Helpful tips for your travel to San Francisco and for your urban trek.

Shortcuts:  For Tavel to SF,   For Urban Trek
Safety Tips,  Physical Requirements
Helpful tips for your travel to San Francisco:

Shortcuts:   Public Transportation,   Food,   Places to avoid,   Self-guided urban treks

In case your trip to San Francisco will be your first, I am providing you with some helpful tips to assist you and make your visit a very pleasant one.

Public Transportation:

The cheapest way to get from San Francisco International Airport to downtown San Francisco is taking BART. Here is a link to BART's website for more information about BART stations, fare calculator, and more:

When you get to the city, San Francisco has a pretty good public transportation system. The CASH fare is $2.75** for adults ($1.35 for those under 18 years old and those 65 years old and older) for everything except for the cable cars. The fare for the cable cars is $7.00**. The buses, trolleys, and metro trains provide transfers that are good for 2 hours***. The transfers can be used for any direction and for any bus, streetcar, and Metro train but not for cable cars. Riders should obtain a transfer upon boarding the bus or streetcar after paying the fare. Transfers for 2 hours are automatically included when you get a card at the Metro stations after paying the fare. (Note: In order to take the Metro, you have to get either a temporary card (Muni ticket) or a Clipper card (has $3.00 extra charge) at the vending machines located by the gates to the Metro station. The 2-hour transfer is calculated from the time you enter the gate.)

Effective Sept. 1, 2018, you can purchase a $5.00 bus day pass - that has unlimited rides for buses, streetcars and Muni Metro until 11:59 pm of that day - via the Muni Mobile app. This is a very good deal if you plan to take two or more rides in one day.

The buses/streetcars/Metro trains (above ground) DO NOT give change so you will need exact fare. The buses/streetcars/Metro accepts both coins and bills. The cable car conductors will give change. The vending machines at the Metro stations accept credit cards and will also give out change up to a certain amount only if you pay cash.

***When paying for multiple people using the fare box in buses/streetcars/Metro trains (above ground), you will have to tell the driver who you are paying for. For example, you will tell the the driver you are paying for 2 adults and 1 child/senior and then put $6.85 ($2.75 + $2.75 + $1.35) so the driver can manually override the system so that it will print 3 transfer.

If you intend to take the cable cars and other public transportation often, it might save you money if you purchase a "passport." There are three different passports: 1-day, 3-day, and 7day. Passports can be purchased at the Visitors Information Center before the urban trek and at other locations (refer to link below).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: In my opinion, it is NOT worth getting the 1-day passport if you will not be taking multiple cable car rides that day. Right now, a 1-day Muni Mobile app passport is $12.00 ($22 if you buy paper passport) and bus fare is $2.75 for adults with 2-hour transfer privilege and only $1.35 for those under 18 years old and seniors 65 years old and older. In my opinion, the only way for the 1-day passport to be worth its price is you take the cable car at at least once for a Muni Mobile 1-day passport or at least twice in 1-day paper passport ($7 + $7 = $14) PLUS take the bus at least three times 2-hours apart <e.g. 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm> ($2.75 + $2.75 + $2.75 = $8.25).

Here's a link to basic fare information:

Here's a link to passport information:

Warning for Muni passport
- If you go to a Walgreens to purchase a Muni passport these days, they will usually give you a Clipper Card and charge you $3.00 extra for each one. Therefore, it is better to purchase the Muni passport via the Muni Mobile app because the app does NOT charge a $3.00 fee. Read below for more information about the Muni Mobile app.

Muni now has a mobile app (MuniMobile) for iPhones & Android phones. You can download the app and purchase (ahead of time) Muni fares that you can use each time you ride the bus, Metro, streetcar or cable car. You need mobile service or WiFi to purchase the fare but you do not need mobile service or WiFi to use the fare when you ride because the fares are stored in your device. You can purchase single fares, the $5 bus day pass and 1/3/7 day Muni passports and single cable car fares. The bus fare when using Muni Mobile is $2.50 for adults and $1.25 for those under 18 years old and 65 years old or older. For more information and to download the MuniMobile app, click on this link: 

Here's a link to the metro map:

Here's a link to public transportation and road  maps:

You can purchase a full road and public transportation map of San Francisco. Printing the system map online might come out too small to read. You can get a free city map with the public transportation routes at the Visitors Information Center.

If you have a smart phone that have Internet access, you can get Muni (San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency) schedule information via this website:

You can also get public transportation departure information, among other things, by calling 511 (when you are in San Francisco). Simply follow the voice activated instructions to get the information you need.

If you have a phone that has Internet access, you can use 511 Trip Planner for instructions on how to get from one location to another. Here's a link to 511 Trip Planner
Note: The 511 Trip Planner also has a free app you can use.


