San Francisco is one of the most interesting and impressive cities in the United States, well worth days of exploration. It boasts eye-catching architecture literally on every block, breathtaking vistas from a number of viewpoints, and several unmissable stops of interest.
First and foremost, San Francisco is a city of many interesting neighborhoods where you will find many examples of fine architecture as you walk by. So just explore.
Of the unmissable sights, Golden Gate Bridge ♥♥♥ is obviously the most iconic. You can walk or bike across, and you can see it from a number of different viewpoints, both on the city side and on the Marin County side.
Fisherman’s Wharf ♥♥ is the tourist hub of the city, with a number of good picture spots, shopping, dining, and a sea lion hangout.
You can walk to and up Lombard Street ♥♥ – “the crookedest street in the world” – but most people would prefer to walk down or better yet, drive down. The views from where it crosses Hyde St – that’s the top tourist landing – are fantastic.
Other fantastic elevated points to see the city include Coit Tower ♥ and Twin Peaks ♥.
Alamo Square ♥ offers the city as the background from its highest points, but most people come here to see the Painted Ladies ♥ – a row of colorful houses.
Another elevated viewpoint to consider is the tower of the DeYoung Museum ♥. It is free to enter and the perspectives are slightly different, but it is also a glass-enclosed space which dampens the impact somewhat. The museum itself reputedly has a good collection. There is a pretty square with fountains and statues in front of the museum, and this segment is part of the bigger Golden Gate Park ♥, which has a number of beautiful points and leafy paths.
The wait for Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car ♥♥♥ is worth the experience, especially if you are lucky enough to get an outside seat/step on the left side in front. The Mason route is not as dramatically steep (and it does not take in Lombard Street), but on the positive side, it draws fewer people. You can ride the car in either direction, but I highly recommend that you start at Market/Powell and go towards the water at least once.
One of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, Alcatraz, has never been part of our itineraries in SF but I only heard enthusiastic recommendations from friends who’ve been.
If you want to venture outside of the city, the artsy suburb of Sausalito ♥♥ or the redwood park Muir Woods ♥♥ are great choices.
In a city as big as San Francisco, there are innumerable dining options that are bound to leave a good impression regardless of whether you reserve a table in advance based on online ratings or just pick a restaurant at random
A special mention goes to Codmother (on the corner of Beach St and Jones St.), a food truck with a fenced yard for the dining space where anything you pick from the menu will be of “ridiculously good” variety.