A detailed San Francisco Itinerary for the most perfect 6 days.
Day 1: Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito & Fisherman’s Wharf
- Today’s San Francisco itinerary begins with a bike ride along the San Francisco water front, over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and take the Ferry back to the Ferry building! There are lots of bike rental places throughout the city, but this self guided bike tour company seems to be popular. Take a Lyft to the bike rental spot of your choice and bike to the entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Bike over the bridge and arrive in Sausalito where you will have a magnificent view of the city skyline. Sausalito is located in Marin County, which is the second richest County (after Manhattan) in the United States. You can walk around, grab a bite to eat, my personal favorite spot over there is Bar Bocce where you can order some pizza and sit outside around fire pits on the beach.
- When you’re done exploring, find the Sausalito Ferry Terminal and hop on a boat back to San Francisco, arriving at the Ferry Building.
- When you dock at the Ferry building, take a walk around and enjoy all the local food vendors and shops offering a ton San Francisco favorites.
- You’re probably pretty tired at this point, so this would be a good time to go home wash off all the sweat from your bike ride, and take a nap. If you wake up hungry for dinner and more adventures, head over to North Beach, San Francisco’s Little Italy, and have dinner at Tosca (reservation recommended) a local icon for an Italian meal. The area has a bunch of great bars- Tupelo always has live jazz music and Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub is always a great way to end the night.
Day 2: Lands End & Ocean Beach
- If it’s a Saturday or Sunday and you’re looking to have fun with a group- start your day with all-you-can-eat-and-drink dim sum at Chubby Noodle. Great music and great food- can’t go wrong. Get there early to avoid a wait. If it’s a week day and you’re looking to get a more low-key breakfast, head to Rose’s Cafe on Union Street and grab some charming seats outside.
- There’s nothing quite like the Lands End hike in San Francisco. Begin your leisurely hike by taking a Lyft to the intersection of 32nd street and El Camino Del Mar and follow the trail (and the other people walking) for a pleasant 20-30 minute walk around the edge of San Francisco. Stop for breathtaking views of the bridge and keep an eye on the water for dolphins and whales (both of which I’ve seen while hiking there}.
- Sutro Baths: Eventually you’ll make it out to the Sutro Baths which is historical landmark of the ruins of what was once a privately owned public saltwater swimming pool complex built in 1894.
- Cliff House: Keep walking past Sutro Baths along the ocean and you’ll see a restaurant perched at the top of the cliff over looking the ocean. Stop for a drink (they make a great Bloody Mary) and take in the views.
- Ocean Beach: As you stare out into the ocean from the Cliff House, look left and you’ll find one of the largest spans of beach in existence. Walk down closer to get a better view of the surfers and wind surfers out on the waves. It’s really fun to come out here as the sun is setting and build bon fires in designated pits that live at the farther end of the beach.
- Outerlands: This restaurant out in the sunset is my absolute #1 favorite spot for brunch and I hear they have an incredible dinner as well.
Day 3: Hayes Valley & Twin Peaks
- Today’s San Francisco itinerary begins with a hip coffee & toast shop. Take a Lyft to The Mill for coffee and toast.
- Alamo Square, The Painted Ladies– Walk around the corner to Alamo Square Park and take photos in front of the “Full House” homes, a San Francisco icon.
- Hayes Valley– Walk from the painted Ladies down Hayes street until you hit the charming restaurants and shops of Hayes Valley. Stop at Soulva for Greek lunch topped with rotisserie chicken and frozen yogurt topped with halva, then stop by the outdoor Beirgarten for afternoon drinks.
- Haight Ashbury– Head to hippie central and explore the funky stores, smoke shops and “green doctors”. Stop at Amoeba Music to see one of the largest record stores around.
- Take a Lyft over to Twin Peaks for an incredible view of the city from one of the highest points.
- Make reservations in advance for dinner at either of these restaurants and you will not be disappointed. Nopa is a local Californian-fare favorite, known to have an incredible burger. Cala is my personal favorite, a new high-end Mexican restaurant, with the most outrageous seafood- order the trout tostadas and the whole rockfish (serves 2).
Day 4: Exploring The Mission & The Castro
- Take a Lyft to Philz Coffee, a San Francisco native coffee chain, and get one of their specialties like the Mint Mojito or the Gingersnap iced coffee, or really anything on the specialty menu and you can’t go wrong.
- With drink in hand, walk the rainbow paved streets of the Castro, one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States, towards Kitchen Story for a farm to table brunch experience. Expect to wait close to an hour to be seated as this place is popular, but if you get thirsty again you can order mimosas and Bloody Mary’s while you wait.
- As you digest brunch, walk over to Mission Dolores Park and take a seat in the grass and soak up some sun. Observe the characters that hang out in this park, it’s one of the best people watching scenes in existence. Don’t be surprised if someone offers to sell you “edibles” or a coconut filled with rum.
