In case you have your sights on visiting San Francisco, these concepts for the most effective issues to do within the Golden Gate Metropolis provides you with an excellent place to start out.
The final time I visited, we have been passing by on our option to Chicago bringing pals who had by no means been earlier than. We landed about 2.30pm, taxii’d in from the airport. We may taken the BART practice (Bay Space Speedy Transport) however calculated at $10 per particular person x4 was costlier than a taxi which took us door to door.
Throwing our baggage into our rooms, we set off on a stroll to blow the airplane cobwebs away, from our resort in Union Sq., by Chinatown and right down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
That’s three of the massive must-sees that you’ll have already got in your bucket listing proper there, however others on this put up I reckon you gained’t even find out about!
We solely had 36 hours in San Francisco on that go to, so I wrote this put up on the most effective locations to go to in such a fast window.
I’ve put this listing along with the assistance of a number of US journey bloggers who all have slightly one thing particular to share about San Francisco, in addition to a few of my very own favourite issues to do and see right here.
*This put up comprises some affiliate hyperlinks. Meaning should you make a purchase order I’ll make a small fee, at no additional price to you. Thanks to your help of my weblog.
Getting round San Francisco
Begin with a Hop on Hop off bus tour
My prime tip for visiting any metropolis for the primary time, or even when I’ve been earlier than however simply need a straightforward option to get round, is to purchase a 24 or 48-hour Hop On Hop Off bus ticket.
Journey the cable automobiles
There’s nothing fairly as cool, and quintessentially San Franciscan, as using the cable automobiles up and down the steep hills. They’re a vacationer attraction in their very own proper!
Purchase an all day Muni cross for rides on trains and cable automobiles, or it’s $8 per experience. For those who’re going to choose up the cable automobile from Powell & Market, Bay & Taylor and Hyde & Seashore Streets, you should buy your fare upfront on-line. In any other case precise change is required.
For all-day journey, buy a Customer Passport for $13.
The place to remain in San Francisco
I personally like to remain round Union Sq.. It actually is a superb hub for procuring and eating, exhibits and bars. It’s additionally very simple to take the cable automobile down Market Road and across the Embarcadero to touristy Fisherman’s Wharf. The Hop on Hop off buses additionally cease right here for simple choose up (and drop off).
I’ve additionally stayed on the Embarcadero too, close to the Ferry Constructing. They’ve an out of doors market down right here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and should you like a sea view and to be inside strolling distance of Oracle Stadium, and the encircling eating places and bars, that is good spot.
In all probability the preferred spot to remain is at Fisherman’s Wharf. If that is the place you intend to spend most of your time, taking excursions, strolling across the pier, consuming out. Then this can be a great spot and on the cable automobile line.
Go to Fisherman’s Wharf at PIER 39
By Grace Roberts from Pixie Mud and Passports
For those who’re on the lookout for waterfront views, wonderful actions for kiddos, and avenue performers for miles, then you definitely’ll need to go to the well-known PIER 39.
This iconic spot is technically an open-air procuring heart, however it’s completely full of unbelievable issues to do. From boutique procuring and the Aquarium on the Bay (no have to line up for tickets should you e book on-line right here) to the ocean lions that playfully lounge on the pier, it’s unsurprising that this place is perpetually filled with vacationers.
Nevertheless it’s the ever-popular Musée Mécanique that makes this spot a must-visit. Imagine it or not, this arcade has been family-operated and owned since 1933, and is stuffed with basic 20th-century arcade video games. Over 300 mechanically-operated ones of their authentic working situation, in truth!
Kids often spend their time turning the music packing containers and watching the barely creepy Laffing Sal. For those who’re questioning what that is, it’s basically a funhouse mannequin from the Nineteen Thirties that laughs at passersby. It’s fascinating and is certainly worthy of a photograph or two!
And should you’re on the lookout for extra, try the foosball tables or get your fortune predicted by a bizarro gypsy. There’s no assure that her predictions will likely be correct, however it’s an effective way to have a chuckle together with your journey mates. If nothing else, it’s a great way to maintain toddlers off your again about driving a number of hours to Disneyland!
