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4 Days in San Francisco – The Ultimate Itinerary


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
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.

Book your stay at Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Downtown | | tripadvisor | priceline

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! 

  • Delarosa

    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.

  • Zazie’s

    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.

  • Boudin

    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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  • LifeRiiImagined

    This was dope. Ill definitely check out a few of these places if I ever visit San Francisco

    • Timpani

      Thanks girl! San Francisco is definitely a place you should consider adding to your bucket list.

  • Nichelle

    You did a lot for for days. I always feel rushed in San Fran. I will certainly have to try that Thai food next time I’m there..

    • Timpani

      Haha we managed to squeeze quite a bit in, but there’s still a couple of spots we missed. I definitely want to revisit. But YES, definitely check out Farmhouse next time you’re there!

  • Darcy

    OK, I think it is absolutely hilarious that the fog has a name. I’d love to spend a few days in San Francisco. Thanks for the great ideas! And the food recommendations look so so yummy!

    • Timpani

      Right?! I guess they wanted to be able to say “Dang Karl!” vs “Dang the fog!” haha. But honestly, the food may have been my favorite part. It was so good!

  • travelgirlto

    Wow, great post on San Fran. I haven’t been back in years but would love to check out some of the new places to eat. Thanks for the list!

    • Timpani

      Thanks, glad you liked it! If you try anything on here, let it be Farmhouse Kitchen Thai.

  • Francesca

    Love all the information and love San Francisco! I love boudin. It’s always a must stop for me as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. Check out Mikeller next time.

    • Timpani

      I’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time I visit!

  • Snazzytrips

    I would definitely want to visit Alcatraz and see the Golden Gate Bridge. They have a museum of icecream? That sounds unreal.

    • Timpani

      So bummed I didn’t get to see Alcatraz on this trip but definitely going to make another trip to SF for it. And yeah, the Museum of Ice Cream is awesome!

  • nabihazkhan

    I have never been to US. Saving for future 🙂

    • Timpani

      Well SF would make a great first US destination! A lot to see and do.

  • josypheen

    This all looks fab, but the food, oh my goodness the food! I would love to get my teeth into some of the amazing SF grub! 😀

  • Erin

    I’m hoping to visit San Fran in 2020 – thanks for sharing! Lots of great info in here, I’ll definitely be hitting up some of the spots you mentioned for food.

  • Amy

    I’m from LA but had spent hardly any time in San Francisco until recently – and I was surprised at how much I loved it! I would definitely recommend grabbing a jump bike and taking yourself on a bike tour of the city.

  • Merrie Rodriguez

    Great guide! Hoping I can make it out to California one of these days!

  • Elena Pappalardo

    Loved this post and all your pretty shots! Can’t wait to go to SF one day!! 🙂

  • San Francisco looks so fun! I’ve been to Cali, but only explored LA and SD. I’d love to go back!
    Krystianna @ Volumes and Voyages

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