IPA Region 9 San Francisco Visitor Information
WEATHER: The weather is generally mild, in the summer it gets foggy and windy. Bring a jacket when you come and whenever you go out. It maybe sunny and warm during the day but generally by 4:00pm the wind and fog rolls into the City from the ocean and it can get quite chilly because of the wind from the ocean. Summer in San Francisco is always foggy and cold. The warmest time of the year for us is mid September to mid November. It rains during the winter months between mid December and end of March. The famous writer, Mark Twain said, "The coldest winter I spent was a summer in San Francisco".
DRIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO. You should be aware that traveling by car is very difficult in SF. Street parking in the tourist and downtown areas are rare. Parking lots or private garages can be very expensive. If you get a parking violation ticket, the lowest fine is $85 (parking meter) the most expensive is $480 (Handicap & Bus Stop). During the rush hours in the morning and afternoon there are many tow away zones. If your car is towed away it will cost you $450 to get it out of the tow yard.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The best way to travel is by public transit, best to get a Muni Passport. The Passport allows unlimited rides on all Muni buses, Market Street Historical Trolley, the underground Metro (subway) and Cable Cars. Passports come in 1 day ($14) 3 days ($21) or 7 days ($27) increments. Get a Muni Passport for unlimited rides at the SF Visitors Information Center, lower level, Halladie Plaza at Market/Powell Streets, TIX Bay Area in Union Square, and Montgomery Metro Station. Prices are subject to change and may not be accurate at the time you are reading this. Go to: sfmta.com/passport to get the current price for a passport. You can also purchase these Muni Transit passports at downtown and Fisherman's Wharf Walgreen's Stores.
SITES TO SEE:
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE: The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands has been named of the best views in America by US News. You can walk across the bridge from the San Francisco side or take the Muni bus #28 to Vista Point.
BAY BRIDGE: The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge holds the title of longest high-level bridge in the world at 8.4 miles.
CABLE CARS: These historic vehicles are not self-powered; rather they move using a mechanism that grips cables that run beneath San Francisco's streets. The three cable lines are: Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason, and California Street
LOMBARD STREET: Known as the "Most Crooked Street in the World". Take the Hyde Street Cable Car and get off on Lombard Street.
UNION SQUARE: One of San Francisco's main shopping retail and cultural center downtown. Visit the Westfield Mall nearby on Market Street and Powell Street (across from the cable car turnaround).
HAIGHT ASHBURY: Famous for it’s hippie era “Summer of Love” of the late 1960s. In the mid-1960s, the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets was a frequent hangout for activists such as Allen Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman. Though it still maintains a slightly gritty, Bohemian ambiance it is now an eclectic mix of high-end boutiques; vintage clothing, book and record shops. Haight and Ashbury streets was a frequent hangout for activists such as Allen Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman. Though it still maintains a slightly gritty, Bohemian ambiance it is now an eclectic mix of high-end boutiques; vintage clothing, book and record shops, hip restaurants and cafes, and beautifully restored Victorian homes.
PAINTED LADIES: One of the most photographed locations in San Francisco, Alamo Square's famous "postcard row" at Hayes and Steiner Streets. A tight, escalating formation of Victorian houses is back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers, providing a stunning contrast.
NORTH BEACH: It's best known as San Francisco's Little Italy, with its high density of check-clothed ristorantes, caffes and “old school” delicatessens. It's also a popular pilgrimage for fans of the Beat movement seeking the old haunts (City Lights Bookstore) of Kerouac and Ginsberg. COIT TOWER: Overlooks the city and bay from atop Telegraph Hill, catch the 39 Coit bus in Washington Square for easy access. Saints Peter and Paul Church know as the Italian Cathedral of the West, was featured in the movie "Dirty Harry." Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, though married at SF City Hall, posed for their wedding pictures here.
CHINATOWN: San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest in North America. It is one of the top tourist attraction is San Francisco. Grant Avenue has shops that sell jewelry, silk dresses, Chinese noodles, teas and herbal remedies. Less touristic part of Chinatown is Stockton Street between Clay and Vallejo. This street has a more authentic Chinese atmosphere with fish markets and produce stands. Visit the Chinese Historical Society. Julia Morgan, the architect of Hearst Castle and the Fairmont Hotel, also designed this 1931 building.
