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Financial District, San Francisco Travel Guide

Financial District Summary


  • Easy access to public transportation and taxis; three BART stations along Market Street
  • Financial district borders the Embarcadero and Ferry Building, both popular tourist sites
  • $8 to $10 ride from San Francisco International Airport
  • Safe (though vagrancy and panhandling are common, as throughout San Francisco)
  • Some of the city's tallest buildings, offering breathtaking views of the city and San Francisco Bay
  • A few notable dining options, and plenty of ideal places for a quick lunch


  • Relatively few bars in the area, and they typically close by midnight; nightlife is minimal during the week, dead on the weekends
  • Far from many popular tourist attractions, like Golden Gate Bridge and Park, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Presidio -- though that's true of most of San Francisco's hotel-heavy neighborhoods
  • Street parking is difficult if not impossible; hotel parking is expensive.

What It's Like

Full of well-tailored suits and skyscrapers, the Financial District isn't a tourist destination itself -- except perhaps for the landmark Transamerica Building -- but it's wedged between downtown San Francisco and the waterfront, and borders an array of more popular spots, including the Embarcadero, Chinatown, Union Square, and Market Street. It's about as far from Golden Gate Bridge and Park as you can get, however, but that's true of most of San Francisco's hotel-heavy areas. On weekends and weekday evenings the Financial District is all but dead.

Where To Stay

As its name might suggest, the Financial District targets business travelers -- its range of hotels reflects this. Stay in the northwest corner for closest proximity to North Beach, San Francisco's Little Itlay, and the home of popular tourist attraction City Lights Bookstore. Stay anywhere on the western edge for proximity to the sights and smells of Chinatown. Stay in the southwest corner for closest proximity to Union Square and Market Street, a main artery of the city. Stay on the eastern edge to be near the Embarcadero and the Ferry building.

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