San Francisco Part I: Explore.

"If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair."

Thanks for the advice Mama Cass! Flower crowns never get old if you’re in San Fran! You can still feel the hippie vibes rooted deep in the Haight/Ashbury area. 

 

San Francisco is eerily beautiful.  The way the fog hugs the coastline around the bay has an almost haunting effect on city's landscape. If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time and see the sun shine cut through the fog,  then you are in for some real magic. With breath taking views of the emerald waters sparkling under the iconic Golden Gate bridge, how could a girl ever want to leave. 

 

I have only been to San Francisco a few times and I am kind of wanting to get back….There’s TOO MUCH TO DO and the food is AMAZING. I have yet to explore all of the many many culinary masterpieces and all of the magic the NorCal coast has to offer. I know I have much more to explore but for now here are my recommendations of what to see and do in a short 2-4 days. See how this fits into the Norcal Roadtrippin guide and Napa travels (coming soon).  All my food and beverage recommendations will be in part 2! 

 

First check San Francisco fun+cheap to see what’s going on during your stay. Also SF Gate is a great source to discover what’s around by neighborhood. I almost always use airbnb for where I stay while traveling. 

DO IT: 

 

Yoda Fountain in Presidio (for Star Wars nerds, it's pretty cool if you ask me) 

Presidio Park (free shuttle) 

Wave Organ

Ocean Beach 

Haight-Ashbury Street Relive the Summer of Love, and if there's anything you happen to be looking for on your trip you can most likely find it in hippie hill ...just sayin. 

Sutro Baths

Filbert Steps for some views and some exercise which lead to: 

Coit Tower

 

Japanese Tea Gardens (Friday is free admission if you enter before 10AM) 

Golden Gate Heights Mosaic Stairway

Foreign Cinema

 Spoiler Alert: 710 Ashbury St. 

Spoiler Alert: 710 Ashbury St. 

Grateful Dead House

Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park

The institute of Illegal Images-have been wanting to check this out on a rainy San Fran day. 

Take a Stroll around Presidio Heights if you're in this area, it's a cool free way to see some great views and monster houses. 

 

If you must…the Tourist Spots. (*Some are a MUST) 

China Town: Lots of cheap, authentic eats and shopping. 

Alcatraz: not my jam, but seems the best tours are at night. 

Pier 39:  See the seals and the chain shops/ restaurants along the water. 

Ghiradelli Square: Historic landmark of the Ghiradelli Chocolates, has a chocolate/ice cream shop with long lines, and a couple of other chain shops. 

Fisherman’s Wharf: Your jump off point for anything and everything touristy. Start here for your segway tour. Lots of touristy food (Bubba Gump shrimp anyone?) could be a nice crowded walk with views of the bay, and seals.

*Golden Gate Bridge-take a bus over it, bike it, walk it, do it. at least once. 

*Saulsalito bike across the golden gate, hang in Sausalito, take a ferry back, classic San Fran tourist outing (not a bad thing). 

*Golden Gate Park: Start with a walk around Haight-Ashbury area and Haight Street shops then make your way into the massive Golden Gate Park. If you wander all 3 miles of the park you will be rewarded with Ocean Beach on the other side. 

*The Painted Ladies: Gorgeous views of the city and these iconic houses from the park across the street, perfect for a picnic a la Original Full House opening credits style. 

*Lombard Street: I wouldn’t recommend driving down, the best views are seen walking from the bottom to top or vice versa to be able to see all of the beauty of the street from the bottom and the views of the city from the top. There is usually a line of cars down the hill behind the street of tourists waiting to drive down, not worth the hassle and I feel bad for people who live on that street who have to wait in that line to get to their driveway. 

 

 

Hope I covered enough to get you started for your travels in San Fran. Up next: Food and Drinks, because that needs an entire post! 

Find below my map of San Fran starred with all my recs+more!