Things to Do In San Francisco

Looking for things to do in San Francisco? I was only in town for a few days but I explored as much as I could. Here is my list of top things to do in San Fran!

Alcatraz Island National Park

Alcatraz was the first thing we did after dropping our bags off at our hotel. You should definitely purchase tickets in advance for the ferry that will take you over. There is only one ferry (the one that I linked) that is actually allowed to dock at Alcatraz. You can read more about our trip to the island here!


Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with BigBus San Francisco

One of my favorite things to do when I’m visiting a city with limited time is a hop-on hop-off bus tour! I’ve done them all over the world and while they are “touristy,” they are also a really great way to get around a city and hit all the major landmarks and things to do. We did the Classic Ticket but if we had more time we would have done the Premium Ticket which includes the Sausalito route as well.

Visit the Sea Lions

The sea lions like to hang out at Pier 39 and you’ll probably hear them before you see them. The area is super touristy but if you’re an animal lover it’s definitely worth it. I loved watching the sea lions play, fight, bark, flop around, etc. They really are just like dogs & puppies!

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Grab a Drink at the Buena Vista

In 1952 this is where the Irish Coffee was recreated in America! There was a lot of trial and error before they were able to make it happen, you can read the full story here. They can serve up to 2,000 Irish Coffees a day and it’s a great stop to sit down and rest your feet after a day of exploring the city. If you aren’t in the mood for a hot coffee, they have iced versions as well!

Eat Chinese Food in Chinatown

I was sooooo excited to be in a city with a historical Chinatown. We grabbed dim sum lunch at Great Eastern which you can read more about here!

Ride San Francisco’s Historic Streetcar

One of the country’s most historical streetcar and cable car systems, this is definitely a must do! A one way ride is $7 and you can’t hop-on-hop-off so best to take it a longer distance. We hopped on the F Line at Market & Church and took it all the way to the end, which happens to be right by Buena Vista - the Irish Coffee bar I mentioned above! Schedule information can be found here.


Take a Picture with Golden Gate Bridge

Did you really go to San Francisco if you don’t have a picture with the Golden Gate Bridge? One of the stops on our BigBus tour was North Vista Point where we were able to grab some photos. If we had more time we would have walked back across the bridge from here!


Check Out a Rooftop Bar

For gorgeous views of the city I definitely recommend checking out one of the numerous rooftop bars in San Francisco. We spent an evening at Charmaine’s sipping craft cocktails & sitting around one of the firepits.


Take Advantage of San Francisco’s Foodie Scene

To say San Francisco has a great foodie scene would be an understatement. I was overwhelmed when trying to decide where to eat, there were soooo many amazing options. Whatever type of food you are in the mood for, you can find. I definitely recommend hitting up some seafood focused restaurants if you are a seafood lover like me! You can check out some of the places we went to here.

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Head to Wine Country

If you have the time, you’ll definitely want to spend at least a day in wine country. Just a little over an hour north of San Fran you will find miles and miles of vineyards and farms - and nicer weather! We hired a private wine driver from Wine Tour Drivers and it was THE BEST. They will meet you at your accommodations in San Francisco, or in wine country, and drive your car for you. They will also work with you to plan an itinerary & make reservations based on your preferences if you aren’t sure what vineyards/breweries/tasting rooms you want to visit.