San Francisco is one of the top travel destinations in the world and one of the US’ most iconic cities. With its great balance of culture and technological advancements, as well as art and architecture, San Francisco is easily recognized around the world.
The city is known for its vast variety of international cuisine, from one of the first restaurants to serve regionally authentic Italian food, to El Faro, a true mission classic for modern burrito connoisseurs.
Rent a van in San Francisco and experience the exciting adventure this city has in store for you, from the iconic sites like Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re interested in fun, interactive educational activities, the Exploratorium is fun for visitors of all ages, with multiple attractions of many different kinds. Art aficionados will delight in the city’s cultural institutions, including the de Young Museum is an astounding blend of art, architecture, and landscaping. All in all, the city offers something interesting for everyone. For some great San Francisco vacation tips, read on to learn more about this great city!
General Travel Tips
While San Francisco is located in Northern California, a region known for its mild weather year round, many visitors are surprised by the micro pockets of weather found in this city. For instance, the ironically named Sunset District, known for it’s proximity to Ocean Beach, is usually found to be chilly and foggy throughout most of the day. Meanwhile, just a few miles east, Dolores Park enjoys a steady supply of sunshine, along with its close neighbors the famous Castro and Mission districts. When you rent a van in San Francisco, you’ll be able to visit each microclimate and neighborhood seamlessly. Just remember to dress in layers!
Iconic Sights to See
The infamous Alcatraz island has a dark and fascinating history that must be explored in person by visitors to San Francisco. Alcatraz is best known for being an abandoned prison island, but it is also the site of the oldest operating lighthouse, early military fortifications, and briefly, a home to a group of Native American activists in the late 1960’s. Today, the former prison is now designated as a national historical landmark. For group tours of this tiny historical gem of an island, visitors can take in the bay’s scenic views at Fisherman’s Wharf and ride a ferry from there.
While It’s a lot of fun walking around the city’s rolling hills, you can always rent a van in San Francisco to take in the sites easily. Lombard Street is world famous, known as the most crooked road in the world! It is almost too steep to walk up, or down for that matter, so it’s definitely more fun for everyone to rent a van in San Francisco to drive down twelve blocks of the most crooked street in the world. It’s recommended speed limit going downhill is a mere 5 miles an hour to combat its steep 27% grade.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Among our San Francisco vacation tips, spending some time in some of the area’s lush surroundings is a top priority. San Francisco is a city rich with beautiful nature, and several outdoor venues in which to enjoy it. Best of all, most of the main outdoor spots are just a short ride between one another, so there is no reason one cannot visit them all!
Since 1871, Golden Gate Park has been among Northern California’s largest and arguably most beautiful urban parks. Golden Gate is a park that has something for everyone; in its sprawling 1,017 acres, it holds tree-filled running and bike trails, skateboard areas, and rolling hills to sit, relax, and enjoy the outdoors in the city. Filed with tall trees, grass, and winding dirt paths, Golden Gate Park is the ideal place to escape and explore nature in the middle of Metropolitan San Francisco.
The Presidio is a beautiful former Military base located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Presidio has both fascinating history and sprawling, beautiful scenery. Fortified since 1776, it is one of the oldest historical sites in the city. It has been the domain of Spain, Mexico, and America. From within the Presidio, one can see The iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Called the “cultural heart of San Francisco”, Yerba Buena Gardens is a critically acclaimed, must-see stop for visitors to the city. A popular venue for cultural experiences, such as multiple museums, musical shows, public art, award-winning architecture, and theaters … all located outdoors on fastidiously manicured lawn and surrounded by signature Northern California trees!
If you rent a van in San Francisco, you can venture outside the city and take a walk on the wild side at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. This sweeping, 100-acre animal sanctuary hosts animals from all over the world, with exhibits such as Cat Kingdom, Penguin Islands, and the Insect Zoo. One can spend hours viewing all of the animals, or strolling through the beautiful gardens, a worthy and relaxing stop in their own right.
Take In the Arts and Culture
San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city known for its daring arts and culture scene. When you rent a van in San Francisco, you’ll be able to visit many world-renowned museums and other cultural hotspots that the city by the bay has to offer.
The San Francisco MOMA is the first West Coast Art Museum devoted fully to art from the 20th century-- one of the largest modern and contemporary art museums in the world. The San Francisco MOMA contains over 30,000 pieces of internationally recognized art of many mediums, such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, architecture, and more.
Located in San Francisco’s picturesque Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum features a frequently changing series of famous fine arts from multiple time periods. The de Young Museum is an especially family-friendly museum, with activities and exhibits that can be enjoyed by children as much as their parents.
San Francisco is home to one of California's oldest science museums. The California Academy of the Sciences is among the largest natural history museums in the world, containing more than an astounding 26 million specimens! It is the only place on Earth to house an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum all under a single roof.
The Exploratorium is one of the most popular museums in the city, with schools, families and individuals alike. This museum is unique in that it provides many hands-on, interactive exhibits that encourage visitors to explore. They are a self-proclaimed “learning laboratory”, encouraging learning through exploration, using science, art, and human perception. Described by the New York Times as the most important science museum to have opened since the mid-20th century, The Exploratorium is an important stop in any trip to San Francisco.
As far as San Francisco vacation tips go, experiencing the city’s iconic gastronomic culture is definitely a must. Among many other legendary claims, the city has more successful restaurants per capita than any other in the nation! San Francisco is also known by many as having some of the best food on the West Coast. So, with such an overwhelming array of options, where does one begin?
On the Wharf and beyond, this city by the bay boasts some of the finest seafood you can find, including clam chowder, oysters, and market fresh fish every day of the week.
With its status as a melting pot, San Francisco is most especially known for its impeccable Asian cuisines, specifically various regional Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese culinary innovations. Delectable Chinese restaurants can be found in virtually every pocket of the city. However, one of the most unique and delicious experiences you are bound to have in San Francisco is in Chinatown. With brightly colored decorations, inexpensive sidewalk shopping, and, best of all, hidden gems can be found down crooked alleys and side streets. While many of these small eateries feature menus that may or may not be in English, you may not always know what you’re eating, but it is guaranteed to be a truly unforgettable culinary experience.
In addition to its myriad of Asian cuisines, San Francisco is also home to spectacular Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Polish, American and Hawaiian dining options… just to name a few. Rent a van in San Francisco and you can undertake the ultimate foodie tour, allowing groups of hungry travelers to sample as many types of fabulous international cuisine as possible.
Explore San Francisco
With gorgeous ocean views, world famous bridges, and hilly streets, it’s easy to understand why San Francisco is considered one of the most iconic cities in the United States. San Francisco is as rich with culture, art, and music as it is with famously delicious international food options. With beautiful outdoor nature parks and critically acclaimed museums right in the heart of the city, there is no shortage of activities to do, and there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.
Perhaps the most amazing part of this city is that all of these activities and sights are packed into a remarkably small geographic space. Rent a van in San Francisco and you and your group can easily drive between must-see sights and stops conveniently, at your leisure. If you’d like to learn more about our San Francisco vacation tips or to make a reservation, contact us today by calling 877-826-4680, or visit the reservations page on our website.
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