 endangered and rescued animals and 250 species.

Explore San Francisco

San Francisco is an exciting city and we want you to enjoy it while you’re here. Come early or stay late — just be sure to have fun!
Check out the trip-planning tools and neighborhood guides below.

Weather

January is the rainy season in San Francisco. There may be winter storms at which times monthly rainfall can all come on the same day. After the rain though, there can be exceptionally clear skies.

While Californians may find the weather during this time to be cold though, this is not necessarily true of everyone else. The average daily temperature in San Francisco in January is 10.6°C (51°F), with highs of 13°C (55°F) and an average minimum temperature of 7°C (44°F).

When packing, make sure you include a waterproof coat or jacket, layers, light gloves and a warm jacket as opposed to a heavy winter coat.

The average amount of rainfall expected in January in San Francisco is 119 mm over 11 days. Expect 7 hours of sunshine per day during this month.

Time Zone

San Francisco is Pacific Time Zone. The Pacific Time Zone observes standard time by subtracting eight hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−8). The standard time in this zone is based on the mean solar time of the 120th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory. During daylight saving time, its time offset is UTC−7 and is thus based on the mean solar time of the 105th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory.

International Visitors

If you're visiting New York City from outside the United States, you may need a visa to enter the
country. For details, visit the US State Department’s visa information website.

Tipping Guidelines

  • Hotel doorman: $3 for hailing a cab
  • Porters and bellhops: $1–$2 per bag
  • Maids: $1–$2 per person, per day of your visit, or as much as $5 per day
  • Waitstaff and bartenders: 15–20 percent of total bill
  • Taxi drivers: 15–20 percent of total fare
  • Tips for other service personnel, such as theater ushers, tour guides and coat-check staff, are always appreciated.