For all of the amazing things that come with being in the Bay Area, figuring out how to get around San Francisco as a tourist, can be a challenge.
Of course, you can use common transportation methods like Uber or a taxi, but if you’re new to the city and you want to take in everything there is to offer, the idea of being stuffed in the back of a car doesn’t sound like the best way to get around San Francisco anymore.
Maybe instead of taking the traditional modes of transportation, you should consider getting behind the wheel of something a little more fun, like a Porsche 718 Cayman, or one of our family-friendly and world-famous “little yellow cars.”
Take a look at our list of how to get around San Francisco if you’re new to the city or don’t have a car!
How to get around San Francisco:
- Take a historic San Francisco streetcar
- All Day GoCar rental
- Rent an exotic car
- Take BART
- All Day scooter rental
1. Take a Historic San Francisco Street Car
While the cable cars are perhaps the most famous historical vehicles still in operation in the city, the Historic Streetcar “F” line is a great way to get around San Francisco. The Historic Streetcar fleet includes San Francisco’s old trolleys as well as the mothballed vehicles from other cities that have discontinued streetcar use.
Notable vehicles in use include Milanese streetcars from the 1920s and the streetcars from the Desire neighborhood of New Orleans, made famous by Tennessee Williams. The “F” line runs along San Francisco’s major downtown thoroughfare, Market Street, and then along the waterfront Embarcadero, with stops in the Castro, Union Square, the Ferry Building, and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Although the Embarcadero portion of the route is popular with tourists who enjoy the picturesque ride along the waterfront piers, locals use the streetcars as well, as the route runs directly through downtown on a dedicated track that runs semi-independently from automobiles. Costing $3 cash or $2.50 with the mobile app, tickets are good for travel in any direction for 120 minutes, making the streetcars an affordable and memorable way to get around San Francisco.
2. All Day GoCar Rental
The All-Day GoCar Rental is a great way for a tourist to get around San Francisco. The pre-programmed GPS guided tour navigates tourists through the city in GoCar’s iconic 2-person yellow vehicles to some of San Francisco’s most popular attractions, like the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street.
The cars are road-ready reaching speeds of 35 miles an hour, and driving on the same roads that regular cars travel. The tour gives handy navigation and commentary along the way, and the size of the cars makes it easy to park, get out and explore attractions. With all the attractions along the route, guests can really create their own experience.
If you are outdoorsy, a hike along Land’s End and a picnic in Alamo Square in front of the Painted Ladies is an option. Shoppers may want to park along Chestnut Street, Haight Street, and Hayes Valley to visit the local boutiques.
With a full tank of gas included in the price, and a rental that lasts from 10 am until GoCar closes, the options are limited only by your imagination!
3. Rent an Exotic Car
For luxury travelers or car enthusiasts, renting an exotic car is one of the best ways to get around San Francisco and the Bay Area.
GoCar and Club Sportiva have teamed up to create exciting travel options for guests who have always wanted to hit the hills of San Francisco the way Steve Mcqueen did in “Bullet” or want to take a one-of-a-kind adventure through Napa Valley.
The rental includes a full tank of gas, GPS suggestions for routes and stops along the way, and 8 hours of high-performance driving pleasure! The Aston Martin, made famous by James Bond, and the McLaren 650S Spider which can hit 60mph in 2.9 seconds are only two of the many exclusive vehicles offered in this special driving experience.
5. Take the BART
Serving metro centers San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, as well as charming towns like Berkeley, San Mateo, and Palo Alto, BART is an excellent way to get around San Francisco and the Bay Area.
An engineering marvel, Bay Area Rapid Transit stops at 50 stations along 131 miles of tracks. This includes the Transbay Tube, 3.6 miles of tunnel submerged in the Bay between San Francisco and the East Bay stations.
Urban routes run underground, providing the fastest (and often cheapest) trips to hotspots in downtown San Francisco or Oakland or the Mission district. For example, a trip from the Ferry Building to 24th Street Station in the heart of the Mission can take up to 30 minutes and cost $20 in a taxi but lasts less than 7 minutes on Bart, and only costs $2.10.
For travelers flying into the area, BART connects with 3 Bay Area airports, SFO (San Francisco), OAK (Oakland), and SJC (San Jose), and conveniently stops at Powell Street in the heart of San Francisco’s hotel district. For visitors looking to experience the convenience of a major public transportation system, BART is a great way to get around SF and the Bay Area.