While surpassed by Angeles as the largest city and commercial center of Pampanga, San Fernando is the political, administrative, religious and cultural center of Pampanga. It is rich in culture and history, with a downtown filled with historic buildings.
San Fernando is also the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines", and every December, it holds the Giant Lantern (Parol) Festival, showcasing the handmade star-shaped Christmas lanterns created by local crafters. The city also has a Christmas-themed park, which is open all year round.
San Fernando is named after King Ferdinand II of Spain, also the patron of the city.
Victory Liner, Genesis Transport, Bataan Transit and Philtranco have buses from Manila westward towards Bataan, Olongapo, and Zambales. There are no buses to Ilocos that stop here.
- San Fernando Central Bus Terminal, Jose Abad Santos Avenue (After Lazatin Boulevard). San Fernando's central bus station, serving all bus companies with the exception of Victory Liner and Bataan Transit.
- Victory Liner, Jose Abad Santos Avenue (Station near the Hyundai dealer). Travels from their terminal in Caloocan to Iba, Santa Cruz, and Olongapo. Buses arrive every 5-15 minutes from both directions. ₱120 from Manila or Olongapo; ₱270 from Iba; ₱400 from Santa Cruz.
San Fernando lies at a major highway crossroads; the toll North Luzon Expressway, and national highways MacArthur Highway and Jose Abad Santos Avenue meet here.
Rail service ceased on the late 1980s. While the tracks have long been dismantled, San Fernando's heritage station remained, and is preserved as it is the endpoint of the Bataan Death March (find at #See). The Manila-Clark Railway (under construction since 2018, though still in the clearing process) is planned to open by 2022 or 2024 (from Malolos to Clark Airport), and the new San Fernando station will be somewhere near the heritage station.
You can hop onto a colorful jeepney which takes you most corners of the city, but most run only at major roads
San Fernando has a historical downtown district, containing many heritage buildings dating back to both the Spanish and American colonial eras. There are 32 historical buildings and structures contained in that district, some of them damaged by neglect, repairs, or squatting.
- 1 Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando (San Fernando Cathedral), Consunji St. cor. Gen. Hizon Ave. A Neoclassic church that serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando. Originally a wooden church with a thatch roof built in 1754, it was burned by the Filipino revolutionaries under General Antonio Luna, and a Neoclassical church building was built on its place during the American era. It was again burned in 1939, and restored by the Kapampangan architect Fernando Ocampo.
- 2 Paskuhan Village (WOW Philippines Hilaga). Christmas-themed park, open all year round
- 3 Pampanga Provincial Capitol, Capitol Boulevard. American-era Neoclassical building housing the offices of the provincial government of Pampanga
- 4 San Fernando Station. A restored train station along the abandoned Philippine National Railways northern main line. It served as the endpoint of the 102 km (63 mi) Bataan Death March. The restored station houses a well-preserved wooden boxcar used on the "death trains" that carried surrendered soldiers, both Filipino and American, to the rural municipality of Capas in Tarlac.
- 5 Sky Ranch Pampanga, ☏ . M-F 3PM-midnight Sa-Su noon-midnight. Part of SM City Pampanga, it houses Pampanga Eye, a 65 m (213 ft) high Ferris wheel providing a 360-degree view of Pampanga, including San Fernando itself, Mount Arayat and Mount Pinatubo
- Giant Parol Festival (December)
- Crucifixions at San Pedro Cutud (Good Friday) - realistic reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus, where penitents, usually men, are crucified on the hill in the barangay of San Pedro Cutud.
- 1 Bren Z. Guiao Sports Complex and Convention Center. A giant arena with a seating capacity of 30,000 people, used for conventions, concerts, sports, beauty pageants
- 1 SM City Pampanga, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Lagundi (Near NLEX San Fernando Exit). 10AM-10PM. Giant SM mall opened in 2000, with hundreds of shops and restaurants, and the Sky Ranch Pampanga theme park (see #See)
|Routes through San Fernando|
|Manila ← San Simon ←||S N||→ Angeles|
|Malolos ← Santo Tomas ←||S N||→ Angeles|
|Gapan ← Mexico ←||E W||→ Bacolor → Olongapo|