If you’re thinking about flying into San Francisco of the SF Bay Area, you probably immediately jump to thinking about San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
In reality, though, the San Francisco Bay Area has three major international airports, all of which serve travelers coming to San Francisco. The region also has myriad small municipal airports for private pilots.
Here’s a look at the Bay Area’s airports. Remember to check our guide to getting cheap fights to San Francisco.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Francisco International Airport, also known as SFO, is the largest airport in the Bay Area and the second busiest in California after Los Angeles International Airport. It is located about 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco and is directly accessible by the BART public transit system.
SFO is a primary international gateway into the United States and serves as a major hub for both domestic and international flights. In addition to regular passenger flights, it also handles considerable cargo traffic. According to data from the Federal Aviation Administration, in 2021, SFO served around 40 million passengers.
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Across the bay to the east of San Francisco, you’ll find Oakland International Airport (OAK). Although technically in a different city, OAK is an important part of the Bay Area’s air transport infrastructure and serves as an alternate airport for many travelers heading to San Francisco and its surrounding areas. It’s about 21 miles from downtown San Francisco.
Oakland International Airport typically sees less passenger volume than SFO, making it a preferred choice for some travelers seeking less crowded facilities. It also operates numerous domestic flights and a select number of international routes.
You can still easily get on BART at OAK and take it to downtown San Francisco.
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
While located even further from San Francisco, the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is another crucial part of the greater Bay Area’s air travel network. This airport is in San Jose, approximately 45 miles south of San Francisco.
SJC handles a considerable amount of traffic, both domestic and international, and is particularly well-utilized by Silicon Valley professionals due to its proximity to tech company headquarters.
Pitching your startup to the VCs on Sand Hill Road? You might do well to fly into SJC.
In addition to these three primary airports, there are several smaller airports in the vicinity of San Francisco. These include airports like the Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), the Napa County Airport (APC), the Sonoma County Airport (STS), and the Concord Buchanan Field Airport (CCR). These are typically used for general aviation, private flights, flight training, and in some cases, commercial regional flights.
Here’s a full list of Bay Area airports, including both towered and non-towered airports for private pilots.
- Buchanan Field Airport (KCCR) in Concord, Contra Costa County
- Hayward Executive Airport (KHWD) in Hayward, Alameda County
- Livermore Municipal Airport (KLVK) in Livermore, Alameda County
- Napa County Airport (KAPC) in Napa, Napa County
- Palo Alto Airport (KPAO) in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County
- Reid–Hillview Airport (KRHV) in San Jose, Santa Clara County
- San Carlos Airport (KSQL) in San Carlos, San Mateo County
- Angwin–Parrett Field (2O3) in Angwin, Napa County
- Byron Airport (C83) in Byron, Contra Costa County
- Cloverdale Municipal Airport (O60) in Cloverdale, Sonoma County
- Gnoss Field (KDVO) in Novato, Marin County
- Half Moon Bay Airport (KHAF) in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County
- Healdsburg Municipal Airport (KHES) in Healdsburg, Sonoma County
- Hollister Municipal Airport (KCVH) in Hollister, San Benito County
- Nut Tree Airport (KVCB) in Vacaville, Solano County
- Petaluma Municipal Airport (O69) in Petaluma, Sonoma County
- Rio Vista Municipal Airport (O88) in Rio Vista, Solano County
- Sonoma Skypark (0Q9) in Sonoma, Sonoma County
- Sonoma Valley Airport (0Q3) in Sonoma, Sonoma County
- San Martin Airport (E16) in San Martin, Santa Clara County
- Watsonville Municipal Airport (KWVI) in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County