San Francisco is one of the most beautiful, famous cities in the world. Located on California’s stunning and laidback north coast, you’ll never run out of things to do or see. If you’re short on time, we’ll help you get the most out of a day in San Francisco.
Get an Early Start
Start the day with an early visit to Fisherman’s Wharf. This stop will get you that morning whiff of the sea and an opportunity to see the sea lions lounging around at Pier 39 before the crowds arrive. Afterward, you can walk to Stockton Street and into North Beach to enjoy a hearty breakfast at Mama’s. This nourishment will give you energy for the rest of the day.
After eating, head to the Coit Tower, which has beautiful views of the city thanks to its location on historic Telegraph Hill. This spot is also a great place to see incredible murals, inspired by the famous artist Diego Rivera that date back to 1933. You can easily reach the tower by walking up Lombard Street or taking minibus 39 from Washington Square Park. After visiting, skip the bus and walk down the 400 stairs to the bottom of the hill for a look at many beautiful homes, gardens, and wild parrots. Once at the bottom, walk east toward the bay until you reach the Embarcadero.
Enjoy an Afternoon of Iconic San Francisco
Once you reach the Embarcadero, hop on a trolley car, which will take you through some of the most scenic areas of the city. Trolley cars are icons of San Francisco and are still painted as they were in the 1920s. First, you’ll go past the wharf and onto Market Street, where you can hop off and eat some lunch. Then get back on the trolley and complete the journey at Castro Street Station.
Next, walk over to the Haight, which was the birthplace of America’s counterculture in the 1960s. Though the area was once frequented by hippies and free love, it’s now home to yuppies and high-end boutiques. However, the Haight is also a great area to see colorful Victorian-style homes, which are another iconic attraction in San Francisco. You can then continue on and walk to Hippie Hill, which is still home to drum circles and pot brownies.
End the Day With a Beautiful Sunset
Find your way to the Golden Gate Bridge for beautiful views of this world-famous bridge. Its red and rust color mixed with the sunset is a great way to end the day as you snap photos. If you have time and the fog isn’t bad, walk across the bridge for excellent views of San Francisco Bay.
Next, feel free to enjoy a nice dinner at one of the city’s finest restaurants or simply head back to your hotel in San Francisco for a much-deserved rest. If you have another day in the city, consider taking a trip out to Alcatraz, once home to the most infamous prison in America. Whether you complete this itinerary above or take extra time to enjoy certain areas, San Francisco is bound to become one of your favorite destinations.
Having been to San Francisco many times, I can truly say it’s a wonderful place to visit. This article was written as part of the Hipmunk CityLove project. As a paid writer for Hipmunk, I occasionally write about hotels and itineraries for many world-class cities including San Francisco, Seattle, and Hong Kong.