I'm off to San Francisco soon and needed suggestions on what to saw and do. I'll be visiting some friends and maybe on my own for a day or two due to work commitments on their end. Suggestions on things to do by myself would be welcome too!
Fisherman's wharf is fun, and the Ghiredelli factory and Boudin's sourdough bread is near there. Also the Palace of the Fine arts is beautiful! There is also Golden Gate Park, and the aquarium is AMAZING. Ooh you're making me homesick! These are just a few ideas, I'm sure others will have more! I'd go hit alcatraz too, since even though I grew up in the area I NEVER went.
I was there for work recently and we did a sunset cruise to Alcatraz that was awesome! The views of the city are amazing. Our boat also went under the golden gate bridge which was really cool to stare up at from underneath. That was the only extra curricular I got to do- but really enjoyed it.
Just FYI- if you want to do the Alcatraz tour, you may need to make reservations ahead of time. When I wanted to do it over the summer, it was booked weeks in advance.
If you're interested in such things, the tour of the World War II submarine USS Pampanito is well worth the time. Get the headset for the audio tour. It is at Pier 45, with the liberty ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien right next to it.
I think...it's been a couple of decades...the Ripley's museum...
Or was it this wonderful maritime museum....
Do ride a cable car! I seem to recall the 'California Line' was the boring one, it only went back and forth...the others (you can tell, the boring one looks the same front and back, the others have to be turned around, which is fun to watch in itself)
China town was nice....and I would go to see the fort underneath one side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
It's winter now, so you don't have to worry too much about clothing....in summer you must have a warm sweater...
and what is that street called that all the 70s movies had in their car chases? the only winding road anywhere in San Francisco! Lombard Street!
Originally Posted by Bristol Bay
Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
Fisherman's Wharf is definitely a must-see. I also love Golden Gate Park, there's quite a few fun things to do, and it's beautiful. I would recommend the Japanese Tea Garden if you end up there. Alcatraz is also fun, but if you're interested, book the tour now. Ghiradelli square is a must if you like chocolate and/or wine. The zoo is also rather interesting if you're into that.
Enjoy your trip! I'm only 3 hours away, but it feels like I can never find the time to drive down and enjoy the City. Grew up 20 mins away, and I'm still not used to being so far. Definitely one of my favorite places to be.
I worked in Civic Center and the Tenderloin last year and uh, sorry not going to recommend those areas unless you really want to see the main library! One of my favorite haunts. Twin Peaks is one of my favorite places (I only saw it at night--super cold), I also like Golden Gate Park (the entrance in the Haight is the one I used most), and the MoMA is fantastic. If you want to go out there's a great bar at 24th and Mission (I think 23rd?) called The Napper Tandy that has GREAT trivia on Wednesday nights. I didn't go out much in the city but the Mission is good for bars. I also used to get my BBQ fix at Folsom and 13th--I think it was called Cat something? It is right down the street from Rainbow Grocery. The zoo is okay. I really like Baker Beach--the drive along the coast is super pretty.
You're lucky they might still be enjoying "Indian Summer" so I'd pack uh, everything in your closet! I do NOT miss the coastal breeze blowing through the Golden Gate each evening when I got home to Berkeley! Sausalito is also fun (my boyfriend used to have a boat there)--great ice cream!
Sheesh, can't believe I am raving about San Francisco! I loved the daily sunshine in Civic Center (the "sun belt") but really hated the ever-present cold!
Also, this exhibit is at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland (my hometown) and my boyfriend (who is a Bay Area native) and I thought it was an awesome tribute to San Francisco. This guy seemed a bit kooky but I think it is super awesome he worked on this display for 30 years! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG5DkJWbeEg
Sears Fine Food for breakfast (it is always a super long line, but the pancakes are worth it) and Gary Danko for dinner.
Also do the walk from Union Square to the Wharf. It's a whole day adventure, but so worth it!
San Francisco has so much to offer, and if you have access to a car for day trips, the possibilities are almost endless. Do you like doing outdoor/physical activities? Museums and history? Art galleries and plays? Food & wine?
Walk, walk, walk! What a fun city to walk in! Start downtown and walk around through Chinatown and the financial district (get a map, I can't remember which is where) and then walk sort of counter-clockwise when you reach the wharf, seeing all the fun things along the way that people have mentioned. I like to walk up a few of those hills. A good thing is to follow the trolley lines, so when you get tired you can hop on.
Oh, the reason I said to walk from downtown through the financial district is because that direction avoids the giant hills. If you don't care about walking up hills, all directions are interesting and fun... although the Tenderloin is pretty rough.
I believe one day we are going to hire a limo to take us to some wineries in Napa. Other than that, nothing much has been planned. Sounds like there is a lot to choose from! Keep the suggestions coming!
If you really like wine, the Santa Cruz mountains has great wineries (much much better and less touristy than Napa). (:
I loved the Mission district when I was there... Farolito's tacos (right by Mission and 24th BART station) has awesome huge cheap burritos, and there are some cool bars near there (I liked Rosamunde's Sausage Grill, which had a great draught menu and was playing "Holy Grail" on the TV at the bar...). The wharf area was fun if touristy. At Pier 45, go to the Musee Mecanique--all old penny arcade machines that you can actually still play. North Beach/Telegraph Hill and Chinatown were fun. Ton Kiang is awesome dim sum. Riding the streetcar is definitely fun; don't take the one that leaves right near the wharf, or the California line that doesn't go anywhere; the other one is less crowded than the wharf one and only a couple blocks away, and just as scenic/nifty.
Farther afield, I loved going to Big Sur and driving along the coast, especially seeing all the otters near Monterey (I am obsessed with otters). We went to Big Basin as well, which was gorgeous, and stayed in a treehouse near Corralitos, which was the coolest place I've ever stayed.
Definitely pack fall clothing, if you're coming in the next couple weeks. The day times are nice, but there is always fog and the evenings get cool.
If you like museums, check out the De Young Museum, The Legion of Honor and The Academy of Sciences. De Young and Academy of Science are within walking distance of each other (along with the Japanese Tea Garden, which is a childhood favorite of mine) but would definitely be an all day thing.
Pier 39 (and actually most of the area along the Embarcadero close to the Bay Brdige) is pretty touristy, but there are some nice restaurants, good people watching and like someone else mentioned, AT&T Park, home of the Giants (be prepared for a lot orange and black pride going on, lol)
Union Square has all the good shopping, if that interests you.
Napa is very close and fun, but its expensive. You will pay a tasting fee at every winery you go to, some more than others (and some even charge an additional tasting fee for their premium wines) If you're there on a weekend, hit up Ad Hoc for brunch. I went there a couple years ago and still remember it, it was so good!
There is so much going on it really depends on what kind of stuff you want to see!