San Francisco is a straightforward metropolis to get mistaken. Many vacationers spend their total go to checking off all the clichés: The Haight-Ashbury Intersection, a journey on a cable automotive, the sea lions of Fisherman’s Wharf, and an Italian dinner on Columbus Avenue.
If you wish to do San Francisco the predictable means, then your itinerary is out there to you in the earlier paragraph. If you would like a bit of extra substance to your weekend, then take a look at the information beneath. We’ll even do you a favor and enable you to examine off the clichés with out making them the major locations.
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It’s a reasonably small metropolis, simply 49 sq. miles—and sq. at that; it’s unfold 7 miles on every axis. When you plan your weekend round totally different neighborhoods, you’ll be able to cowl plenty of floor with out even needing a automotive. Simply load up a BART card and a Three-day Muni go, and you’ll be set. (Simply don’t activate the MUNI go till the second of your Four days, per our define beneath.) Oh, and convey a sweater and pair of strolling sneakers. It will get chilly, and you’ll be masking a lot of floor—typically uphill.
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The place to Keep
Nearly each resort in San Francisco is in Union Sq. or Downtown (they’re adjoining neighborhoods). Whereas it’s going to really feel tremendous touristy to do that, it’s additionally a extremely good location to begin and finish every day, since practically each route on the buses, trams, cable vehicles, and BART go via right here. If you wish to take the BART to or from the SF or Oakland airports, it’s additionally very handy.
When you’re in staying at a no-frills boutique resort (that’s each lovely and newly renovated), then Resort Triton is a good selection. And sure, ‘no-frills boutique resort’ sounds contradictory, however that’s as a result of Triton focuses on all the pieces you want and isn’t attempting to wow you with any BS: Its rooms are tastefully trendy, with a vivid coloration palette that polarizes nobody. (How is that so onerous to get proper?) With three core lessons of rooms and suites, you’ll be able to unfold out as a lot as you want, then head right down to breakfast at Café de la Presse, Triton’s onsite French Bistro, or Herlen Place, for some American-style brunch. There’s a 24-hour health middle, a comfortable examine, and equally fashionable foyer for fast conferences.
If you would like one thing a bit of extra elevated and a bit of disruptive of the norm (which is oh-so San Francisco in the first place), e book a room or suite (or the 6,200-sq. foot penthouse) at The Battery. The Downtown venue looks like a homegrown SoHo Home, in that it’s a members-only membership. Nevertheless, visitors in their 14-room resort get to take pleasure in all of its onsite advantages, from non-public reveals and occasions to a wellness middle and varied bars and eating places. Rooms fluctuate in type, some boasting uncovered brick, floor-to-ceiling home windows, and panoramic Bay views.
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It is a neighborhood information, organized in a means that’ll maximize the stuff you get to see and do when you’re in city. It seems to be daunting on this aspect of your journey, but it surely’s manageable once you take it in order, step-by-step. Plus, you’ll virtually be an skilled by the time it’s via.
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Thursday Afternoon and Night: Union Sq. + Chinatown + North Seashore
Assuming you arrived noon and checked into your Union Sq./Downtown resort, you’ve spent chunk of your day. So, as an alternative of creating haste together with your lengthy to-do record, keep on foot in the space. You may hit the large flagship shops and see the cable vehicles taking off alongside Market Road in Union Sq. (don’t journey one simply but), then stroll as much as Chinatown to your first dinner. (Begin by strolling via Dragon’s Gate at Bush and Grant Streets.)
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Home of Nanking is a longstanding and fancy-ish favourite of locals and vacationers alike, although it may be onerous to get a desk and not using a reservation. If you would like one thing a bit of extra homey, genuine, and much more acquainted, go round the nook to Hunan Residence, which has been a staple in Chinatown for practically 40 years.
There isn’t loads to see in Chinatown by night, and you may make the brief trek again right here by daytime if you wish to discover its markets or go to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Manufacturing facility. In any other case, the one meal will suffice.
