How to travel to San Francisco

1 Dec 2019 5 min read No comments United States Transportation

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Traveling to San Francisco from the major surrounding cities has been made easier than ever. We give you the different ways on how to travel to San Francisco in this article.

Dubbed as one of the most visited cities both in the region and the whole world, San Francisco welcomes thousands of visitors daily. If you live nearby – in Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, and Los Angeles – there is no understandable reason why you should not visit this place.

You are spoiled with numerous choices as to how you can travel to San Francisco. Several public and private modes of transportation work together to bring you to this major city. A bonus fact – getting around San Francisco is a breeze, too! 

Tip: We offer detailed guides about transportation in the US.

How to Travel to San Francisco

1. Flying to San Francisco

There are three major airports that you can use as your gateway to San Francisco. These are San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), and San Jose International Airport (SJC.)

SFO proves to be a popular choice for travelers. A lot of airlines use this hub, making it one of the busiest airports in the world. United Airlines is the leading carrier when it comes to both international and domestic flights coming to SFO.  

From SFO to the city center, it will not be a problem as you will be spoiled by options from both public and private transit companies.

2. Riding a bus to San Francisco

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There are many buses you can catch going to San Francisco. It all depends on your point of origin:

  • Samtrans covers multi-city routes including buses coming to San Francisco. 
  • AC Transit takes passengers from Oakland and other East Bay cities to San Francisco.
  • Golden Gate Transit travels from Marin and Sonoma Counties to different points in San Francisco.
  • Vallejo Baylink takes passengers from Vallejo to San Francisco’s Ferry Building through Route 200 by ferry and bus.

Note that there is no central terminal for buses in San Francisco. All companies have designated stops within the city.

3. Riding a train to San Francisco

Amtrak dedicates the California Zephyr to passengers from Chicago, Omaha, Denver, and Salt Lake City to San Francisco. It is one of the most scenic ways to travel to the city.

For other Amtrak routes such as the Coast Starlight, the Capitol Corridor, and the San Joaquins, these will call for you to transfer buses at some point to reach San Francisco.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has stops that will take you to different points in San Francisco, including SFO. This is useful if you are coming anywhere from East Bay, Oakland, or Berkeley.

CalTrain has a station in Dubuque Avenue, South San Francisco. If you are coming from zones like the Peninsula, Silicon Valley, or South Bay, where CalTrain is of service, you can use this mode to travel to San Francisco. 

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4. Riding a boat to San Francisco

Arrive in style by riding a passenger boat, a cruise ship, or even a private yacht to San Francisco. There are two piers in the area – Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building.

Both are situated near bus and train stations, making your trip within San Francisco possible and comfortable.

  • Vallejo Baylink serves the North Bay region and transports passengers to California through a scenic route.
  • Golden Gate Ferry has daily transport schedules for travellers coming to San Francisco from Sausalito, Larkspur and Tiburon.
  • Blue and Gold Fleet has ferries coming from Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island, Oakland, Alameda, Richmond and Vallejo. In San Francisco, they offer numerous cruises that enable you to experience different sightseeing attractions in the Bay Area.  

5. Driving to San Francisco

These are your road options when driving to San Francisco:

  • US 101 connects parts of the north and the south to San Francisco. From the north, it passes by the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Interstate 280 serves the same parts of US 101 with better scenery along the way.
  • Interstate 80 enters to the east of San Francisco and passes by San Francisco Bay Bridge.

How to travel from Seattle to San Francisco

Coming from Seattle to San Francisco is made possible by different modes of transport. Coming by plane is by far the most popular route especially for travelers wanting to save time and effort.

For the budget-conscious, a 24-hour bus ride is a challenge they are willing to take. The fastest way isn’t always the most expensive way. If you book ahead of time and are on the lookout for promotions, your trip from Seattle to San Francisco will be a breeze.

How to travel from San Jose to San Francisco

San Jose is quite near to San Francisco, making it a popular destination for travelers wanting a change in environment for a short while. One taxi ride and you are in the scenic beauty of San Francisco.

Travel time between these two cities ranges from one hour to a little over four hours. Whichever route you are comfortable taking, you will reach San Francisco in a short span of time.

If you have the liberty of selecting your schedule, opt for a weekday and ride a train. This can be a cheaper and more time-efficient option once careful planning is involved.

How to travel from San Diego to San Francisco

If you are in a hurry to get to San Francisco from San Diego, the fastest route will take you there in less than two hours. For the ones who do not mind the long drive, allot a full day or two in order to reach your destination.

This includes a leeway for traffic jams and other unexpected delays that might occur. Careful consideration of public and private modes of transport will show you a small fraction of a difference when it comes to travel costs and length of time. Plan ahead and be in the loop of ongoing promotions.

How to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco

San Francisco is just a short ride away from Los Angeles. Depending on the route you are willing to take, your travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco can be a quick essential step or a feast for the senses

.The fastest way takes you to San Francisco at the speed of one hour. Although this proves to be time and energy-efficient, the route seems plain in the eyes.

Many other modes of transport, be it private or public, call for seven and a half hours on the road. It may sound long, but the views are worth it.

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