While you’re finished, you’ll be able to seize an excellent scoop of ice cream from Dreyer’s or choose up a scorching chocolate from Ghirardelli in Ghirardelli Sq., or attempt a basic clam chowder in a bitter dough bowl from a number of retailers.
Sail to Alcatraz
For those who’ve by no means been to San Francisco, a go to to The Rock will likely be in your must-do listing. The foreboding jail rises up out of Alcatraz Island in the course of San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles (2km) from the shores of town, and will inform many a narrative.
In actual fact, not solely may it, however it does! Your ticket will embrace an audio information which you’ll be able to hearken to at your personal tempo as you stroll previous jail cells, by the corridors and outdoors across the gardens and ruins.
You’ll hear from former inmates like Al Capone, and guards recalling their time right here and also you’ll ponder whether those that escaped and have been by no means discovered, really did get away or perished within the harbor.
Initially opened within the mid to late 1800s as a navy fort, navy jail and had amenities for a lighthouse. It was transformed right into a federal jail and closed in 1963. It’s now an nationwide historic landmark.
It’s a couple of 15-minute boat experience to the island from Pier 33. Alcatraz Cruises is the official supplier (additionally Hornblower Cruises). For those who purchase a ticket from one other firm you’ll not dock however simply tour across the island.
You may also bundle an Alcatraz ticket to your Hop On Hop Off bus tour >
Go to the Ferry Constructing
By Denise of Chef Denise
The Ferry Constructing Market is a should on any San Francisco itinerary for foodies. You possibly can stroll, or take the cable automobile to this landmark constructing and clocktower situated on the foot of Market Road.
In 1898, the Ferry Constructing did certainly function ferryboats to and from the peninsula. Years later when the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges have been in full swing weaving collectively the San Francisco Bay space, the ferries turned out of date. Workplaces took over the area shortly thereafter till the early 2000s.
After an enormous restoration, a market for eating places and native meals and wine artisans was created.
It is a nice venue to absorb the San Francisco meals scene. You possibly can graze your manner by, snacking on baked items, seafood, ice cream, and extra. For those who desire a meal, there are many fabulous eateries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make a reservation for Hog Island Oyster Firm or Boulette’s Larder. If that doesn’t work, attempt Gott’s Roadside.
You’ll additionally discover fantastic retailers and markets to choose up foodie souvenirs like native olive oils, wines, spices, craft beers, cheeses, and an array of sweets. You possibly can spend an hour or a day relying in your enthusiasm for meals and stage of starvation.
After exploring the within of the Ferry Constructing, step outdoors the again and benefit from the views of the bay.
And on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings make certain to go away time to discover one in every of California’s finest farmers markets in entrance of the constructing.
Browse Metropolis Lights Booksellers
By Sharon of Exploring R World
Exploring an impartial bookstore is all the time an effective way to find out about a metropolis. A go to to the Metropolis Lights Booksellers provides you with a taste of San Francisco’s innovation, resistance to censorship, and progressive concepts.
This three-story pleasant bookstore payments itself as “a literary assembly place since 1953.” Not solely are books bought, they’re additionally revealed and mentioned right here.
You’ll discover books from conventional publishers in addition to indie homes. Browse the sections on poetry, fiction, politics, historical past, philosophy, music, and movie. Make sure to enterprise down the slim stairway to the decrease stage for a full expertise.
Founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti mentioned of Metropolis Lights, “It’s as if the general public have been being invited, in particular person and in books, to take part in that ‘nice dialog’ between authors of all ages, historical and fashionable.”
From early days, the bookstore has drawn the curious. In the course of the Sixties, tour buses got here right here so vacationers may sight “beatniks.”
At present, once you go to, observe the show of banners outdoors above the shop identify. These altering banners could specific political or philosophical sayings. To have fun the one centesimal birthday of Ferlinghetti, the banners learn: “Paper could burn however phrases will escape.”
While you’re having fun with San Francisco’s hidden gems, embrace a go to to the Metropolis Lights Bookstore at 261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway. Meander by the towering stacks of all dimensions and shapes of books. Select a e book, sit some time, and browse.
