24 Hours in San Francisco

24 Hours in San Francisco

24 Hours in San Francisco

What do you think about your next long stay in San Francisco? San Francisco is beautiful. Yes, the world knows it.

Praises are sung, and poems are written in its honor, but now you are carrying your saga about this forty-eight mile (seventy-nine kilometer) wonder. Just be happy with this amazing opportunity and leave the planning to us.

Here, we guide you to the places you can visit and how you can explore San Francisco during your 24-hour stay while you’re out.

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area, with four runways, friendly staff, speedy security checks, and top-notch amenities to help get you moving quickly. Before you land, get all the information you need to get to the airport faster.

For example, prepare for airport security, keep your boarding pass on your phone, and download an airport map so you can easily navigate when you’re there without wasting much time.

For those wondering whether they need a visa to leave SFO, it depends a lot on your citizenship. US citizens do not require a visa when visiting another US state, but this proves different for citizens of other countries. Here is a guide for you to use for visitors who hold different citizens:

Luggage options

No, you don’t need to carry your heavy luggage when visiting San Francisco attractions if that’s all you’re concerned about!

Luggage storage is available at the airport travel agency on the departure level of the International Terminal. Other business services and products include faxing, photocopying, bag wrapping, baby/child care seat rentals, and more.

Things to do at the airport

  1. Relax in the Yoga Room

Melt away all your travel stresses, stretch, and meditate in this relaxing free yoga room. Maintain the true Zen attitude after using this 150-square-foot blue, dimly lit, hardwood sanctuary outfitted with yoga mats and mirrors for the ultimate calming experience.

  1. Explore the Aviation Museum and Library

In partnership with the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library offers visitors the opportunity to explore the evolution of commercial aviation and its role in our daily lives.

Located in the International Terminal, look out for an architectural adaptation of the airport’s 1930s passenger lobby and several other exhibits (Italian motorcycles, marine invertebrates, ancient art, and pop culture images), research services, and educational programs. Are offered free of charge to the public.

  1. Pamper and pamper yourself at Express Spa

Are you worried that a long flight might make you feel like a wreck? Pamper yourself with relaxing services, including massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, and waxing – the perfect cure for sleepless and uncomfortable travel if that’s what you’ve got to do.

Be sure to try the top 5 most popular treatments, Foot Massage – Neck & Back Massage, Mani-Express, Stress & Reliever, and Pedi-Pure.

  1. Let your kids have some fun at the Kids Spot

Kids’ spots are fun and active areas where kids can let off steam after long, restless flights. With three total locations at SFO, give your kids time to explore the interactive exhibits of Elements of Water from the Exploratorium in San Francisco at Terminal 3 near Gate 87A or beautiful original artworks by Bay Area artists Walter Kitundu and Charles talk up.

Sowers in Terminal 2, located after security near Gates 54A and 58B, serve as interactive learning and play stations. Now, you can relax and do your chores peacefully while your kids have plenty of time!

  1. Shop till you drop

Forget Terminals 1 and 2 and the lack of shopping options, head to Terminal 3 and the International Terminal for something special.

Whether it’s a souvenir for your loved ones or a little something for your boss, the unique selection at SFO is sure to find you something.

Look at 100% pure organic cosmetics at Terminal 3, original arts and handicrafts from local artists and artisans at Collector’s Bowl, delicious chocolates from the famous Ghirardelli and Seas Candies, and locally sourced olive oils from McEvoy Ranch, soaps and Lotion.

In the International Terminal, you’ll also find high-end brands like Burberry, Gucci, Coach, and Hermes.

Transportation options for the city

To cover the 13 miles (21 kilometers) distance between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and downtown, you can opt for various public transportation or take a taxi.

Of all the public transportation options, the BART rapid rail is the most popular with tourists. To board a BART train, ride the AirTrain from any terminal at SFO to the Garage G/BART station stop. There is no charge to board the Airtrain.

The BART station is located in the International Terminal, and trains usually arrive every fifteen minutes. BART operates from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, 6 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. You can easily buy tickets from any of the ticket vending machines at the International Terminal entrance.

A one-way BART ticket will cost 8.65 USD. Children below 4 years of age can travel free on the train. The train takes thirty minutes to reach the city, and you can get off at any destination in the city. However, if you want to go near San Francisco Bay, get off at the Embarcadero station.

Another mode of transportation is the SamTrans public bus service. It is a 24-hour bus service that connects the international airport to San Francisco.

Routes KX, 292, 397, and 398 stop directly at the airport terminal, while Routes 292 and 397 stop on North McDonnell Road in the Airport Business Center. Fares start from 2.25 USD.

