I love writing and sharing these travel guide with you guys! I use so many recommendations from friends and bloggers when traveling, so it’s cool to be able to go full circle and help a fellow traveler! One interesting thing I’ve noticed each time I write up a travel guide is that every trip inadvertently has a theme. The theme for Barcelona was definitely shopping! The theme for Dallas was eating…we ate SO much (in the most amazing full-belly, full-heart kind of way). So drum roll please for the theme for San Francisco: running around and doing E V E R Y T H I N G. I can’t believe all the fun sites we were able to see; what an amazing trip!
Where to Eat:
Lemonade Yerba Buena – This place was so stinking cute! It’s basically a gourmet buffet where you can pick from salmon, pork, kale, beats, quinoa, edemame, literally everything under the sun!
Palmyra – This place is totally a hole in the wall; we walked up and I thought to myself “what did I get us into??” BUT holly molly it was hands down THE best place we ate in SF! I got 1/2 a chicken with pita, hummus, and salad and I was IN HEAVEN.
Dessert & Coffee Shops:
Peet’s Coffee – Super delicious specialty coffee!
Cafe Madeleine – Really cute little coffee shop with delicious pastries!
Ghirardelli Store – San Francisco is the birthplace of Ghirardelli, so it’s kind of a must-see! But in all seriousness, their chocolate is delicious and the store has tons of fun extra things like ice cream sundaes and milkshakes!
Mariposa Bakery – This place looked straight up AMAZE, I wanted to try one of each baked good they had!!
Jamba Juice – I always want to do all the local things but one day we were starving and grabbed some smoothies because how can you say no to Jamba Juice?!
Where to Drink:
We drove to Napa Valley to try out some amazing wines, so all of the drink recommendations are about a 1-1.5 hour drive from SF!
Mumm Napa – This was my favorite winery because: 1. It was sparkling wine 2. They had delicious snack plates 3. They had an Ansel Adams gallery. What more could you ask for?
Artesa – Definitely the best views of all the wineries — you can see all the way to San Francisco bay!
Judd’s Hill – One of the best wine tours in Napa!
Stags Leap – A great choice if you’re interested in the history of the winery!
Where to Shop:
City Lights Books – This book store is not only extremely cute and packed with 3 floors of great reads but it’s super historic for its poets and is an SF institution!
Union Square – They have tons of great shops from Tumi to Desigual to Saks Fifth Avenue.
Haight Ashbury – This neighborhood is extremely hip and has tons of boutiques!
Pacific Heights – Another neighborhood with tons of little stores from American Apparel to specialty dog stores!
Walnut Creek – If you end up leaving SF, Walnut Creek has a REALLY nice shopping center called Broadway Plaza with stores like Free People, Madewell, Kate Spade, J. Crew, Nespresso, Neimen Marcus, and Nordstrom.
What to do:
Golden Gate Bridge – This is a must for San Francisco! It’s so fun to walk and/or drive across the bridge to take it all in!
SF MOMA – The San Fran Museum of Modern Art is amazing! It’s HUGE and has so many amazing pieces!
Lombard Street aka “the crookedest street in the world” – This is a fun little place to swing by just to walk up the street and see the beautiful flowers as cars wind back and forth down the street. Definitely a HUGE tourist attraction but still neat to see!
Painted Ladies at Alamo Square – Any Full House fans out there? Alamo Square is the park in front of the Tanner’s house in the theme song! The painted ladies are the colorful houses that line the park and are so darling!
Golden Gate Park – You could spend an entire DAY at this park, it’s that big! From the Japenese Tea Garden to the aquarium to the botanical gardens it’s packed with fun things to see and do!
Alcatraz – If you’re a history buff, Alcatraz is perfect for you! It’s a tiny island right off the coast of SF that used to be the federal penitentiary (read: EXTREMELY high security US prison), so it’s a pretty cool attraction/national park!
Lyon Street Steps – Last but most definitely not least, these stairs have a beautiful view of SF and are not touristy at all! I insisted that we go and we were surprised at the views because it’s not in any of the guidebooks!
Walking – San Francisco is super walkable!
Bus/Light Rail – The bus is great for going all the way across town! A ticket is $2.25 and lasts for 90 minutes, so you can grab lunch or go see a site on the other side of town and then hop back on the bus within 90 mins and you’re golden! *Important note is you need exact change for the bus but you can pay with a card for the light rail!
Trolley – The trolley is a big part of San Francisco’s charm, it’s just fun to do it at least once! *Again, you’ll need exact change ($7/ride)!
Rent a bike – Bay Area Bike Share is a great idea for going a further distance while also getting some exercise! The fares are $9/day or $22/3 days, PLUS the first 30 mins are free (aka you can borrow a bike every day for 30 mins for free!).
BART – This metro/train system is great for getting to/from the airport from inside the city!
Renting a car – This is a good idea if you want to go to Napa or Walnut Creek!
Uber – Uber is a good idea if you’re going to the other side of town and need to be there quickly! Also perfect for when it’s rainy!
Do you have any suggestions for things to do in San Francisco?