Whether or not you come to this literary landmark out of affection for studying or out of a want to see a slice of San Francisco historical past, you’ll be so glad you stepped by the doorways of this iconic place.
By Victoria of Information Your Journey
San Francisco’s Chinatown is a must-see for anybody on the lookout for a singular cultural expertise.
This neighborhood is the oldest and largest Chinatown in the US and affords a glimpse into the historical past and traditions of Chinese language immigrants within the metropolis. It’s bustling with vibrant avenue markets, colourful lanterns, and conventional Chinese language structure, creating an environment that’s each thrilling and genuine.
One of many predominant sights in Chinatown is the markets, the place yow will discover every thing from conventional Chinese language herbs and spices, to hand-embroidered silk clothes, to unique vegatables and fruits.
You may also discover a number of of town’s oldest Chinese language temples, such because the Tin How Temple and the Kong Chow Temple, which supply a glimpse into the religious and cultural practices of the Chinese language neighborhood.
In terms of meals, Chinatown affords an abundance of scrumptious and reasonably priced choices. There are numerous conventional Chinese language eating places, avenue distributors, and markets the place you’ll be able to attempt a wide range of dishes from totally different areas of China.
Some common dishes to attempt embrace dim sum, dumplings, Peking duck, and Cantonese roast meats.
For a sit-down restaurant, a few of the well-known locations to eat could be R&G Lounge, well-known for his or her Chinese language type roast meats, just like the crispy pores and skin roast pork; the Home of Nanking, identified for his or her Cantonese-inspired dishes and Pacific catch seafood; and the Yank Sing, a Michelin-starred restaurant identified for his or her high-quality dim sum.
There are additionally many different Asian cuisines out there in Chinatown like Vietnamese, Thai and Filipino. For those who’re on the lookout for one thing candy, yow will discover a wide range of conventional Chinese language desserts too, reminiscent of scrumptious egg tarts and sesame balls.
Take this 3-hour strolling meals tour of Chinatown to get to style genuine Cantonese, Mandarin and Szechuan delicacies from 5 Chinese language owned and operated eating places and bakeries.
Go to iconic Haight-Ashbury
By Anu Agarwal of Vacation spot Checkoff
Haight-Ashbury is a unusual neighborhood in San Franciso, wealthy in historical past and well-known for its hippie vibe, classic procuring, authentic Victorian houses, and funky shops.
Haight-Ashury turned well-known within the Sixties when 1000’s of individuals got here to this neighborhood throughout the Summer season of Love motion. The results of that hippie tradition are nonetheless seen on this neighborhood within the quirky shops.
Strolling on Haight Road is an effective way to spend a morning and revel in some lunch on the many eating places right here.
Ensure to take a selfie on the iconic Haight St and Ashbury St intersection the place all of it started in 1967 and take a look at the well-known legs statue on the Piedmont Boutique!
The world has quite a lot of authentic Victorian houses nonetheless intact and also you’re not removed from Alamo Sq. and probably the most well-known row of Victorian homes, the Painted Women. There are some well-known houses right here the place musicians lived throughout the Sixties like The Grateful Useless home and Janis Joplin’s home.
The classic shops right here, like Relic Classic, are nice for window procuring and also you may discover a new favourite piece. Amoeba Music is the most important report retailer right here and Booksmith is nice for brand new reads.
Ensure to purchase a tie-dye shirt at Love on Haight retailer. The colourful exterior of the shop is superior.
Espresso to the Folks is a pleasant cafe and Cha Cha Cha and Magnolia Brewery are some nice locations to seize some lunch.
For those who don’t have time to return for a go to, the Hop On Hop Off bus takes you thru this space so you’ll be able to snap you pics with out getting off the rooftop!
Go to Golden Gate Park
By Candice, CS Ginger www.csginger.com
One of many must-see sights is Golden Gate Park. This is likely one of the finest issues to do in San Francisco with children and adults alike.
