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Lufthansa Travel Guide, San Francisco, USA

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    Good to know

    San Francisco: Californian cool in the Bay Area

    Land of dreams and hippie paradise, popular film set, technology location and slow food metropolis: All of this – and much more – that’s San Francisco, which was founded long ago by Spanish missionaries. Although no precious metal was unearthed here during the gold rush of the mid-19th century, many people made their fortune by providing accommodation, goods and services, and entertainment for the gold diggers. Many of the city’s original buildings were destroyed in the earthquake of 1906, but San Francisco quickly recovered.

    In the 1950s, this city more than any other stood for the beat generation; in the 1960s, for flower power; in the 1980s for the gay liberation movement; in the 1990s for the dotcom bubble – and since the 2000s it has mainly been associated with the slow food movement. A good hundred years since its near destruction, this city of famous bridges, gourmet cafés, cabarets and fantastic museums is trendier than ever today.

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    Top 10 sights in San Francisco

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    Lufthansa Travel Guide, San Francisco, USA
    The historic cable cars tirelessly trundle up and down San Francisco’s hills

    The Golden Gate Bridge

    Administration Building
    Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza
    CA 94129-0601 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Quite possibly the world’s most famous bridge, this California icon connects San Francisco to Marin County. Come at lunchtime in summer to snap the definitive photo of the bridge’s art deco towers looming out of the summer fog. The surrounding National Park is a playground for walkers and cyclists.

    Alcatraz

    Alcatraz Island
    Golden Gate National Recreation Area
    CA 94123 San Francisco
    USA

    Tel.: +1-415/56 13 000
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily tours 0845–1830

    With regular boat transfers from Pier 33, visiting Alcatraz is easy – it was escaping that used to be the hard part! Tours of the former prison island include the chance to peek inside the cells that once housed such notorious inmates as Al Capone.

    Cable Car Museum

    1201 Mason Street
    CA 94108 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Opening times (museum):
    Daily 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    1000-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    The city’s nostalgic streetcars, its cable cars, are an enduring symbol of San Francisco. They have been rumbling steadily and unhurriedly over the hills of the city since1873. There are three lines to choose from: the Powell Hyde line (for the best views), the Powell Mason line (for taking in the city’s historical sights) and the California Street line (to visit the city’s historically interesting neighborhoods). At the Cable Car Museum, you can discover exactly how the underground steel cable system works.

    Coit Tower

    1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard
    CA 94133 San Francisco
    USA

    Tel.: +1-415/24 90 995
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    1000-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    The best views over San Francisco are not from the skyscrapers of the Financial District, but from this historic art deco tower at the top of Telegraph Hill. From the viewing deck, a clear day offers views across the entire peninsula, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz.

    Painted Ladies

    Steiner Street & Hayes Street
    CA 94117 San Francisco
    USA
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    Before the great earthquake of 1906, colorful, gingerbread-style houses could be found throughout San Francisco. Only very few of these buildings survived the earthquake, among them, this row of Victorian houses across from Alamo Square Park, which is a very popular photo subject today.

    Golden Gate Park

    501 Stanyan Street
    CA 94117 San Francisco
    USA

    Tel.: +1-415/83 12 700
    Show on map

    Opening times (Botanical Garden):
    Daily 0900-1900 (Apr-Oct)
    0900-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    Hours vary for other attractions

    San Francisco’s favourite green space, the Golden Gate Park sprawls inland from Ocean Beach. Here you’ll find such San Francisco icons as the Botanical Gardens, the Japanese Tea Garden, the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Fine Art Museum.

    Lombard Street

    Lombard Street
    CA 94133 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Billed as the world’s most crooked street, Lombard Street completes eight hairpin turns in the space of one city block. Ride here on the Powell-Hyde cable car, admire the views, then zig-zag downhill to North Beach.

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    151 Third Street
    CA 94103 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Fri-Tue 1000-1700
    Thurs 1000-2100

    The museum opened in 1935 and began investing early on in film and installation art, new art forms back then. The museum, which was recently in the course of a large-scale renovation project, exhibits works by artists from all over the world, including Gerhard Richter, Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol. It’s a good idea to plan a whole afternoon to take in all seven floors of the museum.

    Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf

    Pier 39
    CA 94119-3730 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-2200

    It’s hard to say who does more to entertain the crowds at Pier 39 – the street performers or the sea lions. Tourists come in droves to shop, eat, enjoy thrill rides, admire views over the bay, and see hundreds of dozing sea lions sunning themselves on the boardwalks.

    Chinatown

    Grant Avenue
    CA 90012 San Francisco
    USA
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    America’s biggest Chinatown is a bustling piece of Asia transplanted to the California coast. Wander streets lined with herbalists, acupuncture shops, Taoist temples and a profusion of Chinese restaurants with roast ducks hanging in the windows. For a bona fide San Francisco spectacle, visit during Chinese New Year.

    Good to know

    Country Information

    Country overview

    From its vast plains, snow-covered mountains, deep forests and strange rock formations, to soaring skyscrapers and a thunderous cultural scene, the USA is a collage of extremes. Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Manhattan’s unforgettable skyline, your first ride in a yellow cab, the ubiquitous hamburger joints, yawning expanses of prairie, the sweet strains of New Orleans jazz, or the neon-lit excesses of Las Vegas.

    Marvel at the thunderous spectacle of Niagara Falls in northern New York, or seek an antidote to urban chaos amidst the flat farmland of the Midwest. Then there are the black hills of South Dakota, the dramatic mountain and ocean landscape of California’s Pacific Coast Highway and the world-famous Grand Canyon.

    Geography

    Covering a large part of the North American continent, the USA shares borders with Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The country has coasts on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The State of Alaska, in the northwest corner of the US, is not part of the continental US; it is separated from the rest of the USA by Canada. Similarly, Hawaii is not part of the “lower 48” states; it lies in the central Pacific Ocean.

    The country’s dependent territories are offshore and have distinct geographies of their own; the majority are islands.

    The third-largest country in the world (after the Russian Federation and Canada), the USA has an enormous diversity of geographical features, including mountains, plains, and coastal zones. Though there are many cities that are densely populated with more manmade features than natural ones, there are also vast rural areas that are far more sparsely populated. The climate ranges from subtropical to arctic, with a corresponding breadth of flora and fauna.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 319 millions (estimate 2018)

    Capital: Washington, DC.

    Language

    English, with significant Spanish-speaking minorities.

    Currency

    US Dollar (USD; symbol $) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, though the $2 bill is rare and is not in high circulation. Coins are in denominations of $1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

    Electricity

    120 volts AC, 60Hz. Plugs have two flat pins with or without a third round grounding pin.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed public holidays for the January 2019 – December 2020 period.

    Note: States can recognize other days as state holidays that are not federal holidays.

    2019

    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2019
    Martin Luther King Day: 21 January 2019
    President’s Day: 18 February 2019
    Memorial Day: 27 May 2019
    Independence Day: 4 July 2019
    Labor Day: 2 September 2019
    Columbus Day: 14 October 2019
    Veterans Day: 11 November 2019
    Thanksgiving Day: 28 November 2019
    Christmas: 25 December 2019

    2020

    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2020
    Martin Luther King Day: 20 January 2020
    President’s Day: 17 February 2020
    Memorial Day: 25 May 2020
    Independence Day: 3 and 4 July 2020
    Labor Day: 7 September 2020
    Columbus Day: 12 October 2020
    Veterans Day: 11 November 2020
    Thanksgiving Day: 26 November 2020
    Christmas: 25 December 2020

    All information subject to change.

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    Best of San Francisco: Boat trips

    ListMap

    What would San Francisco be without the Bay? Likely only half as amazing. Every visitor to the northern Californian metropolis should cross the Bay at least once by boat. From the water, the view of the high-rise downtown skyline, Signal Hill and the Golden Gate Bridge is simply spectacular.

