“I left my heart in San Francisco.”
I have started with the verse of an evergreen song that encapsulates the magic of San Francisco. I once went to visit my best friend there and immediately fell in love with the city. They say ‘only in San Francisco’ for a substantial reason. The Golden City is renowned for its culture, diversity, music and picturesque views across the bay area. You cannot claim to visit California without paying a visit to San Francisco.
There are a bunch of hostels in SF with dorm prices ranging from $35 to $45 per night. A private room for two can cost around $84 to $150 per night. However, this will all depend on the season. The low price may mean shared bathrooms, but the majority of hotels come with complimentary Wi-Fi and have a TV in the room. Conversely, a viable option is Airbnb. You can also try to book outside San Francisco city, but anywhere in the Bay area is known for being pricey.
SF’s public transit includes metros, buses and historic streetcars. As per your itinerary, you can purchase a ticket for $2.25, a single day pass for $21 or a week-long pass for $42. Another popular transit option is the cable car, which takes you from Powell & Hyde to the renowned Lombard street for only $7.00 Alternatively, San Francisco is also the birth city of Uber and is a terrific replacement to public transportation.
Keep your spending in control by visiting the local supermarkets, mom-and-pop restaurants, and food trucks. Cafés and bars are the most economical options and cost about $8 to $12 for dinner and a drink. Moreover, eating Chinese food is a must in SF because it is good as well as inexpensive than other choices (a meal costing about $8 to $12).
If you are in a mood to splurge, San Francisco is famous for its crab season, starting every November until June. Otherwise, among many excellent Asian restaurants, a personal favorite is Blackwood, where you can get Thai food fused with American flavors. The eatery offers scrumptious stone pots alongside unlimited mimosas for $20 every weekend. Also, do make time for Hog island Oyster Bar to treat your taste buds their fresh oysters and tasty clam chowder.Hot stone pot at Blackwood.
First and foremost, visit Trick Dog to delight your alcohol cravings with a variety of craft cocktails & a wide range of small platters. After that, hit up the Mission for bar-hopping. However, if you want to rock your entire night out then get to SoMa, where there are hordes of nightclubs.
WHAT TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR 3 DAYS?
THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
There is a reason as to why SF is sometimes called The Golden City. Its most iconic landmark is also an engineering marvel. It is recommended to walk across the bridge if you want to soak in the bridge. Alternatively, park your vehicle around the Crissy field trail and walk by the beach shore to get a glimpse of the marvelous Golden Gate.
15 minute walk
THE PALACE OF FINE ARTS
If you would walk east from Crissy field trail, you will discover the palace of fine arts. It has a Roman-style outdoor rotunda being one of the city’s most captured sights. Therefore, take a gentle stroll around the small artificial lagoon, enjoy a picnic on the grass or relax under the rotunda. Believe me; you will feel like you are not in San Francisco.
Drive 12 minutes
I adore this place! It is immensely popular with the tourists as it offers a huge selection of bistros, cafes, and live entertainment. You can also buy souvenirs here, while tiptoeing your way around a galaxy of people, representing the true city culture of SF.
8 minute walk
A place similar in nature to the PIER 39. You can also spot sea lions here if you are lucky, because when I went there last July, there were very few of them.
8 minute walk
Another place that is a big hit with the tourists, and is known for its ice cream and chocolates. Also, they give out a lot of free samples!
RIDE THE CABLE CAR AT POWELL- HYDE
It was a fantastic experience riding the cable car, as we hopped on and stood while heading to the Lombard Street. I would recommend it to anyone visiting San Francisco. Also, it only costs $7.00 for a one-way ticket with the luxury to pay in cash if you do not have a ticket. It was exhilarating to ride the cable car and experience the bumpy up and downhill tracks of San Francisco.
It is the most crooked street in America and is actually really steep. We went there through the cable car and walked down from the top to take pictures at the end of the street. You can follow the same route to avoid taking pictures in the busy streets.
It is a former federal prison on Alcatraz Island and used to be home to some of the most notorious American criminals while it was operative. Although it was shut down in the 1970s, legends and myths about the vicinity are still fresh. The island prison is also the subject of a Clint Eastwood cult classic Escape from Alcatraz. A day-tour ticket is available for $36. I personally loved the history aspect of the tour.
15 minute walk
FERRY BUILDING MARKET PLACE
It is a suitable alternative to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s wharf and is a great place to buy local products. Also, the ferry building itself is an architectural beauty nestled in a surreal location with scenic views of the bay.
The Union Square is an incredible place to walk and explore all the high-end stores. It seems like this place is in the middle of everything, making it the hub of the town. You will love the experience.
Next to NYC, this is the most famed Chinatown in the U.S. Chinese immigrants first came to the west coast and set up shops in The City by the Bay. Although there’s a China Town in almost every city in the US, the town here has some of the best places to eat Chinese food across the country.
The Twin Peaks is your destination to get a bird’s eye view of the golden city. Therefore, make sure to visit at an appropriate time, as it often gets cloudy and foggy up there, which can blur your view of the city. Remember, parking can get a little scarce, but it is worth a visit particularly for the first timers in the Bay.
15 Minute drive
The Balmy Alley is a heaven of sorts for souls who love the street art. The murals here depict the stories and ideologies resonating with the oppressed, such as the ethnic minorities, immigrants, and LGBT community. It is definitely worth a visit to pay homage to the local artists.
It is recommended to have a brunch or lunch at the District if you do not have time to check other restaurants around the area. The neighborhood is renowned for the hipster vibe. Also, go to The Sycamore for their $15 bottomless mimosas.
The Dolores Park is my much-loved park out of all the ones that I have visited in the west coast. During the weekends, the park is abuzz with people from all walks of life, as after
brunch and drinking at the Mission, it is perfect to relax or continue the vibe at Dolores Park. There is a smashing view of the city to catch, while spotting the painted ladies from the park. Lastly, do not forget to bring some blankets, food, and books to complete your picnic.
You do not need much money to embrace all the tourist attractions, as by following my itinerary, and tips, you can see the city by foot. Alternatively, taking the bus is a practical option. However, if you do not want to walk at all, buying a city visitor pass will give you unlimited rides in the “muni system” as traveling for a day costs $21, three days for $32, and one week for $42.