Spanning 1,017 acres of lush grasslands and meadows, you’ll be able to go to gardens, sports activities courts, picnic areas, museums, playgrounds, and exquisite trails.
Be warned: the park is so massive that it may well take days to discover each nook of it. The Stow Lake is a tranquil physique of water surrounded by majestic timber and views of San Francisco’s skyline.
The Japanese Tea Backyard, an genuine Japanese tea home with an exquisite backyard, is likely one of the hottest spots in Golden Gate Park. The San Francisco Botanical Backyard shows over 8,000 species of crops and flowers from all around the globe.
For sports activities fans, Golden Gate Park affords loads of recreation areas to select from. Go to the Polo Fields for a recreation of polo or go jogging on the operating monitor. You may also attempt your hand at archery or go biking on the park’s trails. Different actions embrace picnicking and enjoying disc golf, baseball, softball, tennis, basketball, and volleyball.
You may also catch free concert events and performances within the Bandshell.
The Golden Gate Park can also be house to a few of San Francisco’s finest museums, together with the California Academy of Sciences and the de Younger Museum.
There are additionally some fantastic eating choices. Seize a chew to eat on the Stow Lake Boathouse or the Park Chalet, each of which give scrumptious meals in an exquisite setting. There are additionally a number of meals vehicles situated across the park that supply fast snacks and drinks.
Discover the De Younger Museum
By Francesca of Homeroom Journey
The De Younger Museum is likely one of the issues to do in San Francisco, particularly should you solely have a weekend in San Francisco.
This palace of fantastic arts museum is situated in Golden Gate Park and is the proper cease for any artwork lover. Additionally they have a sister museum, the Legion of Honor which can also be price a go to.
The De Younger was established in March of 1895 and is known as after M. H. De Younger, a San Franciscan newspaperman. The unique constructing was broken within the 1906 earthquake and closed for a 12 months and a half for repairs.
Whereas the De Younger Museum principally comprises American artwork from the 1600s-2000s, there may be additionally a small part that features artwork from Asia, Africa, Europe, and lots of textile arts. A relentless rotation of particular reveals have beforehand included Egyptian artwork and Asian artists.
Go to the tower for a view of the encircling space and nice for photos. The tower is included together with your admission ticket.
Admission is $15, however is free the primary Tuesday of each month, free for locals on Saturdays, and free within the evenings after 4:30pm. You may also obtain $2 off your ticket should you take public transportation there, making it a price range pleasant exercise throughout your San Francisco journey.
This is likely one of the stops on the Hop On Hop Off Bus route. However your tickets on-line right here for two days and use it as your taxi round San Francisco!
Picnic on Crissy Area
By Kristin of World Journey Escapades
For those who’re on the lookout for a calming exercise with pals, household and even by your self, contemplate a picnic at Crissy Area, a lesser identified spot the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in stunning views of the enduring Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco skyline and the encircling Bay Space.
At Crissy Area there are many picnic benches out there, or convey your personal blanket should you desire sitting within the grass and let the youngsters run round and play video games.
There’s a smaller seashore within the space for guests to take pleasure in. The seashore isn’t as scenic because the seashores in Good, France nor will you witness any browsing, however it’s nonetheless nice for a day stroll. Plus, in case you have a canine, you’re permitted to allow them to stroll round!
There’s a cafe close by in addition to a rest room. You’ll even be happy to know that there’s a very good quantity of public parking for automobiles or campers too.
However the most effective half about Crissy Area is that it’s a lot much less crowded than different locations like Golden Gate Park or Mission Dolores Park. So, should you’re craving a peaceable afternoon with improbable views of a few of San Francisco’s best landmarks, cease by Crissy Area.
Picnic with the Painted Women
By Rasika of Bae Space And Past
It’s tough to seek out free issues to do in San Francisco, because it’s an costly metropolis in California, however right here’s among the best free issues to do: have a picnic at Alamo Sq..
The park has the most effective views of the well-known Painted Women, a row of common and fairly Victorian homes that have been constructed within the 1800s, and behind them to the metropolis of town.