If Chinese language shouldn’t be your most well-liked delicacies, stroll over to North Seashore, the land of Coppolas and Beatniks, for some Italian fare. Simply don’t make the mistake of consuming wherever on Columbus Avenue, since there are plenty of overpriced, gimmicky joints. You may’t fail with a elaborate dinner at the trattoria Ideale, and even the fast counter service at Golden Boy Pizza. After, bar hop alongside Grant Avenue Savoy Tivoli and The Saloon; they’re a few of the metropolis’s longstanding staples. You may sneak previous the seedy lights of Broadway into the again alley at 15 Romolo or down Columbus to Tosca for a nightcap, marveling at the Beatniks’ Metropolis Lights Bookstore, the copper-green Sentinel Constructing (the place many a historic movie was produced by Copolla and co), and the Transamerica Pyramid, SF’s most notable skyscraper (now dwarfed by the phallic Salesforce tower).
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If you would like some leisure together with your drinks, e book a present at the over-the-top Seashore Blanket Babylon. The venue was based in 1974, and has since adopted the journey of Snow White as she seeks Prince Charming. The solid of musically proficient comedians updates the present quarterly, skewering anybody related in trendy popular culture. (It is a gem you’ll definitely advocate to future SF guests.)
You’ll be again in North Seashore for breakfast in your ultimate morning, so there’s extra to see by day.
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Friday: Russian Hill + The Wharf + Fort Mason and Crissy Subject + Golden Gate Bridge + Presidio + Land’s Finish + Baker Seashore
At the moment’s your large day to journey a cable automotive. It’s first on the record, so go get in line at Market Road vivid and early. Your Three-day MUNI go gained’t work, so simply pay the payment to get your yuks. You’ll journey the tracks via Union Sq., China City, Nob Hill, and get out at Russian Hill, at the prime of Lombard Road (the famed ‘most crooked avenue in the U.S.’, with its eight hairpin turns down one metropolis block). After, stroll up and down Russian Hill’s aspect streets if you need extra picturesque, bougainvillea-dotted pictures. (One detour price taking is to Macondray Lane, the inspiration and setting of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Metropolis (although in the collection he modifies its identify to Barbary Lane.)
Then, stroll to Fisherman’s Wharf, for the different super-touristy level on at this time’s agenda. Don’t dawdle right here. Notice the sea lions that lounge and bark at one another, get a free pattern at Ghirardelli Sq. as you stroll west, and resist all temptation to hire a motorcycle for the Golden Gate Bridge (strolling it’s far superior). Perhaps you booked a go to to Alcatraz, which isn’t in this itinerary (since it would eat up a lot of your day). When you did e book it, your boat leaves from Pier 33.
From Ghirardelli, stroll out to the Aquatic Park Pier. Snap you photograph, then head up the hill simply earlier than the pier, to the left. This may wrap round to Fort Mason Park, and onward towards the Golden Gate Bridge. When you aren’t eager on strolling the few miles to the bridge (comprehensible, however an enormous loss however), you’ll be able to catch a bus throughout Cow Hole and to the Presidio, the place you’ll be able to hike as much as the bridge. Nevertheless, in case you’re prepared to stroll all the means, you’re in for a shocking stroll. First, it’s in all probability sensible to cease for lunch at easygoing Radhaus or upscale Greens in the Fort Mason Heart.
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After refueling, stroll the perimeter of the water, previous the boat docks of Gashouse Cove and the fields of Marina Inexperienced. You’ll get views of the Golden Gate all the whereas, the spotlight of which is once you hit the sands of Crissy Subject Seashore. There’s a tiny footbridge after the first stretch of sand; after you cross it, flip proper and stroll alongside the sand for the most lovely stretch of the hike. You’ll be a part of the canine walkers—and, extra importantly, the happiest canine on the planet—and would possibly even see some rowers, sailors, transport boats, and sea lions as you go. That is peak bliss, individuals.
