San Francisco Airport (airport code SFO) is among the top 30 busiest airports in the world, the second busiest in California, and is located 21 kilometres south of downtown. It is a hub for Virgin America and United Airlines, a focus city for Alaska Airlines, and approximately 45 airlines fly into or out of the airport.
US Airways, United Airlines, and Continental Airlines operate the most flights out of San Francisco Airport
The gold rush of 1849 was a catalyst for San Francisco's rise in popularity. Within the next few decades, silver discoveries would also help buoy the emerging economy. However, much of its early prosperity was stripped during the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires when 75% of the city burned to the ground.
With more than 13 million visitors each year, Golden Gate National Recreation Area is among the most visited national parks in the United States. The park includes many islands and beaches and is frequented by the San Francisco surfing community.
Most San Francisco visitors will spend a half day touring the abandoned prison Alcatraz. Famous as a maximum security prison situated on an island in the San Francisco bay, Alcatraz once housed infamous gangsters Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly Barnes, Henry "Henri" Young, and the "birdman of Alcatraz" Robert Stroud.
At the edge of Fisherman's Wharf is Pier 39. San Francisco touts the pier as the third most visited tourist site in the US. With views of nearly all of San Francisco's landmarks, shops and restaurants, 3D rides, an Aquarium, and countless Sea Lions resting on the docks, Pier 30 has something for everyone
Getting around San Francisco is facilitated by trolleys, cable cars, buses, taxis, and ferries. Renting a car can be a hassle given the limited and expensive parking available in the city.