Grabbing a taxi is best if you want to avoid using public transport. No matter where you exit, there is a taxi stand at each terminal. A taxi ride usually costs around 40 USD to reach downtown, while the exact fare depends on where you get off.

Things to do in the city

  1. View sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of those super touristy spots where you’ll want to brave the crowds to feel the city. It will be ideal if you reach here early in the morning.

Upon arrival from SFO airport, take the BART train and get off at Embarcadero Station. From Embarcadero Station, you can walk to the Ferry Building and then take a Muni F-Line streetcar (costs USD 2.25) to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Alternatively, take the A2 exit at the BART station and take a taxi past the Hyatt Embarcadero. Taxis cost from 10 to 20 USD.

The pier includes several great seafood joints and tourist attractions such as Ghirardelli Square and Pier 35. The best things to do here are the aquarium, a boat cruise, and Pier 39.

Playful sea lions and the amazing city skyline at Pier 39 are sure to delight. The ferry warrants a full day if you decide to see everything, but when at a stop, it’s best to spend a few hours watching the sea lions and enjoying a meal.

  1. Take a Cable Car Ride to Union Square for Sightseeing and Shopping

Your trip to San Francisco will only be complete if you take a cable car ride. These cable car rides are tons of fun, with beautiful surprises all along the way.

The Powell/Hyde cable car line is picturesque and has turnarounds at Hyde and Beach Streets. Be sure to grab a spot outside for a closer look at the amazing sights.

Union Square is one of the fun places to visit in San Francisco. With a pleasant and artsy atmosphere, it is the perfect place to go shopping. Get off at Union Square and enjoy the amazing vibes of the district.

This place has everything from designer boutiques to departmental stores and from art galleries to beauty salons.

If you’re an art lover, visit the Museum of Modern Art, or indulge in shopping at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Macy’s. If you haven’t attended Fisherman’s Wharf, try Boudin’s Clam Chowder near Macy’s.

  1. Get the Foodgame at the Ferry Building

Sitting right on the water, the Ferry Building is a delightful building that houses some of California’s freshest farmers’ produce.

It is home to all things delicious and unique gift items, as well as offering spectacular views. Opened in 1898, the building reflects a very primitive side of San Francisco. You can also walk to this dining and transportation hub from Union Square.

The building is a 20-minute walk from Market Street. To save even more time, walk to Powell Street, take any Muni subway train to the Embarcadero station, and you’ll be there.

Start with a stroll and chat with the friendly farmers at the Ferry Marketplace. Sample the delicious and unique products and check out the many shops for gifts to take back home.

Once you are finished eating and shopping, have a glass of wine or a cup of amazing coffee. Sip your drink while enjoying beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay from the building.

  1. Take in the Views from Coit Tower

Want to see San Francisco at its best? Visit Coit Tower for stunning views of the city. This 210-foot-tall (64 m) landmark is between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Financial District.

Tower Ferry is a six-minute taxi ride from the building. You can also take the F Line streetcar from the Ferry Building. Using the F line, you should take Filbert or Greenwich stairs from Sansome Street to Coit Tower.

The tower is also accessible by a short climb up Lombard Street from North Beach. Another option is taking bus 39 from Washington Square Park.

Admission to the monument is free, but if you are taking in the views from above by lift, there is a fee of USD 7 for adults and USD 2 for children aged five to twelve.

If time is running short, you can also enjoy the views outside. Resembling a giant fire hose nozzle, the tower is a sight at night when it’s all lit up.

  1. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of those things that you would want to take advantage of in San Francisco to the world.

Standing tall between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, it is not just a bridge but a piece of art and a magnificent engineering structure.

You may have seen it many times during the day from the tower and other attractions and millions of times in movies and on your Instagram feed, but seeing it up close with your own eyes is an amazing experience.

The bridge is sixteen minutes from Coit Tower when taking the route via Lombard Street. The distance is walkable, but you can also take a car, bike, tour bus, or public transportation.

When opting for public transportation, get on MUNI bus #28. Many city tour buses will also take you to the bridge. You can book tickets online or at Fisherman’s Wharf.

However, the bridge can be distinguished from afar by its bright orange color, which glows in daylight and shimmers at night.

While you’re there, walk across the bridge and marvel at the bizarre historical facts behind its construction. Did you know 10,000 gallons of paint are needed each year to maintain the bridge’s unique orange color?

Let the magic of the city rub off on you

With so much to see and do in just 24 hours, imagine all the sights and attractions you could admire and discover in one full trip!

San Francisco welcomes you with open arms, so feel free to plan a good trip once you’ve finished your little teaser!

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