After the sandy stretch, you’ll be able to caffeinate at the Warming Hut and stroll up the hill to the pedestrian entrance of the bridge. (Alternatively, you’ll be able to keep on the highway and stroll to the base of the bridge, for an equally spectacular vantage level on the pink marvel. From the prime, you’ll merely cross the bridge and come again the means you got here. (Maintain onto your hats.)
After, because you’re none too desirous to stroll, simply get your self to the Presidio, the forested 1,500-acre patch of inexperienced that covers the northwest nook of the metropolis. It’s price getting misplaced on a hike right here, but it surely’s in all probability time to loosen up in the backseat of an Uber. Level your driver to the Sutro Baths, a 19th-century public bathing complicated, now in ruins however with the identical stellar oceanfront views. From right here you’ll stroll (sorry!) 25 minutes to Lands’ Finish Labyrinth, then one other brief trek to Baker Seashore. Now you’ll be able to sit back in the sand and take pleasure in views of each the bridge and the Pacific sundown.
Hail a automotive to the resort to clean up for dinner, then go to your reservation at Zuni, simply down Market Road.
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Saturday: Embarcadero + Ocean Seashore + Golden Gate Park + Haight-Ashbury + Alamo Sq. + Fillmore + Nob Hill + Tenderloin
Saturday begins breezy, as you snack your means via the weekly Farmers Market at the Embarcadero Heart. After that, hop on the N-Judah practice underground at the Embarcadero MUNI station. That is the first cease, and you’re driving all of it the technique to the second-to-last one. You’re pointed again to the ocean, this time a pair neighborhoods south of the place you have been yesterday. (This neighborhood is known as the Outer Sundown.) Get out at Judah St. and 46th Ave, the place you’ll pop into Bother Espresso for his or her well-known cinnamon toast. It is perhaps sensible to place your identify in at Outerlands a couple of doorways down, in case there’s a wait. You may browse the retailers between the two in the meantime, or if the wait is especially lengthy, you’ll be able to trek over to Ocean Seashore for the freshest expanse in the metropolis. (Additionally place to go for a run.) Savor one other espresso after lunch, which you’ll be able to refill at the loved-and-adored Java Seashore Café simply earlier than crossing the Nice Freeway to the sand.
Relying in your power and leisure time, you’ll be able to both begin the stroll into Golden Gate Park from the far west finish, or you’ll be able to hop the bus or practice again inland. Your goal is the east finish of the park anyhow, so it is perhaps price saving time and power and simply hopping on transit. The locations are plentiful right here: Poke via the de Younger Artwork Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Backyard, the Conservatory of Flowers, or simply sit back in the Robin Williams Meadow to understand some calm in the middle of the metropolis.
From right here you’ll be able to meander down Haight Road (look ahead to the Ashbury crossing, although it’s pretty underwhelming). You may cease into document retailers, thrift shops, smoke retailers, and extra. Don’t spend an excessive amount of time, because it’s extra of a gimmick than a relic nowadays. Flip left towards Alamo Sq. Park once you get to Scott Road, the place you’ll get that postcard-perfect view of the Painted Girls homes.
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Dinner is in Fillmore: It’s wonderful Indian fare at DOSA. It’s enjoyable to discover Fillmore, too, as soon as dwelling to the metropolis’s jazz and blues scene. Now it’s obtained high-end bookstores and boutiques, and it’s charming any time of day. Head barely northeast after dinner, to Hyde Road, the place you’ll hear the smooth whir of the trolley cable. This neighborhood is Nob Hill. Cease into Bacchus Wine Bar or Café Meuse for a nightcap, or Swensen’s Ice Cream for dessert.
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When you’re not too drained, it’s price heading south into the Tenderloin to the tiniest hole-in-the-wall homosexual bar, Aunt Charlie’s. It’s an attraction, even for locals, because it has a few of the finest drag reveals in the nation. The Saturday reveals are at 10 p.m., reservations advisable, with a $5 cowl.
