A business travellers bleisure guide to San Francisco

6 min read

San Francisco, one of the Top 10 Business Travel Destinations for 2018, is seen as one of the top places to conduct business. The City by the Bay is home to the famous Silicon Valley, and with the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple being headquartered here, it’s no surprise this is one of the most visited business destinations on the planet.

Top Industries:Technology, Professional Services, Financial Services

San Francisco International Airport is the seventh-busiest airport in the US by boarded passengers annually (26,900,016) offering non-stop flights to more than 45 international cities on 39 international carriers.

Business travellers can expect a fantastic range of hotels, restaurants and sights in San Francisco. In this guide, we provide corporate travellers with all the information they will need when spending time travelling for business as well as some of our favourite places we have visited, weather forecasts, transport links, what to see, where to eat and much more…

Travelling to San Francisco

It’s always good to check what VISA requirements need to be in place prior to booking travel. If using a Travel Management Company they will be able to guide you on this. For San Francisco, (at the time of writing) the GOV.uk website states that most passport holders can obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme, allowing travel to the US for up to 90 days. The types of journey allowed under the VWP include tourism, certain types of business visit and transit to another country.

Transport Links:

San Francisco is made up of 49 square miles of long boulevards, curvy streets, hidden alleyways and lots of hills, but the transport system of San Fran’ satisfies the needs of both tourists and Business Travellers Alike.

You’ll find nipping around the city without a car is not only easy and affordable, but it’s also actually more convenient 99% of the time as driving in the city can be challenging and parking fees are costly.


App-based transportation services such as Lyft and Uber operate in San Francisco so you can arrange a ride via your smartphone as you would do in any major UK city.

Bus/Metro aka Muni

San Francisco’s bus and metro system (Muni) runs throughout the city, operating buses, trains, cable cars and the F-line heritage streetcar. Muni buses remain above ground and on streets while Muni Metro runs on rails and sometimes go underground.

For all Muni routes and times, you can call 511, but there are also many smartphone apps, including the 511 SF Bay Transit Trip Planner app which provides maps, routes and times to help you get around the city.

For visitors who plan to stay in San Francisco for a few days, it’s recommended to buy Visitor Passports and CityPASS as they provide unlimited rides on Muni, Muni Metro, historic streetcars and cable cars for three consecutive days. There are multiple locations throughout the city where you may purchase tickets and day passes, including the San Francisco Travel Visitor Information Center, prices range from a 1-Day Visitor Passport at $21 to 7-Day’s at $42.

Where to stay:

Nob Hill and Union Square neighbourhoods are situated next to each other. Union Square is more central, home to a variety of options for accommodation, eating, and drinking. With the majority of hotels located around Union Square.

Nob Hill is also central and is one of the most affluent areas of San Francisco, and while that drives prices up, it’s also charming, hilly, and aesthetically pleasing

Tripadvisor has a comprehensive list of hotels best for business travellers along with the top 10 budget hotels.

Top things to see and do:

Whether you’re spending free time in between meetings or adding on some “Bleisure” time to the end of your stay, a trip to San Fran isn’t complete without a visit to the following areas.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Between San Francisco Bay and Marin County is the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge has been declared one of the modern wonders of the world and is also the most photographed bridge anywhere in the world.

Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco’s most famous waterfront community is at Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you can experience some fantastic food, or go on many different tours of the area including Segway, walking, boat and more.


1.5 miles off the shore of San Francisco is Alcatraz Island, the island was developed as a military fortification, a military prison as well as a federal prison, the most famous being the federal prison between 1933 and 1963. Many infamous prisoners have stayed here including Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud.

Union Square

Union Square is the most visited neighbourhood in San Francisco. Here you will find a large collection of high-end retail outlets, cafes, art galleries and a very active nightlife.The area has many live events to attend and there is always something happening to keep visitors entertained a place not to be missed!

Where to eat:

When it comes to food, San Francisco does not disappoint! Here are some of our favourites:

#1 Kokkari Estiatorio

On entering Kokkari, guests experience the old-world charm of a rustic Mediterranean country inn. An inviting fireplace, extensive woodwork, hand-made pottery and freshly picked flowers all reflect the warmth and tradition of age-old hospitality of a proper Greek home

#2 Anchor Oyster Bar & Seafood Market

Anchor Oyster Bar is a small locally owned seafood restaurant and fish market in the Castro. Owned and operated by the same owner since 1977, San Francisco’s one-and-only Anchor Oyster Bar has been serving fresh sustainably caught fish, shellfish, crab, and delicious simply prepared seafood dishes for over 30 years.

#3 Chapeau!

Chapeau is a French bistro in San Francisco serving authentic, outstanding food. Most consider it great value (the early-bird special in-particular is a “steal” at $36.95.

#4 Mama’s on Washington Square

Mamas on Washington Square has been serving up breakfast on North Beach’s Washington Square Park since the original owners Mama and Papa Sanchez first opened their doors over 50 years ago. Today they continue to serve traditional fluffy omelettes, homemade jam and freshly baked loaves of bread and pastries.

San Francisco Best Practice

It can be really difficult adjusting to a new culture when travelling for business. The GOV.UK website has some really useful information on best practice when visiting San Fransisco from various laws and customs to health, terrorism and everything in between, it’s essential to be prepared before you travel.