San Francisco Airport is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area offering non-stop flights to more than 65 cities in the United States and 30 international cities. The airport is located 14 miles from downtown San Francisco. From the airport, you can reach San Francisco by car, bus, shuttles, and taxis. An average taxi ride to downtown San Francisco costs $37 USD.
address: 780 Mcdonnell Road, San Francisco, CA 94128 USA
tel +1 650-821-5000
San Jose International Airport is located at the heart of Silicon Valley. The airport is located 47 miles from downtown San Francisco and can be reached by car, bus, shuttles, and taxis. An average taxi ride to downtown San Francisco costs $140-$150 USD.
address: 2077 Airport Blvd., San Jose, CA 95110 USA
tel +1 408-392-3600
One of the more economical ways to go to downtown San Francisco is through door-to-door shuttles. Below is a list of companies that offer this service:
Available 24/7 for door-to-door airport ground transportation. Located in San Francisco Airport (SFO) and San Jose Airport (SFO).
Address: 120 Willow Street, San Francisco, CA 94109-4605
tel +1 415-202-0733
SuperShuttle San Francisco (San Francisco International Airport Area)
Address: 30 Adrian Court, Burlingame, CA 94010
tel +1 650-246-8942
Car & Van Rental
If you want to travel extensively, renting a car or van is recommended. When renting, make sure to ask about cancelation penalties, taxes, drop-off charges, and any additional surcharges. Be aware that driving in San Francisco can offer some challenges because of one-way streets, traffic, and steep hills. In addition, traffic travels on the right hand side of the road. Please inquire with your hotel if they charge car-parking fees. Hotels typically charge $20 a day.
It is a requirement for persons driving a car to wear seatbelts at all times, obey all posted signs, and speed limits.
Below is a list of car and van rental companies:
Alamo Rent A Car
Budget Rent A Car
Thrifty Car Rental
Public Transportation Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
The BART is a convenient and fast way to get to San Francisco from SFO. It takes 30 minutes to get to downtown San Francisco and the fare starts at $8.10. At the SFO Airport, the station is located in the International Terminal.
tel +1 510-465-2278
San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI)
MUNI operates the bus, tram, cable cars, and metro services and all can be accessible with a single ticket.
Address: One South Van Ness Avenue, Third Floor, San Francisco 94103
tel 311 (24/7 within San Francisco)
At the Airport:
Taxis are available on the designated taxi zones located outside of Arrivals on all terminals and there are taxi coordinators available from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Approximate fares to San Francisco:
• Downtown - $37 USD
• Fisherman’s Wharf - $44 USD
In the city:
Like most cities, taxis in San Francisco are available when the sign on top of the cab is illuminated. Tip 15 to 20 percent of the total fare.
Major Taxi companies in San Francisco:
Arrow Cab Company
Phone: +1 415-648-3181
DeSoto Cab Company
Phone: +1 415-970-1300
Luxor Cab Inc.
Phone: +1 415-282-4141
Metro Cab Company
Phone: +1 415-920-0700
SF Green Cab, LLC.
Phone: +1 415-626-GREEN
Yellow Cab Cooperative, Inc.
Phone: +1 415-333-3333
Cable Cars and Trolley
San Francisco’s cable cars are worldly renowned and they are a great way to discover the city, especially Union Square, Chinatown, Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf.
San Francisco's weather is as changeable as the seas, literally. Surrounded on all sides (save one) by ocean and bay, San Francisco's weather is also one of the hardest to forecast and changes drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Over four seasons, not one of which corresponds to its climatic expectations, San Francisco's weather can be difficult for visitors to predict, save that Fog City delivers majestic skies, trademark plumes of white fog and brilliant sunsets.
Spring in San Francisco
March, April and May are some of the most inviting months to visit San Francisco. Characteristically cloudless and mild, some of the warmest and driest days of the year occur in San Francisco's spring months, making San Francisco's springtime noticeably free from the spring showers that moisten other parts of the United States.