    Alcatraz with an audio guide

    Alcatraz Landing
    Pier 33, Fisherman’s Wharf
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    USA
    Tel.: +1-415/981 76 25
    Show on map

    The tiny island of Alcatraz lies roughly two kilometers offshore from San Francisco, but the city has always been out of reach for the inmates of the legendary high-security prison – there is no record of a single successful attempt to escape. The reasons for this are the strong current and low temperature of the North Pacific waters and the sharks that inhabit them. A visit to Alcatraz is a highlight for tourists these days, so the ferry services between the mainland and the island are frequent. For a particularly vivid impression of the prison, pick up the audio guide on which you can hear original recordings of former inmates relating their personal reminiscences accentuated by the sound of cell doors slamming shut and bunches of keys rattling – the tour of the prison wings is a journey back in time. Alcatraz Cruises serves The Rock daily between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Boats depart from Pier 33 in Fisherman’s Wharf. But make sure to arrive as early as possible in the morning, as the trips are soon sold out.

    Alameda Point Antiques Faire

    Alameda Point Anique Fair
    3800 Main Street
    Alameda, CA 9450
    USA
    Tel.: +1-510/522 75 00
    Show on map

    On the first Sunday of every month, antiques fans take the Oakland ferry from Pier 41 (sanfranciscobayferry.com)  and alight a good 30 minutes later on Alameda Island. Their destination: the best flea market far and wide, which is held there. Treasures of every kind with all kinds of backstories: vintage stuff, antiques and clothes. The items on sale must be at least 20 years old, a point on which the organizers are very strict. The choice is huge, the location terrific, with a great view of the city. Be wary with European designer items, though, as they are especially popular in California and often a little overpriced as a result.

    Sailing adventure on the USA 76

    AC Sailing SF
    Gate B, Pier 39
    2 Beach St
    San Francisco, CA 94133
    USA
    Tel.: +1-415/990 99 92
    Show on map

    Back in 2013, many sail sportsmen dreamed of sailing in the America’s Cup race in der San Francisco Bay. That dream can still be realized – if a little late: The USA 76, a genuine racing yacht, regularly sets sail from Pier 39 for a 2.5-hour tour of the official 2013 America’s Cup course along with 40 other boats. Of course, participants don’t sit idly by, watching the crew – it’s all hands on deck when this sleek boat glides beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, its sail billowing. A sailing certificate is not required, but seaworthiness is.

    Whale Watching in Farallon Bay

    Boats depart from
    Marina Yacht Harbor
    3950 Scott Street,
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    USA
    Show on map

    Nature fans certainly get their money’s worth in San Francisco. On the Oceanic Society’s whale-watching trips to the Farallon Islands 25 sea miles away, visitors can observe humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, seals, dolphins, and many species of seabirds. Nonprofit tours offer the somewhat rarer opportunity to see a turtle or a white shark. The fact that the fare for the eight-hour trip with knowledgeable and helpful scientists on board contributes to marine conservation additionally makes it an ethically sound pleasure.

    Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge

    Golden Gate Ferry
    1 Sausalito - San Francisco Ferry Building
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    USA
    Tel: +1-415/455 20 00
    Show on map

    Even if you’re not totally seaworthy, you should enjoy the city’s skyline from the water. The ferry crossing to Sausalito takes just half an hour, which is plenty of time to take in great views of downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you want to see the buildings close up, take a bicycle across with you and then take the pretty route from the harbor in Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge back to the city. Others will enjoy the vacation atmosphere of the small island and take a tour of Heath Ceramics  (heathceramics.com), which produces top-class tableware in a wide range of colors.

    Full-moon kayak tour

    Sea Trek
    2100 Bridgeway
    Sausalito, CA 94965
    USA
    Tel. +1-415/332 84 94
    Show on map

    This kayak tour is also suitable for beginners. After a professional introduction, even they are trusted to handle the double kayaks safely. A trip across the Bay from Sausalito, visiting the seals basking in the harbor basin and a houseboat community, provides an insight into the laid-back lifestyle of both humans and animals in California. After sundown, with the full moon rising over Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, romance is definitely in the air.

    Private cruise on Independence Day

    San Francisco Sailing Company
    Pier 39, Dock C
    San Francisco, CA 94133
    USA
    Tel. +1-415/378 48 87
    Show on map

    On July 4, San Francisco goes crazy: Independence Day celebrations are euphoric here. The undisputed climax of festivities here is the traditional firework display. To avoid the masses and still make sure you get the best view of the spectacle, take a boat trip. A particularly stylish way to experience the pyrotechnic extravaganza is cruising off the coast on board a private, chartered yacht with a glass of champagne in your hand.

