San Francisco is generally a safe place for travelers who observe all normal urban precautions. Use common sense and, unless you know exactly where you're going, steer clear of certain neighborhoods late at night, especially if you're walking alone. Be alert in the following areas, or avoid them:
The Tenderloin. Thought to be named for a cut of steak, this neighborhood west of Union Square and above Civic Center can be a seedy part of town, with drug dealers, homeless people, hustlers, and X-rated joints. It's roughly bordered by Taylor, Polk, Geary, and Market Streets. Avoid coming here after dark, especially if you're walking.
Western Addition. Past incidents of gang activity have made this neighborhood somewhat sketchy. Don't stray too far off Fillmore Street.
Civic Center. After a show here, walk west to Gough Street; avoid Market Street between 6th and 10th.
Some areas in Golden Gate Park. These include the area near the Haight Street entrance, where street kids often smoke and deal drugs, and around the pedestrian tunnels on the far west end of the park.
Like many large cities, San Francisco has many homeless people. Although most are no threat, some are more aggressive and can persist in their pleas for cash until it feels like harassment. If you feel uncomfortable, don't reach for your wallet.
COVID-19 brought travel to a virtual standstill for most of 2020 and into 2021, but vaccinations have made travel possible and safe again. However, each destination (and each business within that destination) may have its own requirements and regulations. Travelers may expect to continue to wear a mask in public and obey any other rules. Given how abruptly travel was curtailed at the onset of the pandemic, it is wise to consider protecting yourself by purchasing a travel insurance policy that will reimburse you for cancellation costs related to COVID-19. Not all travel insurance policies protect against pandemic-related cancellations, so always read the fine print.