The homes are effectively preserved and are one of the vital common vacationer sights in San Francisco. You’ll know them once you see them. This Painted Women view has been utilized in many TV exhibits like Full Home, and flicks.
That is my choose should you’re on the lookout for an excellent view. I really like the juxtaposition of the previous with the brand new rising up behind it.
Alamo Sq. Park is a dog-friendly public area with a playground, a tennis courtroom, benches, and several other picnic spots, bounded by Hayes Road to the south, Steiner Road to the east, Fulton Road to the north, and Scott Road to the west.
Go to Mrs Doubtfire’s home!
By Catrina of 24 Hours Layover
For these of a sure age who liked the film Mrs Doubtfire starring the late Robin Williams, a fast cease to see the unique home that was used within the movie is a should do for an Instagram pic if you find yourself in San Francisco!
The enduring home is situated on the nook of Steiner Road and Broadway in Pacific Heights, close to Alamo Sq. – a very beautiful and prosperous neighbourhood with many beautiful homes. The precise tackle is 2640 Steiner Road (avid followers will recall the Hillard’s tackle being given within the film).
The Mrs Doubtfire Home is located on a really steep avenue, so that you’ll positively get a work-out should you stroll right here!
It’s situated in a handy neighbourhood of San Francisco, simply 2km or a half hour stroll from each The Painted Women and Lombard Road, so make sure to add it on to your itinerary if you find yourself within the space.
The home has been painted a barely totally different color for the reason that film and a tree has been planted in entrance of the home, nonetheless it’s immediately recognisable and nonetheless seems remarkably much like the way it did within the film.
On the tree outdoors the home you’ll see plenty of tributes to Robin Williams which is extremely transferring. Do keep in mind this can be a residential space and it’s anyone’s house so you’ll be able to’t go inside, however simply seeing it from the skin and getting some images is nice: it’s among the best issues to do in San Francisco!
Discover the Exploratorium
By Kris Esparza of JJ & The Bug
Visiting the Exploratorium is a proper of passage for anybody who grows up within the Bay Space, however it’s not only a enjoyable spot for youths!
Anybody who enjoys a hands-on exploration of science and artwork, or puzzling out the quirks of human notion can simply spend hours at this distinctive museum.
Exploratorium guests are inspired to comply with their curiosity by greater than 600 interactive reveals in galleries like, “Tinkering,” “Human Phenomena,” and “Residing Techniques.”
Not like different museums, you gained’t discover detailed explanatory labels right here. You might be inspired to study by experimentation and play, so go forward and press the buttons and switch these knobs. Curiosity, inquiry, and collaborative problem-solving are what this place is all about.
What makes the Exploratorium much more magical is the museum’s location at Pier 15. The setting offers guests with views and experiences in contrast to these discovered wherever else.
The “Observing Landscapes” exhibit has floor-to-ceiling home windows that face the water. The highly effective mixture of this location and the museum’s interactive method to studying helps guests perceive the historical past, geography, and ecology of the Bay Space in memorable methods.
The views proceed within the Exploratorium’s Seaglass restaurant, which was designed to go with the pure great thing about the museum’s environment. While you’ve labored up an urge for food from the entire exploring, the restaurant affords consolation meals, artistic desserts, and even craft cocktails for mother and pa.
Although it’s simple to lose your self for a full day right here, once you lastly tear your self away, the Exploratorium’s location on the Embarcadero ensures that there’s a lot extra enjoyable available close by.
Purchase your timed Exploratorium entry ticket on-line.
Catch a recreation at Oracle Park
We love stay sport each time we journey and Oracle Park is likely one of the finest stadiums I’ve been to.
Residence of the San Francisco Giants, you may get low-cost tickets for spring coaching video games towards groups just like the LA Dodgers, White Sox, Cubs, Rangers and the remainder for round $50. Nevertheless it’s the backdrop of beautiful bay views that’ll have your eyes wandering off the ball.
Oracle Park is a straightforward stroll from town, situated alongside the waterfront, a couple of 2km stroll from the Ferry Constructing or Union Sq..
