A few weeks ago, we decided to book a trip to San Francisco. San Francisco is one of my favorites cities (Chicago will always be my #1). What I love about San Francisco is their architure, colorful houses, and that it is a walkable city. When we travel, we love exploring on foot! So majority of the time, we are walking!
This trip was Tre’s first time ever going. So I knew I had the pressure to be a tour guide to San Francisco and show him how great this city is. I wanted him to see all the popular touristy spots and explore all the different neighborhoods. We stayed for four days and three nights. It was a jam-packed four days but it wasn’t exhausting and had the opportunity to see a lot. So below is a quick guide to San Francisco. I broke it down by where we stayed, what we saw, and what we ate/drank.
Travel Guide to San Francisco
Place to Stay
We stayed at Hotel Zepellin. When we travel, we are fans of staying at boutique hotels and Hotel Zepellin did not disappoint. It was in the heart of Union Square, just steps away from all the amazing shopping stores. The decor is unique, love the ambiance and amenities, and the rooms are bright & airy. The location is perfect. It makes it so easy to navigate around San Francisco.
Places to See
Golden Gate Bridge
In my opinion this is the landmark that made San Francisco, well, San Francisco. It is not walkable to get there so I highly recommend Uber-ing (is that now a verb?) or using public transpaortion. We took an Uber there. There are several spots at the Welcome Center where you can get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also walk or bike on the bridge. We decided to walk and it was a cool experience.
Walt Disney Family Museum
We love Disney and my husband was the one that discovered they had a Walt Disney Family Museum. Walt Disney’s daughter was the founder of this museum and this museum is dedicated to Walt’s accomplishments. I was amazed at what he achieved. If you are a Disney fanatic, I highly recommend it. This museum is more about Walt’s life versus the Walt Disney company and thus is more tailored to adults than kids. There were so many amazing facts and exhibits and now I can totally see why people can devote an entire day there.
This is such a touristy spot but I always enjoyed seeing the sea lions sunbathe on Pier 39. They are so cute! To me, Fisherman’s Wharf is like Chicago’s Navy Pier.
It is known to have the world’s most crooked street. It is just fun to walk up (or down) that street and at sunset you get an incredible view at the top. To make your guide to San Francisco a little bit easier, the crooked street is located at the intersection of Lombard St & Hyde St if you want to start from the top or at the intersection of Lombard St & Leavensworth St if you want to start at the bottom. I love exploring the Russian Hill neighborhood too, so many cute houses.
I think this island is so cool. I love learning about the history and what made Alcatraz well-known. Plus, it is fun to ride the ferry to get there!
The cute and colorful row of Victorian houses and the scene of Full House comes to mind. This is another iconic landmark that whenever I think of San Francisco I picture these colorful row houses. The neighborhood is fun to explore. So many cute shops and cafes. It is also fun to have a picnic at Alamo Square Park.
Located in the Mission District. It’s a great park to just sit and relax. It has a really cool energy!
I definitely think it is worth exploring! The Ferry building has so much to offer! Inside is where I get amazed. It is filled with unique shops and restaurants!
I honestly think San Francisco has one of the best Chinatowns out of all the major cities. So many shops, love the exterior decor, and the food is good!
Places to Eat/Drink Coffee/Snack
We went here for brunch. It is a cute little diner with a large menu and they serve large portions!
The infamous Mr. Holmes Bakeshop is totally worth the hype! The donuts and the famous cruffins are so delicious! The lines were long, but it went by fairly quick.
It is a cute farm to table place. Fresh food and great coffee!
There are a variety of places to eat at the Ferry Building. You can’t go wrong!
Have you heard of Eataly? The best way I can describe China Live is that it is a Chinese version of Eataly. It is located in Chinatown and we just feasted on dim sum!
Great coffee and they have the cutest wallpaper!
This cafe is so darling! It has an old school diner meets Paris kind of feel.
Right on Fisherman’s Wharf. Diner style and big portions. It only felt right to have seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf.
We came here for their fresh beignets!
This restaurant just opened a couple months ago and it is next to Hotel Zepellin. I love the vibe! Food was hearty but delicious!
I think this coffee shop is a hidden gem! It is across from Pier 33 (where you board for Alcatraz). It is surrounded by corporate offices and then you see a little shop all lit up and it is Norcina. They serve more than coffee – delicious pastries, breakfast food, and sandwiches.
After exploring the Painted Ladies, I definitely think this coffee shop is a must! I love it’s tall ceiling and light and airy vibe. You also have to try one of their toasts! So good!
The decor is so cute! The food is even better! They serve Cuban food! Just look at these tiled floors!
I’ve heard so much about this bakery, and it did not disappoint!
If you’re into Boba tea I totally recommend checking out Boba Guys. The have a few locations throughout SF and it’s so good! They create unique blends too. I got the strawberry matcha boba and it was delicious. If it is your first time drinking Boba, then your first has to be here. My husband isn’t into boba drinks, but he sure loved theirs!
Stumbled into this place randomly, but we are glad we did. Our breakfast was delicious and Tre’s waffle breakfast sandwich was heavenly!
If you love tacos and Mexican food, You should totally stop by here! Didn’t go here this time, but have in previous years and I just had to add this in!
A Quick Recap of our San Francisco Itinerary
I knew I wanted to show as much of San Francisco as possible to Tre. I definitely think we saw a lot. When planning this trip, I tried to make sure all the places we went to were close-by to one another so we could maximize our time. If you’re curious how we fit in all the stuff above, check out our San Francisco itinerary below! Hopefully this itinerary is a better day by day guide to San Francisco.
- Honey Honey Cafe for brunch
- Mr. Holmes Bakeshop for a snack
- Farm Table – for coffee/snack
- Union Square – to walk and shop
- Ferry Building/Financial District
- China Live for dinner
- Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters
- Rose’s Cafe for breakfast
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Walt Disney Family Museum
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- Cafe 8 for lunch
- Franciscan Crab Restaurant to try their freshly made beignets
- Lombard Street (to see the crooked street)
- Walked around Russian Hill
- Rambler – for dinner
- Norcina for breakfast and coffee
- Painted Ladies
- Alamo Square Park
- The Mill for coffee and lunch
- Dolores Park
- Walked around Mission District
- Media Noche for dinner
- Tartine Bakery for dessert
- Mr. Holmes Bakeshop (again!)
- Dolce Amore for brunch
- Boba Guys
- Then airport 🙁
Hope you find this travel guide to San Francisco useful. There were still a few places we did not have time to check out. To me that just means another excuse to book a trip there haha! Next time, our plan is to check out the Fine Arts Park (located close to the Golden Gate Bridge) and take day trips to Sausalito and Muir Woods!