A Guide to San Francisco – How to spend 3 days in the city

San Francisco has been on my bucket list ever since watching the series “Charmed” as a little girl, and safe to say this place does not disappoint. 

I stayed at the USA Hostels San Francisco in the Nob Hill area of the city, so naturally, my itinerary is based around this (and the fact that my days began at 7am and finished around 9/10PM).

I’ve done my best to make this San Francisco itinerary a quick and simple list of “To-Do’s” in San Francisco as there is just so much to recommend.

So Here Goes…. 

Day 1 in San Francisco

Lombard Street

-A street that is famous for its steep and sharp winding curves.
-A really quirky street, but what’s more impressive is the view of San Francisco city that you get from the top.

Pier 39

=Pier 39 is most famous for its Sealions, and yes they are cute and, but I personally think the best part about pier 39 is the Lotus Biscoff Cafe.
=I highly recommend the Biscoff Latte.

Alcatraz Tour (Departing from Pier 33) 

-It’s the most popular things to do in San Francisco so MAKE SURE YOU BOOK BEFORE. 
-I booked mine here at it cost me around $50 after booking fee and taxes. 
-Allow yourself around 2/2.5 hrs to visit the island.
– When you get to the island you will be offered an audio pack and headset in your preferred language and will embark on a self – guided audio tour.

Clam Chowder on Fishermans Wharf

-This one is pretty self-explanatory, head back down towards Fishermans wharf and try some of San Francisco’s famous Clam Chowder. 
-There are plenty of restaurants who have this on offer …. So the world is your oyster (or clam LOL).

Ghirardelli Square & Aquatic Park 

-Head down there to get ice cream from the famous Ghirardelli Ice Cream store and sit down by the water. 

Golden Gate Overlook 

-To get here from Ghirardelli square jump in a Lyft as the walk is a little bit too long when you have time constraints.
-From this point, you can catch your first close up view Golden Gate Bridge and then head across to the other side.  
-Most people decide to bike across the bridge but as I’m a picture-taking keen bean I decided to walk. 

Golden Gate Overlook, San Fransisco

Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point

-Once you get to the other side of the bridge you will be led on to this viewpoint. 
-Not only do you get great views of the bridge but also great views of San Francisco city from across the water. 
-It’s also a really great sunset spot. 

View Vista Point, San Fransisco

Sausalito 

-From the View Vista Point, it takes about 50 minutes to walk down to the Harbour town of Sausalito. 
-It’s a lovely, chilled out town and its another great place just to relax by the water and escape the madness of San Francisco City.
-I decided to head here for a few cocktails: https://barrelhousetavern.com/.

Sausalito, San Fransisco

Battery Spencer 

-Yet another Golden Gate viewpoint but probably one of the better ones in San Francisco (opposite side of the road from the View Vista Point).
-Get a Lyft here from Sausalito – Google Maps can send the driver in the wrong direction so make sure he knows what you’re looking for. 
-Another great sunset spot in San Francisco.

Battery Spencer, San Fransisco

Marshalls Beach 

-By far my favourite Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint in San Francisco, not only do you get the bridge, but you also get the beach.
-To get here you will need to either walk back over the bridge towards the city or head back over to the View Vista Point and catch a Lyft. 
-Get here just after sunset (Twilight) to get the best views (& pictures) 
-It can be quite difficult to find your way back in the dark so just something to bear in mind (Thankfully I found a lovely couple who let me walk with them and jump in their Uber.)  

Marshalls Beach, San Fransisco

Day 2 In San Francisco

Transamerica Building & Financial District

-Take a walk into the financial district to have a look at the city’s skyscrapers.
-The main one I went to look at was the Transamerica Building due to its unusual shape.

Transamerica Building, San Francisco

Ferry Building Market Place

-Here you can visit there Farmers Market and stop for breakfast.
-I grabbed a coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee and THE BEST grilled cheese sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery’s.

Blue Bottle Coffee, San Fransisco

Powell-Hyde Tram Route

-From the Ferry Building walk down to the Cable car Turnaround and take a trip on the Powell-Hyde tram route (1-way will cost $8).
-You can get great views of San Francisco city throughout the journey – Especially of Alcatraz as your riding down the hill towards Fisherman’s Wharf.

Powell-Hyde Tram, San Fransisco

Painted Ladies

-Get off the tram just before it heads down the hill to Fisherman’s Wharf and take the 30-minute walk to Painted Ladies.
-Painted Ladies in Alamo Square is a set of colourful Victorian houses that are backdropped by the San Francisco city centre. 
-Although these houses are the most popular, most of the homes in this area of San Francisco have a lot of character, so make sure you do some off-piste exploring around here. 

Haight- Ashbury

-What I would describe as the “hippy” area of San Francisco (in the space of 10 minutes I was offered free hugs and a poetry reading).
-There are lots of Famous houses in the area, but if you’re a 90’s kid like me the “That’s So Raven” house will grab your attention the most (461 Ashbury Street).
-Spend some time here having a look at the vintage stores and grab a drink at Zam Zam.

Zam Zam Bar, San Fransisco

Twin Peaks


-The walk to Twin Peaks from Haight Ashbury is around 35 minutes, and as “peak” would suggest It’s all uphill so be warned. 
-I arrived here around 50 minutes before sunset. The sun sets behind the peak which means you get a stunning view of the moon rise over the San Francisco cityscape (picture below explains it all).

Twin Peaks, San Fransisco

Day 3 in San Francisco

As I felt that I have seen everything I wanted to see in the San Francisco, on day 3 I decided to tour a 1-day tour of Yosemite National park with Extranomical Tours, It was a really great tour, the guide was knowledgeable and did his best to keep us entertained on the 3-hour drive.

If you wanted to take things a bit slower, you could split days 1&2 across 3 days and get the chance to visit more restaurants and bars (as I know this is something I missed out on).

However, if you are like me and want to cram in everything that’s humanly possible whilst you are on holiday then the Yosemite tour is for you!

Summary

San Francisco is now on my list of favourite cities. Not only are there so many iconic landmarks to see but you can simply get great views, with lots of character, just by walking around this very hilly city (you also get a great calf workout).

Basically, 10/10 would recommend xx

If you enjoyed my tips on San Francisco and are interested in checking out other cities in California. Click here for my guide to Los Angeles.

Leave a Reply