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How to Get Around

Step #10: Planning a San Francisco Vacation

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Find out why you may not want to rent a car and all the alternatives for getting around town.

Cable Car Speeds Through Union Square

©2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
By now, you probably know that San Francisco is a small city with most of its popular attractions clustered in about a square mile.

San Franciscans view double-parking as an inalienable right, late-coming cars blast through intersections after the traffic light turns red and street parking is scarcer than coins made in the old San Francisco mint. Parking garages fill up early and are expensive. All of it makes driving in the city is maddening and with everything so close together, it's mostly unnecessary.

If you bring your own car, park it and leave it in one place. If you're staying in a hotel overnight and there's a city-owned garage nearby, it may be less expensive than hotel parking.

a If you're thinking of renting a car for your entire visit, think again. Hotels charge up to $20 a day for parking and most days, it will just sit there unused, burning your hard-earned cash. If you walk or take public transportation, you can use the money you save to get a nicer hotel room - splurge on a nice dinner - or buy your sweetie a gift. If you're planning on visiting other areas of town that aren't so easy to get to or making a side trip out of town, just rent for a day or two.

Use the guide to getting around San Francisco to find out about all the options, including cable cars, bus tours, trolleys, BART and everything else.

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