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San Francisco in 4 days

San Francisco in 4 days

My San Francisco must-sees:

We had a short time to spend in San Francisco - just about 4 days - and there were a few places that we really wanted to get to. We stayed in the financial district and found it a great base to get around from. We love walking as it offers a chance to see things we might otherwise miss - especially beautiful buildings - and were able to walk to most places, apart from The Presidio.

Golden Gate Bridge & The Presidio - half a day or more


There's a free bus to Presidio (Presidio Go) from Downtown that takes you right into the park. We got lucky on the day we went - with gorgeous, clear blue skies and pretty warm in the sunshine, although very breezy too. We followed the trail down to see incredible views of the bridge, beaches and Crissy Field, stopping for breaks as we needed. We couldn't believe how clear the views were and how amazing it was to see the Bridge for real.

We loved exploring The Presidio. It was beautiful and peaceful during our walk, not crazy busy with tourists (although we didn’t go right up to the bridge). Lots of people were out walking their dogs or playing with their young kids on the beach.

Golden Gate Park - half a day to one day

We barely scratched the surface of Golden Gate Park - really only seeing the baseball field and Botanical Gardens.


The gardens are lovely to wander, so peaceful, and you feel like you’re a million miles out of the city. There are all these different zones of plants from across the globe - we do walk and sit in quite a few of them.


There is so much more to Golden Gate Park - if you can, give yourselves an entire day to explore. There's the De Young Museum, bison and the Conservatory of Flowers to name a few!

Try and include a walk through the Panhandle too if you can.


Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39


I would recommend combining this with a trip to Alcatraz. Fisherman’s Wharf is just crazy. So busy and noisy and so much happening everywhere, totally and utterly touristy and of course everyone wants to see the sea lions!

Alcatraz - half a day


We booked a night tour, and what we didn't realise was that it was quite directed. You’re in a group, a lot of the island is closed off, and you have to follow the audio tour. The sense of history is all around you, whether seeing the cells (and all three stories of them, all on top of each other, windowless and tiny) or out in the grounds. And extremely atmospheric when the sunlight streams through the corridor windows or the tiny hall windows where you can see the city from. Recommend taking layers with you, especially if you do the night tour, it can get cold pretty quickly.

Painted Ladies


Head to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies. We walked to get there, it took us about 40 minutes but we enjoyed seeing the different neighbourhoods and see how everything changes. The views when you get there are gorgeous - the grassy hills of Alamo Square, the city skyline backdrop and then the houses themselves.

Coit Tower


The Coit Tower. It is uphill, up what feels like some of the steepest roads ever! The climb is tough, I really feel it in my legs and do have to keep stopping. Every time you think you’re nearly at the top, there seems to be another hill. However, the views are stunning, and when you get to the tower, you get an elevator up ($10) and get 360 views of the city - it’s beautiful.

Watch the Giants if you can! half a day


Check the schedules before you go and see if the Giants are playing at home. Oracle Park is stunning to catch a game - we had some super nice seats for baseball, with views of the ocean in the distance - so scenic!

Eating & drinking

Whenever Mr R & I tend to go away, we usually have a big breakfast or brunch, afternoon coffee and dinner, tending to skip lunch.


Schilling & Co. Cafe - serving the best focaccia!! Mouthwatering homemade bread came with amazing marmalades. I still dream about this place and the focaccia. It was so good we went back twice.

667 Commercial Street San Francisco, CA 94111

Roxanne’s cafe - Diner style, it was so busy! We luckily got a little booth without having to wait too long. 570 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Sears Fine Food. Described by a local as a bit of an institution - book if you can, although we got very lucky on a Sunday and were able to get a table straight away. It was very busy, but the service and breakfast were great - big enough portions to keep you going all day without being too much. 439 Powell Street, San Francisco, right near Union Square

MyMy - we went on a LONG uphill walk to Nob Hill to get here. We didn't think to get the streetcar up the hill which would have been good, especially as the ones that passed us seemed pretty quiet. At times California street seemed basically vertical, the hills were that steep! However, breakfast was delicious and definitely worth the effort.


Del Popolo - 855 Bush St, San Francisco - A must for any pizza fan. Book in advance, it gets pretty busy and both food and service are fantastic.

Food trucks - head to Spark Social SF or Parklab Gardens which is opposite it. We got to Spark just in time to order some food before the trucks started closing - we ordered from Adam’s Grub Truck and it was very tasty.

China Live - 644 Broadway, San Francisco - The food is absolutely delicious. We got a rice bowl with pork mince, dumplings, and duck - every single dish was scrumptious. Super friendly service. Make sure you go to Cold Drinks Bar upstairs - a cool bar serving mostly whisky-based cocktails.


Pagan Idol - 375 Bush St, San Francisco - A super cool tiki bar with friendly bartenders and atmospheric decor. The cocktails here were my personal favourite.

Bourbon & Branch - 501 Jones St, San Francisco - A proper speakeasy-style bar with no real visible entrance and a codeword for entry! The staff are super friendly. You'll find great decor, great service and cosy booths. When our allocated time was up, we were moved to The Library, pretty much a 'normal' bar, but from Bourbon, it’s accessed through a bookcase!

The rooftop bar at Cheesecake Factory on top of Macy's has lovely views over Union Square and we really enjoyed our cocktails!


Tartine Inner Sunset - 1226 9th Ave, San Francisco CA 94122 - an airy place that's a perfect stop off either to or from Golden Gate Park.

Art inspired by San Francisco

Here are some art pieces inspired by the vibrant city of San Francisco.

Iconic San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

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