San Francisco Vacations

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San Francisco

View of Alcatraz

Your San Francisco vacation

Take one perfectly located peninsula, and mix in world-class dining, parks, culture and charm. The result? San Francisco, the City by the Bay. With a laissez-faire vibe dating back to the Gold Rush, this city boasts ethnic enclaves and an eclectic populace drawn to the beauty of the Pacific Coast. Visit hippie history in the Haight, or shop elegant Union Square. Take a cable car up Nob Hill, and swoon over colorful Victorians and Bay views.

Let Orbitz help you plan the perfect San Francisco vacation. With insider tips and top attractions, you'll get the skinny on Golden Gate Park, Chinatown and where to explore and eat on your San Francisco trip.

Best time to take a vacation to San Francisco

  • San Francisco's climate is mild year-round, so forget about packing wool -- or shorts. Daytime temperatures rarely rise above 75 or drop below 55. Summer is notoriously cool, with fog and chilly Pacific breezes, and neighborhood "micro-climates" can mean balmy conditions in the Mission District, but chillier conditions in the Outer Richmond. Summer is also peak tourist season, and late June's LGBT Pride Celebration Parade is one of the biggest in the country.

    May, September and October have less fog and, locals contend, the best weather. December, January and February are the coldest and wettest months, while January brings the Chinese New Year's Parade.

Insider tips for San Francisco travel

  • Rainbow Grocery

    Get your green bounty on. Rainbow Grocery really is what it's cracked up to be: an eco/organic/fair-trade heaven.

  • Ferry Building Marketplace

    What looks like a tourist trap is actually a foodie paradise, with oysters (Hog Island), cheese (Cowgirl Creamery), a fantastic farmer's market and more.

  • The Presidio

    A gift to hikers, bikers and diners. Enjoy this former military post's paths, restaurants and views on your way to or from the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • The Alembic

    The Haight's perfect drinking/dining combo defines the term "gastropub": world-class artisan cocktails crafted with love, and a food menu to match.

  • Seward Street Slides

    These concrete sliding tubes re-teach what you knew when you were six: Gravity is fun. Be sure to bring your own cardboard to slide on, though.

San Francisco Hotels

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835 Hyde Street Map
3.1 / 5 174 reviews
From
$419

Union Square ChinatownAT&T Park GeneralThe hotel opened in 1906 and was restored to its period grandeur during an extensive renovation in 1988. All guests receive complimentary continental breakfast and a voucher for a free glass of wine. Guests also have access to an... More

From
$419
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905 California Street Map
4.3 / 5 219 reviews
  • Free, Fast and Reliable WIFI in your room!
  • Free, Fast and Reliable WIFI in your room!
From
$232

The Stanford Court in San Francisco provides its guests with luxurious amenities, such as towel rack warmers, luxurious down bedding and pillows, and fast, free Wi-Fi. These amenities, in combination with the modern, urban furnishings, make the hotel a comfortable and... More

From
$232
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333 O'Farrell Street Map
3.9 / 5 483 reviews
  • Rate includes breakfast for 2
  • Rate includes breakfast for 2
From
$266

A 46-story building located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square hotel is one of the tallest & largest hotels in the entire city. This means many rooms offer breathtaking views of everything from the city skyline to the Oakland... More

From
$266
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888 Howard Street Map
4.4 / 5 104 reviews
From
$231

The InterContinental San Francisco towers over the city, providing one of the newest upscale hotel destinations in the Bay Area. A Michelin-rated restaurant, chic bar, luxurious spa and spacious guest rooms and suites make the hotel a top choice for both business and... More

From
$231
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999 California Street Map
4.2 / 5 223 reviews
From
$231

The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco opened in 1926 at the crest of Nob Hill and has been wowing visitors ever since. Visitors flock from all over the city to experience The Top of the Mark, a restaurant and lounge on the 19th floor of the hotel, which... More

From
$231
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524 Sutter St. Map
3.5 / 5 131 reviews
  • Free Wi-Fi, No charge for pets!
  • Free Wi-Fi, No charge for pets!

The Cartwright Hotel Union Square offers charm and personality, while delivering great value, comfort and excellent service. Conveniently located in the heart of San Francisco's Union Square, close to shopping, dining, entertainment, the Financial District and the... More

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55 Cyril Magnin Street Map
4.0 / 5 506 reviews
  • Rate includes breakfast
  • Rate includes breakfast
From
$289

Yerba Buena Gardens with Samovar Tea Lounge (0.4 mi/ 0.6 km)Asian Art Museum  (0.8 mi/ 1.29 km)Moscone Center and Contemporary Jewish Museum  (0.9 mi/ 1.4 km)San Francisco MOMA (0.9 mi/ 1.4 km)Alcatraz Island via Financial District (2.4 mi/ 3.9 km)Fisherman's... More

From
$289
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50 Third Street Map
4.0 / 5 185 reviews
  • Save 25% on your stay
  • Save 25% on your stay
From
$207

Formerly known as the Argent, the The Park Central San Francisco has been rebranded over the course of the last decade. The result: a sophisticated, urban oasis in the middle of what locals call Museum row, a stretch that includes the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing... More

From
$207
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940 Sutter Street Map
3.8 / 5 90 reviews
  • Stay 2 nights and Save 10% on your stay!
  • Stay 2 nights and Save 10% on your stay!
From
$220

