San Francisco is full of fun things to do! And, even though I’ve lived here for close to two years, I’m still finding tons of new things to do in the city. So, when you’re visiting San Francisco, what, among the hundreds of corners, do you tackle next? I’ve rounded up my top 14 things you have to do in San Francisco when visiting the city! I hope this list helps you have a wonderful trip out here!
1. Eat Italian in North Beach: This neighborhood is Little Italy in San Francisco and is home to many restaurants that are almost as old as the city. My favorites are Original Joe’s (get the eggplant parm!) and Sotto Mare (split a bowl of cioppino!)
2. Visit the Fisherman’s Wharf: But ONLY for the clam chowder at Tarantino’s. Seriously. Serously, fisherman’s wharf is a tourist trap and isn’t anything like the real San Francisco. Yet, everyone who has visited me always insists on chekcing it out. So, when you do, don’t stay long and make sure to stop for clam chowder. It’s heaven in a bowl.
3. Tour Alcatraz: You have to get tickets sometimes months in advance, but it is such a cool experience. They have a wonderful self-audio tour that is fun to listen to and puts you in the mindset of life at the prison. Some people write this off as too touristy, but it’s more like a really fun day of history and stunning views of the bay.
4. Take a boat cruise at sunset: We did a cruise for $50 a person at sunset and guys, this was one of the most memorable activities I’ve ever done in San Francisco. We saw whales! And the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge is magical.
5. Get up close and personal with the Golden Gate Bridge: Either visit Crissy Field, Marshall’s Beach, Fort Point or cross the bridge to the hills behind it. All offer (windy) and beauty views of the bridge. I even enjoyed taking a walk on the bridge, though I think the best way to experience it is from afar.
6. Explore Golden Gate Park: This park is bigger than Central Park and has so many hidden gems in it! From a Japanese Garden, to a little lake you can rent paddle boats on, to an art museum and even buffalo (yes, buffalo!), Golden Gate Park is so much fun to explore.
7. Drinks on El Techo rooftop: There aren’t that many rooftop bars in San Francisco, and my favorite is El Techo in the Mission. I love the views of downtown and the Castro, plus the food is a delicious twist on Mexican, making it fit perfectly into the Mission District. Make sure to get there early for happy hour, the tables can fill up fast!
8. Picnic in Dolores Park: Dolores Park is my favorite place to hangout with friends on a sunny day. Bring a blanket, snacks and drinks (nobody cares if you get drunk in the park – everyone else is!) You’ll get views of downtown San Francisco, tons of palm trees and probably really cute dogs to watch. Plus, there’s always vendors walking around selling snacks, drinks, sometimes drugs if that’s your fancy. It’s the perfect place to relax for an afternoon!
9. Stand in line for brunch: Brunch in San Francisco is a competitive sport. You haven’t truly visited San Francisco until you’ve stood in line for over an hour just for brunch. Try Jane on Filmore, El Techo, Zazie, Vestry, Plow, or literally anywhere near your hotel. There are so many great brunch places here!
10. Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Buidling is a unique farmer’s market! Think sweeping views of the bay and the city towering over you. Come hungry and get breakfast, then stock up on fresh goodies. Take a walk along the Embarcadero afterward.
11. $6 all you can eat dumplings in China Town is something that just makes my heart sing. There are a handful of spots in China Town that offer up cheap deals like this. Take an evening to fill up on cheap dumplings and explore China Town – it’s the largest one on the West Coast!
12. Visit Lombard Street: You know, that strange curvy street in San Francisco. It’ll be bound to be packed with tourists, but I loved it anyway. The houses on it are beautiful, and the views from the top of hill are out of this world. Plus, walking down it will lead you to North Beach, so you can grab some Italian after!
13. Walk down Haight Street, which is an experience in itself. Haight Street was (and still is) hippie central. Think lots of colorful walls, smoke shops, stores selling 70’s apparel and yummy eats. The people here are a mix of homeless, eccentric and run of the mill. It has a lot of great people watching. Dedicate an afternoon to exploring the shops (pop into decades of fashion!) and eating at a fun new restaurant. I’d advise to go there in the day, it can be questionable during the evening.
14. Escape for a day trip to wine country. Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are just about an hour drive up North and are wonderful, magical, beautiful places. Sunshine, sweeping views of vineyards, mountains… it makes for the perfect day trip. My favorite spot is around Healdsburg.
Of course, this list could go on and on and on! But, I hope it helps you figure out what to do in San Francisco when you’re traveling here. Leave a comment below if you have any questions!
WHAT TO WEAR IN SAN FRANCISCO!
The weather is pretty much the same year round. Some days are warmer, some colder, but will probably always be in the 60’s, foggy and slightly chilly.