3 days in San Francisco:
the perfect itinerary
3 days and 2 nights. We arrived in San Francisco on 13th August early afternoon and after leaving our luggage at the hotel we immediately started exploring the city.
Where to stay: Coventry Inn @ Lombard Street for its strategic position and good value for money. Close to the main attractions and to bus and Cable Car stops, big and clean room, nice staff. Recommended.
Check out all the hotels of our on the road trip here
DAY 1 - afternoon
We reached Fisherman’s Wharf by a short walk, that's where our SFO trip starts: looking at Pacific Ocean.
A long seafront, there's still the sunlight when we get there and a lot of kids and families playing and chilling on the beach; skaters, roller bladers, cyclists: holiday mood ON.
We keep walking on the street full of souvenir shops, restaurants, food trucks and music. This is the ‘buskers’ homeland coming from all over the world: singing, dancing and entertaining tourists and locals who seem to like them with generous tips.
Finally we get to the popular PIER 39, where many noisy sea lions are laying on the boat docks becoming the memories of tourists taking pics of them to capture that moment. Behind them you can see Alcatraz prison on the background, currently a museum and popular attraction. The bay is full of cruise boats and ferries; sun has gone away and we decide that our first California on the road trip day deserves to end with an IN-N-OUT burger. We'll try the Clam Chowder tomorrow.
Ready? Busy day ahead.
We go to Hyde St & Beach St stop to buy a daily pass that will allow us to use all transport with no limits all day, Cable Car included: we recommend to take it early in the morning to avoid the crowd in the afternoon.
Hanging on the metal bars with our head out, up and down the steep streets we get to our first stop: Ferry Building. Starbucks Frappuccino & brownies in a hand, we keep walking on Market Street until Union Square.
A look at the skaters flying up (and then falling down on the steps), at the big Apple Store and Macy's then we catch a bus to reach Mission District, well-known for its colourful murals and art street. Check out where to find the most instagram-worthy ones, here
Have lunch here, you'll find whatever you want to eat. Then go to the Castro District, the gay neighbourhood of the city: rainbow crosswalks and Peace flags everywhere.
Take a bus again to explore Alamo Square and take a pic of the Painted Ladies, the 7 brightly painted Victorian Houses in a row before a quick stop at the hotel for a shower and before going to the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. You'd better bring with you a sweatshirt, SFO is quite windy especially at the bridge: there is a bus you can take in front of the hotel on Lombard Street that'll take you directly to the bridge where you can take a lot of memorable pics.
We came back to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner and this time we ate a fish wrap and the typical famous Clam Chowder soup: tasty and delicious.
Check out here where & what to eat during your on the road trip!
DAY 3 - morning
Our last day in the city. After hotel check-out and luggage deposit we couldn't miss a walk on Lombard Street:"the crookedest street in the world".
We keep walking and explore other 2 districts: Chinatown and Little Italy. We feel like being back to Beijing in a few seconds while walking through the first one: Chinese shops full of any kind of food, dried animals everywhere, same smells and sounds of our China memories.
In Little Italy we simply feel at home: restaurants and pizzerie signs, small Italian flags on balconies, people looking so familiar to us.
We decided not to have breakfast but a fat & tasty USA brunch: Pat’s is the best place you can go for memorable giant pancakes with maple syrup, Eggs Benedict and French toasts.
Back to the hotel we collect our luggage and go to the Hertz station where we booked our rental car: SFO has been just the first bite of this adventure, we're ready to explore the next stop.
Click here to keep reading the itinerary overview.