San Francisco is an intensely busy city. In case you didn’t know, it’s the second most densely populated city in the United States (New York City holds the top spot). That likely means there are more shops, restaurants, pedestrians, and vehicles per square mile than in your hometown. That also means it can be a tricky town to navigate. As a visitor, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all wonderful things to do. Don’t get defeated by the how-will-I-get-there woes. We’ve combined a handy little list of the best ways to reach your destination in San Francisco.
For the Traditional Tourist: Taxi Cab
Yes, sometimes riding in a cab can be scarier than roaming a foreign street alone at midnight, and sometimes they’re smelly or dirty – or both, but every globetrotter should experience a filthy whiff of taxi goodness during their travels. If nothing else, you’ll probably leave with more confidence in your own driving skills. For the most part, they’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re everywhere in San Francisco. If you’re staying at a hotel in the city, there’s usually one or two perched outside, waiting for you to pop in and pay up. By the way, they’re not that expensive!
For the Convenient Commuter: Uber
Uber is a nifty little mobile app that’s been around since January 2011. Founded in San Francisco, it has since expanded to various big cities around the nation, but the bay area is arguably still its most popular market. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Download the iPhone or Android app, customize your settings & input your payment information
Step 2: Enable your phone’s GPS & allow Uber access it
Step 3: Set your pickup location & request your vehicle
Step 4: Wait for your ride to arrive & relish in the effortlessness
It’s a bit more costly than the taxi cab option, but it’s well worth the few extra dollars. Each vehicle is always clean and comfy, the drivers are friendly and safe, and gratuity is included with your mobile payment. No cash is needed.
For the Vintage Visitor: Streetcar
If San Francisco is known for anything, it’s the steep hills. As the story goes, Andrew Smith Hallidie developed the idea of a cable-driven rail system after witnessing a few horses scramble and struggle up wet cobblestones. Eventually the horses tumbled backwards, and they were tragically dragged to their death. Modern-day streetcars are quick, efficient and reliable, and they run every 5 to 15 minutes until 12:30am. At only $2 per adult and 75¢ per youth or senior, it’s definitely an economical way to get to your destination while experiencing some of the city’s history, but be mindful. Like any public transit system, it can get extremely busy during the day; proceed with patience.
For the Wanderer: Walk
Setting off by foot is a pleasant way to enjoy any city, especially when you have time to tread at your own leisure. So if you’re looking to really bond with San Francisco and all its goodness, lace up those sneakers and take it step by step – literally. Marvel at every monument, snap pictures of every spectacle, stroll past all the popular landmarks and absorb the changing cultures as you visit the different neighborhoods. All the main sightseeing attractions along Fisherman’s Wharf are well within walking distance of each other, and the surrounding neighborhoods aren’t too far either. You’re sure to be accompanied by crowds of like-minded drifters, so even if you’re traveling by yourself, you’ll never feel alone. Just remember, the hills are steep! Stay hydrated.