- When you’ve had enough walk across 18th street towards Valencia Street. On your way, you’ll be passing some foodie dessert hot spots like Bi-Rite Creamery, Tartine Bakery and Dandelion Chocolates.
- Take a left on Valencia and then a right when you hit Clarion Alley. Here you’ll find some of the most impressive graffiti murals in San Francisco.
- El Techo is a great rooftop spot for dinner and drinks with a view and fun vibes. You may need to wait in line for a few minutes outside of it’s sister restaurant Lolinda, but it’s definitely worth it. Order the Cicharrones de Carne- it’s unreal and I actually dream about this dish. Next door is another unique dinner spot called Foreign Cinema– a drive in movie theater-turned restaurant, half indoor/half outdoor, with fun vibes and decent food.
Day 5: Alcatraz & Fisherman’s Wharf
- Today’s San Francisco itinerary is full of the city’s most famous attractions. Alcatraz– the notorious prison that was once home to Al Capone- is where you’ll start your day. Make reservations as far in advance as possible as tours often book up months in advance. You can book your tickets here for the self-guided audio tour.
- Your ferry ride back will likely dock near Fisherman’s Wharf (and even if you don’t, find a way to get there) you must not leave without having a Dungeness crab and clam chowder in a bread bowl.It’s also worth a visit to Pier 39 to visit the crowd of sea lions that live there. This spot is super touristy but there is no better seafood experience on this planet than picking up a Dungeness crab from one of those sidewalk stands (make sure to tell them to warm up the crab first and then crack the shell for you- making sure to preserve all the natural juices) and walking over to the Aquatic Cove to sit by the water and dig in to your crab. The fresh fried calamari is also not to be missed.
- Keep strolling West and you’ll find yourself at Fort Mason, a beautiful park overlooking the water where locals congregate on the weekends. Sit down in the grass and soak up the sun.
- This may be a good time to head home to rest & refresh, but if not- take a Lyft over to Broadway & Fillmore Street. This is one of my favorite views of the city. The mansions on Broadway make up what is known as Billionaire’s Row- where many of San Francisco’s Tech superstars own homes.
- Walk south on Fillmore street and enjoy dozens of shops and restaurants along this high-end and charming street. Make dinner reservations at State Bird Provisions or The Progress for a unique dining experience.
Day 6: Golden Gate Park
- Golden Gate Park is 30% larger than Central Park in NYC, so as you can imagine there is plenty to see and do. Rather than tell you exactly what to do here, I’m going to lay out the options in an order that makes sense geographically. A beautiful place to start is the Conservatory of Flowers. I’ve never actually been inside, only enjoyed the beautiful park and gardens that surround it- but it is supposedly a greenhouse that holds over 2,000 species of plants and flowers.
- The 6th Ave Skate Park is perhaps my favorite little spectacle in San Francisco. The roller skaters that occupy this patch of pavement on a daily basis, dancing and singing in unison, are simply captivating and so much fun. Just the epitome of what makes San Francisco so great.
- If you’re in the mood for an art museum, head over to the De Young Museum. The dramatic architecture of the building itself makes this place worth a visit. Admission is free to the observation tower on the top floor with spectacular views of the city. The observation tower closes at 4:30pm, and access to the museum’s art galleries is free after 4:30pm, while the museum itself closes at 5:10pm. Admission is free to view the sculpture gardens surrounding the museum.
- Across from the De Young Museum is the California Academy of Sciences. This natural history museum is one of the largest in the world and contains an aquarium, planetarium, and a rainforest enclosure filled with butterflies and hundreds of other species.
- Just around the corner you will find the Japanese Tea Garden – the oldest public Japanese garden which consists of many paths, ponds and a tea house.
- If you have a lot of time, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens boasts 55 acres of diverse plant life from around the world.
- If you venture to the far west side of the park you will eventually encounter the Bison Paddock. A large expanse of land which has been home to a herd of Bison since the 1890s. These bison serve as remembrance of the “Wild West” and it’s pretty random.
Important things to know as you’re following your San Francisco itinerary
- Always carry a sweater. San Francisco has a lot of weather. It tends to be warm in the sun and chilly in the shade. Temperatures can vary up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit from neighborhood to neighborhood. It can be anywhere between the 50s to the 70s year round.
- Download Lyft– this is the easiest and cheapest way to get around. If you don’t already have the app- you can download it here and use my promo code HAILEY197 to get free ride credit.
- The hills are seriously steep. Always wear sneakers or comfortable walking shoes if you’re planning to spend a day exploring. I’d highly advise girls not to wear heels.
- Stay away from the Tenderloin. There are a lot of crazy homeless people over there.
- Learn the difference between Recycle, Compost & Waste garbage recepticles.
- I’ll leave the rest to surprise.
Do you have suggestions for me to add to my San Francisco itinerary? I’d love to hear them- share your ideas in the comments section below!