Most visitors don’t have weeks to spend diving into a new city and are forced to jam the top sites into a few days. San Francisco is a popular tourist destination that can be knocked out in a two-day trip if planned properly. Here is a guide to follow when you only have a short amount of time in this hilly city.
Golden Gate Bridge
Arguably one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, this bridge is also a piece of jaw-dropping art, as it’s rosy red color pops out against the blue water which lies below. Aside from photographing the bridge, I recommend you take a stroll across it to see the bay from alternate angles. If you want to start your trip off by breaking a sweat, head over to the nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where you will be gifted with outstanding views of the bridge, as well as numerous hiking trails.
Once you’ve spent a decent amount of time gawking over the Golden Gate, head over to the splendid park of Crissy Field, which is only a short walk along the harbor. Inside the park are locals working out, fishing piers, frisbee throwers, and beaches that offer stunning views of the sea. This is a perfect place to recline and become present in the destination.
This prison was shut down back in the 70s, but it once housed some of the worst criminals in the United States. Alcatraz is an island off the coast of San Fran, so you must pay for a boat to get over there, but there’s no fee once you’ve arrived at the former prison. To get the most out of the visit, join a tour so you can get an in-depth lecture about the history.
Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf
You can spend hours walking along these blocks full of a startling amount of tourists. All around the waterfront are tons of restaurants, street performers, and shops, so don’t be afraid to wander around for hours.
Palace of Fine Arts
This Roman style structure sticks out like a sore thumb against the usual american architecture. Enjoy a relaxing picnic in the park, explore the lagoons, or recline under the stunning beige and orange structure.
The Mission District is booming with hipsters and mouth-watering mexican food. Aside from the wonderful food, spend a night out at the bars or clubs that are famous in the region. If partying isn’t your scene, watch the sunset in the park while soaking up the splendid view of the city.
Hop on the cable cars from Market Street and spend around an hour touring the city on this vintage form of transportation. The city is infamous for it’s crazy hills, so you’ll be saving some serious energy by riding in the car opposed to walking. Plus you get to experience a historical way of getting around!
Get off your cable car tour once you round the corner to Lombard Street. Snap some photos of the drivers and bikers navigating one of the world’s windiest streets.
Sitting at the top of Telegraph Hills, stands the Coit Tower, which holds 27 murals from various artists. Fork over seven dollars to be awarded a stunning panoramic view of the city from the top of the tower.
One can’t visit San Francisco and not check out the largest Chinatown in the USA. This neighborhood began by being predominantly inhabited by chinese, when immigrants swarmed the west coast and set up shops in the city. Make sure you’ve got an appetite when you head to this area, since you can find some of the best chinese food in the world (aside from in China, of course).
The starting ground for America’s counterculture, Haight-Ashbury, was also home to the summer of love back in the 60s. Hippies used to flood the area, which has now been deserted by the free-souls, but the care-free vibes still thrive. Pop into one of the hip cafes and sip on some of the best coffee in the country.
This world famous “gay neighborhood” is booming with locals and tourists, as well as various types of restaurants. There’s tons of crazy clubs to cater to both straight and gay people, so take advantage of the party-scene if that’s your style. You won’t find an area with quite the same amount of sponk anywhere else in the world.