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Best Things to Do in San Francisco, California

Let's go to San Francisco, California

San Francisco, measured 7x7 sq mi, is an inspirational city full of breathtaking scenery, artwork, great food, and innovative people.
 

USEFUL INFORMATION

  • Transportation: The best way to experience SF is to simply walk or take Lyft/Uber. I don't recommend driving within the city because it is quite difficult to find parking and chances are, you might need to park side ways on a very steep hill. However, you should definitely rent a car if you go out of the city.
  • Best Time to Visit: September - October is the warmest time of the year for SF. It is also harvesting season in Napa Valley so you will get to witness the process if you reserve early! 
  • Worst Time to Visit: July - August is usually the coldest time of the year for SF. Yes - cold, it can get very windy during this time.
  • What to Wear: SF has mild weather all year around. Be prepared for chilly mornings, warmth during the day and chilly nights again. SF has unconventional pockets of cold and hot air in different neighborhoods of the city. When you walk down one street, you might feel hot one block but cold the next. My advice is to bring a light jacket or sweater. SF is also a city built on multiple hills, so bring a pair of comfortable shoes. 

TO DO: OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

  • Marshall's beach is a short hike that brings to down the beach where you get a close up view of the Golden Gate Bridge - Usually is a bit chilly on this part of the city. Bring a light jacket.
  • Golden Gate Bridge could be seen from the Marshall's Beach mentioned above or people often like to rent a bike at Fisherman's Wharf and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. 
  • Land's End Trail is a coastal trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area where you get to see the Sutro Baths and breathtaking views of the ocean and the bay. 
  • Twin Peaks are two hills in the middle of the city where you could get an amazing view of SF.
  • Muir Woods National Monument is a beautiful park with giant redwood trees and multiple trails to hike. It is approximately a 45 mins drive out of SF and parking is very limited. Make sure you rent a car and try to go on a weekday.
  • Dolores Park is a popular public park where people often have picnics or get together here on the weekends. Make sure you keep an eye out for the Truffle Man with the copper pots ;). 

TO DO: LANDMARKS

  • Alcatraz Island is a small island in the San Francisco Bay. It is known for its former maximum security federal prison from 1933 until 1963. The tour tells a true and fascinating story on how three men escaped from the prison. You can also get a great view of SF from the island. Tickets to the island sell out pretty quickly so book your in advance.
  • Golden Gate Bridge If you don't want to hike or bike (mentioned above) to view the bridge, you could get a ride to Fort Point where you can see the bridge up close and personal.
  • Lombard Street is the famous one block street that is very steep with sharp turns.
  • Fisherman's Wharf is a must for clam chowders and sea lion watching at Pier 39. There is also an Aquarium there. I recommend taking the Trolley (must experience) from Market Street to Fisherman's Wharf. 
  • Ghirardelli Square is an area with many shops but mainly featuring Ghirardelli chocolates which are founded in San Francisco in 1852. Their chocolates make great souvenirs.
  • Ferry Building is a great spot to get a view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. There are variety of restaurants in this building you can grab lunch at. A great restaurant to check out is Hog Island Oyster Company for fresh seafood. There is usually a Farmer's Market every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until 2pm so make sure you check it out.
  • AT&T Ball Park to watch a baseball game – SF Giants.
  • Union Square is a central area for tourists where you can find great shopping, dining, hotels in Downtown SF.
  • Alamo Square is a park where you can get a view of the famous colorful Full House Townhouses.
  • SF Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and oldest in North America. 
  • Exploratorium is a museum that explores science, art, and human perception. 
  • 16th Avenue Mosaic Steps is a photo worthy staircase designed by more than 300 locals.
  • Balmy Street Murals is a street in the Mission district with colorful murals depicting various themes.
  • SF Museum of Modern Arts Reopens in May 2016.

TO DO: OUTSIDE OF SF

*Rent a car

  • Basketball fans - Drive to Oracle Arena in Oakland to watch a Golden State Warrior's game. 
  • Football fans - Drive to the Levi's Stadium to watch the San Francisco 49er's game.
  • Hockey fans – Drive to the SAP Center to watch the San Jose Sharks game.
  • Drive to the Big Sur or do a road trip down to Southern California on the Pacific Coast Highway. The scenic route takes approximately 10 hours depending on the duration of your stops. It's really about the journey and places you'll visit during this road trip.
  • Visit Wine Country for premium wineries in the United States. I recommend going to 2-4 wineries and book in advance for most. Napa is usually warmer than SF. Make reservations in advance and I would say 1 to 2 hours is sufficient at each place.

TO EAT: RECOMMENDED

  • Mr. Holmes Bakery for famous cruffins.
  • Sushirrito
  • Maruya
  • Takoba
  • Lers Ros
  • Skool
  • The Barrel Room
  • Foreign Cinema
  • Kusakabe
  • LihoLiho Yacht Club
  • State Bird Provisions

TO DRINK: COFFEE SHOPS

  • Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Sightglass Coffee
  • Philz Coffee
  • Saint Franks Coffee
  • The Social Study
  • The Mill

TO DRINK: BARS

  • Bourbon & Branch
  • Wilson & Wilson
  • The Devil’s Acre
  • Marianne’s
  • Jax Vineyards
  • Local Edition
  • Novela
  • Press Club
  • El Techo de Lolinda

List by: Natalie Loki

Natalie is a Canadian who has lived in New York City for half a year and currently resides in San Francisco. She loves meeting new friends from all around the world. Natalie enjoys exploring different cultures, historical landmarks, artworks and of course, local culinary spots. Follow me on Instagram: @lokinatalie

 

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