Put some flowers in your hair and book one of our cheap flights to San Francisco. This city, nestled in the coastal hills of Northern California, is one of the West Coast’s top destinations. Known for its liberal attitude and diverse population, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district was a leader in both the hippie and the gay rights movements. Fans of natural food and outdoor activities will be in seventh heaven as they spend their trip eating local delicacies and climbing the city’s numerous hills. Food lovers will rejoice in the vast array of culinary options and fresh seafood and produce coming in daily from nearby farms and fisheries. The fog rolls in every night and out every morning, as if it’s revealing a fresh city each day. So relax, breathe in the cool sea air and let your hair down for your San Francisco vacation.
San Francisco flights bring you to a world of cable cars, hilly streets, Victorian architecture, luxury boutiques, nouveau restaurants, beautiful beaches, and a laid-back, liberal lifestyle. In fact, San Francisco was the first city in the U.S. to allow gay marriage. In 2004, hundreds of same-sex couples from around the nation boarded flights to San Francisco and waited in line to say “I do.” Today, the city maintains its laissez-faire attitude and treats its visitors to the same type of carefree experience.
Book a window seat on your flight to San Francisco and you might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco served as the birthplace of the dot com birth, and subsequently the dot com bust, and it continues to thrive as a city full of entrepreneurs and invention.
Book a flight to San Francisco to be in a city that is constantly on the list of America’s most expensive cities to live in. Property values continue to rise and remain some of the highest in the nation. With all the entertainment options and the wide range of culture and diversity in San Francisco, it’s no wonder the city thrives on tourism. Flights to San Francisco are always filled with travelers seeking a reprieve from life’s everyday chaos.
San Francisco climate
If you’re looking for tank-top weather and margaritas on the beach, you won’t find them in San Francisco. The weather is surprisingly chilly in this Californian city, even in the summer when temperatures occasionally rise above 70 degrees. Summer days usually start with a morning fog over the city. Because of this fog, the city rarely sees more than a few hot days in a row, but just a few miles inland it’s clear, hot and dry. Book flights to San Francisco in the fall when clear skies and temperatures in the 80s grace the city. Winter temperatures are usually in the 40s and 50s and rarely dip below freezing. Winter rain combined with ocean breezes can make it feel cold, but San Francisco is a popular vacation destination and has visitors, festivals, and events year round. It’s advisable to book San Francisco flights and hotels at the same time to ensure your vacation is complete and affordable.
Best Time to Fly to San Francisco
San Francisco is a year-round destination, but airfare deals to are available at certain times of the year.
San Francisco’s peak season is in the summer. Book San Francisco flights and hotels well in advance or you’re likely to get stuck with increased prices. Hotels sell out fast during the high-volume tourist season. If your travel times are flexible, you can find cheap hotels and flights to San Francisco from mid-September to mid-November. The weather is mostly warm and sunny, and most of the tourists have gone home.
Winter is the least busy season so cheap flights to San Francisco are common. This is also when the ballet and opera seasons are in full swing. Talk to your hotel concierge about purchasing tickets to shows.
Getting downtown San Francisco
Travelers can find San Francisco travel deals to three different airports.
San Francisco International Airport is about 13 miles south of the city, Oakland International Airport is in the center of the Bay Area, and San Jose International Airport is about three miles northwest of San Jose. All airports offer shuttles, taxis, rental cars and public transportation. From both Oakland and San Jose you can connect to BART – a public subway system - to head into San Francisco.
Getting around San Francisco
Renting a car in San Francisco is more trouble than it’s worth. The city is covered with steep hills and one-way streets. Traffic backups can be a nightmare and parking is scarce and expensive. You’ll only need a car if you’re heading out of town. It’s easy to get around on foot and the public transportation system can take you anywhere in the city. San Francisco’s main transportation network is the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). It has 100 bus lines with electric trolley buses and the famous historic cable cars. Riding one of the cable cars from Nob Hill down to Fisherman’s Wharf is an integral part of the San Francisco tourist experience. Check out the Muni Passports that offer unlimited rides for several days. Biking is a popular way to get around, but you’ll have to steel yourself to get up and over some of the hills. The easiest way to get a cab is calling ahead or lining up for one at a hotel stand. To get out of the city, you can hop aboard the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the fast and efficient subway linking the city to the East Bay. You can also catch one of the many ferries sailing for Sausalito, Larkspur or Tiburon.
