Top Things To Do In San Francisco

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Top Things To Do In San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, this hilly city is surrounded by Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Well know for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Transamerica Pyramid and off course for it’s year-round fog. There is always something new and 

I have been to this beautiful city few times already and every time I discovered something new and exciting to do there. Here is few activities I did during my recent trip.

Day 1: Saturday November 25, 2017

Arrival at San Francisco from Salt Lake City

Check-in to a hotel in Union Square hotel. 

How to get to Union Square Hotel from San Francisco Airport:

Take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Train from San Francisco (SFO) airport to downtown San Francisco’s Powell Street station (Union Square). Hotel where we are staying is only 9 minutes walk from the station. 

From the airport baggage claim area, just follow the signs to the Air Train and BART. When you arrive there, there will be two air tram lines red and blue. You can take either of these lines to the BART station. 

When you arrive at the BART terminal, you need to purchase BART ticket. You will find ticket machines right at the tram exit. Get off at Powell Street Station so this is the destination you’ll want to look for while purchasing the ticket from the machine. To purchase the ticket, follow the instructions on the BART ticket machine. You can use cash or Debit or credit card. A one-way ticket from the airport to downtown Powell Street Station is $8.95 (Nov 2017)

Day 2: Sunday November 26, 2017

Wake up early in the morning have breakfast and get ready for a long day of sightseeing. Choose any of the be trips from below options. I would prefer the San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Bus: Deluxe 2-Day Ticket.

First bus starts at 9:00 am from South Corner of Geary and Powell Streets (Union Square) just one block from the hotel. Plan is to take the Red Route today.

1St Stop at Alamo Square

Visit Alamo Square Park, Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies, San Francisco

Painted Ladies are Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors

Next Stop at Haight Ashbury

Birthplace of the 1960s counterculture movement, Haight-Ashbury draws a lively, diverse crowd looking to soak up the historic hippie vibe. Upper Haight Street is a hodgepodge of vintage clothing boutiques, record shops, bookstores, dive bars and casual, eclectic restaurants. Bordering Golden Gate Park, the neighborhood features many colorful, well-preserved Victorian homes, including the storied Grateful Dead House.

Starch out at Golden Gate Park

Visit Japanese Tea Garden.

Next Stop at Golden Gate Bridge & Walk on the Bridge

Looking at the Golden Gate Bridge and not walking on it is like going for a safari without a camera. It’s a great experience to stroll the sidewalk and cross the iconic landmark. 

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge fading in the fog

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge fading in the fog

Stop at Palace of Fine Arts & Presidio Park

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there.

Lombard Street

Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California that is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. The pretty, postcard view of Lombard Street has become famous worldwide and many visitors enjoy seeing the cars carefully winding down the turns among the beautiful flower beds.

Lombard Street was just one of the many cliff-like streets that horse-drawn wagons and early Model T Ford’s had trouble with. Cable cars were one solution, and curvy switchbacks were another.

In 1922, the home-owners on the 1000 block of Lombard Street decided that their street was too steep for comfort, and created the plan to create a series of eight sharp turns to make it more manageable.

The result: eight tight switchback turns in 600 feet of road. Around one million cars drive down it every year.

Union Square North

Portsmouth Square Chinatown

Getting off at Chinatown gate or in Portsmouth Square will give you an opportunity to visit Cable Car Museum and Chinatown. This is one of the oldest and most established Chinatowns in the U.S. Beyond iconic Dragon’s Gate, a bustling maze of streets and alleys brims with dim sum joints and other traditional eateries. You will also find bakeries, souvenir shops, and dark cocktail lounges and karaoke bars here.

Plan a Stop at Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf

A great place to spend time wondering in Ferry Building. You can also access or enjoy Sea Lions, Pier 39, Madam Tussaud and Cruise terminal from here. This 100-year-old terminal-turned-public-food market. There are few local favorites like Miette Bakery, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Cowgirl Creamery worth a try. On Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, experience the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market for a change.

