San Francisco International Airport is an international airport found in downtown San Francisco, some 21km from the city centre of the same name. It is located near Millbrae and San Bruno, in the unincorporated San Mateo County. The airport serves flights to points throughout North and South America, and is a major gateway for flights coming from and to Europe and Asia.
The airport is the largest airport in the Bay Area, and is the second busiest airport in California next to the Los Angeles international Airport. In 2013, it was the seventh busiest airport in the United States, and is the 22nd busiest airport in the world by passenger count.
The San Francisco International Airport is owned and managed by the City and County of San Francisco, and is operated by the San Francisco Airport Commission.
What to see & do
Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the most iconic landmark in the city and in the world. It spans the Golden Gate and has been dubbed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. This will greet you if you’re driving in from the north. Also, see the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts within the Presidio, a former military post that boasts stunning architecture. The tallest and most distinct building in the San Francisco skyline is Transamerica Pyramid, located among the skyscrapers and high-rises of the Financial District. Watch the glorious city skyline from the best spot in San Francisco, at the Alamo Square Park in the Western Addition district, home to the well-known Painted Ladies row of Victorian houses. Lastly, stroll along the famous stretch of Lombard Street between Hyde & Leavenworth. Some of the notable museums you can visit in San Francisco include M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Randall Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
How to get around within San Francisco
There are a few important things that one should know when navigating around the city: its streets and avenues are numbered, with the even and odd street numbers always on the opposite sides (cross streets); that it has multiple street grids, especially in the downtown area; and no left turns are allowed. Once you get familiarised with these, getting around should be no hassle.
You can pretty much explore the friendly city of San Francisco on foot. Just remember that streets often go straight up and down hills so walking can be quite challenging. If you’re not up for walking, then fret not, since the city has one of the most comprehensive public transport systems in the country, even considered as the best west of Chicago. You can choose among a variety of options: San Francisco Municipal Railway or Muni, which covers most tourist areas. Biking is a common means of transport with locals, so getting around with a bicycle should be no problem, as there are a number of bike paths and bike routes on city streets. Taxis in San Francisco are quite inefficient and expensive. They are also hard to find, except for taxi stations at or near downtown business hotels. Driving is generally not recommended, due to one-way streets downtown, expensive parking, among other reasons.
How to get there
The airport is served by several airlines including Aer Lingus, Aeroméxico, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Japan Airlines, and KLM, among others. From the airport, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) BART station is one direct rail that link it with the city of San Francisco, and the general Bay Area. There’s also the Caltrain, which is SFO's connection via BART. This offers free shuttle services directly between SFO and Millbrae on weekday evenings, weekends, and holidays. Although there’s no direct rail service to and from the airport, you can take SamTrans to and from Downtown San Francisco, the Peninsula, and as far south as Palo Alto. Since the airport is located on U.S. Route 101, 13 miles (21km) south of downtown San Francisco, it is also accessible by car. You can take US 101 interchange with Interstate 380, a short freeway that connects US 101 with Interstate 280. There are also taxis that depart from designated taxi zones situated at the roadway centre islands on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level of all the airport’s terminals. Other ways of getting in is by Amtrak train, by bus (via plenty of regional bus companies), by ferry, or by car.
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Frequently asked questions
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