One of the must-see cities on the West Coast, San Francisco offers a unique mixture of hippie free love and technical innovation. Throw in the incredible food and drink scene (including some of the world's best vineyards in Napa Valley) and you have one of the most interesting cities in the world today!
There are three ways to get to Downtown and Union Square (the city centre); metro, bus or taxi.
Metro: The best option is to get the Metro directly from San Francisco Airport. The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) is a convenient and affordable way to get to the city centre. It takes around 27 minutes and costs around $10.
Taxi: the next best option to Downtown Union Square is to catch a cab. This will cost around $60 and takes about 35 mins. Taxis are metered so you pay the fare upon arrival.
Bus: it's probably best to avoid the bus if you can. While it is cheaper than the other options (around $2) it takes significantly longer (around 75 mins) and bus frequency is much lower than the metro. From San Francisco International Airport you can either get the 292 or 398.
Flight time is usually around 11 hours, it's approximately 5,331 miles (8,612 km) to San Francisco from Manchester. But with our excellent on flight entertainment you can sit back and relax, plus with pre-clearance in Dublin you can land in San Fran like a local.
If you were determined you could see a lot in 3-4 days, including; Golden Gate Bridge (and Park), Alcatraz, Union Square, China Town, catch a Giants at AT&T Park, plus piles museums. Much of San Francisco's charm is just being in the city. You cross over that big red bridge, through the famous fog and into a world of techies, hippies, and hipsters. The city has an amazing food scene that you won't have to spend and arm and a leg on...most of the best stuff comes from the food trucks!
The high tourists' months are during the summer with July and August being the high season. The Fog can keep the temperature quite cool in these months and it often lifts more in the Autumn months September and October. There are usually fewer crowds then as well.
You won't need a Visa (if you are a British or European citizen), but you will need to complete an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). It's easy to apply for one online, but be sure to have it completed at least 72 hours before your trip or you could be denied entry. An ESTA costs $14.
No matter where you go in the US you will need to tip. It's customary to tip around 15%-20%, this is true of almost all services including bars, taxis and restaurant servers. And it's not just in the movies, hotel staff will expect a couple of dollars as well.