Things to do in San Francisco

I spent weeks outlining an itinerary for our limited time in San Francisco. We really only had 2 full days in the city and an additional day visiting Napa Valley by rental car. Featured below are some of my personal recommendations:

Powell Hyde line (Green) Cable Car

  • This is the most popular cable car ride with tourists because of its incredible views and also stops at Fisherman’s Wharf. We were able to spot the bay and even passed Lombard Street. While on the Powell Hyde line, otherwise known as the Powell Street and Market Street cable car, we were lucky to hang on the outside of the speeding car the entire time. It was undeniably exhilarating to travel San Francisco’s sloping hills while being buffeted by the wind. Although its undeniably touristy, I had so much fun.

Fisherman’s Wharf

  • Fisherman’s Wharf has shopping, historic ships at the Hyde Street Pier, restaurants, bars, street performers, and boats that tour the bay area and Alcatraz. We enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner with a view of the bay from Alioto’s Restaurant.
  • While here, my partner and I shared an ice cream sundae from the famous Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. We took our ice cream to the park because it overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge. I was very excited for Ghirardelli’s ice cream because the only times I’ve ever had it was in Downtown Disney. Whenever you order an ice cream, you receive complimentary squares of chocolate too!
  • Although we didn’t order from Boudin Bakery Cafe, their pastries and breads looked delicious. The shop also offered breads baked in fun shapes like lobsters, bears, peace signs, turtles and crabs. I was very tempted to buy a turtle shaped loaf of bread.

Lombard Street

  • We initially passed Lombard Street on our cablecar ride, but we trekked back to the topsy-turvy street from Fishermanā€™s Wharf. I didn’t think about it until the walk up, but the hills are so steep in San Francisco. Once at Lombard Street, we traveled down a series to watch cars slowly drive down the winding road.

Pier 39

  • Not far from Fisherman’s Wharf is Pier 39. While at Pier 39, we watched the sea lions lounge on the piers amongst the hoards of tourists taking photos.

Japantown

  • Japantown is a fun area to walk through and experience a taste of Japanese culture. Amongst the prominent Peace Pagoda, there are several interconnecting malls for shopping and dining.

Painted Ladies

  • The buildings that make up the Painted Ladies are located in Alamo Square. After growing up in the 90s and watching Full House for years, I felt compelled to see them in person. It was a necessary bucket list item. We didn’t spend much time here except to take a few photos and rest after walking around for hours.

Wine Country

  • As previously mentioned, we went to Napa during our stay. You can read more about my time sipping wine through Napa Valley, but we went to Castello, V. Sattui, and Etude. If you’re going independent of a tour, a Priority Wine Pass may offer some cost savings because it can be shared between two individuals. Since Napa is about an hour away, San Francisco is a convenient location to either rent a car or to take a tour. The next time I return to California, I’d like to go wine tasting in Sonoma and Livermore.

Half Moon Bay

  • Another fun day trip would be going out to Half Moon Bay. We visited the beach near the Ritz Carlton to picnic for lunch. Although the Ritz Carlton is an upscale hotel with a golf course, anyone can grab a drink and gaze out over the bay.

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