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    Mission delicious: Tartine Bakery

    Elisabeth Pruiett and Chad Robertson have been selling their gloriously crisp country bread and other amazing baked goods in upscale Mission District since 2002. The tantalizing smells from the bakery fill the lovingly styled café, which is usually pretty busy even early in the morning. The morning buns here, a king of cinnamon-and-orange roll, are particularly popular. There’s a second branch, the Tartine Manufactory, in San Francisco (595 Alabama Street).

    Tartine Bakery
    600 Guerrero Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    USA
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    Restaurants in San Francisco

    ListMap

    If it’s organic, seasonal, artisan, sustainable, or just plain gourmet, you’ll find it in San Francisco. NorCal – North Californian – cuisine is famous across America, and the city also boasts the nation’s best street food.

    Seafood dominates around Fisherman’s Wharf and the Piers, while North Beach is the epicentre of NorCal experimentation. For superior world food, try Downtown, Chinatown, SoMa or the Mission.

    In Situ

    151 Third Street
    CA 94103 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Price: Luxurious

    This restaurant is located inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And just as the SFMOMA collects artworks, so head chef Corey Lee collects the menu ideas of the best cooks in the world and delights in recreating them in great detail for his guests. In 2016, the New York Times referred to the In Situ as “the most original new restaurant“; the Michelin Guide recently awarded it a star.

    Fior d’Italia

    2237 Mason Street
    CA 94133 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Price: Luxurious

    This restaurant was established in 1886, and that apparently makes it the USA’s oldest Italian restaurant. It serves classic northern Italian fare. There’s an extra room that can be booked for larger parties.

    Serpentine

    2495 Third Street
    CA 94107 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    This modern restaurant with an American menu occupies a former warehouse building in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The extensive daily brunch offering makes a nice extra.

    The Stinking Rose

    2889 Mission Street
    CA 94110 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    This restaurant with its Californian-Italian cuisine in North Beach is a veritable paradise for garlic fans. Every dish on the menu contains a generous helping of garlic. The restaurant even has its own gift shop where every item is in some way related to the garlic theme.

    Boudin Bakery

    160 Jefferson Street
    CA 94133 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Price: Budget

    There are several Boudin Bakeries in San Francisco and each one is a good address for sourdough rolls and clam chowder. In the flagship store on Jefferson Street, you can even go on a Bakery Museum Tour and watch the bakers at work.

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    Hotels in San Francisco

    ListMap

    San Francisco gave the world some of its first boutique hotels, and some of the city’s most comfortable bedrooms have serious designer credentials.

    Hotels range from cute, family-friendly places in Victorian houses to lavish five-star chains.

    Hotel Drisco

    2901 Pacific Avenue
    CA 94115 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Category: Luxurious

    The hotel is located in the beautiful residential area of Pacific Heights. It was completely renovated in 2017 and is considered to be one of the most stylish boutique hotels on the Pacific Coast.

    Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square

    900 North Point St.
    CA 94109 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Category: Luxurious

    This hotel resembles a white palace lying between Chinatown and Union Square shopping mall. Guests particularly appreciate its outstanding service and imposing lobby.

    Omni San Francisco Hotel

    500 California Street
    CA 94104 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Super location! From the bustling Financial District, where the hotel is located, Little Italy and Chinatown and just a short walk away.

    Argonaut Hotel

    495 Jefferson Street
    CA 94109 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Category: Budget

    Right in the thick of things on Fisherman’s Wharf, the Argonaut is a tribute to San Francisco’s seafaring past, down to the astrolabes and ships’ wheels on the walls.

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    Nightlife in San Francisco

    ListMap

    Hip cocktails, microbrewery beers and California wines are the tipples of choice for young San Franciscans, and there are trendy watering holes scattered across the city. SoMa, Castro and the Mission are where the arty set hang out, with the best

    selection of GLBT venues. Sleek cocktail bars and laid-back dive bars dot the streets of North Beach and the Haight, while tourists and executives congregate at the Marina and Fisherman’s Wharf.

