San Francisco is a popular travel destination and for good reason. There’s so much to see and do, and the city is buzzing with awesome energy. You could spend several days in the city exploring its various neighborhoods, enjoying the incredible food, and taking in the sights. Here’s my recommendations on where to stay, what to eat, and what to do while in San Francisco.
WHERE TO STAY IN San Francisco
Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Downtown
During my trip I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Downtown. This hotel is conveniently located a 6 minute walk from the Montgomery BART station, and a bunch of bars and places to eat. They were in the process of renovating the hotel so the room was super clean and fitted with new furnishings and decor. I didn’t get a chance to explore the hotel as much as I wanted, but there is a pool as well as an on-site restaurant. Plus, there’s going to be a cute new courtyard area once renovations are complete.
Side note: there’s also a mini-mart/ liquor store located across the street which is great if you want to pick up some snacks or wine to enjoy in the hotel.
eats + drinks
- Tartine Bakery
If you’re looking for a quick bit for breakfast this is your place. Tartine is known for their morning buns so definitely give one a try.
- Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
Pretty much a must if you visit San Francisco. Outside of the cute “I Got Baked in San Francisco” sign the pastries are actually very good. The offerings change but you can’t really go wrong.
- La Taqueria
Voted best burrito in SF many times. They have other things on the menu as well such as nachos, quesadillas, and tacos.
- Farmhouse Kitchen Thai
One of the best meals we had in San Francisco. If you okay with a little heat try the Pad Kee Mow, its a noodle dish with basil and spices, that is so good!
If your craving pizza, Delarosa serves up fresh roman styled pies. Also, add on a Monarch cocktail if gin is your drink of choice.
- Gott’s Roadside
Located in the ferry building, Gott’s serves American food like burgers, fries, and shakes. I recommend the garlic fries and crispy teriyaki chicken sandwich.
A great spot for brunch. But be warned unless you get there when they first open you’ll be waiting awhile. It took us over an hour to get a table.
- Hot Cookie
Home of the infamous genitalia shaped cookies. They are chocolate covered macaroons and actually pretty tasty. Cream is optional.
- Good Mong Kok Bakery
If you like dim sum and are looking for a cheap eat, check out this place in chinatown. Everything we had was super fresh and nothing was over $5/6 bucks. Get a few different items and split em.
Honestly, skip the clam chowder and just get the sourdough bread. I’ve had better chowder from the likes of Panera and Wildflower.
- Roka Akor
Go here during happy hour! They have $1 fresh oysters and great calamari.
- Barebottle Brewing Co.
A good brewery with a rotating beer list. When we went they had a Mango Shake Milkshake IPA that was hand’s down the best beer I’ve ever tasted.
Things to Do + See
- Check out the ferry building
If you go on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday there’s a farmers market that takes place. However, there’s still plenty to check out the other days of the week.
- Try to see the Golden Gate Bridge
I only say try because Karl (The Fog in SF has a name), tends to obstruct the view of the bridge. But you might get lucky and have a clear day to see it.
- Take in the view from Coit Tower
Coit Tower gives you 360 views of the city. You can see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard street, and other popular sites. You can pre-book tickets online here.
- Visit Bernal Heights Park
Another good place to get a good view of the city. This place is sometimes home to one of those famous SF swings, but it wasn’t there when we went, unfortunately.
- Wander around Alcatraz
Take it from me and book this activity early. We unfortunately missed out because tickets for our days sold out. I’ll definitely return to San Francisco to check this out.
- Visit the Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of Ice Cream has a permanent location in SF. If you’re looking for some insta-wothy content, you’ll definitely want to visit this place. They switch up themes here and there for seasonal events like summer and halloween.
- Hang out in Golden Gate Park
This park is HUGE. You can check out the Conservatory of Flowers. the Japanese Tea Garden, or just wander around enjoying the green space.
- See the famous Painted Ladies in Alamo Square
One of the most popular tourist areas in San Francisco. We just popped by for a photo and to rest our feet a little, but you could definitely set up shop with a picnic and enjoy some time outside.
- Learn about San Francisco’s past on a ghost tour
We got in late to San Francisco and wanted something to do the first night we were there. The ghost tour isn’t super spooky but it’s definitely interesting learning about the strange things that have happened in SF through the years.
- Check Out Murals in Mission
There’s alleys and alleys filled with street are in the mission district. Make sure to check out the Women’s Building and Cypress Street.
- Stroll around Pier 39
Pier 39 is where you’ll find Boudin and the seals. There’s also plenty of other restaurants and shops to check out too.
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