San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the world – the cable cars, the hills, the Golden Gate Bridge – it doesn’t disappoint. And it has so much more to offer. The food is amazing, nightlife is great, views are spectacular and the people are super cool.
What To Do In San Francisco
- The Golden Gate Bridge – if you have a car definitely drive over the bridge and stop each end for the view
- Pier 39 – yes its touristy, but its fun to do and the sea lions are great
- The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market – lots and lots of amazing places to eat and food and drink to buy
- Alcatraz – The tour of the prison is well worth it (including the ferry over to the island) – make sure you book in advance though as it is very popular
- Have a night out in the Mission District – there are loads of great bars and restaurants
- Drive Lombard Street (the windy road)
- Take a Cable Car
- Take a tour of the Castro neighbourhood, one of the largest LGBT communities in the world and San Franciso’s gay epicentre.
- Take a day trip from San Fransisco to Napa Valley
Where To Stay in San Francisco
San Francisco hotels are some of the most expensive in the world, so it can be challenging to find a decent place to stay (even the budget motels are usually over $120 a night). However you can find some good options – I loved the Metro Hotel in the Mission District – we paid $100 a night for a room and it was great, friendly staff, awesome location and nice rooms. Alternatively, you can stay outside of the city. We spent a night at Smiley’s Schooner Saloon in Bolinas, which is definitely one of the most memorable hotels I have stayed in. Smiley’s is a Western style bar, with rooms out the back. It has live music most nights, so probably not the place to stay if you want a quiet night. But if you are looking for a local American experience, then it’s definitely worth a visit. San Francisco is a scenic 45 minute drive south (via the Golden Gate Bridge).
Food And Drink
It’s easy to find great food all over San Francisco. I definitely recommend the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market – it has loads of amazing food vendors, cafes and restaurants, and it’s a pretty nice location to have a bite to eat. Some of my favourite restaurants are in the Mission District – Bar Tartine has a some really tasty dishes, including the amazing smoked potato’s – which have to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And Wise Sons Deli does delicious sandwiches and Bagels and really good breakfasts including a yummy market scramble.
San Francisco has great public transport, so it’s easy get around, which means you can do the main tourists sites in a day if you’re pushed for time. But it’s such a cool city, you could easily spend days hanging out in the cafes, eating great food and wandering the hilly streets.
San Francisco is definitely one of the best cities to visit in California and makes a great west coast road trip combined with L.A and San Diego.