San Francisco is a simple metropolis to get fallacious. Many vacationers spend their whole go to checking off all of the clichés: The Haight-Ashbury Intersection, a experience on a cable automotive, the ocean lions of Fisherman’s Wharf, and an Italian dinner on Columbus Avenue.
If you wish to do San Francisco the predictable manner, then your itinerary is accessible to you within the earlier paragraph. In order for you somewhat extra substance to your weekend, then take a look on the information beneath. We’ll even do you a favor and assist you verify off the clichés with out making them the principle destinations.
It’s a reasonably small metropolis, simply 49 sq. miles—and sq. at that; it’s unfold 7 miles on every axis. In the event you plan your weekend round totally different neighborhoods, you possibly can cowl a variety of floor with out even needing a automotive. Simply load up a BART card and a three-day Muni pass, and also you’ll be set. (Simply don’t activate the Muni go till the second of your 4 days, per our define beneath.) Oh, and produce a sweater and a great pair of strolling footwear. It will get chilly, and also you’ll be masking a lot of floor—usually uphill.
The place to Keep
Virtually each resort in San Francisco is in Union Sq. or Downtown (they’re adjoining neighborhoods). Whereas it’s going to really feel tremendous touristy to do that, it’s additionally a extremely good location to begin and finish every day, since almost each route on the buses, trams, cable vehicles, and BART go by right here. If you wish to take the BART to or from the SF or Oakland airports, it’s additionally very handy.
In the event you’re eager about staying at a no-frills boutique resort (that’s each stunning and newly renovated), then Hotel Triton is a good alternative. And sure, “no-frills boutique resort” sounds contradictory, however that’s as a result of Triton focuses on the whole lot you want and isn’t making an attempt to wow you with any BS: Its rooms are tastefully trendy, with a vivid shade palette that polarizes nobody. (How is that so laborious to get proper?) With three core lessons of rooms and suites, you possibly can unfold out as a lot as you want, then head all the way down to breakfast at Café de la Presse, Triton’s onsite French bistro, or Herlen Place, for some American-style brunch. There’s a 24-hour health middle, a comfortable examine, and equally fashionable foyer for fast conferences.
In order for you one thing somewhat extra elevated and somewhat disruptive of the norm (which is oh-so San Francisco within the first place), ebook a room or suite (or the 6,200-sq. foot penthouse) at The Battery. The Downtown venue appears like a homegrown SoHo Home, in that it’s a members-only membership. Nevertheless, friends of their 14-room resort get to take pleasure in all of its onsite advantages, from non-public displays and occasions to a wellness middle and varied bars and restaurants. Rooms fluctuate in model, some boasting uncovered brick, floor-to-ceiling home windows, and panoramic bay views.
What to Do in San Francisco
It is a neighborhood information, organized in a manner that’ll maximize the stuff you get to see and do when you’re on the town. It appears to be like daunting on this aspect of your journey, nevertheless it’s manageable while you take it so as, step-by-step. Plus, you’ll virtually be an professional by the point it’s by.
Thursday Afternoon and Night: Union Sq. + Chinatown + North Seaside
Assuming you arrived noon and checked into your Union Sq./Downtown resort, you’ve spent a great chunk of your day. So as an alternative of constructing haste along with your lengthy to-do record, keep on foot within the space. You’ll be able to hit the massive flagship shops and see the cable vehicles taking off alongside Market Road in Union Sq. (don’t experience one simply but), then stroll as much as Chinatown in your first dinner. (Begin by strolling by Dragon’s Gate at Bush and Grant Streets.)
House of Nanking is a longstanding and fancy-ish favourite of locals and vacationers alike, although it may be laborious to get a desk with no reservation. In order for you one thing somewhat extra homey, genuine, and much more acquainted, go across the nook to Hunan Home’s Restaurant, which has been a staple in Chinatown for almost 40 years.
