There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in San Francisco each year. The main ones are listed below.January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday) Third Monday in January : Martin Luther King Day (Martin Luther King Day) (national holiday)
A federal holiday in the United States, celebrating the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. In recent years, it has increasingly been seen as a day of service, when Americans are encouraged to volunteer to help others less fortunate than themselves. In San Francisco, many of the commemorative events take place in Yerba Buena Gardens, where a large memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. is located.January/February : Chinese New Year (celebrated nationwide in major cities)
Today, San Francisco's Chinese community is the second largest outside Asia. As the city's Chinatown was the first permanent urban settlement established by Chinese immigrants in the New World, the Chinese New Year is a major annual festival in San Francisco. Celebrations include a mammoth parade, featuring a 200-foot golden dragon carried by a team of a hundred people and a street fair featuring Chinese cultural arts, such as lantern- and kite-making, calligraphy, folk dancing, puppet shows, acrobats and magicians.July 4 : Independence Day (national holiday)
A federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by which the 13 American colonies officially severed their political ties with Great Britain. Celebrated in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area with parades, picnics, concerts, family fun and fireworks.Second Monday in October : Columbus Day (national holiday)
Commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World (October 12, 1492). Initially, festivities on this day celebrated Italian-American heritage, but with expanding ethnic diversity in the traditionally Italian North Beach neighbourhood of the city crossed by the parade, they now include more of a focus on dialogue between San Francisco's many different communities.October 31 : Halloween (celebrated nationwide)
Halloween is celebrated each year by Americans of all ages. In the late afternoon and early evening hours, children don costumes and go door-to-door in their neighbourhoods to ask for treats, typically candy. Adults often attend costume parties in the evening. In San Francisco, many residents really get into the spirit, transforming their homes with over-the-top special effects and decorations.Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving (national holiday)
Originally a Christian religious observance, for many years Thanksgiving has been a secular holiday in the United States, celebrated by Americans of all faiths. Families come together to prepare and enjoy a large feast at home. The meal typically includes roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce as well as various side dishes and ends with an assortment of pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple).December 25: Christmas (national holiday)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||8/46||14/57||114/4.5||Not the best period to go|
|February||9/48||16/61||113/4.4||Not the best period to go|
|March||9/48||17/63||83/3.3||Not the best period to go|
|April||10/50||18/64||37/1.5||Not the best period to go|
|May||11/52||19/66||18/0.7||Good period to go|
|June||12/54||20/68||4/0.2||Good period to go|
|July||13/55||20/68||0/0.0||Good period to go|
|August||13/55||21/70||2/0.1||Good period to go|
|September||13/55||22/73||5/0.2||Good period to go|
|October||12/54||21/70||28/1.1||Good period to go|
|November||10/50||18/64||80/3.1||Not the best period to go|
|December||8/46||15/59||116/4.6||Not the best period to go|
San Francisco International Airport is located 21 kilometres (13 miles) south of the city centre.
San Francisco's public transport system offers the most extensive coverage of any city on the West Coast of the United States. It includes streetcars (electric trams), buses and the famous cable cars particularly favoured by tourists.
Recognized worldwide as a symbol of the city, the thrill of riding up and down some of San Francisco's steepest hills in a noisy cable car is not to be missed! There are three lines: two of them start at the bustling intersection of Powell and Market near Union Square and head in the direction of Fisherman's Wharf via different streets while the third travels along California Street as far as Van Ness Avenue. San Francisco's residents prefer to use the city's other modes of transport, which are faster and less expensive than the cable cars. A single ride costs USD 7.
Useful tip: SFMTA, San Francisco's municipal transportation agency, also known as Muni, offers Visitor Passports, valid for unlimited rides on its buses, streetcars and light rail as well as cable cars, for 1 day (USD 12), 3 days (USD 29) or 7 days (USD 39), counted consecutively from the first day of use. Free for children under 5.
San Francisco's CityPASS includes 7 days of unlimited rides on all modes of transport operated by Muni, plus discounted admission to the city's top tourist attractions (museums, aquariums, a bay cruise) for 9 consecutive days. Prices are USD 89 for adults and USD 69 for children aged 5 to 11.
Muni's network of trolleybuses consists of 14 lines serving the entire metropolitan area. A single ride costs USD 2.75 for adults, USD 1.25 for youths aged 5 to 18 and senior citizens (over 65).
Muni's network of alternative fuel and diesel buses also offers comprehensive coverage of the city. Tickets are USD 2.75 and can be purchased aboard the buses and the fare includes transfers over a period of up to 90 minutes.
Muni Metro, San Francisco's light rail system, is a convenient and quick way to reach the Mission, Castro and Lower Haight districts, Golden Gate Park and even Ocean Beach. The system consists of seven interconnected lines. The standard Muni fare of USD 2.75 also applies to the Muni Metro.
Some 5,000 taxicabs operate in San Francisco. Taxi meters start with the minimum charge of USD 4.50.
Upon your arrival in San Francisco, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.San Francisco Visitor Information Center
Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
Visit the USA, a public-private marketing entity, works closely with the travel industry to promote tourism in communities around the country. Its website offers excellent information on all US travel destinations, including San Francisco.
See your doctor before you travel. It is also recommended to take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation before your trip. San Francisco counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
Tap water is safe to drink in San Francisco.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens or nationals of various countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, whether for tourism or business.
For further information, see the Visitor Visa page on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State:
To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in San Francisco, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.
And what about tipping?
In San Francisco as in the rest of the United States, a service charge is not included in the bill and tips form a major portion of income for waiting staff. Prices on restaurant menus are indicated before taxes and tips. You are therefore expected to leave a tip (generally between 15 and 20 percent of the bill). Tipping less than 15 percent (or leaving no tip at all) means that you are very dissatisfied with the service.