The San Francisco International Airport (800/435-9736, www.flysfo.com) doesn’t sit within the City of San Francisco. SFO is actually about 13 miles south in the town of Milbrae, right on the Bay. You can easily get a taxi or other ground transportation into the heart of the City from the airport. Both CalTrain and BART are accessible from SFO, and Some San Francisco hotels offer complimentary shuttles from the airport as well. You can also rent a car here.
As one of the 30 busiest airports in the world, SFO has long check-in and security lines much of the time, and dreadful overcrowding on major travel holidays. On a normal day, plan to arrive at the airport about two hours before your domestic flight, or three hours before an international flight.
Amtrak does not run directly into San Francisco. You can ride into San Jose, Oakland, or Emeryville, then take a connecting bus into the City. See the San Jose section of this chapter for more information about Amtrak service into the Bay Area.
Greyhound (www.greyhound.com) offers bus service to San Francisco from all over the country. Buses usually come in to the Transbay Terminal (435 Mission St., 415/495-1569, station open 5:30 a.m.–1 a.m., ticket window open 5:30 a.m.–midnight).
Certainly you can drive into San Francisco. All major highways funnel onto the City. The Bay Bridge links I-80 from the east and the Golden Gate connects Highway 1 from the north. From the south, U.S. 101 and I-280 snake up the Peninsula and into the City.
Be sure to get a detailed map and good directions to drive into San Francisco—the freeway interchanges, especially surrounding the east side of the Bay Bridge, can be confusing.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition