Where to go in San Francisco
While in the midst of a complete change in pace and culture, San Francisco is still a city that captures people’s hearts. It’s a place where ideas become concrete realities and every vista is picturesque. I spent three years living an hour south in the South Bay, and doing a 24-48 hour visits for guests.
These are ideas for getting a flavor of the incredible diversity of experiences San Francisco has to offer in a short amount of time. Mind you, there is something around every corner in San Francisco, so you really can’t go wrong. However, my guests and I thoroughly enjoyed these activities together.
See the San Francisco Bay Bridge at sunset. Insider Tip: After you walked what you wanted, drive across it to get to the small towns on the other side.
Mosey around the outside of the Palace of Fine Arts and gawk at the beautiful in the neighborhood.
Head to the cool olde timey arcade, Musee Mecanique. Insider Tip: Have cash handy for the quarter machines.
Cross the bridge to Sausalito or Tiburon for some tasty eats and views.
Enjoy the seals on Pier 39. Insider Tip: It will be crowded and all tourists, but for most people who live away from the coasts, seals are a delight to see.
Visit China Beach when the weather is clear.
Eat local sand dabs, cioppino and martinis at the 1849 Tadich Grill.
Consume fresh seafood from FISH in Sausalito. Insider Tip: Expect lines and have cash ready if you don’t like paying for ATMs – they don’t take cards.
Nab fresh focaccia from the Liguria Bakery. Insider Tip: They sell out quickly and often. Get there as early in the morning as you can.
Hike the Marin Headlands. Insider Tip: It gets pretty hot on sunny days, so bring plenty of water before you head out on a hike.
Grab a pizza at Delfina, it's worth the wait.
Get tickets to see Mortified live in Oakland.
Take a side trip if you have time to Muir Woods National Park to see the Redwood Trees (40 minutes), Napa for wine (one hour) or Monterey for ocean life (two hours). Photo is from a hike in the Monterey area.
Walk through China Town.
Stop by Martuni's Martini Bar for refreshing martinis and incredible piano bar participants.
Insider Tip: While you are in San Francisco don’t forget to hide anything and everything in your car. This advice should not be taken lightly. Thieves will break the window if there is even a hint of anything valuable. A friend’s guests had their car broken into just for having nice baby equipment in the car. My boyfriend’s family had laptops stolen because they weren’t hidden well enough in the car. Take this seriously. Keep anything potentially valuable out of sight.
Enjoy your trip! And just remember, there are a million wonderful historical, cultural and active experiences to be had in this city. You really can’t go wrong.