    Cobb’s Comedy Club

    915 Columbus Avenue
    CA 94133 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    The USA’s most popular stand-up comedians perform here. In addition to the show, guests can enjoy snacks here, and are full meals and drinks can also be purchased. Take a look at the current program on the club website (cobbscomedy.com).

    Smuggler’s Cove

    650 Gough Street
    CA 94102 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    A pirate’s lair of a bar in Hayes Valley, with rigging hanging from the rafters and a menu of 550 brands of rum.

    Comstock Saloon

    155 Columbus Avenue
    CA 94133 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    The Comstock Saloon is an address with a history. A bar has existed on this spot since 1907. The current iteration – a Wild West saloon with drinks, snacks and live music – opened in 2010.

    20 Spot

    3565 20th Street
    CA 94110 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    This former record shop in the Mission District serves Pinot, Riesling and other select wines, as well as oysters and deviled eggs (spicy stuffed eggs served cold). The kitchen is open till 11 p.m. – a rarity in San Francisco.

    Bar Agricole

    355 11th Street
    CA 94103 San Francisco
    USA
    Show on map

    Delicious bar bites and cocktails with real flair pull in the crowds at this modernist mansion of a bar in the trendy SoMa district.

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    Calendar of events

    Comedy Festival

    10 – 27 January 2019
    Website

    Location: San Francisco Comedy Clubs

    At the San Francisco Sketchfest, well-known comedians and rising stars present sketches, stand-up comedy, podcasts and improvisation shows. Workshops are also run here.

    Chinese New Year Festival and Parade

    23 February 2019
    Website

    Location: Chinatown, San Francisco

    The New Year Parade is the highlight of the Chinese New Year Festival in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Elaborately designed dragons and lion dancers make their way through the streets, driving away evil spirits. This colorful parade is an opportunity for Americans of Chinese descent present their culture.

    Tulipmania

    February – March 2019

    Location: Pier 39

    Around 40,000 tulips bloom in springtime at Pier 39 – an amazing sight. Tours are available for visitors to learn more about these plants and their cultivation.

    Bay Area Dance Week

    26 April – 5 May 2019

    Location: Bay Area

    Watch from the sidelines or join in the dancing, you can do both here. The program ranges from hip hop, jazz, samba and ballet to African, Chinese and Hawaiian dances. Admission is free.

    Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

    9 June 2019
    Website

    Location: Golden Gate Area, Presidio

    Triathletes from around the world set off against the historic backdrop of what must be the most famous jail anywhere in the world and plunge into the icy waters of San Francisco Bay. Participants have to swim 2.4 kilometers, complete a 29-kilometer bike ride and run almost 13 kilometers before reaching the finish line at St. Francis Yacht Club.

    North Beach Festival

    15 – 16 June 2019
    Website

    Location: North Beach District

    The North Beach Festival is a famous annual street fair in North Beach, San Francisco’s Little Italy. It is traditionally held in June.

    Across the Bay 12K Race

    14 July 2019
    Website

    Location: Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf

    The Across the Bay 12K Race event is a 12-kilometer-long run across the Golden Gate Bridge, followed by a party at Fisherman’s Wharf. Alternatively, you can register for a 5-kilometer tour.

    Nihonmachi Street Fair

    August 2019
    Website

    Location: Japantown, San Francisco

    This Japanese cultural event is held in Japantown and in the Japan Center every August to celebrate Japanese culture and traditions on the U.S. West Coast. This year, the music featured ranges from Taiko through hip hop and salsa to rock and jazz.

    San Francisco Fringe Festival

    5 – 14 September 2019
    Website

    Location: Exit Theatre, Exit Stage Left, Exit Studio

    As part of the annual San Francisco Fringe Festival in September, actors present regional and international theater on the stages of the Exit Theatre, Exit Stage Left and the Exit Studio.

    Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

    4 – 6 October 2019
    Website

    Location: Golden State Park

    Blues, rock, Dixieland, country: At this festival, musicians perform a wide variety of genres on up to seven stages simultaneously. Visitors are welcome to listen, sing along, dance or simply picnic in the park. Admission is free.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +1

    Telephone

    Public telephones have become a rarity, but can still be found here and there. They take coins, telephone cards and credit cards. If you are planning to make regular use of public phones, it’s best to purchase a prepaid calling card from one of the many U.S. providers.

    Mobile Telephone

    Not all European cell phones work on the American network, since it requires a tri-band or quad-band device. Full network coverage is not always assured outside densely populated areas. Roaming charges are high here, so it is often cheaper to buy a SIM card from a U.S. provider. Low-cost prepaid SIM cards for making calls inside the country can be ordered online before you travel.

    Internet

    Free Internet access via Wi-Fi is possible in many busy tourist spots. When using unencrypted public Wi-Fi networks, it is not advisable to enter passwords, credit card details or banking credentials. We recommend using VPN app or security software to check Wi-Fi hotspots.

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    Shopping in San Francisco

    Key Areas

    Mainstream stores are concentrated in the malls and the touristy districts of Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina and Downtown. For arty Bohemian wares, explore the Haight, Hayes Valley and the Mission, or find Asia in miniature in Chinatown or Japantown on Post Street.

    Markets

    One market sits head and shoulders above all others in San Francisco – the Ferry Building on Market Street houses the city’s finest food market, with artisan producers, specialist cheese and wine makers, and abundant farm-fresh produce for the Saturday farmers’ market. For Bay Area antiques, explore the quirky Alemany Flea Market (Alemany Boulevard) or join the crowds at the monthly Alameda Point Antiques & Collectibles Fair in the Alameda Naval Station.

    Shopping Centres

    American megamalls abound in San Francisco. Big brands show off their wares around the plaza at Union Square (Geary Street), but you’ll find more variety in the vast Westfield Center on Market Street. Gifts and fair-trade products that chime with the San Francisco way of life can be found in the Crocker Galleria (Post Street), with its Thursday farmers’ market.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Sunday, 25.08.2019 20:00 UTC

    partly cloudy

    temperature


    16°C


    wind direction

    northwest

    wind speed

    5.625 mph

    humidity

    87%

    7 days forecast

    Monday

    26.08.2019

    24°C / 16°C

    Tuesday

    27.08.2019

    22°C / 15°C

    Wednesday

    28.08.2019

    22°C / 16°C

    Thursday

    29.08.2019

    22°C / 17°C

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    30.08.2019

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    Saturday

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    Sunday

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    Climate and best time to visit San Francisco

    For the best weather, visit from August to October, when the summer sunshine lingers later than almost anywhere in the USA. For the best photos of the fog around the Golden Gate Bridge, visit in the cooler months of June or July, and catch the city’s famous Jazz Festival and Gay Pride Parade. For lower prices and smaller crowds, come in spring, late autumn or winter, but dress for chilly evenings.

    Climate & best time to visit United States of America

    The United States has varied weather conditions, and the best time to visit depends both upon the location and the season. Spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September and October) are generally cooler, more comfortable times to visit. Summer months – June, July, and August – are generally hot regardless of the region, but winter temperatures (November-February) can vary substantially depending upon the part of the US you are visiting. The southern part of the country tends to be warmer in the winter than the north. The general climate of the continental US is temperate, but keep in mind that Hawaii is tropical and Alaska is arctic. Many of the country’s dependent territories, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, are also tropical.

    Summer is considered the peak tourist season throughout the country; other popular travel times are major American holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as Easter Week and the school holiday known as Spring Break. Certain destinations, such as New York, are perennial favourites and are busy year-round; even when the weather may not be pleasant, these destinations have particular attractions or experiences that always draw travellers. In some parts of the country, travel services may be limited during the low or off-season, largely due to weather conditions.