There isn’t lots to see in Chinatown by night, and you may make the brief trek again right here by daytime if you wish to discover its markets or go to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. In any other case, the one meal will suffice.
If Chinese language isn’t your most well-liked delicacies, stroll over to North Seaside, the land of Coppolas and Beatniks, for some Italian fare. Simply don’t make the error of consuming wherever on Columbus Avenue, since there are a variety of overpriced, gimmicky joints. You’ll be able to’t fail with a elaborate dinner on the trattoria Ideale, and even the short counter service at Golden Boy Pizza. After, bar hop alongside Grant Avenue; and The Saloon is likely one of the metropolis’s longstanding staples.
You’ll be able to sneak previous the seedy lights of Broadway into the again alley at 15 Romolo or down Columbus to Tosca for a nightcap, marveling on the Beatniks’ City Lights bookstore, the copper-green Sentinel Constructing (the place many a historic movie was produced by Copolla and co), and the Transamerica Pyramid, SF’s most notable skyscraper (now dwarfed by the phallic Salesforce tower).
In order for you some leisure along with your drinks, ebook a present on the over-the-top Beach Blanket Babylon. The venue was based in 1974, and has since adopted the journey of Snow White as she seeks Prince Charming. The solid of musically proficient comedians updates the present quarterly, skewering anybody related in trendy popular culture. (It is a gem you’ll definitely suggest to future SF guests.)
You’ll be again in North Seaside for breakfast in your last morning, so there’s extra to see by day.
Friday: Russian Hill + The Wharf + Fort Mason and Crissy Area + Golden Gate Bridge + Presidio + Land’s Finish + Baker Seaside
As we speak’s your massive day to experience a cable automotive. It’s first on the record, so go get in line at Market Road vibrant and early. Your three-day Muni go gained’t work, so simply pay the charge to get your yuks. You’ll experience the tracks by Union Sq., Chinatown, and Nob Hill and get out at Russian Hill, on the high of Lombard Road (the famed “most crooked avenue within the U.S.,” with its eight hairpin turns down one metropolis block). After, stroll up and down Russian Hill’s aspect streets if you would like extra picturesque, bougainvillea-dotted images. (One detour value taking is to Macondray Lane, the inspiration and setting of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Metropolis—although within the sequence, he modifies its title to Barbary Lane.)
Then, stroll to Fisherman’s Wharf, for the opposite super-touristy level on at this time’s agenda. Don’t dawdle right here. Notice the ocean lions that lounge and bark at one another, get a free pattern at Ghirardelli Sq. as you stroll west, and resist all temptation to hire a motorcycle for the Golden Gate Bridge (strolling it’s far superior). Perhaps you booked a go to to Alcatraz, which isn’t on this itinerary (since it would eat up a lot of your day). In the event you did ebook it, your boat leaves from Pier 33.
From Ghirardelli, stroll out to the Aquatic Park Pier. Snap you picture, then head up the hill simply earlier than the pier, to the left. This may wrap round to Fort Mason Park, and onward towards the Golden Gate Bridge. In the event you aren’t eager on strolling the few miles to the bridge (comprehensible, however a giant loss however), you possibly can catch a bus throughout Cow Hole and to the Presidio, the place you possibly can hike as much as the bridge. Nevertheless, for those who’re prepared to stroll all the way in which, you’re in for a shocking stroll. First, it’s most likely good to cease for lunch at easygoing Radhaus or upscale Greens within the Fort Mason Heart.
After refueling, stroll the perimeter of the water, previous the boat docks of Gashouse Cove and the fields of Marina Inexperienced. You’ll get views of the Golden Gate all of the whereas, the spotlight of which is while you hit the sands of Crissy Area Seaside. There’s a tiny footbridge after the primary stretch of sand; after you cross it, flip proper and stroll alongside the sand for essentially the most stunning stretch of the hike. You’ll be a part of the canine walkers—and extra importantly, the happiest canines on the planet—and may even see some rowers, sailors, delivery boats, and sea lions as you go. That is peak bliss, folks.