Sunday: Hayes Valley + Castro + Mission + Noe Valley + Twin Peaks + East Bay
Begin your morning with breakfast at Stacks in Hayes Valley, which is a 15-minute stroll via Civic Heart (with a lot of cool authorities buildings to see), or a pair stops away on the bus and practice. Hayes has a lot of good boutiques as properly, so you’ll be able to take a half-hour or extra to discover the retailers.
Now, hop on the practice down Market to 17th and Castro. Weekend mornings procure a pleasant bustle in the Castro, and you’ll see a lot of individuals strolling their canine or having fun with espresso. You may level your self ultimately to Unionmade, the finest curated menswear store in California (and perhaps the total U.S.).
This locations you proper subsequent to Dolores Park. Cue up for an ice cream at Bi Ceremony or recent pastries at Tartine Bakery to eat in the park. You may also seize some tall boys from a nook retailer (go away them wrapped in the paper baggage) and crack them open in the park (located at greater grades, for higher views), earlier than you head to lunch. (Sure, extra consuming.)
Have a stroll down Valencia Road to do extra window-shopping, and burn off your snacks earlier than you devour a well-known Mission burrito. (The Mission can also be the place the metropolis’s latin inhabitants—primarily Mexican—resides.) It’s all the time hotly contested as to which burrito is the finest, however the votes often fall in line for La Taqueria (my favourite), El Farolito, Pancho Villa, and Taqueria Cancun. No matter the place you go, get one with all the fixings, an order of chips and salsa, and some horchata to chase. You would possibly wish to loosen your belt as a precaution.
After lunch, hail a automotive as much as the prime of Twin Peaks—or stroll the hour haul if you want to put on off your burrito. (It’s an attractive stroll via the residential Castro hills and buzzy Noe Valley, too. In any other case, give your self an hour right here after Twin Peaks.)
Go clean up at the resort, and hop the BART to Downtown Oakland or Berkeley. Sadly you gained’t have extra time to discover both on this brief journey, however a dinner and nightcap will partially atone. In Oakland, strive Flora or Hopscotch. In Berkeley, you may get your arms soiled at Angeline’s or have the best meal of your life at Alice Water’s famed Chez Panisse (they e book one month in advance, so mark your calendar to contact them precisely that lengthy earlier than the date). You may toss again a pint at Berkeley’s infamous Albatross Pub or have one thing extra refined at Make Westing in downtown Oakland.
Hail a automotive again to “the metropolis”; whereas it may cost $30-50 to get dwelling, it’s great to expertise a drive throughout the lengthy Bay Bridge, and to see San Francisco glowing on the method. When you want to BART, simply know that it closes after midnight, and that service might be intermittent on Sunday night.
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Monday Morning: North Seashore and Telegraph Hill
Congrats, you’ve lined the bases. Certain, there’s extra, like Alcatraz and Angel Island, or a drive north into the Marin Headlands, Napa and Sonoma, plus a Giants or Warriors recreation. Construct that in in case you’ve obtained extra time, or reserve it to your subsequent go to. (And spend extra time over in East Bay.)
As to your ultimate morning, stroll your self again to North Seashore, up the bustling Montgomery Avenue as individuals commute into work. You’ll go underneath the Transamerica Pyramid as Montgomery graduates into Columbus. Go first to previous Beatnik hangout Caffe Trieste for espresso. If it’s not truly Monday for you, then hop in line early at Mama’s on Washington Sq. for breakfast. (They’re closed Monday, sadly.) In any other case, finish with one other metropolis staple, Mo’s Grill, the place they’ll fill you up to your flight dwelling. After breakfast, squeeze in a stroll to the prime of Telegraph Hill to the base of Coit Tower, which is a memorial to the firemen who battled the metropolis’s 5 large fires. (It’s formed like a hearth hose.) You’ll get one final perspective on San Francisco—a metropolis of views—till your inevitable return.