How Safe Is San Francisco for Travel?

San Francisco, United States
Safety Index:
61

A melting pot of California, San Francisco, is a major city of the Bay Area, well known for its vibrant life, ethnic diversity, summer fog and many, many educational, historical and cultural venues and facilities – to name just a few of its virtues.

It’s no wonder that the city of San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the world.

There’s so much to see here that you won’t be able to cover everything for just one trip.

Your best bet, if you want to see as much as this unique city has to offer, is to save money and buy a relatively cheap San Francisco CityPASS.

You’ll get to see the California Academy of Sciences, a Blue and Gold Fleet bay cruise, the Aquarium of the Bay.

Don’t forget the Exploratorium or the Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum (both must be visited on the same day).

And don’t forget the cable cars – this city’s most popular feature: the pass also includes three consecutive days of Cable Car and MUNI fares.

Warnings & Dangers in San Francisco

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

San Francisco is overall very safe to travel to. Even though it's sometimes dangerous, and the number of homeless people and junkies on the streets may make you feel uneasy, the criminal activities that occur only apply to dangerous parts of the city, which are rarely frequented by tourists.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

San Francisco has safe and convenient public transport, though you shouldn't let your guard down. Be extremely vigilant while on public transport and don't linger around the bus, railway and metro stations.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpockets and purse snatching can be an issue along Fisherman’s Wharf, the F-Market Streetcar line, on public transport and in crowded places. It is wise to watch your belongings while on public transport or in crowded places.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Occasional natural threats exist in the form of earthquakes that have been known to happen in California. They aren't that common, though. The last major one was in 1994.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

When it comes to mugging, you're not in danger in San Francisco, as long as you stay away from the dangerous parts of the city. Violent street crime is not a common occurrence here.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Excluding isolated shootings, San Francisco hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but the attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

Just like in other tourist destinations, there will be people trying to scam you in San Francisco, too. Homeless people can turn aggressive if you refuse to give them money. Be wary of anyone trying to distract you, flashing large signs in front of you or ATMs that look like they've been tampered with.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

San Francisco is very safe for female solo travelers. Following basic precaution measures should completely minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

So... How Safe Is San Francisco Really?

As expected, San Francisco does have problems when it comes to safety on its streets.

However, the good news is that a tourist is unlikely to be a witness to any crime or, worse, become a victim of one.

This is because the crime that goes on in San Francisco, is usually confined to certain dangerous neighborhoods and individuals that know each other from the streets.

All tourists should take the usual precaution measures, just as they would in any other city or their hometown.

This means avoiding dark alleyways any communication with unknown people.

You should, by all means, stay informed on which neighborhoods should be avoided due to heightened criminal activities and avoid those neighborhoods.

In San Francisco’s case, these are downtown districts like the Tenderloin, Mid Market, 6th Street, Soma, and the Western Addition.

This also applies to the south-eastern part of the city that also has issues with violent crime.

In general, San Francisco has the largest homeless population per capita in America because of its pleasant climate that enables them to not freeze to death like they would in Chicago or New York.

This may cause you to feel a bit uneasy, but they usually aren’t dangerous and will leave you alone if you avoid contact with them.

The main homeless areas are around 6th and Market, as well as the Tenderloin, while the area near Golden Gate Park is infamous for being a gathering spot for junkies.

Another thing to bear in mind is that San Francisco has a high rate of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, so you have to be very careful when on the streets, especially while crossing one.

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in San Francisco. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - San Francisco has a mild climate characterized by cool, wet winters and dry summers. The nights can become chilly so locals usually carry around a light jacket because the temperatures are known to drop or rise significantly within an hour.
  • Airports - San Francisco International Airport is an international airport serving San Francisco. It is located 21 km south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States,
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to San Francisco, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

San Francisco Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 11° C
Feb 13° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 14° C
May 15° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 16° C
Aug 17° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 17° C
Nov 15° C
Dec 11° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
141617171819192021211814
Low
°C
891010111212131313118
High
°F
576163636466666870706457
Low
°F
464850505254545555555246

Where to Next?

5 Reviews on San Francisco

  1. False rating

    Walked from one bar to the next on Lombard st and got mugged at gunpoint so completely disagree with the safety level, also homeless is very bad and drug use is horrific on the streets

  2. Misleading...when was this last updated?

    “This is because the crime that goes on in San Francisco, is usually confined to certain dangerous neighborhoods and individuals that know each other from the streets.”

    When was this site last updated? How about disclosing the danger and recent violent incidents on BART and Muni, not to mention the criminal activity in and around the subways and bus stops?

    You didn’t mention that some of the popular theatres, museums and the Main library is located in these neighborhoods.

    The sidewalks are filthy and there is rampant drug activity in MANY of the popular downtown tourist areas including Powell Street and Union Square. And yes, word is getting out with the awful SF experience as some conventions have been cancelled.

    You also need to update the earthquake data in the Bay Area (2014 Napa Valley) and the out of control wildfires that have lasted for weeks that have impacted the air quality in SF for two years straight.

    I came to this site to get crime information for a few French cities but if you’re as off with them as you are with San Francisco (and LA) I’ll have to look elsewhere.

  3. High Crime, don't visit

    Our car got smashed into and our valuables got stolen. Drug dealers and really weird people are hanging out everywhere in SF. Don’t visit unless you have personal protection and if you’re willing to be in danger.

  4. Exciting city!

    We stayed in Francisco for a whole week while visiting my niece and I didn’t witness a single bad incident. I’m very cautious by nature so I always pay attention to my bag and whatever else I’m carrying so this is no issue for me. The cable cars were a very exciting experience for me, glad I made time for it.

  5. M
    Melissa says:

    Gotta see more

    Great experience but we definitely have to come back for more! My fiance had to attend a business meeting so we didn’t have time to explore the city. Small tip: if you’re vegan you’ll find a ton of cool places to eat.

Rated 2.8 / 5 based on 5 user reviews.

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