When thinking about San Francisco, most minds go directly to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, steep and windy roads, and clam chowder. But there’s so much more to ‘The City’ that has everything, you just have to find the time to take it all in.
If you’ve never been to SF before, consider this your starting guide.
Open year-round, rain or shine, on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, this farmers market is a regular shopping stop for 300 local restaurants. Run by CUESA, the market features permanent shops, kiosks, and sit down restaurants, along with pop-up stalls with sustainable produce, flowers, crafts, fresh prepped food, demos, and free cooking workshops.
It’s everywhere. Home to thousands of street art pieces, you’ll find San Fran’s alleys, plazas, and full buildings canvassed in works of art. What started as graffiti in the 1980s turned into an artistic movement, and the city embraced it. If you’re short on time and want to see some spectacular pieces, visit the Mission District, which is covered in them.
Pro tip: do two things at once with the Mission District Food Tour, showcasing the historic Latin neighbourhood’s food scene and colourful murals.
If you’re visiting from April to September, taking yourself out to a ball game is a must. Tickets start as low as $10 USD, so you can buy all the peanuts and Crackerjacks your heart desires.
You can find seafood pretty much everywhere in SF, but if you’re looking for an exceptional time then you’ll want a table at The Grotto. Converted from a simple crab stall into the first sit down restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf in 1935, this recently renovated eatery gives you great views along with brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Pro tip: get an order of the Crab Doughnuts.
If you grew up in the ‘90s and want to relive your childhood, make a quick stop to Alamo Square and visit the Painted Ladies, featured in the Full House opening credits. With the nostalgic factor and view of the city, it might just be one of the best Insta pics you take.
Labelled as one of the best hikes in the city, Lands End Trail takes you on journey along the coast giving you stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge every step of the way. Go in the evening and you can watch the sun set over the ocean.
While San Fran’s streets are covered in art, the city is also home to one of the largest museums of modern art in the world. After closing for three years, SFMOMA reopened in the heart of downtown in 2016 with an expanded gallery space of 170,000 square feet, nearly three times what it originally had, showcasing an expansive collection of artwork from world-renowned artists. It’s also home to the largest living wall in the US with more than 19,000 plants.
If you’re short on time, SFMOMA has nearly 45,000 sq. ft. of free, art-filled public spaces – perfect for a little stopover.
There’s more to this speakeasy than meets the eye. Dress the part and step back in time to 1923 as a cast of characters lead you on a “choose your own adventure” night. This immersive theatre experience is filled with killer cocktails, casino-style gaming, song and dance, and comedy and drama. Find the hidden rooms, explore the secret passages, and you’ll be left with a memorable night out, all while your phone’s sealed away.
It may look silly, but taking a Segway tour around the city might just be the perfect way to see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. Because of the terrain and distance between everything, a short tour is a great way to see as many of SF’s sights and landmarks in as little as 1.5 or 2.5 hours.
Disclaimer: Travel, accommodation, and meals were provided by San Francisco Travel. All views and opinions are those of the author.