San Francisco

3-DAY San Francisco, California ITINERARY

San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It's known for its year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses. The Financial District's Transamerica Pyramid is its more distinctive skyscraper. in the bay sits Alcatraz Island, site of the notorious former prison, per Google.

To read about My Travels, click here. 

Must do, must see, must try:

HI, MY NAME IS KARL

The fog's name is Karl. People love him. He covers SanFran and looks over his people.

CHINESE & SEAFOOD

After wondering the streets, follow your nose and eat something good. From the wharf to Chinatown - yum

BACK-AND-FORTH

Get lost. The layout of this city is so unique, see everything you can and wonder around. 

The 3-Day San Francisco Itinerary

ACCOMMODATIONS

AirBnB close Fisherman's Wharf or Downtown/Union Square

Hotel: Pier 2620 Hotel ($$$), Hotel Zephyr ($$)

CLIMATE

September to November offers perfect weather while fall can be some of the city's warmest temperatures. Spring is another good time to visit with mild temps and less rain.

TRANSPORTATION

The city wants to be pedestrian friendly. The itinerary pieces activities together that are walk-able, but Lyft to the outskirts. Don't rent a car, it's too expensive paying for parking.

ENVIRONMENT

Language is English

Currency: US Dollar

LIFESTYLE

Great city for an interactive history lesson, that doesn't end with a quiz. Many places to visit, to drink at and eat at throughout the days. Also, this is an American city Bucket List must.

San Francisco, the City by the Bay, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Besides the historical significance, San Francisco offers some great attractions, beautiful landscapes and elegant architecture. This city offers an ambiance of fun love and living, expression and culture. 

Full of high tech and startups, this vintage charming city is welcoming to all tourists and you'll never want to leave. As one of the greatest cities in the United States, you definitely need to check it off your bucket list. 

Day one

Afternoon arrival, check-in at the hotel

1 PM - Visit the Golden Gate Park

Jump over to Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to shop around

  • Take a picture on the corner of Haight & Ashbury​

5 PM - 16th Avenue Tiled Steps or Mosaic Steps

  • Say Cheese!​

  • Have your walking shoes on? Head to the top and take in the view from Grand View park

6 PM - Venture to Alamo Square Park

7:30 PM - Dinner at State Bird Provisions ($$$, American Tapas)

​Drinks down the street: Fat Angel Food & Libation ($$, Wine Bar); The Social Study ($$, Wine Bar) 

Day Two

9 AM - San Francisco self-guided walking tour; time spent is 3-4 hours, 6 miles

  • Or a local San Francisco Walking Tour (free) if you'd rather be with a group; or day trip to ski in Tahoe, kayak in the Russian River Valley, or bike around Napa

  • Don't like walking? Get up early for the Powell-Hyde cable car cruises

    • Sights: Lombard Street, Chinatown, Union Square and Market Street downtown​

FISHERMAN'S WHARF

1. Start at the Ferry Building and check out the Bay Bridge toward Oakland

  • Shop around the Ferry Building Marketplace and grab coffee at Paramo Coffee ($, Coffee & Tea)

2. Heard to the Embarcadero

3. Stop for a picture at Pier 39 - look for the adorable harbor seals sun-bathing 

4. Keep going till you reach Fisherman's Wharf

5. Walk on to The Original Ghiradelli Shop ($$, Chocolatiers) and try FREE samples

  • Need coffee? Around the corner is Buena Vista Cafe ($$, Coffee), original home of Irish Coffee

RUSSIAN HILL

6. Continue to Hyde until you reach the curvy Lombard Street - take a moment to ride the cable car

TELEGRAPH HILL

7. Head to Coit Tower sitting atop Telegraph Hill - lookout for the wild parrots

  • Hope you're wearing your walking shoes, it's a bit of trek up the hill but it's worth it