Port of San Francisco, view from the Sausalito Ferry

Port of San Francisco, view from the Sausalito Ferry

Washington Square / North Beach

Washington Square, St. Peter and Paul’s church, Cost Tower, North Beach Walk, North Beach Little Italy. 

Embarcadero Center

Embarcadero center is located along the piers, Barbary Coast Walk, Exploratorium also Ferry Building. You can see the historic F-Line Muni streetcar right informant of the center.

If you’re driving, there’s ample parking in adjacent lots for anywhere from $25 to $40/day. The Embarcadero BART and Muni station is also within walking distance, and there are plenty of places to lock up your bike.

Get Up Close with the Bay

At the other end of the Embarcadero is Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, a zany and exciting neighborhood that showcases San Francisco’s portside past and fun present. Here you’ll find plenty of amazing fish and seafood markets with their own unique spin on the SF clam chowder classic. Wander around the docks and meet some of San Francisco’s cutest attractions—the sea lions that live on Pier 39’s K Dock!

Explore what’s in the water and get the ultimate San Francisco experience (no matter what the weather) on the Fog Bridge. Inside, enjoy a unique perspective on the Bay and the bridge from the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery—and keep an eye out for a visit from your new sea lion friends.

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

Relax with a drink by the water. The Exploratorium’s SeaGlass Restaurant serves artisanal cocktails with fresh ingredients all day. Have a Pisco Punch, a San Francisco–invented classic, before they close at 3:00 p.m. and enjoy the views in peace, as most crowds thin out by 2:00 p.m. For a no-frills bar, catch that sea breeze with a beer at Pier 23 Cafe. La Mar is nearby and has wonderful happy hour specials on tapas and their house margaritas.

Lower level of Bay Bridge heading towards Oakland, San Francisco

Lower level of Bay Bridge heading towards Oakland, San Francisco

Get on the Cable Car Faster

Don’t stand in the endless line at the stop on Hyde just below Ghirardelli Square. Instead, head to Mason and Bay Streets, where lines are much shorter. You’ll end up at Union Square on either line. If you just want to ride for the fun of it, get on the California line where California Street intersects Market near the Ferry Building and get off at the top of the hill in Chinatown.

The big hill on this route is a thrill and crowds are much smaller. You can find out everything you need to know about them in the San Francisco cable car guide.

Cable car in San Francisco, CA

The San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system

Have Dinner at Mourad

Dinner reservation at 6:30 pm for a party of two. Only a 10 minutes walk from Kensington Park Hotel.

Day 3: Monday November 27, 2017

First Red Route bus starts at 9:00 am from South Corner of Geary and Powell Streets (Union Square) just one block from the hotel. Take the bus and get off at Golden Gate Bridge North stop and transfer to the Green Route bus for Sausalito (First Bus is at 10:15 am).  

 1St. Stop at Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay is located in San Francisco, CA and is approximately two miles from Sausalito.  The bay makes a great place to take out a kayak or paddle board. Crabbing and fishing are also popular activities.

Next Stop at Sausalito Downtown

Spend some quiet and relaxing time in Sausalito. Great place to have lunch by the Bay.
 
Hotel Sausalito next to the Ferry terminal, downtown Sausalito

Hotel Sausalito next to the Ferry terminal, downtown Sausalito

Next stop at Golden Gate Bridge South.

From here you will have great photo opportunity from vista point. Once done take the next bus back to Sausalito downtown.

Take a ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco port.

On the way will have opportunity to view the Alcatraz Island which is located in San Francisco Bay about 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco. 

Alcatraz Island and one of the most famous prison, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island and one of the most famous prison, San Francisco

Have Dinner at Sons & Daughters, 708 Bush Street, San Francisco 

Sons & Daughters is only 5 minutes walk from Kensington Park Hotel, to make reservation for Nov 27 at 7:00 need to provide Credit Card information. Reservation was made for November 27, at 7:00 pm. Note that Any cancellation made the day of your reservation will be subject to a $50 per person cancellation fee. Contact Tel: +1 415-391-8311

Day 4: Tuesday November 28, 2017

1st flight out of San Francisco to Newark is at 3:15 pm

2nd flight to Newark from San Francisco is at 10:55 pm so, this is an opportunity for a day trip to Napa & Sonoma Valley. Checkout early, leave your luggage at the hotel left luggage facility and enjoy the trip.

