Get the lowdown
Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Uber and Lyft are both great ways to get around this hilly city, especially outside of peak hours. Buses, street cars, the subway and cable cars run regularly, while cycling is also popular. If you're flying into SFO, take the BART towards Pittsburg/Baypoint and then call a car to your destination. It's cheaper and faster than driving from the airport.
September to November is a great time to visit San Francisco. It's less crowded and often warmer than July and August, which can be cold and windy (yes, this is California, but San Fran is surrounded on three sides by water and wind). Hotels are cheaper in winter, but take plenty of clothes to layer up. You never know when the fog will set in.
Movie set city
San Francisco is just up the California coast from Hollywood, but with a character of its own. The rolling hills, the dense fog and, of course, Golden Gate Bridge have all inspired filmmakers over the years. San Francisco has appeared as a backdrop in The Maltese Falcon (1941), Harold and Maude (1971), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), The Social Network (2010), and many more.
How to spend less in San Francisco
Take a hike
Walking is free and a great way to see the city and beyond. Panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown SF can be yours from Tank Hill. This 650-foot-high mini-park offers a host of endangered butterflies, rare birds and native plant species. Likewise, Kite Hill, a small park in the middle of the city has some equally good views. Take a picnic.
Shop where it's hot
Don't just shop on the tourist trail. You’ll have more fun if you head to Union Square in downtown and let the additional street performers and flower sellers put a smile on your face. The DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse has low cost footwear that the locals love, while the Mission is the place to go for the grunge that used to be found on Haight in the 60s.
Ride the free buses
On weekends and city holidays from 9am-6pm, Rec and Park runs a free shuttle along Golden Gate Park. Stops include Conservatory of Flowers, McLaren Lodge and Stow Lake. Drinkers take note - the San Francisco Brewers Guild shuttles beer fans to local breweries for free, (third Wednesday of every month). Drink in Union Square, the Mission, Haight/Sunset and more.
Some of America's very best vineyards surround San Francisco and, while you can take a tour to some of them, you can also drive, then rent a bike. Several companies rent bikes for under $50 per day. Alternatively, Uber and Lyft both operate in the area. To taste wines on a budget, download the Winery Finder app to find out where the latest discounts are.