How to get from San Francisco Airport to Downtown San Francisco

Ali Sullivan
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Learn how to easily get from San Francisco Airport to Downtown San Francisco with our expert guide. Smooth arrivals and city adventures await!


Welcome to the vibrant city of San Francisco, where iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and a lively cultural scene await your exploration. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, arriving at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) marks the beginning of an exciting adventure. 


As your flight touches down at SFO, you’ll find yourself at the gateway to the “City by the Bay.” Once you’ve collected your luggage and cleared the airport, the adventure truly begins. And the good news is, getting from SFO to downtown San Francisco is a breeze!


In this article, we’ll guide you through the seamless journey from SFO to the heart of downtown San Francisco, where ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel is ready to host your stay.



What is the cheapest way to get from SFO to downtown?

The cheapest way to get from San Francisco International Airport to downtown is by bus. This will cost $2.50. 

What is the fastest way to get downtown?

The fastest way to get from San Francisco International Airport to downtown is by taking an Uber/Lyft or Taxi. During regular traffic hours, expect to pay $45-$60. 

How to get to SFO to Oakland Airport

Getting from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Oakland International Airport (OAK) is relatively straightforward: 


  • Take the AirTrain from SFO to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station located at the airport.
  • Purchase a BART ticket to head to the Coliseum BART station. The Coliseum station is connected to OAK via the AirBART shuttle.
  • Board a BART train heading towards Coliseum Station. The ride is relatively short.
  • Upon reaching Coliseum Station, exit and follow signs to the AirBART shuttle.
  • The AirBART shuttle will take you directly to Oakland Airport.


The BART system offers a quick and cost-effective way to reach the city center. You can take the train directly from the airport station to various downtown San Francisco stations, including Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, and Powell Street. You can access the BART station near the international terminal. If you’re at a domestic terminal, take the AirTrain. 


Trains run every 20 minutes, and the journey to downtown takes 30 minutes, making ten stops. The one-way fare is $10 with a Clipper Card. It’s advisable to get a reloadable Clipper Card at the SFO station, especially if you plan to use other public transportation in SF.


SamTrans buses provide an economical means of reaching the city center. While it may take longer than BART or a taxi, it’s a budget-friendly choice. For budget travelers, the SamTrans bus is the cheapest option for reaching the city; the fare is only $2.25.


If you are looking for options outside of public transportation, ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft are another option for getting downtown from the San Francisco Airport. While this option will likely be the fastest, depending on traffic and time of day, it will also be the most expensive. Expect to pay upwards of $40 to get to and from the airport. In light traffic, it will take 25 minutes, and in heavy traffic, it will take up to 40 minutes. 


Tip: If you plan on taking an early flight, you may get a better deal. I took an Uber at 3:30 a.m. in the morning and only paid $32 from Capital Hill in downtown San Francisco directly to the airport. 


Unless you pay a heavy price tag for a private pickup or airport transfer, taking a taxi is the other option for getting from the San Francisco Airport to downtown. Taxis are readily available at the airport and can provide a private and direct ride to your destination in downtown San Francisco. This option is ideal for those who value privacy and convenience. During normal traffic, a taxi will cost around $55.


Downtown San Francisco

How to get to ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel from SFO

To get from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel by public transportation, follow these steps:


Step 1: From SFO, take the AirTrain to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station located within the airport.


Step 2: Purchase a BART ticket or use a Clipper Card, which can provide you with discounted fares for various public transportation services in San Francisco.


Step 3: Board a BART train heading towards downtown San Francisco. The BART station at the airport is well-connected, and you can access the appropriate train easily.


Step 4: Ride the BART to the Powell Street Station, which is closest to Union Square and downtown San Francisco.


Step 5: Exit the Powell Street Station and make your way to street level.


Step 6: From Powell Street Station, ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel is within walking distance. It’s located at 680 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111.



Safe travels! We hope to see you soon in San Francisco


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