SF Bay Area

By Region

By City

My Itinerary 430
Home »  Articles »  Top 10 Safety Tips for San Francisco Tourists
Top 10 Safety Tips for San Francisco Tourists

Top 10 Safety Tips for San Francisco Tourists



With scenic vistas, great restaurants and exciting attractions, it's easy to forget that San Francisco is still an urban metropolis. Like other cities, that means visitors need to be aware of their surroundings and take the usual, common-sense safety precautions when out and about. Here are our top 10 safety tips to keep in mind.


Cell Phones

No surprise: Cell phones are a modern-day necessity--they're also very attractive to thieves, especially when people are chatting away and oblivious to their surroundings. This caveat is, literally, in your hands!


Specific Neighborhoods 

Like any major city, San Francisco does have a few areas to avoid, especially after dark. These areas are well known to concierges and front-desk staff, so ask for safety tips, a map and areas to avoid before you set out.



San Francisco does have a noticeable homeless population. Although these generally harmless people tend to gather in certain areas popular with tourists, you may encounter them throughout the city. It's best to treat them with caution and respect (a simple "No, sorry") and move on. 



San Francisco is a walkable city, although its steep hills can present some challenges along with picture-postcard views. Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes.


Cable Car Safety

Riding the cable cars is fun. But be certain to have some sure footing and a solid grip on the posts if you're riding on the running boards, as the cars make directional changes as they climb (and descend). Also keep your bodies (and backpacks) tucked in, as the cars pass closely to the traffic and parked vehicles. 


Dress for the Weather 

San Francisco weather is notorious for its ability to swiftly change, or as someone once observed, "The city does have four seasons, except they're all in the same day." San Francisco's storied fog is also part of its charm, but summer visitors should bring jackets and sweatshirts, as summer is fog season, not "T" shirt season. 


Smoking Is Illegal in Many Places 

San Francisco is a very health-conscious city. As such, it's against the law to smoke in bars and restaurants, public buildings and stadiums, among other places (probably your hotel room, too). Be forewarned: There's a steep fine if you don't comply and get ticketed.



Yes, it's always possible that San Francisco may experience an earthquake during your visit. Most are so minor that you may never know one happened. If you do feel a temblor, it's best to move away from windows and stand under a door frame or against a wall. 



While pedestrians do have the right-of-way in marked and unmarked crosswalks, it's prudent to keep on the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing the street. Watch for bicyclists, as well as vehicular traffic, as the city has seen a surge in bike travel over the past few years.


Call 911

The city's Emergency Telephone System (911) provides an immediate response of police, fire or emergency medical personnel. If you have a life threatening emergency, or need to report a crime in progress, dial 911. For non-emergency situations requiring police service, call (415) 553-0123.


Upcoming Events