FISHERMAN'S WHARF and PIER 39: Last year, almost 12 million people made their way to Fisherman's Wharf. In several international surveys, it ranks as the No. 1 destination for SF-bound visitors, right ahead of Chinatown and the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the finest and freshest seafood can be found at Fisherman's Wharf. Pier 39 located next to Fisherman's Wharf is a bustling marketplace with more than 100 shops, bay view restaurants, street performers, and sea loins basking in the sun. Other nearby attractions are the Aquatic Park, the Buena Vista Irish Coffee Pub, the Hyde Street Cable Car Turnaround, the Cannery, Anchorage Square, Hyde Street Pier, and Ghirardelli Square.
ALCATRAZ ISLAND: Alcatraz Cruises is the official ferry provider to Alcatraz and back. Departures start at 9:30 AM and are available every half an hour throughout the day. However, please note that these cruises frequently sell out, so plan and book your cruise in advance, especially in the summer and on holidays. Touring the island will be at your own pace and on foot. Book online.
TREASURE ISLAND: While on Treasure Island, look west for a breath taking view of the City's skyline.
FERRY BUILDING: Located at the northern end of Market Street, the clock tower, modeled after 12th century Giralda bell tower in Seville, Spain, is one of the most prominent points in the city's skyline. Once built as a transit terminal, today the Ferry Building houses one of the city's best farmer's market and many artisan, delicious food options within it's beautiful interior.
OCEAN BEACH/LANDS END: Located in the westside of the city, Ocean Beach, on the Pacific Ocean, offers miles of sandy beach and awesome sunset views.
At the moment San Francisco does not have an IPA HOUSE like in Europe. There are members who will rent a room to IPA visitors. Here are a couple budget hotels that we recommend:
The Grant Hotel (Union Square area)
The Opal Hotel (Van Ness Av. & Geary St)
You may also want to view hotels in S.F. on the following websites:
PARKING RULES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Parking meters are enforced every day of the week except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Hours and rates vary.
Check the meter for hours of operation. Most meters operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday exceptions (for example, in Fisherman's Wharf, near AT&T park, and on some downtown streets). Hours of operation can be viewed on the meters. Read the meters for current information. it will tell you if its free parking or IF you have to pay.
Most meters in San Francisco have a two hour time limit, though longer time limits (four hour or no time limit) are being tested in several neighborhoods. Where there are time limits, "feeding the meter" (i.e., adding coins to extend the time beyond the legal limit) is not allowed and may result in a citation.
If you park at a broken or inoperable meter, parking is limited to the posted time limit or two hours, whichever is shorter. To report a broken meter, call 311.
Most meter rates are between $3.00 and $3.50 per hour for cars and $0.40 and $0.70 per hour for motorcycles. The city is piloting demand-responsive pricing in SFpark pilot areas, where rates incrementally adjust every 6-8 weeks based on demand and may range from $0.25 to $6.00 per hour. For information about SFpark pilot area rates, visit SFpark Rate Announcements.
There are two special types of meters: green-capped meters and red- or yellow- capped meters. Green meters have either a 15 or 30 minute time limit. Vehicles bearing disabled placards or plates are exempt from time limits for green curbs/meters. Red and yellow meters are designated for commercial loading; yellow for all commercial vehicles and red for vehicles with six or more wheels.
There is also tow away and street cleaning times, in addition to checking the meters look up at the signs for times that street has tow away or street cleaning to avoid parking tickets for those violations. just because you put money into a parking meter don't exempt you from getting your car towed away or a ticket for street cleaning.
AT&T stadium: As of spring 2013, higher special event parking rates are in effect only during special events, typically baseball games, on streets around AT&T Park. On non-event evenings, meter rates drop to $0.25 per hour. See this page for a map of the AT&T Park Special Event Area and more information on special event pricing and hours.
You can get multiple parking tickets for the same parking space. If you park in a residential area that limits your car to 2 hours you will be cited for going over that 2 hour time limit. If there's street cleaning on that block that day where you are parked, you will be cited for that violation as well. And if it's rush hour and that space becomes a tow away zone (4 pm - 7pm), you will be cited for being in a tow away zone and your car will be towed away. It cost $450 to get your car out of jail and $50 an hour for each hour that your car is in the tow yard. So pay attention to the signs and parking meters if you must drive in the city. Visitors have asked this, so we will tell you that we can not fix the parking violations citations for you. IF you get a parking violation you must pay it. The Department of Parking & Traffic is under the Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA) not under the Police Department. Public transportation is the best way of moving around the city. Get a Muni Passport for unlimited rides at the SF Visitors Information Center, lower level, Hallidie Plaza at Market and Powell Streets, TIX Bay Area in Union Square, the Montgomery street muni Metro Station, and walgreen's stores downtown and in fisherman's wharf bay street. There are Muni maps that show which buses go where and you can also ask the driver which buses to take.