  • You can climb the tower for a small a fee ($8) or just take in the view 

NORTH BEACH

8. Walk down the driveway and head to San Francisco's Little Italy

  • Look down Columbus to see the Transamerica Pyramid and the Sentinel Building

CHINATOWN

9. Walk through Kerouac Alley from Columbus to enter Chinatown

  • Grab a drink at Vesuvio Cafe ($$, Lounge) as if you were Jack Kerouac himself; go upstairs to enjoy

  • In Chinatown, stop at Fortune Cookie Factory, take a picture by Ma-Tsu Temple and walk through the famous Dragon's Gate into the Financial District

  • Pause before the Financial District for a bit to eat at Lucky Creation ($, Vegetarian Chinese) or House of Nanking ($$, Chinese)

UNION SQUARE

10. Take a photo with the iconic heart statue in Union Square Plaza and shop​

2 PM - After you've completed the San Francisco self-guided walking tour, take the BART to the Golden Gate Bridge & Ocean Beach

  • Take a walk on the bridge and look across the way to Alcatraz Island

  • If you're interested in history of 'The Rock', book ahead of time (like months ahead of time) for the Alcatraz Cruises; time spent is 2 hours, $95+

  • If you have time, take the 6 PM Sunset Cruise on the bay; time spent is 2 hours, $60

7 PM Dinner: Bar Agricole ($$$, American Bar)

  • James Beard Award nomination​

  • Try a Sleepyhead or Bellamy Scotch Sour

Drinks: Butter ($, Bar & Dance Club) or Folsom Street Foundry, check out their game night or event calendar ($$, Bar)

Day Three

10 AM - Sunday Brunch at Suppenküche ($$, German Brunch)

  • Potato pancakes with homemade applesauce, pork chops with sauerkraut, and sauteed trout​

  • Something lighter? B Patisserie ($$, Bakery) for delicious pastries and a cup of Fourbarrel coffee

12 PM - Secret Hideouts that need to be explored in the Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room

  • Can you find the staircase?

1:30 PM - Walk off brunch in The Presidio Park - follow the Wood Line trail

Check-out of hotel

Goodbye San Francisco. Head home.

helpful links
Travel a GO-Go

Use the Google map on the left to get a lay of the land and see all the fun spots that you'll visit. Download the free PDF by clicking the icon below to have this itinerary at your finger-tips. 

How to Use the Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner to view the layers (days, points of interest, route).

If you click the star, this map will be added to your Google Map account. To view, open your Google Maps, click the menu button "Your Places", select the map and it will open. 

MY TRAVELS

San Francisco a city that has bubbles of different cities - one is financial, one is everything Chinese, one is everything seafood, one is self-expression, one is saddening. This is a great city to walk and get lost in. Put the phone away and look up!

Favorite moment was the Golden Gate Bridge, but a close runner up was the Ghiradelli chocolate. I just wanted to sample it all. From the Golden Gate Bridge, the view is stunning. Alcatraz to the other side of the city, and looking down at seals playing in the water. You feel like you're on another planet hoover over the water. 

Least favorite was probably the poverty that is playing out in SanFran. It's very sad to see what is happening to the city and the people that live on the streets. Many years back I spent time in SanFran feeding the homeless and caring for mentally disabled homeless. It was a rewarding and eye-opening moment, but the city has only gone down when I'd hope that improvement was made. Honestly, my heart goes out to them. 

Otherwise, this city will take all you have to offer and provide a rewarding experience. Every district that we ventured too was more fun, more colorful and louder than the last. And the people, so kind and happy to share their stories. I cannot believe how many non-SanFran dwellers we met. Seems like a hot spot to move too. 

Looking forward to the next visit and eating all the seafood possible; oh and seeing Karl again.

Happy Travels, 

Itinerary Traveler

 
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The other sites may list what's great about a city, but not how to do it all. I like to plan so keeping track of how I spend my day in this city helps when friends ask for recommendations of what to do. Keep in mind, it's your trip so mix-up this itinerary, add some events, remove some, make it your own and enjoy your trip. 

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