I grew up just outside of San Francisco. I love the city, but there is so much to see around the city. There is so much to see and do. The weather in SF is cold about 50-60F all year round. If you don’t want to be here with the fog and come during September and October or come during the spring May and June. July is unknown. August is always foggy. There are some places to go outside of the city to get away from the fog. Here are some of my favorite things to do in the city.
I like to start on Lombard street. Go early so you can take good photos! Lombard street is the “World’s most crooked street” it is made of eight sharp turns! You can walk up and down the side of the street for free. It gets really crowded. You can easily walk down to the fisherman’s wharf and the cable car.
It is a short walk around to the cable car. Fisherman’s Wharf and close to Pier 39. The Wharf is very touristy I will warn you, but the great place to wander around taste the local catch and sourdough bread. I personally love the Aquarium of the Bay as well as just sitting on the pier and watching the sea life. There are famous shops and restaurants on Pier 39; you could spend all afternoon wondering the pier.
The trolley car is a famous and iconic image of San Francisco. They are fun to ride and practical to get from one side of the city to the other. There are three main routes for the trolley cars. My favorite is to go from Powel and Market to Fisherman’s Warf. The trolley cars run from 6 am until midnight. You can buy a one-way ticket for $7 or an all-day ticket for $17. You can start near the downtown shopping areas and ride it through the hills, by Macy’s square, and down the hill to Fisherman’s Warf.
History note: The cable car system was established 1873. There were over 600 cars before the 1906 earthquake, and now there is only 44!
We took the cable car down to market street. There is great shopping at around union square. Since we went on a Saturday morning, we decided to explore the farmers market at the ferry building. On the way, we stopped at one of my favorite coffee shops Philz Coffee. I love the mint mojito ( it’s a coffee with mint). It is so much fun to check out all the local food. So many different colors and textures!
The ferry building! It is a working beautiful building with dozens of restaurants and vendors/shops that are all local.
History note: It was built in 1898, it survived the 1906 earthquake, which burned most of the city. In the 1950s the building of the bridges reduced the use of the ferry building. The city did a restoration during 2002.
For a quick sweet snack walking distance from Fisherman’s Warf is Ghirardelli’s square, where the famous chocolate. They have a serious of ice cream sundaes flavors, hot chocolate, and coffee. It is a great stop for a sweet treat. There is also the Palace of Fine Arts.
History note: It was built in 1915 for the world fair. It was demolished at the end of the exposition. It was so well loved, the city rebuilt it in 1969.
If you want to go to Alcatraz, you will have to book in advance! Tours sell out quickly. They do have night tours which are really cool to visit the “Rock” at night and listen to the guides about the prisoners that escaped. The tours will take you out on a ferry and to the Island where the prison stands. You will get great views of the golden gate; you will also see kiteboards, surfers, and sailors cross the bay. There is a great view from the ferry of the city!
Optional is to go to Angel Island ( will be a posted soon), there are cool hikes and biking trails. You can explore the old buildings.
Golden Gate Bridge
You can, drive, walk or bike over the bridge. Hopefully, you get a good sunny day. But even in the fog, it is nice to see the bridge peaking through the clouds.
Extra things to do:
- Haight and Ashbury, the corner of
- Mission District Murals are a must see! The murals are colorful graffiti, all over the street as its own “gallery.” This movement started during the 1970s Chicano Art Mural Movement
- Coit Tower is 210 foot (64m) ($6)
- Whale watching to the Farallones. It is one of my favorite things to do.
- Hike at Angel Island and learn the history of the bay.
- Ride a ferry to Sausalito. Walk and have lunch around the small marina town.
View from the mission of the city!
- Exploratorium Thursday night cocktails “After the Dark” 6-10pm ($15)
- De Young Friday night cocktails ($25)
- Academy of Sciences Thursday night cocktails “Nightlife” 6-10pm ($15)