The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the easiest areas to navigate. In fact, there are so many options that we break down the many ways to explore below. Whether you want a distinctly urban city experience or you’d like to discover all the nature just a short ride away, there is a transportation option for everyone.
Whether you want to get from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Oakland Airport (OAK) to downtown San Francisco in 30 minutes, or get around “the city” fast for less, like a “local”, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a fast, low cost way to travel and visit some of the Bay Area’s most popular destinations and attractions close to BART stations.
Muni stands for the Municipal Transportation Agency, but most locals will use the term “Muni” for a few different forms of transportation that are managed by the agency.
- Muni Buses: The buses in San Francisco are hybrid and run on electricity and biodiesel fuel or are electric buses connected to wires running overhead
- Muni Light Rail (J,K,L,M,N and T): The light rail runs above and underground providing a quick and convenient option
- Muni Streetcars (E and F lines): These historic cars run along the waterfront from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ferry Building providing a scenic way to explore the city
For schedules and maps, you can also visit Muni’s official site here. Tickets for all Muni options can be purchased individually or through a Clipper Card in advance ($2.50 for a single ride). Clipper Cards can also be used to cover BART fares as well making it a convenient option for visitors.
Cable Cars – Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason, and California Street
Probably the most notable and historic form of public transportation in San Francisco is the Cable Car. There are three lines to choose from, so while many are looking for that iconic cable car photo, it is also a great way to get around the city ($7 per ride).
Taxis and Ride Sharing
Taxis are still common, but with the San Francisco Bay Area being arguably the “tech capital of the world”, you are more likely to see people pulling up their Uber or Lyft apps than throwing up their arms to hail a cab. If you are not familiar with ride sharing apps, they provide a quick and easy way to hail a car service and pay with the swipe of your finger on the smartphone app. You can choose to ride alone or share a ride and possibly make some new friends!
Renting a Car
Again, you can rent a car the traditional way, but apps provide a convenient option for those who want to take a day trip or just a take a car out for a few hours. ZipCar and GetAround are great alternatives and if you have never used one of these apps, what better time than when in the Bay Area!
The Best Way to Explore the City
All of the options above provide a great way to get from the airport or to an iconic neighborhood, but to truly experience San Francisco, grab a bike or walk up and down the historic hills.
Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own character and charm, so there is no wonder why so many movies have been filmed in the City by the Bay. Ford GoBikes can be found all around the city, but if you want a little jumpstart you can use grab an electric Jump Bike.