Travel Ganas SF Intense 1-3 Day Top Sightseeing/Food Itinerary
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.
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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- 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!
- Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market
- HUGE, wide selection of food!
- Amazing for lunch, sandwiches, bbq meats, CHEESES
Lombard Street- Crookedest Street
- You can walk along the sides, beautiful flowers, pretty view at the top! Takes awhile to drive down that street
Golden Gate Bridge and Lookout Point
- Beautiful! You may have to pay a toll. Short drive to Corte Madera, Napa, Oakland, Marin, Mill Valley, etc.
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.
- (you can see from afar)
- Photo opportunity
Je June Institute
- Museum with history/art
- 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!
Golden Gate Park
- LOTS of free concerts and festivals.
On sundays, they close down the street and you can ride bikes in the area. There are buffalo in the park.
Must See Neighborhoods/Districts
- Richer neighborhood with beautiful views and buildings
Haight and Ashbury
- Cafes, crepes place are good there
- Also retail stores, thrift shops- historical, hippie place with interesting architecture, smoke shops, art and music shops as well
- Lots of department, retail stores, and restaurants right in the center of the city
- Great Dim Sum and Chinese Food!
- Amazing restaurants!
Civic Center Plaza
- City Hall, Other Museums, Statues
- Civic Center Plaza- Get off on major streets like market, etc.
- Festivals, malls, shops, restaurants, taiko drum festival, and KARAOKE!
- Lots of happy hour, restaurants, bars, locals, and college crowds
If you are in SF for more than 2 days,
then you can check out these other districts:
- Cute, boutique, restaurants/food
- Richer, upscale area – fun for nightlife as well..different crowd
- Near ferry building and finance district
- Gay District, historical, fun, bars/restaurants
- Lots of locals near Sunset Beach!
Portrero Hill/Dogpatch (Wharf District near the Ballpark)
- Lots of loft buildings, somewhat safe, few cute restaurants (see SF FOOD/restaurant section)
SAFETY – Be careful
Don’t go to the following districts at night
South Van Ness
Mission District Bar Hopping – all no cover
Double Dutch Bar
- You can dance, music, dive bar, small
- Historical/older jazzy, speakeasy style, dim/red lighting, small, 2 rooms, lounge with vintage decor
- You can dance! larger area, building/room itself not much architectural character, but near alley way, no cover
John Collins Lounge
- bit crowded, 2 different bars, area to dance
Swig is on Geary and Jones
- Modern style, couches, loud blasting music, can’t really dance there
330 Ritch (bar/club)
- Club, spacious, fun!
Bottom of the Hill
PARADES & FESTIVALS
There are so many film, green, street, cultural, arts, crafts, jazz, blues, etc. fairs and festivals!
Few favorites are:
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.
Stern Grove Music Festival in the Summer
LOVEFEST & PARADE
- 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:
***Asian Art Museum
Museum of Modern Art
Conservatory of Flowers
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!
California Academy of Sciences and Planetarium
GRAFFITI ART THROUGHOUT THE CITY
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!
**So – chinese chicken wings are amazing, noodles as well
***Santung – BEST chinese food
Roli Roti food truck
(in oakland) (rotisserie pork wrapped in its lechon skin fat! ahha SANDWICHES)
Dim Sum in Chinatown
Great Eastern Restaurant
Hong Kong Lounge
Bi-Rite Ice Cream (near Dolores Park)
- 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
- Take a number and wait in line. Easier to find parking here!
- Homemade ice cream that is unique and original texture. So much thought is put into it that you know people LOVE ice cream in that shop!
- Amazing desserts!
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
Chez Pa Pa
- Restaurant on the corner, French food, more expensive meal
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)
MODERN DINER FOOD
Blue in the Castro
- Gourmet mac n cheese with blue cheese and bacon
- French Dips
- 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
Naan ‘n’ Curry
Kennedy’s (Irish Pub/Indian Cuisine) in North Beach
(you can bring in your own bottles of alcohol and pour your own drinks) They are so helpful and accommodating
- Recognized by Morimoto Food Network and high end chefs. The owner is very unique and “colorful”. They won several awards.
- Amazing restaurant. Simple decor but top notch food and amazing mixologists. (highest rated in Yelp of all SF restaurants)
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.
MISSION BEACH CAFE
- Awesome brunch. chorizo biscuits
Red Java Coffeehouse
- Cash only. Next to Chez Papa and Chez Ma Man
Whizburger on 17th and South Van Ness
- Walk Up Building. You order in the window, sit outside, and eat. Greasy.
- Joe Montana goes and eats these burgers after the game.
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.
- Great sandwiches (but not better than Ike’s). Right next to Farley’s. Cold, flavorful and tasty
Phat Philly Cheese Steak