Situated on the West Coast of the US, San Francisco is famous for a certain bridge and the nearby Silicon Valley. But there’s much more to this marvelous city! Let me show you how I spent 4 days in San Francisco!
In the morning we headed down to Fishermans Wharf, one of the most iconic places in San Francisco. We walked around the pier for a bit before deciding to rent bikes and ride to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The weather was fabulous! You always hear how misty and cold San Francisco gets (we’ll get to that later) but on the first day there, the sun was out in full blast and was really warm!
We cycled along the seafront where we had great views of the bridge. The cycle was pretty easy except for one steep bit at Fort Mason, but that was pretty short and I just pushed my bike uphill. We got to the bridge pretty quickly despite taking numerous photo stops.
Since the weather was lovely and we had the bikes all day, we decided to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge. On the bridge it was quite windy and when we got off it proved a bit hard to find the cycle path but we managed somehow and cycled to Sausalito along the coastline.
From Sausalito we caught the ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf which didn’t only offer incredible views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge with beautiful sail boats crossing, but we also drove right past Alcatraz, which we sadly didn’t get to see this time around.
All in all, we cycled around 16kms that day and it was stunning! Cycling gives you a totally different perspective on the city and whilst I wouldn’t recommend it in San Francisco (very, very hilly) it was super easy to cycle to Sausalito.
A word of warning – be prepared for a lot and I mean A LOT of walking in San Francisco. I found public transport quite inefficient and used Uber or Lyft a few times but a lot of times I just walked.
My second day in San Francisco was actually two weeks after my first day there, as we went on to Yosemite and did a road trip for two weeks before flying back to Germany from San Francisco (more about our route here).
I walked up to the Colt Tower which is one of the highest points in San Francisco and offers an incredible view of the bay. On a clear day you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz is right in front of it!
From there, I walked to the world famous Lombard Street which is known for being one of the steepest and most crooked streets in the world. However, since it’s so popular, it’s also crowded with tourists that drive down there or try to take a picture.
After all of the tourists, I craved some quiet time and discovered a hidden gem in the city. I was walking around in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood when I came across the Alta Plaza Park. Not only is it on top of a hill and therefore has nice views of the bay area but it’s also very quiet and the neighbourhood has the most beautiful architecture. I could walk around and look at the charming architecture all day!
Speaking of architecture, I obviously had to go and see the Painted Ladies. A row of gorgeous colourful houses in the Fillmore area. You get the best view of them from the Alamo Square Park. As a child/teenager, I LOVED the tv show Full House and since the Painted Ladies featured on the show it was on top of my list of things to see in San Francisco!
I spent quite a bit of time in the park. One because I wanted to get a nice picture without tourists (and there were many of them) and also because I had done a ton of uphill walking and needed a break.
Since I hadn’t done enough walking already, I decided to book a Walking Tour of Haight Ashbury for my second to last day. I am a big fan of free walking tours but The Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour came highly recommended by a few blogs and fellow travellers and I decided to go and book it!
Don’t ask me how, but I somehow managed either not to take many pictures on the walking tour or I lost them – lesson learned though: I should post about my trips sooner rather than later! I loved the walking tour. It was guided by a woman that grew up in Haight Ashbury and whose parents had been a part of the hippie movement there in the 60s. It was only me and a Canadian couple on the tour which made it very private and we got to ask a ton of questions!
If you’re into vintage shopping, Haight Ashbury is by far the best place to go. There are loads of thrift stores with amazing finds!
After the 2.5 hour walking tour, I decided to get a bike again and cycled through the Golden Gate Park where I spotted the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden.
I explored the garden for a bit and then cycled further into the park, set on making it to the beach. Halfway to Ocean Beach, the road became quite steep and misty but I was determined to see the beach, so I kept on cycling. When I got to the other side of the park, it was super foggy. Just compare the pictures above with the one under this paragraph! There was also an intense drop in temperature and I was happy to have a jumper. I’ve never experienced a difference in climate like this!
From Ocean Beach, I cycled to Lands End, a park that yet again is known for it’s views of the Golden Gate Bridge. And it was there that I got to see the bridge like it was floating above the clouds!
Getting to Lands End was a struggle though, to say the least. It was a steep hill and I had to push my bike for a while. When I returned it, I was so exhausted, I went to bed around 9pm!
My final day in San Francisco! After all that walking and cycling, I decided to treat myself to a yoga class! It was lush! I felt so relaxed afterwards! I then decided to walk to the Twitter headquarter for lunch as they have a market hall downstairs where the food is fab! I had a delicious poke bowl there!
I then did a tiny bit of shopping on Market Street and decided to visit China Town which is close by. I always love exploring different China Towns across the world as it makes you feel as if you are in a completely different country! I really liked the one in San Francisco as it does have a lot of street art too! The stairs below were possibly my favourite!
Overall, I really liked San Francisco and I could have easily spend another week there as there’s so much to do and see! I was very lucky with the weather when I visited in October, so I was able to enjoy the outside thoroughly, but even in the rain, I imagine San Francisco to be fascinating as it has lots of great museums!
The only downside of the city to me was the intense amount of homeless people. I was shocked! My hostel was near Tenderloin which is not the nicest area and most people advice to not go there. Me being me, I didn’t think it would be that bad, but I got hassled as soon as I set foot out of the hostel.
I’ve walked around at night in Asia loads of times but in San Francisco I didn’t leave the hostel after dark as there were lots of weird people around and I didn’t feel particularly safe which is why I am not mentioning the hostel I stayed at here.
If you’re looking for a hostel or a hotel in San Francisco, try and get one as far away from Tenderloin as possible. Also, avoid Mid-Market. I walked through there to get to the Twitter headquarter and it was rough, man! People were doing drugs in the middle of the street and it was disgusting. I got cat called so many times in 10 minutes, I wanted to take a shower afterwards!
I feel that no one really tells you about this when talking about San Francisco and I wish someone would’ve warned me!
Have you been to San Francisco yet? If so, how did you spent your time there?
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