San Francisco is a top tourist destination with tons to do. Having been there five times, I always find it to be an adventurous city. The food, the landscape, the city’s personality – I love it all. If you’re an ambitious foodie like me, you are going to have a blast!
Don’t be afraid to do the touristy things — because they are never a bore and you will always find something new in the mix. Having said that, here are nine things you have to do if you get the opportunity to visit the City by the Bay.
1. Walk up and down Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s wharf is something you can’t get anywhere in the country. This place is swamped with tourists but you have to go to get the full San Fran Experience. Stop Pier one, and check out the Farmer’s market. My favorite thing at the Wharf are Trish’s donuts, which are small donuts that are freshly made to order.
2. Visit Ghirardelli Square
Since you’re on vacation, it doesn’t hurt to indulge. There are many Ghirardelli shops around, but make sure you have a chance to visit the original Ghirardelli store. You can see chocolate being made, and you can grab a sundae submerged in chocolate. It’s enough for two to share, so good but so bad.
3. Drive down Lombard Street
This is a tourist thing I can skip during my trips. It’s Nothing too amusing, but if you have time, you can visit the most crooked street in the world. Get out of your car, take pics, and that’s bout it.
4. Go to China Town
Probably one of my favorite things to do. China town in San Francisco is incredible. There is so much culture and history that I can never pass up a trip to China Town. There are lots of Chinese Americans who make the city their home.
Go for some tea tasting, and grab a couple key chains for your friends. If you’re hungry, visit Golden Gate Bakery for a moon pie, or find a local joint to grab some lunch.
5. Visit the Full House (house) and see all the lovely Pink Ladies
Take an Uber to The original Full House. Although someone actually lives there, and the color of the house has changed, you can still bring on some nostalgia as you take some pics and recall your favorite episodes from times past.
Once you are done, you can take a walk to the Pink Ladies house which is also featured in the Full House intro.
6. Visit the Exploratorium
If you have kids or if you’re a science nerd, this is the place for you. The Exploratorium has a lot of cool activities where you can engage in everything science. I’m not much of a science person myself, but I had a blast.
7. Bike the Bridge down to Sausalito
You’ll find many tourists biking the Golden Gate Bridge. Rent out a bike, and tell them you want to bike down to Sausalito. This is an all day affair that will get your heart rate up. Don’t let the bike ride discourage you, it’s definitely a challenge.
Once you get down to your destination, you will appreciate the view. Sausalito is just a small cozy city with small shops and restaurants. Take the Ferry back to San Fran (don’t worry, you don’t have to bike back) and enjoy the rest of your evening.
8. Get your Foodie on!
The City by the Bay is known for its unique eateries. Download the Yelp app on your phone and search top places to eat around you. There is always something new popping up. Some amazing food experiences I have enjoyed include dinings at Brenda’s Soul Food Kitchen, Smitten Ice Cream, Boba Guys, Dosa Brothers, the shawarma at Goood Frickin Chicken, Philz coffee, and Hog Island Oyster.
9. Take a day trip outside of the city
Rent a car, and venture away from the city. If you enjoy fresh scenery, and the smell of grapes you can visit Napa Valley, which is about an hour away. Visit Auberge du Solei for a delicious lunch. If you’re not into grapes, you can visit a quaint city about two hours away called Carmel by the Sea. Carmel has lots of shops, and a good selection of places to eat. If you want to walk off some of the San Francisco weight you might have gained, check out some of Carmel’s trails.
Another iconic destination is Big Sur–a definite must see. Visit Sierra Mar for a nice lunch (check hours before you go, and make a reservation) with a breathtaking view. If you plan to go to any of these destinations, make sure to leave early so you can have time to explore in daylight.
There is a lot to do, and there is something for everyone. Make sure you pack your most comfortable shoes because you are going to be walking a lot! Enjoy every second of this beautiful city because there is nothing like San Francisco.