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What to Stuff in a Super Short San Francisco Trip

Updated: Aug 14, 2021



When your best friend is going through a rough spot in life, you do the right thing and distract her with a weekend trip to San Francisco! Or at least that's what I was lucky enough to be able to do a month ago. In this post I'll go over what not to miss and how to stuff as many things in a weekend as you can!

The Basics:


- Don't let the parked cars in the picture above confuse you; you do not want to drive around this city. Or rather you don't want to try to find parking. If you can afford an uber, great. If not, no worries, just figure out how to use the Muni public transit / bus system and you'll be totally fine!

- This city is expensive, but if you can, try to get an airbnb in the Inner or Outer Sunset areas! That's where the typical colorful crooked houses are that everyone associates with the city. Downtown and the Tenderloin area have nice hotels too but if you're not very used to city life it might be quite the change of pace, even for a couple days!

Must Visit:


1: Japanese Tea Garden

This place turned out to be by far one of my favorite parts of the city and the trip. The cost (around $10) is well worth it to see the beautiful bridges, plants, water features, and to chill and eat at the tea house in the center of the garden where you can get great tea and snacks like daifuku (mochi and red bean paste) and pork buns for a reasonable price.

2: Chinatown

Though I wouldn't recommend going here in the morning when there are millions of people crowding the markets, in the evening you can get amazing food over here and the colors and lanterns are super lively and fun to see. We went to Rural Ramen and I got a great poke salad and my friend, Patrena, got a pork ramen bowl that she thought was amazing.

3: Lombard Street

Duh! This street is crazy! Whether you're driving down it or walking down this is such a cool spot. Famous for being so steep that they had to make eight hairpin turns on a single block, this is a neat spot to walk around and admire the landscaping and the neighborhood.

4: Golden Gate Postcard Lookout

What a beautiful way to see the bridge and the ocean! There are so many areas to choose from when you want a look at one of the most famous bridges, but this was my favorite spot filled with lovely landscaping and super easy to get to and walk around.

5: Palace of Fine Arts

Pretty close to the Postcard Lookout is the Palace of Fine Arts, a free outdoor space that looks like it fell out of ancient Rome. This is a great place to walk around and enjoy the outdoors.

6: The SF MoMA

This museum was as beautiful as it was inspiring. I'm a bit biased since I was an art student, but I really loved the layout and the chosen exhibitions. If you enjoy modern art, this is the place to be. It took us about 3-4 hours to get through the whole thing and we were even a bit rushed, but thankfully there is a lovely cafe on the 5th floor that has delicious and reasonably priced meals that you can eat on the balcony outside.

7: The Batteries of West Presidio Park

You could certainly skip this area, but we really enjoyed seeing pieces of history scattered next to the beach to the west of the Golden Gate Bridge.


To Eat and Drink:


Breakfast: Blue Bottle Cafe

This place had great coffee and tea options and the yummiest vegan/gf chia seed pudding with fruit. We went here twice in the three mornings we were there. We also ate one morning at Honey Honey, which was busy but had impressive looking crepes and benedicts.


Lunch: Crepevine Restaurant

This restaurant had something for everyone. I am gluten free, and they had gf buckwheat crepe options for me, and otherwise had great looking vegan and regular crepes of all kinds from dessert crepes to savory crepes. It was soooo much food too for such an easy price.


Dinner: Sushi/Poke or Chinatown options

Most of the best food we had on this trip was either seafood or Asian meals. I personally had one of my favorite meals at Rural Ramen in Chinatown but there are so many other great looking options.


Drinks: Boba and The View Lounge

If you like Boba or have always wanted to try it do NOT skip out on San Francisco boba places. I have been so disappointed with the boba in Colorado ever since this trip.

For drinks, night one we went to The View Lounge at the downtown Marriott Hotel on the 39th floor and it had the most amazing views of the sunset and the city. It gets busy fast, so get there early if you can. And be aware, the drinks are pricey but we thought they were worth it.

We also missed out but wanted to go to The Beehive, which is a retro cocktail bar in the lovely Mission District.



Shopping!


If you are planning on doing any shopping in San Francisco, I would recommend two areas:


The first is the Inner Sunset Area, which has many sweet local shops. I enjoyed My Favorite which has cute, unique items to take home like avocado plushies, embroidery kits, candles, puzzles, music oracles, patches, and more to take home with you. The other store I loved was Sakura, which is a Japanese goods shop. Irving Street also has plenty of funky clothing stores and unique gift shops.


If you would like more of the traditional big city shopping experience head to the Tenderloin Area where they have everything from Urban Outfitters to Sephora.



Places we wanted to visit but couldn't:


I did an epic amount of research for this trip and had so many cool ideas that we just did not have enough time for, so here are the places I found that we couldn't go to so you don't have to search:


The Ecology Trail

A beautiful trail in the Presidio area, the same area where the Golden Gate Postcard Lookout was (which is also close to the Palace of Fine Arts).

16th Avenue Tiled Steps

Cute area to take photos of yourself and loved ones!

Washington Square

Cute park with amazing buildings surrounding it. This would be a great place to sit and eat take out.

Legion of Honor

Fine arts museum within the Lands End Park, which also looks like a great place to hike. It is also very close to the Holocaust Memorial.

Dutch and Murphy Windmills

This is a beautiful spot to take photos as well as smell the tulips and look out at the ocean nearby.

Exploratorium

This looks like such a fun museum space for kids and creatives alike, and situated on Pier 15, near great seafood restaurants and shopping on the other piers. This is a popular tourist area.

Alcatraz Island

I remember going here when I was in high school and it was such a cool place to learn about the history of the island and look around. It really looked like something out of a movie.Well worth the cost and the ferry ride.


Seaglass Restaurant

Right on the pier and looking out towards the water, this looks like a great place to enjoy some seafood.

Foreign Cinema

I'm actually kind of devastated we didn't make it out here! It looks pricey but so worth it for the super cool idea and ambiance. This place serves great looking Mediterranean food while screening old foreign films. Make a reservation if you can for this place!

Fable

Ugh Fable looked so rad too! Such a beautiful interior space to enjoy great looking food at a reasonable looking price.

Basa Seafood Express

Want good seafood for cheap? Go here.



Lastly...

enjoy this map I put together for my trip which helped us plan our days and also enjoy these photos of my best friend of 18 years enjoying the city. Remember to take photos of your loved ones if you come here!


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