Situated in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, the Hotel Vertigo is a boutique hotel that references modern day touches with classic elegance. The hotel received its claim to fame from Alfred Hitchcocks movie, Vertigo and is located just a few blocks east of... More

From
$220
http://www.tnetnoc.com/hotelphotos/979/39979/2631759-Holiday-Inn-Express-Suites-SAN-FRANCISCO-FISHERMANS-WHARF-Hotel-Exterior-1-LP.jpg
550 North Point Street Map
4.0 / 5 230 reviews
From
$251

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites San Francisco Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco offers Bay Area visitors an excellent location to stay. The hotel property provides various amenities to make your stay comfortable, including 1,600 square feet of event space for any... More

From
$251
  • Promo Code Terms and Conditions

    50TRIP
    Book a qualifying 4+ night flight + hotel vacation package between July 24, 2015 12:00AM CT and September 30, 2015 11:59PM CT, for $1000 or more for travel between July 24, 2015 and December 31, 2015 via Orbitz and instantly receive $50 off the hotel portion of your booking through the use of the promotion code. Limit one discount per hotel room and one promotion code per booking. Discounts are not redeemable for cash for any reason. Promotion codes cannot be resold. Any attempt at fraud will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Orbitz reserves the right to change or limit the promotion in its sole discretion. Promo code not valid for Las Vegas, NV bookings.

San Francisco highlights

  • Golden Gate Bridge

    Golden Gate Bridge

  • Golden Gate Bridge

    The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see, but doing so is easy, considering the 1.7-mile-long orange behemoth can be viewed from many vantage points. Connecting San Francisco to Marin County, the bridge is the city's only northern exit and is part of U.S. Route 1 and California Route 1. A pedestrian walkway runs the length, and bikes are allowed. (Check posted signs for the appropriate side to ride on; the schedule varies.) Fort Point Overlook offers a primo spot to snap photos.

  • Union Square

    This landmark square is the largest district of retailers, restaurants, galleries and salons in the Western United States. The recently remodeled site boasts granite plazas, light sculptures designed by artist R.M. Fischer and four grand-entrance corner plazas bordered by palms. Find clothing stores, from Banana Republic and Anthropologie to Prada and Yves Saint Laurent, and an assortment of antique stores, art galleries and beauty and health shops. More than 40 hotels are located nearby, as are a variety of restaurants, bars and clubs for late-night dining and entertainment.

  • San Francisco Cable Cars

    Cable cars have been transporting people around San Francisco since the late 19th century, and they're a great way to get conquer the city's notorious hills while enjoying some of the spectacular views and diverse neighborhoods. At Powell and Market streets, a turntable serves as the starting point for two lines, the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde. The Powell-Mason heads to Fisherman's Wharf, while the Powell-Hyde ends near Ghirardelli Square (hello, chocolate!).

  • Castro District

    Spanning Castro Street, from Market Street to 19th Street, is the world's first, largest, and most famous gay neighborhood. It has been a symbol of gay pride since the sixties and seventies, when figures like Harvey Milk established themselves as business owners and activists. One of the district's most notable sites is the Castro Theatre, a movie palace constructed in 1922 that is still one of the city's best. Other sites of interest include Twin Peaks, the city's first gay bar, and Hartford Street Zen Center, a small Buddhist temple open to the public.

  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

    Founded in 1935, SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art. Today, it continues that tradition, exhibiting and collecting works by modern masters and less-established artists. Audio guides, docent tours, interactive kiosks and public programs offer visitors diverse learning opportunities. SFMOMA's landmark building, just a short walk from downtown, displays a soaring atrium topped by a turret and oculus skylight. The MuseumStore features art books, design objects, furniture, jewelry and children's products.

  • Golden Gate Park

    One of the largest urban parks in the world, this three-mile stunner is filled not only with natural beauty but also a science museum, art museum, flower conservatory and more. The California Academy of Sciences houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and scientific research facility under one roof -- and a living roof, at that. Scale the deYoung Museum's 144-foot-high observation deck. The Japanese Tea Garden creates the perfect backdrop for munching fortune cookies, which were first created here in 1914.

  • Alcatraz

    Because of its natural isolation and the bay's cold, strong currents, Alcatraz housed Civil War prisoners, and years later, some of the country's most notorious criminals, including mobster Al Capone, the "Birdman of Alcatraz" and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. The prison closed in the 1960s, but the stories live on. Today, Alcatraz is partially a self-guided experience that you can do at your own pace. Advance reservations are highly recommended.

  • Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

    Constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, this beauty reflects the domed and columned temples of ancient Roman and Greek style. Its exhibition hall, which once housed Impressionist paintings, is now home to a state-of-the-art science museum, the Exploratorium. The Palace is also the site of countless weddings and film backdrops, including the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Vertigo" and "The Rock." A lagoon lined with Australian eucalyptus trees surrounds the area, making a perfect family-photo opportunity.

  • Chinatown

    This golden nugget is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, plus the oldest in North America. Its entrance, called the "Dragon's Gate," is at Grant Avenue and Bush Street. Inside are 24 blocks of hustle and bustle, most of it taking place along Grant Avenue, the oldest street in San Francisco. This city-within-a-city is best explored on foot: Exotic shops, renowned restaurants, food markets, temples and small museums form its boundaries. Visitors can buy ancient potions from herb shops, enjoy a dim sum lunch or learn how fortune cookies are made.

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