San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in, but if you are just passing through, there’s no better place to be. The city by the bay is world-famous for its incomparable restaurants and beautiful museums, parks, and of course, the sparkling San Francisco Bay.
The first thing to do when you arrive and the biggest tourist must of the trip is to take a stroll along the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Next you can visit the beautiful hallmark of the San Francisco skyline, the Transamerica Pyramid building. But these two icons are just the tip of the amazing iceberg of sights San Francisco has to offer! You can catch a ferry across the bay to Angel Island for a nice bike ride and to explore the island’s abandoned military base. Next, you can stop at Alcatraz Island to tour the mysterious and infamous prison. This tour is so great that even the locals take it! For a spookier experience, night tours are also available.
For a more thorough city experience, you can rent a yellow Go Car that seats two and zip through set GPS-enabled routes. Driving down Lombard, the city’s twistiest and most famous street can be really fun, but my favorite cruise was passing through enormous and gorgeous Golden Gate Park. Dolores and Alamo Square parks are also amazing to have a picnic and soak up a rare bit of sunshine, but they can be quite crowded with locals and local beer on the weekends. At night, SF offers a huge range of nightlife, with amazing DJs playing in trendy clubs, and an unbelievable number of bars. If your scene is not that loud or electronic, the bars on Mission Street are perfect for enjoying a good cocktail with a live band or just great ambiance, and they range from chic and swanky to deliciously divey.
One of the best things about San Francisco is it’s compact size–the whole city is only 7 miles by 7 miles, making it the ideal walking town. Every street is lined with ornate and colorful victorian homes, interesting shops, and endless cafés, diners, and coffee shops. Spend a day getting lost. The less planning, the better your tour will be. San Francisco’s vibrant neighborhoods are best discovered on foot and without a map.
If you feel like a good trek, Muir Woods is 40 minutes away by car, and you can completely disconnect from the urban world here. The trees are coastal redwoods, famous for being some of the tallest on earth. For another out-of-city experience, booking a ship to take you sailing under the Golden Gate bridge and around the bay is not expensive, and it’s an amazing experience. The beaches are also pristine, but beware, the water this far north is quite cold.
Whether you’re a city person or a country person, San Francisco is a great place to visit. No matter your interests are, this city is guaranteed to have something for you.