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    75 %

    78 %

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    10 °C

    11 °C

    11 °C

    12 °C

    13 °C

    14 °C

    14 °C

    15 °C

    15 °C

    15 °C

    13 °C

    11 °C

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute maxØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan22 °C-3 °C13 °C5 °C78 %111 mm85.6 h
    Feb25 °C-1 °C15 °C7 °C76 %81 mm77.1 h
    Mar29 °C0 °C16 °C7 °C73 %78 mm88.6 h
    Apr33 °C2 °C17 °C8 °C71 %35 mm510.1 h
    May36 °C3 °C19 °C9 °C71 %5 mm110.5 h
    Jun41 °C6 °C21 °C11 °C71 %3 mm110.8 h
    Jul40 °C6 °C22 °C12 °C73 %1 mm< 19.9 h
    Aug37 °C7 °C22 °C12 °C75 %1 mm< 19.1 h
    Sep39 °C5 °C23 °C12 °C72 %5 mm19.1 h
    Oct37 °C2 °C21 °C11 °C72 %31 mm37.9 h
    Nov29 °C0 °C16 °C8 °C75 %73 mm66.1 h
    Dec23 °C-4 °C13 °C5 °C78 %79 mm85.4 h
    year41 °C-4 °C18 °C9 °C74 %503 mm488.4 h
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Americans are renowned for their openness and friendliness to visitors. The wide variety of national origins and the USA’s relatively short history has resulted in numerous cultural and traditional customs living alongside each other. In large cities, people of the same ethnic background often live within defined communities.

    Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting in formal situations and in business meetings. As long as the fundamental rules of courtesy are observed, there need be no fear of offending anyone of any background.

    Gifts are appreciated if one is invited to a private home.

    As a rule, dress is casual. High-end restaurants, hotels and clubs may require more formal attire.

    Smoking is increasingly unpopular in the US; it is essential to ask permission before lighting up. Smoking is not allowed on city transport and restricted or forbidden in public buildings in most states. There will be a posted notice where no smoking is requested. An increasing number of states (including California and New York) have banned smoking altogether in bars, restaurants and many public places.

    Good to know

    Health

    Main emergency number: 911

    Food & Drink

    Food in the US is safe to eat, and the conditions under which food is prepared and served are regulated by city, state, and federal health and hygiene agencies. In many jurisdictions, it is mandatory for restaurants to have a certificate of health or hygiene, as well as the current grade they have been assigned, posted visibly.

    Although America is famous for its fast food and obesity rates, the local and fresh food movement is very popular in many areas, especially cities, making it easy to eat healthy. A variety of options also makes it easy for people with special dietary needs to find food that suits them, whether their needs are due to health reasons or to religious requirements.

    Tap water is considered safe to drink in the US and is often offered in restaurants before bottled water. Bottled water is available throughout the country, however, both in restaurants and shops, for those who prefer not to drink tap water.

    Other Risks

    The US is generally considered a safe destination for world visitors. Occasional outbreaks of disease, such as West Nile Virus (a mosquito-borne illness) and H1N1 have occurred in recent years, however. Frequent hand-washing and general practices of good hygiene are encouraged to protect oneself against all types of illness.

    Another concern with regard to safety is the possibility of terrorist attacks such as the one that occurred on September 11, 2001. City, state, and federal agencies have stringent anti-terrorism practices in place, however, and direct threats are infrequent.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Shlain, Jordan L.
    Private Medical Services
    3580 California Street – Suite 101
    San Francisco
    CA 94118
    USA
    Tel. +1-4158-303090

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    Known locally as Muni, the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency (tel: +1-415/70 12 311; sfmta.com) runs a citywide network of metro trains, buses, streetcars (trams) and the famous San Francisco cable car – actually a kind of tram hauled on underground cables. Tickets can be bought on board (exact change required) or from Muni Metro stations. Suburban trains to the outer suburbs and the airport are run by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART; tel: +1-415/98 92 278; bart.gov). Explore the city at your leisure with a rechargeable magnetic Clipper Card, or buy a one- to seven-day Muni Visitor Passport.

    Taxis

    Taxis can be flagged down in the street and charge metered rates to anywhere in the city, including to the airport. A ten per cent tip will be expected. Reliable radio-cab companies include Yellow Cab (tel: +1-415/33 33 333; yellowcabsf.com) and Flywheel (tel: +1-415/97 01 300; flywheeltaxi.com). The services of Uber (uber.com) and Lyft (lyft.com) are very popular with residents here; here, you can order cars via the company’s website or app.