If you are planning on driving in San Francisco, don’t. Really. Really and Truly. You won’t like it. It will be frustrating and expensive and will waste valuable vacation time. And you’ll be clogging up roads I drive on and be baffled and I may honk at you which will embarrass me if I’ve met you on a private tour the day before. The GPS won’t help, because everyone else unfamiliar with San Francisco will use it too and you will all be clogged on the same road. And the Magical GPS Goddess won’t help. She doesn’t live here and gives half-ass directions because she doesn’t care about being accurate and really doesn’t care about you. And she’s usually drunk. Plus we have hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers who don’t know their way around staring at their phones and double parking adding to the already insane congestion.
The Magical GPS Goddess also doesn’t keep track of the many, many sudden and capricious road closures and detours which plague our city. We are both building at a breakneck pace and digging up the street at a snail’s pace. This means at any given time a street will be closed but the Magical GPS Goddess doesn’t know that, and she’ll tell you to drive down one. But you can’t. And neither can anyone else. So you’ll all sit in the intersection baffled as to what to do until someone honks at you (possibly me) and you sudden lurch forward or make a dangerous and idiotic u-turn and be confused until the Magical GPS Goddess slurs her drunk instructions of “Rerouting.”
We are a small city and have good public transportation. Consider getting a MUNI passport, available at most drugstores. It is a deal, and gets you unlimited rides on all public transportation, (including the cable cars), and if you need to go somewhere a little out of the way, a taxi is great. By the way, if you have kids, riding public transportation, especially the streetcars, is like an amusement park ride. They’ll dig it, especially if you’re on one of the underground trains going through a tunnel and they get to stand in the front near the driver.
Save the money you would spend on a rental car and parking for public transportation and wine bars.
Short version: don’t drive. No one will like it, especially you. Well, maybe especially me, but you a lot.