How Safe Is San Francisco for Travel?

San Francisco, United States
Safety Index:

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


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


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 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


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


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


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


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


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 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

Where to Next?

19 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.

    1. I have been to San Francisco. I haven’t been mugged once.

    2. 5
      5th Gen. Californian says:

      My wife and I lived in the City since 1993 and moved Summer of 2021. Steady decline past five years that seriously increased during the pandemic to present. We lived in the West Portal neighborhood that had widespread car and garage break-ins, Safeway and Walgreens shoplifting…. Quality of life clearly going straight down. As a resident your mind is pre-occupied about how not to become a victim. Is anything visible on the car seats?Are your packages going to be stolen? Is someone going to vandalize my car tonight? General lawlessness now throughout the City. Then there are the filthy littered streets and the encroaching homeless. If you feel shame at all, I ran out of excuses many years ago when my relatives and friends came to visit. Then there is more of the same around City Hall, Market Street, Golden Gate Park, Legion of Honor. Sure, there is a high likelihood nothing will happen if you visit as a visitor and follow some rules but if you can’t live with peace of mind at home than why would you consider inviting tourists?

  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.

  6. M
    Marcelo says:

    Lots of crazy people and muggers

    The BART train stations don’t feel safe, homeless and mentally ill people are everywhere on the streets, specially Downtown but also in touristy areas like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate park.

    When I went to Golden Gate park, I was followed by this big guy offering me cocaine.
    Once I stopped to take a picture of the gardens, one crazy guy aggressively shouted “What the f*ck are you taking pictures of? Get out of here!”

    I’ve seen lots of people selling and buying drugs on Market Street, I’ve seen people fighting.
    Once… I was about to enter a Convention Center with a friend and he was suddenly pushed by a crazy man who was kicking everything on the street and shouting like crazy.

    In Fisherman’s Wharf, I stopped to watch a supposedly group of singers and they told me they were selling an album. I said I would like to help but I had no money, the 3 of them put me against the wall saying they “knew I had money”, I showed them my empty wallet and started an argument since I’m probably poorer than them (since I’m a Brazilian who got a free flight to San Francisco on a lottery).

    I didn’t fell safe in San Francisco at all and I wouldn’t like to come back, it’s also ridiculously expensive (and maybe that’s why it’s dangerous).

    1. Expensive Cities are Safe.

  7. Many unsafe areas

    Not what it used to be. Dirty, congested and a lot of under reported crime. Police seem to be over whelmed and limited response to small property crimes and homeless problems. Excrement even in best neighborhoods.

  8. A
    Anonymous says:

    San Francisco is unsafe!

    This website is providing 100% inaccurate information!
    I have lived in San Francisco for over 30 years. In 2020, violent crime has increased by over 30%! Use your head, and avoid traveling to this dangerous city AT ALL COSTS!!!

  9. A
    Anonymous says:

    Feels unsafe, but okay

    Outside of places like the Financial DIstrict and rich neighbourhoods up in the hills, you will probably see many homeless people, along with crazy people. Generally, they don’t pose a serious threat unless you try to confront them, so just avoid approaching them. There’s been reports of knife crime on BART trains, but I haven’t been witness to any violent incidents in San Francisco, apart from a pair of people arguing in the street in front of a supermarket (mostly shoving and yelling, and being disruptive to traffic). Overall, I’d say you should be careful. Personally, I’m more frightened by the local police than I am of general persons on the street.

  10. Vehicle robbery is very common

    I live in a nearby city so my info is based on 15 years of news reports, not just a random visit. Its a world-class, must-see destination and its fairly safe. But car break-ins are really bad right now, and have been for a while. Certain highly-visited tourist areas like the famous zig-zag part of Lombard Street have multiple thefts every day. If you visit, do not leave valuables in your vehicle, especially not in sight.

  11. San Francisco is actually quite dangerous.

    Since Covid, San Francisco has grown extremely dangerous in all areas including residential. Many folks we know have actually left the city sold their condos apartments, etc. because crime is gotten so bad. Some sections seem like a ghost town and only people left or criminals or the main problem and mental issues with a lot of the citizens on the streets. Unfortunately many of the streets smell of urine from people relieving themselves. There are some parts of the city that are still nice but not many right now. A neighborhood that looks really nice will have a very bad one a few blocks away and the criminal element just walks from the bad area to the good area. Unfortunately there are challenges in every city for San Francisco this last year has increased 70% in crime. No I can’t prove those numbers but I just know from living in California.

  12. P
    Paul_travel says:

    criminal city

    Very dangerous. don’t visit now wait till get better. Read the news San Francisco became a criminal city

    1. San Francisco Slum like Districts

      Unfortunately clean streets are not a SF Mayor priority these days i.e. Mission district, Downtown Market, junkies, mentally ill every corner, urine smell, sidewalks are filthy littered with trash not to mention graffiti is rampant even on new store fronts.

  13. B
    Bills428 says:

    San Fran tourism is dead

    I have been a regular tourist here since 94. Both alone and brought both medium size conferences (300+ ppl) and corp team meetings (30-50). After our team meeting in 2018 I was so embarrassed having brought people there, I vowed ‘never again’.

    Union Sq was an open sewer. Feces and urine everywhere. Junkies shooting up in the square but I was told I had to leave because I was smoking a cigar. We had attendees experience a bold daytime store ‘lightening of inventory’ by locals with no attempt by security to stop them. And that was before covid, BLM, and Breed.

    I can’t imagine how scary it is now.

  14. We stopped in San Francisco at noon on a weekday and parked by Ghiradelli on a busy city street at a meter. Returned to our car one hour later and found the windows smashed in and our luggage stolen. At high noon! Cops who came and did the report told me “we have lost control of the city”. Not exactly what I would call safe. They say leave nothing of value in your car if you park. Kind of hard to drag all of your luggage around while sight-seeing!

  15. S
    Susanne. Visit exciting Cosmopolitan City San Francisco. says:

    Be aware just as you would be in your own Country.

    I love San Francisco and have visited four times .I didn’t experience crime or see or hear of any during my visit but I am very aware of my surroundings wherever I travel in the world.
    San Francisco Is such a vibrant , exciting city with wonderful restaurants and interesting place to visit all within easy reach.
    My daughter met a homeless man near the Castro cinema , apparently he told her he was veteran . Alex judged the man to be down on his luck so she bought a book he had written and took him to an Indian restaurant to eat. I think he added interest to her holiday.
    Visit San Francisco , stay safe! and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

Rated 2.42 / 5 based on 19 user reviews.

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