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Frequently Asked Questions for Meeting Planners

All the questions that meeting planners have about San Francisco are answered here.

Hosting a meeting in San Francisco?  Interested in pitching the City by the Bay as a possible location to your bosses or board? You probably have a ton of questions. That's great, because at San Francisco Travel, we have all the answers.

Start with this handy FAQ about the city, its amenities, and basic services. Then, download our official Meeting Planners guide for full venue listings and great ideas for attendee experiences. After that, talk to a member of our team. We're here to help you, and our services are all complimentary!

Which part of San Francisco should I have my meeting in?

Each of San Francisco's neighborhoods has its own district culture and charm, from shopping around Union Square to dim sum in Chinatown. A number of them have major hotels, perfect for booking groups, and almost all of them have unique and inspiring venues. Learn more about each distinct San Francisco neighborhood below:

What is the weather like in San Francisco?

It's never too hot or too cold in San Francisco, and it never snows, which means that there's no time of year when weather could significantly hinder your event. We always advise our visitors to pack layers, as the temperature will change throughout the day and even between neighborhoods (they're called microclimates).

How can I get around San Francisco?

San Francisco is serviced by the SFMTA, known locally as Muni. This network of buses, light rail trains, historic street cars, and legendary cable cars can get you anywhere you need to go in the city. BART connects San Francisco to the wider Bay Area, and Caltrain connects San Francisco to Silicon Valley and San Jose.

If you're starting to think about moving big groups of attendees around the city, check out our many transportation partners. 

If you or any of your attendees plan to drive around San Francisco...well, we'd discourage it. Between the public transit and city's great walkability, you don't really need a car. But if you absolutely need one while you're here, familiarize yourself with all ourSan Francisco parking guide

Which taxes should I be aware of in San Francisco?

Sales tax is 8.5 percent. Hotel fees in San Francisco include 14 percent occupancy tax and 1.0625-2.255 percent Tourism Improvement District (TID) and Moscone Expansion District (MED) assessment (depending on the location of the property). 

Which phone numbers are important for me to know?

As a meeting planner, you should know how to reach out to visitor, transportation, and emergency services. 

  • San Francisco Travel Visitor Information Center: (415) 391-2000
  • San Francisco City Services: 311 (Bay Area only)
  • Transit Service Information: 511 (Bay Area only)
  • California Road Conditions: (800) 427-7623 (U.S. only)
  • Ground Transporation at SFO: (800) 435-9736
  • Emergency Services: 911

Which airports are closest to San Francisco?

Attendees coming to San Francisco can easily reach locations throughout the city by flying into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Oakland International Airport (OAK). Both are connected to San Francisco via BART. For more information on traveling on BART, click here.

What is expected when it comes to tipping/gratuities?

Restaurant service is not included in restaurant checks, although some are adopting this custom. The average tip is 15-19 percent of the total check. A standard tip is sometimes included in your bill for groups of six or more . A San Francisco health initiative has impacted costs at local restaurants and diners may encounter an additional charge related to this.  Taxis' averige tip is 15 percent of the fare. Airport and hotel baggage handlers' average tip is $1 per bag, one-way.

Where can I find information on accessibility in the city?

For information about disabled access in the Bay Area, contact Access Northern Califronia  or request a copy of the brochure San Francisco Access from the San Francisco Travel Association.

All Muni bus lines in San Francisco are accessibile. Muni Metro stations are as well, using either elevators or wayside lifters. For more info, visit the SFMTA website or call 311 (within San Francisco) or (415) 701-2311. You can also request a copy of the Muni Access Guide.

There is a Paratransit Taxi Service that provides door-to-door service to qualified persons with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route public transportation. A certificate form may be requested from the San Francisco Transit Broker at (415) 351-7000.

Golden Gate Transit operates bus and ferry service between San Francisco and Marin County. For information on accessibiity on their routes and vehicles, click here.

Handicapped parking zones throughout San Francisco are clearly marked with signage and blue curbs. Visitors with disabilities may use their own state- or country-issued disabled parking permit or may apply ofr a visitor permit with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Visitor permits require a dcotor's verification of disability. Temporary placards are issued for up to three months.