San Francisco Travel Information
- San Francisco is a city for walking. The promenade between Crissy Field and Fort Point at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge has some of the best views of the bridge, bay and city. Take a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, even just part way, for an exhilarating San Francisco experience. In town, climb the stairs of Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower - a monument to the city’s volunteer firefighters – for a spectacular view of the city and bay.
- Golden Gate Park is the biggest green area in San Francisco and is filled with gardens, lakes, sporting facilities, concerts, wildlife exhibits and museums. On Sundays, the main drive closes to traffic and opens to joggers, cyclists, roller-bladers and strollers. Even when its filled with people, the park doesn’t feel crowded and you can always find a secluded spot. On a clear night, head to Golden Gate Park for breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.
- San Francisco has a wealth of free activities and exhibits - some are free on certain days and some are always free. Here’s a starter list: the Cable Car Museum, Creativity Explored, Fisherman's Wharf's Musée Mécanique, Mission Dolores, Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center, the Randall Museum, galleries at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Tattoo Art Museum, and the Wells Fargo Bank History Museum.
- Alcatraz sends chills up many a tourist’s back. The steel home of Al Capone when he was sentenced to prison for tax evasion is now one of the most toured attractions in San Francisco. More than just a prison, the island was the location of the first U.S. fort and lighthouse on the West Coast. There are gardens, tide pools and bird colonies to explore. Make your reservations in advance as the tours fill quickly, especially during the summer months. The Alcatraz Tour lasts about three hours.
- Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square cover several blocks along the waterfront and are probably the city’s most popular sights. But its the neighborhoods here that show you the true spirit of San Francisco, particularly the Mission’s Latin shops and restaurants, North Beach’s shopping and Italian restaurants, Pacific Heights’ extraordinary mansions and bay views, and Chinatown’s herbal shops, and a tour and free cookie at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Co.
- The Castro district is home to many of the cities same-sex couples. The area is safe and has a neighborhood feel as well asmany stylish shops, restaurants, bars and restored Victorian houses. The Castro is busy during the day but comes alive at night. There are events and festivals year round, including the city’s longest running street fair and a Halloween festival bigger and more extravagant than any other.
- Russian Hill has steep streets, lush gardens and homes occupied by both the wealthy and bohemian. Lombard Street, dubbed “the crookedest street in the world,” has such a steep decline that it has to zigzag, with eight switchbacks, down Russian Hill. Lined with Victorian mansions and some of the most expensive real estate in the city, Lombard is a popular stop for tourists. Traffic is heavy as they line up at the top to drive down, then gather at the bottom to take pictures.
- Nob Hill is a genteel, well-heeled district originally settled by railroad barons and gold-rush kings whose mansions are now luxury hotels. For something a little different, take an evening Vampire Tour of Nob Hill.
- Wine country is about an hour from San Francisco. Most of California’s wineries are in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, and many offer tours, tastings, restaurants and spas. Napa Valley has more wineries and a higher volume of tourism, and Sonoma Valley is a little more low key with family-run wineries and a relaxed ambience.
- For discounts on attractions, transportation, tours, restaurants and entertainment, check out the San Francisco City Pass and the Go San Francisco Card to see if either one fits your San Francisco flight itinerary.
San Francisco airports
Travelers booking flights to San Francisco have plenty of airport options. If you're looking for cheap plane tickets to San Francisco, price out San Francisco flights to each of the following destinations. You might need to rent a car if you choose an airport farther away from the city.
Airports in San Francisco:San Francisco International Airport
(SFO):SFO is one of American Airlines’ hubs.Oakland International Airport
(OAK)San Jose International Airport
Sacramento (SAC):86 miles from San Francisco.