The United States’ currency is the US Dollar. You can withdraw dollars from ATMs using your credit card or exchange currency at any money exchange or bank branch.
Banks are usually open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 09:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during Saturday. Banks are closed on Sundays.
ATMs can be found throughout San Francisco. The logos of the cards accepted are shown beside the machine. Although paying with cash is acceptable, almost all vendors accept debit and/or credit cards.
San Francisco offers a wide array of culinary options for the adventurous and the inquisitive. From Latin food in the Mission District, Asian food in Chinatown, Italian food at North Beach, San Francisco has everything to satisfy your tastes.
Please note that renowned restaurants are booked for weeks or even months in advance. So please plan accordingly.
Alcohol and tobacco
The minimum drinking age in the United States is 21 for all alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can be purchased from supermarkets, convenience stores, and etc.
In some instances, you will be required to show proof of age via a government-issued identification when purchasing alcoholic and/or tobacco products.
Cigarettes can be purchased at supermarkets and convenience stores by individuals aged 18 or over.
The standard voltage in the United States is 110/120 Volt AC, 60 Hz (same as Canada and Mexico). If you have equipment that runs on a higher voltage, you should not connect it to the U.S. power net unless you have the correct transformer (voltage adaptor).
The US power plug has two flat parallel prongs. However, most new U.S. electrical outlets; will include a third, round, ground hole. Plugs from the UK, Western and Eastern Europe, and Asia (except Japan) will not fit into a U.S. electrical socket.
If you need a plug adaptor or transformer, we advise buying one before your arrival. Some hotels will be able to lend you an adaptor, but not all.
Although the United States is a melting pot, American English is the official language.
Visitors are generally expected to speak and understand English. Spanish is the primary second language in California.
Standard time zone: UTC/GMT -8 hours
Time zone abbreviation: PST - Pacific Standard Time
Daylight Saving Time DST starts on Sunday, 13 March 2011, 02:00 local standard time
DST ends on Sunday, 6 November 2011, 02:00 local daylight time
In the United States, mobile phones operate on frequencies of 850 MHz or 1900 MHz. If you’re not sure whether your phone operates on these bands, check with your provider before bringing it along.
To avoid high roaming fees, can buy a local pre-paid SIM card once you’re in the United States. Before doing this however, please check with your provider that your phone has not been locked for use on a particular network. If it has, a local SIM card will not work. If your cell phone is not compatible in the US, you might want to consider a cell phone with prepaid minutes.
Below is a list of major cell phone providers in the US:
TELEPHONE AREA CODES:
Telephone numbers in the United States are preceded with an area code. Prior to your call make sure you know what area code number you are calling to insure you are connected.
San Francisco: 415
Oakland, Berkeley, and the East Bay: 510
The Peninsula: 650
Registration and attendance at the meeting is free. You are required to pay for your accommodations and meals. Coffee breaks are provided during the meeting.
San Francisco is a relatively safe destination for business travelers. As in any other big city, it is important to take responsibility for your personal safety, good judgment, and exercise precaution.
BEFORE YOU GO
Think preventively when packing for your trip; consider leaving behind expensive jewelry, watches, and items of sentimental value. A smaller, inexpensive camera may be a better choice than larger, expensive models. You may not need to take an ATM card if your credit card and a limited amount of cash will suffice.
Make a Xerox copy of your passport to carry in your luggage separately from your actual passport. Consider storing a digital scan of your passport (and/or other critical documents) with family, friends, or your employer so that it could be emailed to you in an emergency.
Fire Bridgade, Ambulance, and Police: 911
Red Cross: 1-888-4-HELP-BAY
Pharmacies are available throughout the city.
The majority of medications are available over the counter and can be purchased in supermarkets, gas stations, and etc.
Some pharmacies are open 24 hours and seven days a week.
With multiple shopping districts, centers, and malls, San Francisco has the best of all worlds in shopping. No matter what your budget, San Francisco can cater to all of your shopping needs and wants.
In San Francisco, there is a sales tax of 9.5%, which will be levied on all purchases.