1. Here's a link to "Bargain Bites" which will list places to eat that are relatively inexpensive: San Francisco Chronicle's Bargain Bites 2011 List

2. Authentic Chinese food is one of San Francisco's attractions. One must try dim sum when visiting San Francisco. Here's a link to a San Francisco Chronicle article, which will give you almost everything you want to know about dim sum and the best places to have dim sum: "Good things in small packages"

Places to avoid:

Like all urban cities, San Francisco has certain areas that people who are not used to dealing with the ills of city living should avoid. The "Tenderloin" area bounded by Market, Geary, Van Ness, and Taylor Streets is one area. Another is part of South of Market (SOMA) bounded by Market, Sixth, Howard, and Eleventh Streets.

If you are aware of your surroundings and do not act like a target you will be safe for the most part. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Do not have a map visible or read a map. It is best to write down directions on a piece of paper instead of reading a map in those areas.
2. Do not have your camera showing in those areas.
3. If you have an expensive mobile/cell phone, it is best not to use it in those areas.
4. Do not show your wallet or money in those areas.

Please note that the warnings apply only when you are in the areas noted above. Most other places tourist visit in San Francisco are very safe.

Self-guided - On Your Own Urban Trek 5:

Urban Trek USA had added "On Your Own Urban Trek," which is a self-guided urban trek you can do on your own using the instructions that you can download:
  Click on this link to On Your Own Web Page: On Your Own Urban Trek
  Click on this link to On Your Own Urban Trek 5 page: On Your Own Urban Trek 5

If you and your companions are into hiking, you might enjoy the On Your Own Urban Trek and do it at your own pace.

Helpful tips for Urban Treks:

The Urban Trek for San Francisco is done in a way to make it as easy as possible for anyone to complete the Urban Trek. Most walks are done at a normal pace for approximately 15 minutes before a rest period. Uphill walks are made as infrequent as possible. However, most parks like Alamo Square are atop a small hill to get the benefit of the best views of the City. Lunch break is about an hour to give the group time to enjoy a relaxing meal and some time to window shop. Most stops have public rest rooms available.


What to bring for the Urban Trek:

  • Exact Muni fare ($2.75 each ride for adults, $1.35 for those under 18 years old/seniors). The Muni fare for the entire urban trek will be approximately $2.75 for trek 4 and $8.25 - $10.00 for all the other treks. Therefore, it would be beneficial for you to purchase a $5 bus day pass via Muni Mobile app is you are joining urban trek 1 or 2.
  • Money for snacks and/or a meal.
  • Your mobile/cell phone, if you have one.
  • Snack or fruit in case you get hungry before lunch.
  • Sunscreen and a small bottle of water.

What to wear for the Urban Trek:

  • Comfortable and sensible walking shoes because there will be a lot of walking.
  • Dress in layers. San Francisco weather can vary greatly from morning to afternoon and from neighborhood to neighborhood. You can remove or add a layer as needed. A hooded sweatshirt will be your best friend.

Other helpful tips:

  • Have a good breakfast before the Urban Trek
  • Anything you carry should not be too heavy that it will become a burden over the duration of the Urban Trek. 
Safety Tips for Urban Treks:

1. When walking:
  • Make sure you are looking at where you are going and be aware of holes or anything on the ground that might cause you to slip or fall especially when the ground is wet.
  • On a downhill or uphill slope, take special care looking at where you are walking especially when the ground is wet.
  • When taking a stairway, always hold on the hand rails when available and look at where you are going especially when it is wet.
  • When crossing the street, make sure you look both ways (left & right) before crossing to make sure it is safe to cross the street.
  • If you feel out of breath, stop and let the Trek Leader know you need to rest. Do not force yourself to do more exertion than you can handle.
  • Make sure you are aware of your surroundings to help ensure you do not become a victim of a pickpocket.
2. When talking the bus/streetcar/cable car:
  • Make sure you hold onto something stable the moment you board the bus/streetcar/cable car before the bus/streetcar/cable car starts to move to make sure you do not loose balance and fall when the bus/streetcar/cable car moves.
  • Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and your valuables are secure so you do not become a victim of a pickpocket.
3. Miscellaneous:
  • It is best that you do not wear expensive/flashy jewelry during the urban trek to eliminate the possibility of being a target for theft.
  • If a bad or dangerous situation happens, the Trek Leader will do his best to protect everyone. It is best to walk (run) away from the situation and call for help (911).
Physical Requirements:

To be able to complete the Urban Trek for San Francisco, you must be in good enough physical condition to do all of the following without assistance:

  • Walk at a normal pace (approximately 106 steps per minute) for at least 20 minutes before resting.
  • Walk uphill (10-18% grade) for at least 1 city block.
  • Walk up and down stairs.
  • Must be at least 18 years old. Minors should be accompanied by an adult. 

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