Visiting San Francisco
Welcome to San Francisco! We are looking forward to meeting you in person, and hope the resources on this page will help you navigate your San Francisco visit. Please don't hesitate to let us know if you need further information!
San Francisco, and the Bay Area generally, have a number of public transit options. A clipper card will get you on the various public transport systems.
- BART is a light rail system that connects several cities in the bay area, and crosses the Bay. Fare varies depending on the distance of your trip. There's a great How to ride BART article on WikiHow.
- MUNI is the system that serves the city of San Francisco itself, with several subway lines and a bus system. MUNI fare is generally $2 for any bus or subway.
- For excursions, you may be interested in the various public ferries, with service from the Ferry Building and Pier 41.
- http://511.org is a great trip planning resource for all the Bay Area transit systems.
Taxi cabs are generally easy to find, especially in the area around the office and the hotels we typically use. Since it's a small city -- about 7 miles by 7 miles -- cab fares are generally pretty affordable; you can get to most common destinations for under $10. If you need to call a cab, try Luxor at 415-282-4141, or Yellow Cab at 415-333-3333.
Travel to/from airport
San Francisco Airport (SFO) is located south of the city. The easiest way to get into town is via BART. From the airport, you will want to find the AirTrain, which is a free train service within the airport; it will take you to the BART station. Board any BART train headed toward San Francisco; fare each way to the Montgomery Station (closest to the Wikimedia offices and your hotel) is $8.10. You need to have a ticket before entering the station, and scan it upon entry and exit.
Please note that BART's hours of operation are fairly limited; the first trains on weekends are at about 8am, and service stops about midnight. If you have a late night or early morning flight, please check in advance to see whether BART is running.
Most hotels that we use are about a 15 minute walk to the Wikimedia offices. If you want to take a cab, they are generally easy to hail in inner San Francisco. Here's a Google map that shows how to get back and forth: http://bit.ly/WM-SF-map
You'll find plenty of shopping and restaurants near your hotel. Check out the Wikipedia article on the plaza and neighborhood.
One area you will probably want to avoid is the Tenderloin district, generally to the west of your hotel. It's not the worst urban area you'll find, but it is one of the higher-crime areas of the city. (It's not all bad though; if you're adventurous, you'll find some great art galleries, bars, and music venues in the Tenderloin. Just keep your wits about you.)
If you want to venture forth a bit, you may want to explore the Mission (oldest neighborhood, strongly Hispanic; lots of inexpensive food), the Castro (more upscale neighborhood, world famous as a nexus of gay culture, lots of good food), Haight St. (core of the hippie movement), North Beach (largely Italian neighborhood), Chinatown (self-explanatory :) If you're looking for nature, Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, and Ocean Beach are good destinations -- or if you have some more time, there are lots of nice hikes in the Marin Headlands or the Berkeley Hills. If you're a confident urban bicyclist (or if you're planning to stick to the parks, or the Embarcadero bike path), there are places to rent bicycles on Stanyan St. by Golden Gate Park, and along the Embarcadero. You can also rent a bike on 4th Street between Folsom and Harrison; this will probably be closer to your hotel.
There's lots to explore, and feel free to ask us for recommendations!
People from out of town often think "Ah, I'm going to California. Sunshine, warm ocean breezes." Not so. San Francisco is temperate in the sense that it almost never drops below freezing, but it gets very cool and foggy in the evenings any time of the year. Bring a sweatshirt and a windbreaker! You also may encounter nice warm weather any time of year, so a pair of shorts is not a bad idea…but don't be surprised if they never come out of your suitcase!