If you are visiting San Francisco, leave your car at home!

The city of San Francisco is compact and has excellent public transportation.  Whether traveling on business or pleasure, it is often much easier, and less expensive to take public transportation. Public parking in the city is both expensive and difficult to find.  Hotels often charge $30 to $40 per day for parking. Plus, finding a parking space when driving around the city is almost impossible.

Airport to Hotel 

Arriving at SFO getting into the city is easy via BART.  Take the AirTrain to the Bart station, no more than a 3-minute free ride.  BART trains leave for the city about every 15 minutes.  The fare is $8.25 per person.  It takes about 22 - 30 minutes to get to the four downtown stations.  The Civic Center station is for upper market locations. Powell St. is the Union Sq, Marriott and Moscone W. exit. Montgomery is for the Financial District and Moscone East/West. Exit at Embarcadero for lower Market St the Embarcadero area and the Hyatt Regency. From BART you can either walk, take a taxi or take other public transportation (if you do not have large pieces of luggage) to your hotel.  Taxi fare from Embarcadero Station to hotels in the Fisherman's Wharf area is about $8.

If you arrive at Oakland Airport take the AirBART shuttle ($3.00 cash) to Coliseum/Oakland Airport station.  Bart trains depart for the city at least every 15 minutes.  The fare is $3.85 per person and takes about 20 minutes going under the bay to San Francisco.

Options within San Francisco 

The public transportation system (buses, street cars and the famous cable cars) within San Francisco is known as MUNI. Other options include BART (or certain cities and areas outside SF), AC Transit (buses to East Bay), Ferries (to Sausalito, Tiburon, Alameda/Oakland, etc) and Marin Transit.

Google Maps offers directions by public transit. Enter the destiination, click on the "bus" icon and enter the date and time to get routing and schedule information.

A MUNI multi-day passport is available that is good on all San Francisco public buses, street cars, and the famous cable cars (though not on BART). There are different passport options available at different prices. Considering a single ride on the cable cars is $5.00 the pass can can quickly pay for itself.  A single ride fare on buses or street cars is $2 ($.75 for seniors and youths), but if you don't have a passport, get a transfer that's good for a return trip in a specified timeframe.

Popular Public Transit Routes 

At Powell and Market, take the #5 bus to the Golden Gate Park.  It's a fantastic route that will take you through neighborhoods with beautifully-painted victorian houses and nice vistas of the city.  The trip to the Park will take 20-30 minutes.  You can spend time at the Conservatory of Flowers, Botanical Garden, or just hike the paths through the beautiful park.  There's always something going on there on weekends.

At 3rd and Market / Union Square, take the #30 bus to Chinatown, stopping off at Stockton and Clay streets.  These buses can get crowded, but they run frequently, and are a good alternative--for both cost and time-economy--if you want to avoid the longer lines waiting for the cable cars at Powell. 

Take the F streetcars to the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf.  

Most attractions in the city are a short walk from public transportation.  If you want to leave the city for a day or two to visit nearby attractions, it is often easier and less expensive to rent a car for the day or take a tour than to pay for parking in the city.