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Lights at dusk on Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco

Compare the best San Francisco car hire

Hiring a car is an ideal way to explore the famous hills and one-way streets of northern California's financial and cultural hub, San Francisco. Drive across the huge span of the Golden Gate Bridge or through San Francisco's hilly streets like movie star Steve McQueen in the film Bullitt.

Why go?

Less brash than Los Angeles, San Francisco is a sophisticated city known for its multi-cultural mix, markets and its stunning bay.

San Francisco car hire, from the time you arrive and pick up your vehicle at San Francisco Airport (SFO), gives you the freedom to explore. Take a trip to the historical Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, a food lover's haven with vibrant nightlife, entertainment, world-class restaurants and shops. From here you can take a boat tour to the former prison island of Alcatraz.

Enjoy the parks of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, Presidio, Land's End and Mission Dolores or visit Japantown or the bigger Chinatown, a tourist attraction since the 1860s. See the views from the 210-foot Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, a skyline landmark since its completion in 1933 and a memorial to the San Franciscan eccentric Lillian Coit.

Ride on the national historic landmark that is the cable-car system, visit the Museum of Modern Art or just enjoy the laid-back nightlife, the jazz and the diverse range of great bars and eateries in the city. You can also visit one of San Francisco's many micro-breweries or the political bookshops and cafes that thrive in the Castro.

Where to explore?

This Californian city is a great place to base yourself for a road trip through San Francisco and beyond.

If you want see the ocean, car hire in San Francisco gives you the opportunity to explore the Point Reyes National Seashore and the chance to catch a glimpse of grey whales as they migrate. Nearby are the beach town of Monterey with its fabulous aquarium and Vallejo, home to a wildlife discovery theme park. Top-class wineries dot the landscape of the Napa Valley.

Highly recommended is a trip to pretty Sausalito or you can also visit Muir Woods to marvel at the size of the giant redwoods and maybe take a small one home as a reminder of your trip. You could also visit the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains, drive to Lake Tahoe or go south to Carmel on the coast road and down to LA.