Flights to San Francisco

Best student & youth fares right now to San Francisco

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Student flights from the USA to San Francisco

San Francisco is a bucket-list destination, perfect for everything from weekend getaways to summer vacations—and a great city to study in as well! Centrally located along California’s coast, you’ll have access to plenty of beaches while also being in the heart of a big city. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or settling down for a few years of school, you can indulge in delicious foods from a variety of cultures and regions, see some iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39 and visit world-class museums and events.

Hoping to snag a cheap deal but aren’t sure when you want to travel yet? No worries—sign up for our emails and get all of our best discounts delivered, so you’ll never miss a sale again. Then keep reading for more info on the best time to book tickets to San Francisco, where to stay, and more.

map of San Francisco

What are the main San Francisco airport hubs?

The main airport in San Francisco is the San Francisco International Airport. If you need to, you could also fly in Oakland International Airport, which is just across the bay.

San Francisco / SFO: As SF’s main airport hub, servicing thousands of domestic and international flights daily, there’s a pretty solid chance that this is where you’ll be flying into. It’s also conveniently located about 20 minutes south of the city. Once you land, you can take BART (the train system) into the city or opt for an Uber/Lyft, if you’re not renting a car.

Oakland / OAK: The Oakland airport is much smaller than SFO and sits across the Bay, about 25 minutes from Union Square in San Francisco. It primarily services shorter-haul domestic flights on regional and/or low-cost carriers like Allegiant, Spirit and Southwest, although most major airlines do offer some flights to Oakland as well. If you’re staying outside of the city or coming from nearby, Oakland may offer you some cheap deals as well!

How to fly from the USA to San Francisco

San Francisco’s main airport (San Francisco International Airport) is one of the busiest airports in the US and thus is pretty easy to find flights to, either domestic or internationally. You can fly here directly from 80+ cities in the US, so you should have no problem finding a flight!

The San Francisco airport is a big hub for Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, but you can also fly American, Jetblue or other airlines. Keep reading for more details on flights to San Francisco from some major US cities.

Cheap flights to San Francisco
from Los Angeles / LAX

Average flight duration

1.5 hours

Number of daily flights

225+ daily (nonstop) flights

Cheap flights to San Francisco
from New York / NYC

Average flight duration

6.5 hours

Number of daily flights

about 180 flights daily

Cheap flights to San Francisco
from Boston / BOS

Average flight duration

6.5 hours

Number of daily flights

about 40 (nonstop) flights daily

Cheap flights to San Francisco
from Chicago / ORD

Average flight duration

4.5 hours

Number of daily flights

about 100 (nonstop) flights daily

When is the best time to fly to San Francisco?

The best time to visit San Francisco is in the fall, when the city quiets down a bit after the summer and offers some of its warmest weather. Believe it or not, September and October are San Francisco’s warmest months, and typically encounter less foggy days—meaning a better chance to get a picture-perfect view of the Golden Gate. Summers are cool and dry, but beware of “June gloom”—early summer days bring plenty of gray skies and fog to the bay.

There’s also a number of festivals and events every year in San Francisco that are worth visiting for, from the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown each spring to Christmas tree lightings in Ghirardelli Square or the annual San Francisco International Film Festival, plus loads more surrounding themes of music, food, arts and more.

When is the cheapest time to book a flight from the USA to San Francisco?

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Prices based on bookings made 21-30 days prior to departure.

Why do students love visiting San Francisco?

Students love San Francisco for its hip and urban environment, nearby beaches and mountains, incredible food and arts scene and an energetic city culture. Whether you’re studying here or just visiting, it’s an incredible place to soak in!

san francisco universities and campuses

San Francisco universities and campuses

San Francisco has a number of top universities, drawing thousands of students to the city every year. Stanford and UC Berkeley are two of the most prestigious, although there’s plenty more to choose from. San Francisco State University is one of the largest and the University of San Francisco is another great choice that’s centrally located and offers plenty of program options. While San Francisco is a great place to study technology, science or engineering, it’s also a great place to study humanities and the arts, among other subjects, as well.

san francisco lifestyle

San Francisco lifestyle and culture

San Francisco’s culture in terms of arts, music, festivals, food and such is diverse and eclectic—it’s easy to find arts and food from all corners of the globe packed into this tiny city. The temperate climate and plethora of nature and outdoor adventures around the city (or in neighboring areas of California) make it the perfect place for getting outside and taking a break from the fast-paced city. Speaking of fast-paced: locals in SF, like many big cities, tend to hustle, so you’ll likely encounter an energetic and competitive lifestyle and culture if you decide to stick around for awhile.

san francisco on a budget

Exploring San Francisco on a student budget

There’s no way around it: San Francisco is expensive. From fancy lattes to hotel rooms downtown, there can be a fair amount of sticker shock during a trip to SF. However, if you’re on a budget, no need to fret! There’s loads of free and cheap things to do in San Francisco. If you do some advance planning, you can also find plenty of amazing restaurants tucked away from the more touristy areas of SF offering amazing food at cheaper prices.

Frequently asked questions about flying from the USA to San Francisco

What are the top things to see/do in San Francisco?

What's the best way to explore/travel around San Francisco?

Is San Francisco safe?

What should I eat in San Francisco?