Believe it or not, San Francisco’s Travel Association projects that the city clocks in approximately 16 million tourists per year. Between Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, or taking a short trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, San Francisco always offers plenty of unforgettable spots to sightsee.
However, any popular tourist destination poses a fair share of “rookie mistakes” risks for outside travelers. If you have chosen San Francisco as your next vacation spot, this guide can help make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Here are six key San Francisco vacation mistakes that any first-time visitor should try to avoid.
1. Forgoing Public Transportation
While renting a car could be considered out of most people’s San Francisco vacation budget, the city is far too big a place to get around by just walking.
Not only does San Francisco transportation offer excellent public transit compared to most cities, but taking a trolley car up and down steep streets is practically essential to the full San Francisco experience.
2. Expecting “California Weather”
It’s only natural: we think “trip out to California” and picture sunglasses and bright summer shine. On the contrary, San Francisco is a waterside city that’s more so known for cloudy, foggy, and overcast weather.
It’s not at all uncommon for the heat to never quite kick in even in summer months, so you should be prepared to layer up when visiting San Francisco attractions.
3. Eating at Tourist Trap Restaurants: One of the Easiest San Francisco Vacation Mistakes
When restaurants near Fisherman’s Wharf come across like the most “authentic” eateries in town, you can be assured they know what they’re doing.
Most often, such restaurants know they can count on extra tourist dollars, so try and stick to plenty of family-owned restaurants further into the city.
4. Not Booking Alcatraz in Advance
Just like most nice hotels in San Francisco, reservations for Alcatraz tours tend to get snatched up pretty quickly!
If possible, stay ahead of the pack by securing your tickets in advance, especially if you want a night tour.
5. Actually Driving Down Lombard Street
It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but the “crookedest street in the world” is actually far better for looking at than driving on!
Lombard Street is surely a sight to see, but don’t let the act of having to steer down its tight curves cloud the experience.
6. Not Accounting For Crowds
If you’re planning a vacation with friends, there’s a chance you might be traveling to San Francisco for a special group get-together or event. If so, you should absolutely be aware that San Francisco is a city very much known for its lively downtown and bustling nightlife.
Before planning a bigger event in San Francisco, always be sure to do your research and lock down the best group event space you can in to beat the crowds and avoid headaches.
Stay Informed and Ahead of the Pack
San Francisco vacation mistakes are far from the only things you’ll want to know to avoid in advance. Keeping yourself informed is the easiest way to stay traveling like a pro.
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