Here comes one of my favorite cities in the US: San Francisco! So what to see in a city, which is so well known from so many movies and TV shows like Full House, Mrs. Doubtfire and Inside Out? Even though San Francisco seems very big, it is actually not bigger than Hamburg, with about one million inhabitants. So you can actually get a good overview in 24 hours. Find here our city guide for this iconic city.
What to see
Most people say the best way to experience a city is on foot. In this case, I would not recommend to do so in San Francisco, due to fact that the city is built on hills with very steep streets. It can get very exhausting very fast. I tried and I failed. So, I would start the tour by taking an Uber or a Taxi and drive towards Coi Tower, which has the most amazing panoramic view over San Francisco. On the way there, tell your Uber or Taxi driver to drive down the famous curly Lombard Street. Even though it is just a street with normal traffic, it is a great and fun experience. While driving towards Coi Tower, take in the beautiful architecture of San Francisco. Here a small side fact: the city has the most expensive rent costs in the world! So enjoy the view on the most expensive houses. Arriving at Coi Tower, go up and enjoy the view. There you will also spot the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Prison.
When you have finished your visit, you can actually now walk to the Piers. The streets from there will go downhill – so don’t worry. Walk along the Piers towards the famous Pier 39 where you’ll be lucky enough to see some sea lions enjoying the sun. Pier 39 is like a small tourism fair, but it is super fun to walk around and look at the sea lions fighting for space on the pier. For all fish and seafood lovers you will be in heaven with all the small restaurants selling lobster rolls and fresh fish on the street. For those who have a sweet tooth stop at some small food truck where they sell Churros. They almost taste as good as the ones I had in Argentina.
After you have seen the Pier 39, jump into another Uber or Taxi and drive to 1709 Broderick Street, where the famous TV Show “Full House” was filmed. It’s not only cool to see the houses of the TV Show, but also it’s a very nice neighborhood, even for those of you who have never seen the series. Walk around, enjoy the beautiful parks and the architecture.
I don’t know how many people are so excited about the Golden Gate Bridge like I am, so if you are and want to have a closer look at it, here are two things you can do. First of all you can to an amazing bicycle tour over the bridge and have a delicious lunch at Sausalito and then take the fairy back to the piers. For those of you who just want to look at the bridge I would recommend visiting a small cafe called Warming Hut right next to the bridge with an amazing side view on it. For those of you who don’t need a closer look, consider yourself covered with the former view from the Coi Tower.
Now we had the famous Alcatraz on our list. First of all organize tickets way in advance. If you are planing a day tour, book your tickets 2-3 days in advance. But if you are planning a night tour, get your tickets two weeks in advance. They are sold out right away. The nice thing about the day tour is that you have an amazing view on the whole city while you are on the island. However, the night tour is a total different experience since it is much more spooky. Which one should you do? First of all it depends how scared you can get and second of all it depends if you have decided to take the bicycle tour over the Golden Gate Bridge. Because if you would like to do the bicycle tour, you don’t have enough time to do both things during the day. So then I would recommend the night tour.
Also once manage to drive with the famous Cable Car. It cost 7 Dollars but it is totally worth it!
Which art should I see?
For those of you who are interested in art there are many things to see. First of all The Ice Cream Museum. We already visited the on in L.A., which was stunning, so you can imagine that it is totally worth to also go to the one in San Francisco. Just be sure to get tickets in advance otherwise you will wait for along time. Then of course there is the MoMa and many small other galleries to visit. For those of you who are into art but also architecture, I would recommend visiting the Palace of Fine Arts and Theatre. Not only the architecture absolutely stunning, but also established a newly founded Art fair called “If so, what?” which is absolutely worth seeing especially if you are into technology in combination with art.
Where to stay
San Francisco is not a cheap city. So if you decide to go there for 24 hours, I would recommend to stay in a nice hotel. Our absolute favorite one is The Battery Hotel, which we tell you more about in our upcoming special. It is a private club with members like the Soho House, however it is one of a kind and absolutely stunning. But you don’t have to be a member to be part of the experience: anyone can book a room there. Not only are the rooms beautifully decorated, but also the restaurant is carefully designed and reminds one of a cozy house in England.
For those of you who can not afford a hotel in this price category, check out the Cartwright Hotel. It is very sweet and the price is ok. It is newly redone and has no old carpets lying around like to many other hotels. It is located close to Union Square.
Where to eat
Lunch: I guess in 24 hours you don’t really have time to sit down and have a proper lunch. Except for those who have decided to take the Golde Gate Bridge bicycle tour and had lunch at Sausalito. However, if you find the time go to Super Duper Burger. It is a chain and there are many of them in the city. It looks a bit like McDonalds but the burgers are outstanding! I have never had such a delicious burger from a food chain. Try it!
Dinner: For all of you, who have decided to take the night tour to Alcatraz don’t need to read this. Since you hardly find restaurants which are open after 10pm. For all of you who have time for dinner and are actually staying at The Battery Hotel, I would highly recommend to eat there. Since only members and hotel guest can use their restaurant. I have never eaten that good Gnocchi in my life (and I have lived in Florence). The food is absolutely delicious. From vegetarian dishes to juicy steaks to homemade ice cream.
Another great place to have dinner is in Hayes Valley: a place called “a Mano”. It is located close to a super cute park with cool people hanging out playing chest in the evening. A Mano has delicious Italien Food like Pizza, Pasta and creative starters like chicken and cheese balls. You will see very cool people hanging out there. If you are still motivated afterwards, around the corner is a German Biergarten where they actually serve German beer like Andechser.
Two other great restaurants we were recommended are “La Taqueria” located on 2889 Mission Street and “Mission Chinese Food” on 2234 MISSION STREET. La Taqueria has the best Tacos and Mission Chinese Food offers a great dishes from salt & pepper lamb rib tips to green tea noodles. Since they are both located on Mission Street, just check out which one you prefer. I think Mission Chinese Food is a bit nicer as a dinner place and La Taqueria is more suitable as a cool lunch place.
And if you had another 25th hour?
If I would actually have more time I would hang out more in Mission District. It is the cool and hip place to be with small cafes and very cool shops.