San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in California. I have a special place in my heart for San Francisco. Perhaps it was when we took our eighth grade class trip to the city and spent the night in a hostel. It was a fantastic experience. While walking around San Francisco, be prepared for the hills. I can never make it all the way up the hill at once, I always have to take breaks while walking up the many, many hills.
These are my favorite things to do (and things I've heard are fun but haven't done) while in San Francisco:
Places to See: Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square || Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square are all popular tourist places to visit. At each place, there are restaurants and shopping for you to do. Begin at Pier 39 and be sure to visit the Sea Lions (its one of my favorite parts). After checking out the shops (and maybe eating) walk up the street to Fisherman's Wharf. From there, pop over to Ghirardelli Square. Official sites: Pier 39 || Fisherman's Wharf || Ghirardelli Square Musée Mécanique || Musée Mécanique is a Mechanical Museum located in Fisherman's Wharf. If you're a fan of Princess Diaries, you'll want to pop into this museum and wrestle the arm wrestler Mia and the Queen arm wrestled in the movie. The museum has a variety of other games and machines that you can use. Official site: Musée Mécanique Coit Tower || a.k.a the fire hose building. This is a treacherous hike, but oh so worth it. The views of the city from the Coit Tower vantage point is unbelievable - especially if the city is clear (aka no fog). Official site: Coit Tower Fort Mason || Fort Mason has a lot of trails you can walk on. At the entrance of Fort Mason, take a left and follow the trail that will take you around the Fort. You will get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Keep walking along the path and you'll run into the Aquatic Park Pier. Official site: Fort Mason Aquatic Park Pier || The Aquatic Park Pier is a little known gem in San Francisco. You can see the city from a new view. Official site: Aquatic Park Pier Chinatown || You will have the best Chinese food while here. Beware the streets are crowded, and you'll always want to make sure cars aren't barreling down the streets when you want to cross. Be sure to stop in the fortune cookie store. You can see how they are made and even buy your own fortune cookies - or you can buy the flat fortune cookies! Official site: Chinatown Golden Gate Bridge || The Golden Gate Bridge should be at the top of your list of things to see. Either to drive across or walk. I've only walked to the first pillar of the bridge, and that was enough for me. I am terrified of heights, so I have never made it across the whole entire bridge on foot. However, driving across is a different story. You can also take mini harbor cruises that will take you by the bridge for great views. Official site: Golden Gate Bridge Lombard Street || You need, no must, go to the curviest street in the city. If you're there during the day, you'll see people running down the curves when no cars are coming. It's an iconic street - go check it out! Official site: Lombard Street
Suggestions of Places to See: Wave Organ || The wave organ is located by the Exploratorium. When the waves strike the pipes, music plays. Depending on the tide and waves, the music will vary. Official site: Wave Organ Golden Gate Park || Golden Gate Park is a gigantic park similar to Central Park in New York City. There are museums within the park, shops, and much more! Official site: Golden Gate Park
Museums: De Young Museum || If you're a museum junkie. I highly recommend the De Young Museum. Official site: De Young Museum
Shops: Union Square || If you're a shopper, head to Union Square! The square is filled with tons of shops. Official Site: Union Square
Transportation: Unlike other major cities in the U.S., San Francisco doesn't have the best public transportation system. While in the city, you can use their bus system or trolley system. There is the BART, but it does not take you to the places you want to go in the city. If you don't want to stay in the city and would rather stay in an outside city, I would recommend taking the BART to Embarcadero. From there you can walk or catch a bus to where you want to go. Trolley || If you want the true San Francisco experience, take a ride on their trolley system. It's similar to hopping on and off of a bus. Official Site: SF Cable Cars
See more pictures of my San Francisco trip, here.
Have you been to San Francisco? What would you add?