San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world. I've been lucky enough to visit every few years since I was a kid and see it change over the years. I wanted to share with you all a few of my travel tips and recommendations for your next trip!
RIDE SHARING APPS There's a reason why SF was the birthplace of Uber and Lyft. It's by far the best way to get around, especially if you're visiting. You can try to use buses and other public transportation, but Uber pool and Lyft line are pretty affordable and quick options. Especially after-hours when buses don't run often.
GETAROUND APP This mobile app lets you rent from people around you from $5 an hour. It's a great option instead of traditional car rental companies, since it's so much cheaper and you get a cool range of cars to choose from. I was about to rent someone's Tesla for an hour just to try it out, but didn't end up having enough time.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE This bridge is gorgeous in every single way, whether it's day or night, foggy or clear, windy or not. I love renting a bike and riding across the entire bridge and back and exploring the Golden Gate Park.
PALACE OF THE FINE ARTS Take your bike from Golden Gate and ride over to the Palace of the Fine Arts. This park has a beautiful domed theater (perfect for photos!) and also hosts some concerts and events.
FISHERMAN'S WHARF A fun, touristy place to spend a few hours. It's right on the water and you can plan a few boat trips from here.
MOSAIC STEPS A beautiful art installation in a pretty neighborhood with great views overlooking SF and the water. Each mosaic piece is handcrafted by the people in the neighborhood. It's also great for exercising and running stairs (though go early in the morning so there are less people).
BILLY GOAT HILL Another hill with a great view of the city, but comes with an added plus of having a cool swing where you can feel like you're floating over the view.
PAINTED LADIES This row of Victorian homes is the epitome of classic San Francisco residences--large porches, stoops, and a beautiful pastel color. You may recognize one of the homes from the TV show Full House. The Alamo Square Park nearby is also a great place to hang out and relax.
LOMBARDY STREET This steep, inclined street is famous for its crazy, zigzag turns and is known as "the most crooked street in the world". It's lined with beautiful plants and flowers (especially apparent in the spring and summer), and beautiful homes. My favorite one is the blue home covered in vines and bougainvillea flowers.
CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES I love this super modern, beautifully designed museum with an aquarium, rainforest, and planetarium. Every Thursday from 6-10pm the place opens up for nightlife with cocktails and music (it's an awesome date idea!)
CABLE CAR RIDE Go on a romantic ride through the city on the historic and picturesque cable car. They run from 6AM - 12:30 at night and run about every 10 minutes. The most popular lines are Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason. The best views start around the Powell and Market intersection and go towards Fisherman's Wharf (these lines also climb pretty steep hills).
TWIN PEAKS For the highest views over San Francisco, take a car up to Twin Peaks. It's a great place to watch the sunrise, sunset, and also go at night to see the twinkling city lights.
ALCATRAZ This historic prison island held some of the most dangerous criminals in American history. Alcatraz is now home to many rare plants and flowers, marine wildlife, and sea birds.
DOLORES PARK This is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon. It will be pretty crowded on sunny weekend days where people will soak up the vitamin D whenever Karl the Fog isn't present. Feel free to bring footballs and frisbees and dogs to enjoy the park.
San Francisco is the city with the most restaurants per capita, which makes for amazing foodventures, but don't underestimate the extensive wait times that come with the restaurant culture. Try to make reservations when you can and plan for longer wait times in your trip.
ZAZIE Great, cute option for brunch. Try their amazing french toast and gingerbread pancakes.
SAN TUNG I still dream about this place's Dry Fried Chicken. It's so amazing! I think most of their other food is also pretty good, namely the Sizzling Rice Soup and Shrimp & Leek Dumplings. Waits can get long so try to go at an off-peak hour.
LA PALMA Go-to place for Mexican food fix. Mexican food in SF is not as great as LA but this place is great to go when you're craving burritos and guac. Love that they make their own tortillas, salsa, and guac!
TURTLE TOWER SF This Vietnamese place has arguably the best pho in SF. Though my usual go-to order in most pho places is beef, the chicken pho here is amazing and worth a try (or two).
MONSIEUR BENJAMIN Enjoy excellent authentic French cuisine with great escargot, foie gras, steak frites, and frog legs. The restaurant is also designed beautifully, and make sure to make a reservation before you go
LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB A very unique and trendy Asian fusion restaurant. There's so much creativity and innovation in each dish. Don't forget the beef tongue buns, spam (may be only on the secret menu), and tuna poke!
