Known for its innovative tech scene, historic Victorian homes and counterculture, the city by the bay has something for everyone. There is a lot that San Francisco does well, but in particular, food, the outdoors, and a vibrant, pulsating arts scene. Experience it all with two action-packed days in one of the most beloved cities in the U.S.
9 AM BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE
San Francisco has almost too many fantastic local options for a quick java fix to get you going, but you can’t go wrong with Blue Bottle Coffee. The most picturesque outpost is located in the Ferry Building, with others dotted across the city. Grab a pastry and enjoy your breakfast out on the benches by the water.
10 AM EXPLORE THE FERRY BUILDING MARKETPLACE
Enjoy the city’s finest cuisine and California’s famous fresh produce together in this stunning location by the bay. Stroll through stalls of fruits and vegetables or sample local meats, cheeses, and breads as you meander. It’s simply the best way to taste favorite local vendors under one roof.
12 PM WAN OYSTER DEPOT
1517 POLK ST. SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109
Though San Francisco is always pushing the envelope when it comes to cuisine, this local institution has been simply serving the classics for more than a century. Fresh seafood, including the area favorite, Dungeness crab and their signature oysters, are the way to go. Seating is limited at the old marble bar, so be prepared to wait, but it will be worth it
2 PM TOUR ALCATRAZ
Visible from the shoreline, “the Rock” was a small island that once held the world’s most intimidating prisoners. Today, it’s managed by the National Park Service and an interesting look back at the history of San Francisco. There are a variety of tours offered each lasting a few hours, but the skyline views from the ferry are worth it in themselves.
7 PM THE SLANTED DOOR
One of the city’s favorite restaurants, The Slanted Door serves elegant Vietnamese fusion with California style. It doesn’t hurt that it also has one of the best views of the Bay. If you didn’t get your fill of Dungeness crab at lunch, make sure you order the glass noodles here.
9 PM DRINKS AT BOURBON AND BRANCH
You’ll need a password to enter this 1920s style speakeasy, but behind closed doors resides the city’s best mixology. The Library Bar has hundreds of books for a cool ambiance and hipster-vibe. With a cocktail in hand you’ll feel like you just discovered the city’s best secret with libations that are second to none.
8 AM MAMA’S ON WASHINGTON SQUARE
Ask any San Franciscan about their favorite brunch spot, and the answer is bound to be Mama’s. Everything is good here — from eggs benedict to mimosas to French toast with house-made jam, it’s a San Fran institution in the heart of North Beach that shouldn’t be missed.
10 AM LOMBARD STREET AND CABLE CAR RIDE
Drive down the “crookedest street in the world,” winding through the steep hills and harpin turns of one of the city’s most posh neighborhoods. You’ll get great views as you go, and once you reach the bottom, hop a cable car and see the city from its most famous mode of transportation.
12 PM MISSION BURRITO AT EL FAROLITO
If you’ve saved any room, you’ll want your next stop to be a famous Mission burrito, best served up at a local taqueria in the District. Many will debate the particulars, but El Farolito has been named “the best burrito in America,” just saying. It also resides in an adorable B&B for ambiance.
2 PM GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE AND PRESIDIO
You simply can’t leave San Francisco without getting up close and personal with its architectural icon, the Golden Gate Bridge. Looking more dark red than golden, the impressive sight connects the city to the Marin Headlands across the bay. The best way to see it is to rent a bike or take a picnic to the beautiful park grounds of the Presidio, part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, the largest urban national park in the country.
8 PM GHIRARDELLI SQUARE
Treat yourself at the end of a long day sightseeing with a succulent sundae and some chocolate at the city’s most iconic chocolatier right by Fisherman’s Wharf. Satisfy your sweet tooth as you begin planning your next trip back to the bay.
WHERE TO STAY: HOTEL ZETTA
55 5TH ST. SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103
Modern and sleek, yet also infused with the character of the city, Hotel Zetta is conveniently located downtown just off of Union Square. Rooms are equipped with smart technology, while the stairwells are decorated with street art commissioned by one of the city’s most famous graffiti artists. There’s even a 30-foot Plinko board in the lobby.