After the sandy stretch, you possibly can caffeinate on the Warming Hut and stroll up the hill to the pedestrian entrance of the bridge. (Alternatively, you possibly can keep on the street and stroll to the bottom of the bridge, for an equally spectacular vantage level on the purple marvel.) From the highest, you’ll merely cross the bridge and are available again the way in which you got here. (Maintain onto your hats.)
After, because you’re none too desirous to stroll, simply get your self to the Presidio, the forested 1,500-acre patch of inexperienced that covers the northwest nook of town. It’s value getting misplaced on a hike right here, nevertheless it’s most likely a great time to loosen up within the backseat of an Uber. Level your driver to the Sutro Baths, a Nineteenth-century public bathing complicated, now in ruins however with the identical stellar oceanfront views. From right here you’ll stroll (sorry!) 25 minutes to Lands’ Finish Labyrinth, then one other brief trek to Baker Seaside. Now you possibly can relax within the sand and revel in views of each the bridge and the Pacific sundown.
Hail a automotive to the resort to clean up for dinner, then go in your reservation at Zuni, simply down Market Road.
Saturday: Embarcadero + Ocean Seaside + Golden Gate Park + Haight-Ashbury + Alamo Sq. + Fillmore + Nob Hill + Tenderloin
Saturday begins breezy, as you snack your manner by the weekly Farmers Market on the Embarcadero Heart. After that, hop on the N-Judah prepare underground on the Embarcadero Muni station. That is the primary cease, and also you’re driving all of it the way in which to the second-to-last one. You’re pointed again to the ocean, this time a pair neighborhoods south of the place you have been yesterday. (This neighborhood is named the Outer Sundown.) Get out at Judah St. and forty sixth Ave, the place you’ll pop into Trouble Coffee for his or her well-known cinnamon toast. It may be good to place your title in at Outerlands a couple of doorways down, in case there’s a wait. You’ll be able to browse the outlets between the 2 within the meantime, or if the wait is especially lengthy, you possibly can trek over to Ocean Seaside for the freshest expanse within the metropolis. (Additionally a great place to go for a run.) Savor one other espresso after lunch, which you’ll refill on the loved-and-adored Java Beach Café simply earlier than crossing the Nice Freeway to the sand.
Relying in your power and leisure time, you possibly can both begin the stroll into Golden Gate Park from the far west finish, or you possibly can hop the bus or prepare again inland. Your goal is the east finish of the park anyhow, so it may be value saving time and power and simply hopping on transit. The locations are plentiful right here: Poke by the de Young Art Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, or simply relax within the Robin Williams Meadow to understand some calm within the middle of town.
From right here you possibly can meander down Haight Road (look ahead to the Ashbury crossing, although it’s pretty underwhelming). You’ll be able to cease into file outlets, thrift shops, smoke outlets, and extra. Don’t spend an excessive amount of time, because it’s extra of a gimmick than a relic nowadays. Flip left towards Alamo Sq. Park while you get to Scott Road, the place you’ll get that postcard-perfect view of the Painted Women homes.
Dinner is in Fillmore: It’s superb Indian fare at Dosa. It’s enjoyable to discover Fillmore, too, as soon as dwelling to town’s jazz and blues scene. Now it’s bought high-end bookstores and boutiques, and it’s charming any time of day. Head barely northeast after dinner, to Hyde Road, the place you’ll hear the gentle whir of the trolley cable. This neighborhood is Nob Hill. Cease into Bacchus Wine Bar or Café Meuse for a nightcap, or Swensen’s Ice Cream for dessert.
In the event you’re not too drained, it’s value heading south into the Tenderloin to the tiniest hole-in-the-wall homosexual bar, Aunt Charlie’s. It’s an attraction, even for locals, because it has among the finest drag reveals within the nation. The Saturday reveals are at 10 p.m., reservations really helpful, with a $5 cowl.
Sunday: Hayes Valley + Castro + Mission + Noe Valley + Twin Peaks + East Bay
Begin your morning with breakfast at Stacks in Hayes Valley, which is a 15-minute stroll by Civic Heart (with a lot of cool authorities buildings to see), or a pair stops away on the bus and prepare. Hayes has a lot of good boutiques as effectively, so you possibly can take a half-hour or extra to discover the outlets.
Now, hop on the prepare down Market to seventeenth and Castro. Weekend mornings procure a pleasant bustle within the Castro, and also you’ll see a lot of folks strolling their canines or having fun with espresso.
Head over to Dolores Park and cue up for an ice cream at Bi-Rite or recent pastries at Tartine Bakery to eat within the park. It’s also possible to seize some tall boys from a nook retailer (go away them wrapped within the paper baggage) and crack them open within the park (located at greater grades, for higher views) earlier than you head to lunch. (Sure, extra consuming.)
Have a stroll down Valencia Road to do extra window-shopping, and burn off your snacks earlier than you devour a well-known Mission burrito. (The Mission can be the place town’s Latino inhabitants—primarily Mexican—resides.) It’s at all times hotly contested as to which burrito is the perfect, however the votes often fall in line for La Taqueria (my favourite), El Farolito, Pancho Villa, and Taqueria Cancun. No matter the place you go, get one with all of the fixings, an order of chips and salsa, and a few horchata to chase. You may wish to loosen your belt as a precaution.
After lunch, hail a automotive as much as the highest of Twin Peaks—or stroll the hour haul if it is advisable to put on off your burrito. (It’s a ravishing stroll by the residential Castro hills and buzzy Noe Valley, too. In any other case, give your self an hour right here after Twin Peaks.)
Go clean up on the resort, and hop the BART to Downtown Oakland or Berkeley. Sadly you gained’t have extra time to discover both on this brief journey, however a dinner and nightcap will partially atone. In Oakland, strive Flora or Hopscotch. In Berkeley, you will get your fingers soiled at Angeline’s or have the best meal of your life at Alice Water’s famed Chez Panisse (they ebook one month upfront, so mark your calendar to contact them precisely that lengthy earlier than the date). You’ll be able to toss again a pint at Berkeley’s infamous Albatross Pub or have one thing extra refined at Make Westing in downtown Oakland.
Hail a automotive again to “town”; whereas it may cost a little $30–50 to get dwelling, it’s great to expertise a drive throughout the lengthy Bay Bridge, and to see San Francisco glowing on the strategy. In the event you favor to BART, simply know that it closes after midnight, and that service will probably be intermittent on Sunday night.
Monday Morning: North Seaside and Telegraph Hill
Congrats, you’ve coated the bases. Certain, there’s extra, like Alcatraz and Angel Island, or a drive north into the Marin Headlands, Napa and Sonoma, plus a Giants or Warriors sport. Construct that in for those who’ve bought extra time, or reserve it in your subsequent go to. (And spend extra time over in East Bay.)
As in your last morning, stroll your self again to North Seaside, up the bustling Montgomery Avenue as folks commute into work. You’ll go below the Transamerica Pyramid as Montgomery graduates into Columbus. Go first to previous Beatnik hangout Caffe Trieste for espresso. If it’s not truly Monday for you, then hop in line early at Mama’s on Washington Square for breakfast. (They’re closed Monday, sadly.) In any other case, finish with one other metropolis staple, Mo’s Grill, the place they’ll fill you up in your flight dwelling. After breakfast, squeeze in a stroll to the highest of Telegraph Hill to the bottom of Coit Tower, which is a memorial to the firemen who battled town’s 5 massive fires. (It’s formed like a hearth hose.) You’ll get one final perspective on San Francisco—a metropolis of views—till your inevitable return.
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