Must See, Eat, Do Recommendations for San Francisco, CA

Travel Ganas SF Intense 1-3 Day Top Sightseeing/Food Itinerary

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San Francisco Culture

“Bay Area” in “Norcal” – Famous for its Hippie, liberal, passionate, politically aware/conscious, activist history (especially in Berkeley). You will meet such a diverse people ranging from those who “know where they stand and are not afraid to shout it out with a megaphone on a soapbox” to creative artists to “lovers of quality, healthy/organic foods” to Green Environmental activists to those “straight from Oakland” – “The Hood”- to those with a unique sense of fashion and musical style.

The cultural lifestyle is very diverse (wide variety of African American, Asian American (not to mention Filipino, Thai, Chinese, list goes on and on), Caucasian, European, Middle Easter/Persian/Indian, Latin American, Hispanic, etc all mixed together!), eclectic, artistic, laid back, slower pace, fashionably trendy or “not caring about fashion at all”, “their own hip hop dance style”, and relaxed. You will also sadly find a large homeless population in the streets which trademarks the city as well.

With its European cultural, urban planning, and architectural influence, you’ll find numerous festivals, fairs, community events, people in the streets which means – you can walk the city or use BART, bus, electric trolley, train transportation, or bike transportation! (Parking is so hard to find in the city!)

Be prepared to walk, run, and/or stumble across SF’s steep hills and enjoy seeing the beautiful, unique mix of architectural apartment styles “squished” right next to each other.

Full House! (Famous House from a TV show from the 90’s)

Best Time to Visit San Francisco

September and October

Summers are cold, wet, and foggy in the city!

But outside of SF is very nice – especially Marin during the summer!

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Make your own discovery of SF culture and people –

share with us your cultural experiences !

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Sights

 

Alcatraz Island

  • Reserve tickets in advance. Go on the last ferry so you can see the downtown lights on the way back.
  • Very cold – dress appropriately. Interesting audio tour: you wear headphones and walk around hearing the typical day in the prison, history, and escape stories!
  • http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/ 

Ferry Building

Lombard Street- Crookedest Street

Golden Gate Bridge and Lookout Point

Fisherman’s Wharf Pier 32

  • You can observe all the sea lions laying out getting a tan! how strange, interesting, and random!
  • Great Clam chowder, shops, restaurants, and carnival area. Might be a bit pricey. Good to take a date.
  • http://visitfishermanswharf.com/

Coit Tower

 

Twin Peaks

Je June Institute

Dolores Park

  • Since they don’t really have a “beach”, most locals go to PARKS! Hang out, eat, drink, hula hoop, play games, sleep, layout, play music, drum circles – especially on a HOT day!
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolores_Park

Golden Gate Park

People hanging out in the trees!!

Power to the Peaceful Festival!

Tranquil Lake

On sundays, they close down the street and you can ride bikes in the area. There are buffalo in the park.

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Must See Neighborhoods/Districts

Presidio Heights

Haight and Ashbury

Union Square

Chinatown

Little Italy

Civic Center Plaza

City Hall

Japantown

Mission District

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If you are in SF for more than 2 days, 

then you can check out these other districts:

Pacific Heights

Marina

Embarcadero

The Castro

Nob Hill

Laurel Heights

Soma

Sunset District

Portrero Hill/Dogpatch (Wharf District near the Ballpark)

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SAFETY – Be careful

Don’t go to the following districts at night

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Nightlife

Mission District Bar Hopping – all no cover

  • Ellbow Room

  • Historical/older jazzy, speakeasy style, dim/red lighting, small, 2 rooms, lounge with vintage decor
  • http://www.elbo.com/

Union Square

  • Eve

  • You can dance! larger area, building/room itself not much architectural character, but near alley way, no cover
  • http://eveloungesf.com/
  • Swig is on Geary and Jones

  • Modern style, couches, loud blasting music, can’t really dance there
  • http://www.swigbar.com/

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Music Venues

Bottom of the Hill

http://www.bottomofthehill.com/

The Filmore

http://www.livenation.com/The-Fillmore-tickets-San-Francisco/venue/229424

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PARADES & FESTIVALS

There are so many film, green, street, cultural, arts, crafts, jazz, blues, etc. fairs and festivals!

Few favorites are:

Brazilian Festival

Great Pillow Fight of San Francisco

Bay to Breakers

  • 100th Year! It’s CRAZY! Absolute MADNESS!! Marathon from the Bay to the Breakers. They might not do it next year =(
  • Thousands of people WASTED at 8am in the MORNING!
  • People dress up or go naked. They drink from 7am until they pass out wherever they stop. People in houses are selling jello shots on the main strip of the route. There are party houses.
  • There are so many people, there’s no service. So if you try calling – it’s not going to work! Don’t lose your group!
  • Parade Floats of people dressed up as a theme and beer on the float or wagons carrying kegs. People screaming down from the houses.
  • People have their alcohol in their backpacks or water bottle.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_to_Breakers

Stern Grove Music Festival in the Summer

http://www.sterngrove.org/

LOVEFEST & PARADE

  • http://www.sflovevolution.org/
  • Typically end of September, thousands of people watch the parade then come together in Civic Center Plaza. Tons of DJ’s, drinking in public, dancing! SO MUCH FUN! and FREE!