A part of the rationale I really like attending to a baseball recreation within the US is the stadium meals. Don’t decide me! However with decisions like grilled Dungeness crab sandwiches, poke bowls, and Ghirardelli ice cream, in addition to fan faves of hotdogs, burgers and pizzas, are you able to blame me?
Go to Sutro Bathtub ruins and Lands Finish Path
By Alisha Rose of Journey At present Work Tomorrow
A should factor to do in San Francisco is to go to the historic Sutro Baths and hike the Lands Finish Path. The views listed here are epic.
Located alongside the rugged pacific coast, the Sutro Baths and path provide a few of the finest views within the metropolis.
The Sutro Baths are an iconic landmark, and have turn out to be a singular a part of San Francisco’s historical past. In 1894, the baths have been as soon as the most important indoor swimming pool advanced on the planet. Sadly, after many misfortunes, the Sutro Baths are now not open.
At present, you’ll be able to admire the remnants of the baths and breathtaking views from the vista above. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to see the baths is by venturing down the flight of stairs to the waterfront to get a better take a look at the ruins and the mysterious sea cave.
After exploring the Sutro Baths, proceed your day to the Lands Finish Coastal Path for sweeping views of the Pacific coast.
The path is situated subsequent to the Sutro Baths and runs alongside the coastal bluffs. On the three.4-mile loop, there are quite a few alternatives to catch views of the well-known Golden Gate Bridge.
Lands Finish Path and the Sutro Baths are canine pleasant, so you’ll be able to take pleasure in this excellent hike and look at together with your furry finest good friend as you escape town for the afternoon and discover off the overwhelmed path.
Go to Muir Woods
By Rebecca Gade Sawicki of Veggies Overseas
For those who’ve ever needed to marvel at California’s towering Redwoods, right here is your likelihood.
Just below 40 minutes from San Francisco is the 554-acre Muir Woods Nationwide Monument which is house to a various array of natural world. However the stars of the forest present are the large coastal Redwoods. The tallest is 258 toes (roughly a six-foot desk stacked finish to finish 45 occasions)!
Apart from getting a sore neck from Redwood gazing, guests can even take pleasure in six miles of mountain climbing trails.
Most guests follow the principle path, which begins on the customer’s heart and loops by the old-growth forest. This path will be as quick as .5 mile or as much as 2 miles. The park’s mountain climbing trails loop all through the forest and all the best way to Mount Tamalpais State Park.
To see all of your mountain climbing choices, it’s finest to seize a park map on the customer heart. For an extended hike (6 miles), contemplate taking the Muir Seashore path, which you in all probability can guess results in beautiful Muir Seashore.
Earlier than you head to Muir Woods, it’s necessary to know that parking reservations are required. You possibly can reserve parking and buy your entry at GoMuirWoods.com. Commonplace parking charges are $9 per automobile, and the park entrance is $15 per particular person; kids underneath 15 years are free.
After your hike, head again to town and reward your self with a particular deal with from one in every of San Francisco’s finest vegan bakeries.
For those who’re planning on driving the Pacific Coast Freeway from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I did it in 5 actually enjoyable days and wrote this itinerary put up that provides you with some nice concepts. Or simply comply with it your self!
San Francisco Sources Listing
E-book a Hop On Hop Off Bus tour to get your bearings and to make use of as a straightforward manner for getting spherical San Francisco. See extra >
Add a ticket to Alcatraz to your Hop On Hop Off bus tour. See extra >
Seize your entry ticket to the Exploratorium right here. See extra >
Seize your admission ticket to the Aquarium By The Bay right here. E-book now >
Cycle throughout the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito on this 3-hour guided tour. See extra >
Hire an electrical bike for the day and take your self round San Francisco! See extra >
Take a 3-hour strolling meals tour in Chinatown for the most effective tastes of Asia. See extra >
Purchase the San Francisco Metropolis Move which supplies you reductions of as much as 44% on 4 main sights. This cross is very best in case you have a few days and need to see: California Academy of Sciences, Blue and Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise, and your alternative of admission to 2 of the next: Aquarium of the Bay, The Walt Disney Household Museum, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, Exploratorium.