Napa & Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco

Napa and Sonoma are world famous for their fine wine and beautiful scenery. Learn about wine from our expert guides as you travel north to California’s Premiere wine country. Total trip is about 8 hours.

Full description

You’ll learn the areas’ history of wine making, from the early Spanish missionaries who brought grape vines from Europe to the Forty-Niners who served wines in their saloons.

You will tour wineries and see how grapes are picked, crushed, blended and bottled. You’ll walk through beautiful vineyards with your tour guide and then taste the finished product – wine tasting fees included.

There will be time for lunch at Historical Sonoma Square or Vintage 1870 in the heart of Napa.

Your tour includes stops and wine tasting at the following wineries (itninerary subject to change):

  • Nicholson Ranch Winery (Sonoma)
  • Madonna Estate, Mt. St. John (Napa)
  • Lunch in Yountville at V Marketplace (Yountville)
  • Sutter Home (Napa)

Book your Napa & Sonoma Valley Wine Tour Sightseeing Trip

There are lot of beautiful places to visit and do some exciting sightseeing activities to bring back unforgettable memories back home. Please click on our below affiliate link to see your options.

How To Get Around

Go Car-Free: It’s not just an environmental statement, it’s a smart choice. San Francisco is small, and most tourist sights are close together, so you don’t need one to get around.

Even worse, some hotels charge more than the price of a nice lunch just for parking. If you think you’ll just park on the street, snagging a spot there requires more luck than a box of that sugary breakfast cereal with those little chalky marshmallows in it. Pick a hotel in a convenient area (Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf), use public transportation, Uber or taxis, and rent a car for just one day if you want to take a side trip.

Rental Car

Renting a car from the airport is also an easiest way to drive around San Francisco particularly if you plan to visit few day trip locations out of town. No worries getting lost as long as you got working GPS. By renting a car you can ensure that you get to see all of the major attractions at your leisure. It also means that you can afford to be more relaxed about your holiday planning.

Luxury Rental Cars

Uber

If you are not driving then probably Uber is one of the most safe and easiest ways to get around in San Francisco. No need to pay cash as the ride is shared to your credit card and most of all fares are affordable.  

Where to stay in San Francisco, CA

The best areas in the city for tourists are Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. 
Kensington Park Hotel, Post Street, San Francisco in Union Square

Kensington Park Hotel

 

 
Favorite Local Restaurants and Food

You’re in a city full of restaurants rated among the world’s best, but don’t assume they’re all too fancy and expensive for you. Don’t be a typical San Francisco tourist either: the one who settles for the tired, mediocre Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants or the even more tired garlic-laden dishes at Stinking Rose. Research online, ask your hotel for suggestions or see what others you meet have to say.

Mourad Restaurant

For a great food experience try Mourad. Their rich and vibrant flavors of Morocco in new ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients, and the spirit of innovation of Northern California.

Sons & Daughters is a great place to have Lunch/Dinner

The food is incredible, and if you’re a planner, you should absolutely make a reservation in advance. Sons & Daughters is a place for people who appreciate food, but if you and your dining companions are those people, the $115 tasting menu is absolutely worth it. Note that to make reservation credit card information was provided 

Zero Zero, San Francisco 

For great dinning experience pay a visit to Zero Zero. Nestled in San Francisco’s SOMA district, Zero Zero is perfect for a quick bite at the bar, having dinner with old friends and everything in between.

For Best Burger in Town

Visit Wayfare Tavern, for delicious burger in town. This restaurant is located in downtown San Francisco’s financial district.

My Opinion and Tips

Have you been to San Francisco? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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