COQUETA A modern interpretation of Spanish tapas. I absolutely love Jamon Iberico and this is a great place outside of Spain to get that fix. The Salmon Ahumado is also worth a try. Keep your palate refreshed with a couple cocktails, their gin and tonic ones are famous and beautifully refreshing!
MAMA'S ON WASHINGTON SQUARE A great classic brunch place. Don't miss their Monte Cristo sandwich, french toast, or their pancake sampler, if you're having trouble deciding.
WATERBAR This place to enjoy $1 happy hour oysters over a gorgeous view of the Bay Bridge and the water. Their other seafood choices are also pretty great.
IZA RAMEN Great ramen and slick modern design inside. Their tsukemen (the ramen where the noodles and broth come separately, and you have to dip the noodles into the broth) is the star of the show. Friday and Saturday nights can get pretty busy as this place is very popular, so be prepared to wait if you come at that time.
STATE BIRD PROVISIONS Don't forget to make reservations way ahead of time at this Asian-influenced American tapas restaurant if you don't want to wait around 3 hours. You could also try to come early to snag a seat without a long wait. You may need to make reservations about 2 months ahead of time, so keep that in mind if you're planning your trip to SF. The tapas to try are the pork belly and plums, uni-kimchi chawanmushi, smoked trout avocado.
VESUVIO CAFE This cafe really takes you back to the time of the Beat poets with its beautiful architecture, real candlelight, jazz and poetry.
EL TECHO DE LOLINDA Enjoy your drinks with an amazing view of the downtown skyline. The sangria is worth a try in pitcher form, and the food is also pretty fantastic.
SCHOREDER'S A great place to get your Das Boot beer along with yummy bratwurst. It's also a great place to catch a game.
CERVECERIA DE MATEVEZA A small, experimental brewery. Try their beer flight! Their empanadas are excellent as well.
BOURBON AND BRANCH This beautiful speakeasy has excellent cocktails. Try to make reservations before you come and receive a password that guarantees your entry.
BUDDHA LOUNGE A great dive bar with a juke box with old school music and an all-around fun atmosphere. Be sure to try their Buddha beer that comes in a bottle shaped as a green Buddha.
21ST ADMENDEMNT BREWERY This place has great beers and atmosphere. Try their beer flights and watermelon beer, which is served with a watermelon slice and definitely hits the spot. It's a great place for a Giants game (though I'm a Dodgers fan and will avoid this place like the plague during games).
THE VIEW Along with stunning views of downtown, this bar has a classy ambiance. Snap some great pictures of the twinkling lights at nighttime!
MR. HOLMES' BAKEHOUSE Well worth getting up early to make sure you get a cruffin. The bakery opens at 7AM but the cruffins don't come out until 9, and there's a limit of 2 per person. I also loved their other pastries, including the chocolate croissant and chocolate chip cookie. Don't forget to take a pic of the cute neon sign "I got baked in SF"!
SIGHTGLASS COFFEE This place serves up all-around solid coffee. I absolutely loved their iced almond latte, it gave me life in the morning.
BOBA GUYS SF is lacking in great boba, but this is one of the yummiest milk tea boba in the city. I love the aardvark logo.
BI-RITE CREAMERY This place has arguably the best ice cream in SF and I love their unique flavors. Make sure the try the Blue Bottle Coffee!
B. PATISSERIE One of the best French bakeries in SF with lots of amazing pastries. They're famous for their delicious kouign amann, but also try their chocolate cookie and croissants.
BENKYODO I absolutely love Japanese desserts and this place makes me super happy. Their mochi is great, try their strawberry, blueberry, and green tea.
MR. AND MRS. MISCELLANEOUS Another amazing ice cream place in SF with different featured flavors each day. This place gives Bi-Rite a run for their money.
PIE HOLE Amazing pies. I usually love all sweets that are earl grey, since it's not overly sweet and this place is famous for their earl grey pie. Don't forget to try their savory pies too!
SAINT FRANK COFFEE Love the design of this beautiful place. Try anything with their almond milk, which is a special homemade Almond Macademia Milk. This coffee shop is also a great place to work.
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