San Francisco Travel Tips from an Expert

categories: Northern California

San Francisco Skyline

Because of my proximity to and love of San Francisco, it has often been featured on the Amateur Traveler. Notably tens of thousands of you have downloaded the following Amateur Traveler episodes about the city:

But I wondered what an expert would tell us about the city so I tracked down Laurie Armstrong the Director of Media Relations for the San Francisco Travel Association and asked her about the city by the bay.

What is the best new attraction in San Francisco?

The best “new” attraction is the latest thing I stumble upon.    Otherwise, I would say:

#1. The Walt Disney Family Museum

On the Main Post in The Presidio of San Francisco. The fascinating and inspiring story of Walt Disney is illuminated through over 1,000 artifacts, from cells to audio-animatronics, in a state-of-the-art museum. Open W-M 10 am-6 pm. Admission $20 adults; $12.50 ages 6-17; free children under six with adult admission; $15 for seniors (65 and older). No strollers, photographs or videos allowed in the galleries. Timed entry tickets available through Web site. AE, D, MC, V.

Phone: 415-345-6800

Email: [email protected]


#2. New People in Japantown

Part gallery, part cinema, part shopping – it’s all about pop culture fresh from Japan.  My latest discovery – yesterday.


When friends visit you in San Francisco, what do you make sure they see?

I always take them to a different neighborhood, someplace they haven’t been. Like Clement Street in the Richmond district, Valencia Street in the Mission district, or Irving Street in the Sunset.

What are your favorite things about living in San Francisco?

I love the fact that there is always something new and something old to discover. Every time I take a walk, I find something different. And I love the people – so diverse, creative, and open.

What is the best day of the year to visit San Francisco?

We occasionally get some very warm days in March, April and May. The trees in Golden Gate Park are in bloom. The days get longer and the cafes put out their sidewalk tables.

How can you save money on a visit to San Francisco?

Two ways:

First, buy a San Francisco CityPASS. You get admissions to the top museums and attractions PLUS a MUNI Passport good for the cable cars and public transit system – all for half off the a la carte price.

Second, don’t rent a car unless you’re planning to drive outside the city. San Franciscans walk, bicycle, take taxis or use public transportation. Visitors can too because it’s a very compact city. And parking is VERY expensive.

Are there any mistakes that you think tourists make when they visit San Francisco?

People think that, because we are in California, it’s always warm and sunny here. We sell a lot of sweatshirts that way.

If you have more questions about San Francisco you can connect with the San Francisco Travel Association on Facebook or Twitter.

Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won numerous awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine. He move to California in 1964.

One Response to “San Francisco Travel Tips from an Expert”

Francis Tapon


I was born and raised in SF, and I agree that you can always discover something new.

My newest discovery is the Moraga Steps on 16th Ave and Moraga. I won’t give it away, but trust me: walk up all the steps. Here’s the location:,+San+Francisco,+CA&hl=en&sll=37.269174,-119.306607&sspn=14.338988,18.94043&oq=moraga+steps&hnear=Moraga+Steps,+San+Francisco,+California+94122&t=m&z=17

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