More Festival Resources:

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Museums

***Asian Art Museum

http://www.asianart.org/

Museum of Modern Art

http://www.sfmoma.org/

Conservatory of Flowers

http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/

Dahlia Dell (right next to the Conservatory of Flowers)

  • (Blooming starts in June and September they start to cut them down)
  • The Dahlia is the official flower of San Francisco! Check out the competition quality, national winning Dahlias!
  • http://sfdahlias.org/

California Academy of Sciences and Planetarium

http://www.calacademy.org/

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GRAFFITI ART THROUGHOUT THE CITY

 

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FOOD

FOOD IN SF IS AMAZING! possibly BETTER than LA!

Much more variety, mom and pop shops vs. LA restaurant chains.

 There are far LESS restaurant chains in the Bay!

Way more selection of THAI, Asian (any type of food throughout Asia), Indian, Persian, Middle Eastern, European, etc food! What LA might have that is better is – Mexican food of course!

Way more cafes, cute bakeries, and authentic QUALITY food!

CHINESE

**So – chinese chicken wings are amazing, noodles as well

http://www.yelp.com/biz/so-san-francisco-4

***Santung – BEST chinese food

http://www.yelp.com/biz/san-tung-chinese-restaurant-san-francisco

Roli Roti food truck

(in oakland) (rotisserie pork wrapped in its lechon skin fat! ahha SANDWICHES)

http://www.roliroti.com/

Dim Sum in Chinatown

Great Eastern Restaurant

http://www.yelp.com/biz/great-eastern-restaurant-san-francisco

Hong Kong Lounge

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ICE CREAM/DESSERTS

Bi-Rite Ice Cream (near Dolores Park)

  • http://biritecreamery.com/
  • At least a 45 min wait, homemade unique ice cream flavors as well as other desserts – line out the door!

(If you don’t want to wait in line for Bi-rite ice cream, this is BETTER!)

Mitchell’s Ice Cream in Mission District


Tartine Bakery

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STEAKHOUSE

Izzy’s in the Marina

  • 1950’s Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack Style
  • Strong Manhattan that will “knock you out”
  • Awesome steak with 2 huge sides
  • 50 different sauces lining all the booths. You just look up and pick which sauce you want.
  • They have real grounded horseradish that will “clear your sinuses”
  • Featured on “Check Please, Bay Area” TV restaurant review show
  • http://www.izzyssteaks.com/content/view/50/93/

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FRENCH

Chez Pa Pa

Chez Ma Man

  • Narrow restaurant with bar stools, 1 table inside, and 1 table outside
  • Fast, rustic French food, quick meal (same owner as Chez Pa Pa)
  • http://www.chezmamansf.com/

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MODERN DINER FOOD

Blue in the Castro

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AMERICAN GASTROPUB

Star Belly

  • Wide selection of beers, alcohol, “red champagne”, seasonal drinks
  • Pate platter with artisan bread and caramelized onion jam, soup, salads, and BEST PIZZAS EVER – unique flavors such as “Jalapeño Bacon”, Mushroom
  • http://www.starbellysf.com/

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INDIAN

Naan ‘n’ Curry

Kennedy’s (Irish Pub/Indian Cuisine) in North Beach

Pakwan

(you can bring in your own bottles of alcohol and pour your own drinks) They are so helpful and accommodating

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THAI

Marnee Thai

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BURMESE FOOD

Salad full of Seeds! How unique and interesting!

Burma Superstar

http://www.yelp.com/biz/burma-superstar-san-francisco

Jasmine Tea with the actual Flower/Leaves in it!

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AMERICAN

NOPA

  • Amazing restaurant. Simple decor but top notch food and amazing mixologists. (highest rated in Yelp of all SF restaurants)
  • http://nopasf.com/

BOURBON AND BRANCH

  • Great mixologists, speakeasy and make sure to reserve a week in advance. or even now. It’s free, but you need a password/reservation to get in.
  • http://www.bourbonandbranch.com/

MISSION BEACH CAFE

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COFFEE/TEA

Philz Coffee

http://www.philzcoffee.com/

Red Java Coffeehouse

Farley’s Coffee

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BURGERS

Whizburger on 17th and South Van Ness

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SANDWICHES

Ikes

  • BEST QUALITY UNIQUE SANDWICHES – Long Wait out the door!

  • The kind of sandwich you HAVE to sit down and eat and wash your hands after you finish because of all the juices.
  • Best Sandwich you’ll ever have!
  • Recommend the sandwich called “Going Home for Thanksgiving”
  • They moved  to opposite corner on the same street.
  • http://ilikeikesplace.com/

Hazel’s

Phat Philly Cheese Steak

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