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Layover Ideas

San Francisco Airport SFO

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Logo invertedSFOSan Francisco Airport
A. On-Airport:

Aquarium - at pre-security of Boarding Area C, Departures Level, Terminal 1.

Berman Reflection Room - center for quiet self-reflection and meditation. Located in the International Terminal Main Hall, Departures Level, near Boarding Area G. Hours: 7 am - 11 pm, daily.

Christian Science Reading Room - hosted by Christian Science Monitor. It is a quiet place to read or buy Christian literature. Located on the Departures Level of Terminal 1 across from Delta Airlines ticket counter. Hours: 8 am - 10 pm, daily. Courtesy phone dial *1117; tel. 650.877.0105

San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum - Library and museum dedicated to the history of flight. Located in the Internat'l Terminal Main Hall, Departures Level, near security checkpoint for Boarding Area A. Hours: 10 am to 4:30 pm, Sun-Fri, no holidays. Courtesy phone dial *1114; tel. 650.821.9900 or 650.821-6700

San Francisco Airport Museums - Galleries located throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, science, historical and cultural exhibitions. courtesy phone dial *1113; tel. 650.821-6700

San Francisco Art Commission - Over 70 works of art commissioned or purchased for the Airport by the San Francisco Arts Commission are on display throughout the Airport. Courtesy phone dial: *1113

B. Off-Airport:

1. Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, CA
One of the most famous bridges in the world, this "Bridge That Could Not Be Built" spans 6450 feet across the waters between San Francisco and Marin County. Completed in 1937 at a cost of $35 million, this impressive achievement can be seen from many points on either side. Wonderful views of other great sites can be seen from the bridge. Try automobile access at US-101 or Lincoln Boulevard ($3 toll, southbound only) or pedestrian access on the east sidewalk 5am-9pm daily. Visitor center, pavilion and free parking at the San Francisco end (415-921-5858).

2, Lombard Street
Lombard St, between Hyde and Leavenworth Sts, San Francisco, CA 94111
The switchbacks of Lombard Street help make this area one of San Francisco's most photographed sites. Within the beautifully landscaped, one-block descent from Hyde Street to Leavenworth Street are eight switchbacks that have helped title Lombard the "crookedest street in the world." At the top, a cable car ride along Hyde Street offers spectacular views of Alcatraz, Angel Island (to the north), Coit Tower, Yerba Buena Island, and the Bay Bridge (to the east).

3. Fisherman's Wharf
along waterfront at Pier 39, San Francisco, CA
Description: FISHERMAN'S WHARF. Stretching from Telegraph Hill to Fort Mason, this area was once a busy industrial area and fishing port but is now home to a carnival-like assortment of T-shirt shops, fast-food eateries, large restaurants, souvenir shops, and wax museums. Fun, educational points of interest for all ages can also be found. Bay cruises depart daily from the area, including a ferry to Alcatraz. Look over the collection of 19th-century ships at Hyde Street Pier (415-556-3002), or get a sweet taste of chocolate at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory and Soda Fountain (415-771-4903). The Cannery, a former fruit-packing factory on Jefferson Street (at Leavenworth), now houses a multi-level shopping complex (415-771-3112). Other attractions include the National Maritime Museum (415-556-3002) and the Museum of the City of San Francisco (415-928-0289).

4. San Francisco Zoo
1 Zoo Rd, Sloat Ave at 45th St, San Francisco, CA 94132 · 415-753-7080
Housing more than 5000 animals and 250 species, this intriguing zoo sits beside the Pacific Ocean. Its residents occupy a variety of naturalistic enclosures and include penguins, lions, koalas, polar bears, giraffes, and elephants. The zoo also offers one of the country's largest gorilla habitats and features a lemur forest, kangaroo exhibit, and Latin American area where folks can see anteaters, storks, tapirs, and other native creatures. Along with all these animals, you'll find a carousel, petting zoo, nature trail, and wildlife theater. Bus: 18-46th Avenue or 23-Monterey. Streetcar: L-Taraval.

5. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - SFMOMA
151 3rd St, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA 94103 · 415-357-4000
This exciting museum offers five floors of gallery space that house more than 15,000 pieces of artwork, some of which are part of the permanent collection. A free, 45-minute tour is recommended to help visitors get their bearings. Exhibits change often, ensuring something new and challenging throughout the year. A great collection of modern and contemporary art. Located between Mission and Howard Streets.

Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:

1. Alcatraz
Beach St and The Embarcadero, Pier 41, San Francisco, CA · 415-705-5555
During the 34 years that Alcatraz served as a prison, only a handful of its inmates were well-known; most were simply high-risk escapees and troublemakers. Still, the prison plays strongly in national memory, thanks largely to Al “Scarface” Capone, Robert “Birdman” Stroud, “Doc” Baker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Floyd Hamilton. An average stay on “The Rock” lasted five years, and although liberties were abbreviated, prisoners were afforded magnificent views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Ranger-guided tours of the island are available, as is a self-guided audio tour.

2. Golden Gate Park
John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94121 · 415-831-2700
Recognized as the largest cultivated urban park in the United States, this incredible haven boasts more than 1000 acres of gardens, public buildings, and meadows. The park stretches three miles inland from the bay, and its attractions include the Asian Art Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, Strybing Arboretum, California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, and 27 miles of footpaths. Despite the immense beauty of seemingly natural surroundings, the park is entirely man-made. The ferry to Alcatraz leaves from Golden Gate State Park.

3. Fort Point National Historic Site
Long Ave and Marine Dr, Golden Gate Nat'l Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA 94129 · 415-556-1693
Description: THE PRESIDIO. Built to defend the city and bay during the Civil War, this stone fort and its cannons soon became obsolete. Luckily for tourists, the designer of the Golden Gate Bridge was amazed by the fort's master masonry and decided to build around it rather than remove it for the bridge's south anchorage. Fort Point now functions as a museum, and guided and self-guided tours are available, along with exhibits and demonstrations. Located at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

4. Mount Tamalpais
801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941 · 415-388-2070
The reward for making the half-mile climb to the top of this 2571-foot peak is what many consider to be the best view of San Francisco. On clear days, you can even see the Farallon Islands 25 miles to the west and, sometimes, the snow-capped Sierra Mountains 140 miles to the east. Hiking and biking trails can be found in the park too, along with a visitors center and picnic area. Located 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Camping permitted.

5. Muir Woods National Monument
Hwy 101 N to Hwy 1 exit, Mill Valley, CA 94941 · 415-388-2595
More than 1.5 million people visit Muir Woods National Monument each year, and for good reason. The grove of coastal redwoods has been protected for a century, and the amazing specimens rank among the tallest trees in the world. Some, in fact, reach 252 feet, are 14 feet across, and are more than 1000 years old! Paved trails offer about an hour of strolling, while unpaved trails can occupy hikers for a full day.

Helpful Tips & Resources

Need help navigating your way through an unfamiliar airport? Look no further than iFly.com for expert tips and advice. Here are some helpful tips to help you travel stress-free through SFO Airport: 

  • Don't let heavy bags slow you down! Make use of our airport's complimentary baggage carts, available for all travelers in the baggage claim area.
  • If you have some time before your departure, relax, grab a bite, peruse the shops, or jump on the free wifi and surf galore!
  • Are you a frequent flyer or traveling in business or first class? Check out where the airline lounges are located.
  • Once you have passed through security, you can use the interactive terminal map to find your gate, as well as the various restaurants and shops that are available on your route.
  • Need some cash for your trip? Check here for the location of in-terminal ATMs or currency exchangers.
  • If you're flying in from out of town and need transportation to your destination, consider renting a car from one of these rental car providers.