The San Francisco Airport is the second busiest airport in California after LAX in Los Angeles, and it is also the largest airport in the Bay Area. SFO, which is this airport's three-letter code, is only about fifteen miles south of the downtown area, and it can be found on U.S. 101. Getting from the airport in San Francisco to the city is relatively easy. Rush hour traffic can cause the drive to take around 40 minutes, while it's only about a 20 minute drive at other times. For travelers who aren't considering renting a car at the San Francisco International Airport, there are other transportation options to consider.
One of the best ways to get from SFO to the city is to take the BART train. This train is both cheap and fast, and it offers a number of downtown stops that can help visitors get where they are going with as little footwork as possible. Taxis and shuttles are also available, though they are prone to getting stuck in traffic. They are also more expensive than the BART train, which only takes about 35 minutes to get to the downtown area.
There are advantages for those who go by way of shuttle or taxi. For instance, the shuttle vans and taxis drop travelers off at their intended destination, which is often a hotel. This can save a potentially exerting walk in a city that has some of the hilliest streets in the country. For those who plan on taking the BART train, they will have to hop on a free shuttle to get to the station, which doesn't take very long. Rounding out the airport transportation options are buses, which run between the airport and the Transbay Terminal, which can be found where Mission Street meets First Street.
The San Francisco Airport has plenty of amenities for visitors to enjoy while they are waiting for a flight or for a friend to arrive. The food and drink establishments offer a considerable amount of variety, and the airport also features baggage storage, shops, and even public showers for travelers who wish to clean up before or after a flight. As you might expect, the San Francisco International Airport offers free, public Wi-Fi, which is available throughout most of the terminal area. This can come in especially handy for travelers with laptops who want to track a flight, email friends, plan exciting tours, or do any other number of interesting things online. Anyone with some time to burn at SFO can also visit the complete onsite travel agency to get some tips on things like hotels and restaurants.
As any good airport should, the San Francisco International Airport offers parking for those who need it. The San Francisco Airport parking facilities allow for both long and short-term parking. Covered garages are available for those who are either arriving or departing on both international and domestic flights, and they are closest to the terminal. The long term lot costs less, and visitors who park there can hop on a free shuttle for the relatively short ride to the airport itself. Interestingly enough, bicycle parking is also available at SFO for those who might be planning on arriving on two wheels instead of four.
While many travelers who fly into the San Francisco Airport head to one of the downtown hotels upon arrival, others book a stay at one of the hotels closer to the airport. The airport hotels in San Francisco can be very convenient after a long flight, and they can also serve the needs of travelers who need somewhere smart to stay before catching a departing flight. Many of the hotels near the San Francisco International Airport are chain brands that offer comfortable rooms at a good price.
As a side note, anyone looking to fly to northern California for a San Francisco vacation can also consider arriving at the airport in nearby Oakland. It will take longer to get into town, but it's worth comparing the rates between the two airports to see if there is a really good deal out there.