- First things first: THERE IS A FREE SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE IN SAN FRANCISCO, taking you to some of the most popular spots. Yes, you heard that right. The PresidiGo runs on three different routes through town, stopping in the downtown area (near the Bay Bridge), in the Presidio / Golden Gate Park area, Crissy Field and it even has a stop right opposite the Golden Gate Bridge. You can hop on and hop off where and how often you fancy, but do check the schedules as there are a few services, mainly during rush hours, that you will have to pay for. Most of the services on the three area lines are free, though.
- The one thing I would expect everyone to know already is free to watch is the Golden Gate Bridge. The PresidiGo takes you right to the top end of it for free, it’s pretty impressive to see up close and walk over (if you’re not scared of heights), so why would you want to miss that?
- If you have made it to Alamo Square to take a picture of the Painted Ladies you will notice that even the little park behind the pretty houses has free WiFi. I went there with my cameras and a book to have a little downtime from walking so much the previous days and to disconnect from the city and any digital network, and there it is, the temptation of the free internet. Obviously, I couldn’t resist and post a photo of the Painted Ladies just to show off to my friends and family. I’m here, you’re not, and I’m not even paying a Penny to rub it in your face.
- Generally, I would advise doing a lot of walking in San Francisco as it gives you the opportunity to find the little hidden gems off the beaten track, and there are so many in this city. Bookstores, artisan coffee houses, record stores, second-hand camera equipment hidden in a flashy souvenir shop….it is all there but you won’t find it if you’re looking for it. You’ll have to stumble upon it by accident, and you’ll enjoy it all the more for it.
- Just focusing on the touristy parts of San Francisco is certainly a bad idea. Sure, Fisherman’s Wharf is a must, but don’t spend too much time there. It is too crowded and generally overpriced on food, drink, and souvenirs. Instead, take a little walk West of Pier 39 along the bay and you’ll end up in the cute Aquatic Park and near other places worth seeing like Fort Mason and Ghirardelli Square. So by all means, do tick off a few classic tourist attractions, but try to turn a few corners without planning ahead and see where you’ll end up at. You’ll thank yourself for it.
- You will be able to catch a ferry tour from there as well, which is also great for views of the city. But again, don’t overdo it. There is too much to choose from in terms of ferry rides and you’ll never be able to see all of what’s on offer anyway. It could get a bit pricey and it takes quite a chunk of time out of your itinerary.