What to see, Where to eat, and tips for seeing as much as possible along the way!
Flying into SFO...
We flew in from BWI (Baltimore) so we ended up having a short layover. This made our total travel time around 8 hours, so be prepared and bring comfy travel clothes and a pillow if you're flying from across the country!
When we landed in San Francisco the airport was relatively easy to navigate. This time we had some family picking us up so we didn't worry about using a Ride share app like Uber or Lyft. However those are both great ways to navigate through the city and not very expensive either! If you use my Uber code you will receive $2 off your first 3 trips!
Uber discount Code: jessiew1889ue
Where to stay...
When traveling to a big city like San Francisco, things can become pricey, quick. If you're only in town for a few short days, consider using Airbnb. Airbnb is a site that shows you places to stay within the area you're traveling to that fit within your budget! Sometimes you can find stays for as low as $10 a night (depending on where you are going). Using Airbnb can save you a lot of money that you can either decide to save or spend on experiences while exploring the city! Use my discount code to get up to $40 off your home booking and $15 in credit towards an Airbnb experience listed on the app!
Airbnb Discount link: abnb.me/e/7yS8IYFUd3
I would also recommend renting a car if you are there for longer than just a couple of days. there is street parking offered on almost every street, but just be sure you read signs! Some street parking is only free to the public between certain times of the day.
However, if you want to get the full San Francisco experience you can opt to ride the Cable cars! At just $8 a person per ride, you can explore the city in a way you can't get anywhere else!
You can also choose to use the BART, which is San Fran's version of a subway system. Children under 4 years old ride free. However, like most subway systems, your fare will vary depending on how far you are going. Here is the BART fare calculator if you have some destinations in mind! www.bart.gov/tickets/calculator
What to see...
There are so many great things to see while visiting San Francisco! If you only have a limited amount time in the city it is possible to fit a lot into one day. During our first day there we headed to Embarcadero Plaza, which is within walking distance of tons of restaurants, the Ferry building, and an amazing view of the San Francisco Bay Bridge!
Stop into the Ferry Building for some warm coffee, artisan cheeses, fresh made ice cream or just to people watch!
Walk the infamous Hilly streets...
If you're like me, when you think of San Francisco, you think The Princess Diaries! No? Just me? Well...when I was younger I always thought the crazy rollercoaster roads of San Fran seen in the movie were something I needed to explore! While walking these streets, you not only get in your daily cardio (lol) but you get to check out the city in a way that can't be done by car. There are cool side streets, amazing views from up top, and some beautiful architecture and street art along the way!
Check out the View from Ina Coolbrith Park...
Although a bit of a hike up, you can catch an amazing view of the city from this beautiful park within the area of Nob Hill!
Walk up Lombard Street...
Lombard street is known for its steep, one way road with sharp and curvy turns. Travelers from all over flock to take a photo of this one-of-a-kind road.
Eat at Fisherman's Warf...
Being right on the Bay, which feeds into the North Pacific Ocean, there is plenty of seafood options to choose from at Fisherman's Warf. I ordered the calamari with fries. Yum!
Here's a list of some of the restaurants to choose from:
- Scoma's Resturant: Seafood ($$$)
- Alioto's: Seafood ($$)
- Franciscan Crab Restaurant: Seafood ($$)
- Pier Market: Seafood ($$)
- The Codmother Fish and Chips: Seafood ($)
- MANY MORE!!!
Find some Sea Lions at Pier 39...
At Pier 39 you can watch wild sea lions sunbathe and play! This was super cool to see, as I've only seen sea lions at the zoo.
There's lots more to see at Pier 39 just around the corner! Have some fun by playing some games, riding the carousel, and eating funnel cake! There are tons of little shops in here as well! Whether you want some Alcatraz fashion or some beautiful Hawaiian Jewels, they've got it all!
We decided to stop for an ice cold beer and take in the atmosphere!
Take a Ferry over to Alcatraz...
Go explore one of Americas Highest Security Prisons at Alcatraz island! Home. to some of Americas most dangerous criminals such as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelley, and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud. The prison is no longer up and running, however it is now open to visitors from around the globe! Tour prices start from $39.91 for adults and $24.41 for children under 11 years. The tour last about 2.5 hours and includes the ferry ride over!
Pro tip: I would book in advance! Tickets tend to sell out quickly as capacity for each tour is limited. Book your tour here: www.alcatraztickets.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrK7VwpiB5wIVB-DICh1O5wZ3EAAYASAAEgLcGvD_BwE
Brunch on Treasure Island...
Tucked away on Treasure Island is a hidden Gem called Aracely Cafe! Their menu is full of amazing options such as Braised short rib taco's, Dulce de leche French Toast, & Ceviche!
Aracely cafe also holds events such as birthday parties & Weddings! You can check out their full menu and events page here: www.aracelysf.com
Climb the Secret Tiled Staircase...
These beautiful steps portray the world from the bottom up! Starting under the sea and working its way up to the Sunny skies. Inspired by the world famous steps in Rio de Jeneiro, this amazing work of art by Irish ceramist Aileen Barr and mosaic artist Colette Crutcher brings a splash of color to something that is usually grey and bare.
Hike the Sutro Baths...
Located in Lands End, these historic baths show you a beautiful piece of history. The Sutro Baths were formed so that upon high tide, the water would rush over the walls where there would then be still water for the local people to bathe in.
There is also a cave you can walk through which I thought was pretty neat!
Pro tip: Don't bring your super nice and expensive tennis shoes or boots if they can't be cleaned properly after. The cave holds a lot of moisture and the waves tend to splash up, leaving a nice sandy/muddy mixture!
Walk through the Palace of Fine Arts...
Built in 1915, The Palace of Fine Arts was created to show the world how San Francisco could rise from the ashes that followed after the catastrophic earthquake and fire of 1906.
Now open to the public, Travelers come from all over the world to admire its architecture and beauty. The Palace of Fine Arts is also open to. private event bookings such as weddings, galas, corporate events, and trade shows. You can book your event by contacting them directly on their website: palaceoffinearts.com
Try In and out Burger...
Known to be only on the west coast, In and Out Burger is a fast food restaurant with a simple and easy menu!
- Double- Double
Ordinarily you would see this menu and think, "what makes it so special?" Well, that would be the "Spread".
The spread is what makes this burger as popular as it is. In my opinion, it's close to a thousand island dressing, but with onions and relish inside.
Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge...
When visiting San Francisco, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is an absolute Must-do! It is completely free to walk across this iconic bridge! However, if you want to rent a bike, there are numerous bike rentals available all along the coast.
From the middle of the Bridge you can see views of Alcatraz, Angel Island State Park, and the beautiful San Francisco Bay!
Can you believe we did all of that within 3 days time ? San Francisco was so much fun and I can't wait to pay the West Coast another visit sometime soon!