At last, part III of my San Francisco travel guide. This one focus on the best things to do in and around the city, and trust me when I say that this is a heavily edited list. There are endless amounts of things to do in this foggy city, but read on for some of my favorites. If you’re visiting for longer and want to head up to wine country, check out my Napa travel guide here.
Explore Dogpatch – This up and coming neighborhood south of Mission Bay is a great place to spend an afternoon exploring. Some of my favorite galleries in the city are located here, so I’d recommend creating a little walking tour for yourself. Check out the Museum of Craft and Design, Minnesota Street Project, and Altman Siegel Gallery, and don’t forget to swing by Neighbor Bakery for a croissant and Dogpatch WineWorks for a glass of vino.
Urban Hiking – Urban hiking is one of the biggest pluses to SF living, in my book. You don’t need to own a car or even get out of the city to get some incredible respite from the hustle and bustle or urban life. Some of my favorite hikes are Bernal Heights Park, Corona Heights Park, and Billy Goat Hill.
California Academy of Sciences – Feel like a kid again at this beautiful mecca of plant and animal life. You can literally spend hours wandering around and exploring – my favorites were the jellyfish and the living roof.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps – The insanely beautiful mosaic tiled steps are a hike in more ways than one – they border Outer Sunset, so a bit off the beaten path. They’re worth the trek though.
Land’s End – All the way on the western side of SF, bordering the Pacific, is the beautiful Land’s End park. My favorite things to explore here are the ruins of the Sutro Baths, and the insanely breathtaking labyrinth.
Golden Gate Park – Absolutely enormous, but there is so much beauty to be seen here. I’d recommend picking a few areas to explore – the park is too big to tackle all at once. Don’t miss the Conversatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden.
Explore Hayes Valley – Just north of the Mission, Hayes Valley is the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. Head to Little Gem for lunch, then swing by Smitten Ice Cream and enjoy it sitting in the lovely Patricia’s Green park. Don’t forget to stop at Miette for an impressive selection of candy for gifts and snacks.
SF MOMA – If modern art is your game, carve out time to visit Moma in the heart of downtown. The space is just stunning, and there is a pretty epic rotation of exhibitions.
Ferry Building – Although the Ferry Building has become a bit touristy, there are still some pretty great food explorations to be had here. Don’t miss the Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday morning farmers’ market (go early), and The Slanted Door is as good as ever for Vietnamese if you want to sit down for a beat.
Picnic in Mission Dolores Park – There is literally no greater pleasure than hanging in this park on a sunny SF day. Bring a picnic (I recommend either sandwiches from BiRite Market or quesadillas from El Farolito), and don’t forget the adult beverages and a picnic blanket.
If you want to get out of the city and experience the great outdoors of NorCal, head to Mt Tamalpais Park and hike Steep Ravine. You start off at Stinson Beach and hike up from there, with gorgeous views of the Pacific en route.
Sausalito is one of the most charming towns in Marin, and the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. Make sure not to miss Fish, which is right on the water and the perfect lunch spot for fish tacos and beers.