It’s hard to believe that a month ago we were in California! While I was excited about the whole trip, I was most excited to explore San Francisco. I had never been before and was ready to hit the ground running. We did a lot in our time there and I’m excited to share my San Francisco travel guide with you. So let’s get started.
San Francisco Travel Guide
Where to Stay
The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
I already talked about this hotel in a previous post, but we so enjoyed our stay here! The view was amazing and it was the perfect location in Knobb Hill.
If you like colorful, hip, modern, and funky, you have to stay here. We stayed three nights here and loved how cool it was. As music fans, you notice the records, posters, and rock memorabilia that adorn the walls and the staff wears band t-shirts with denim jackets (aka my daily uniform). They also had bikes you could rent, which I’ll talk about it a bit.
Where to Eat
I love Greek food so Souvla was a must on our list. I got the chicken and greek fries and it was perfection.
Everyone I talked to said this bakery was the best. And they weren’t wrong! Due to my cinnamon allergy, I couldn’t have a morning bun but I did have a yummy chocolate croissant!
Another favorite breakfast spot was The Mill. The Mill specializes in toast and it was so fun trying all the new toasts and spreads. They also had really good coffee!
Salt & Straw
If you have a sweet tooth, stop at Salt & Straw on Hayes Street. Tim had a root beer float and I had a triple strawberry milkshake. It was so good!
Honey Honey Crepery
Another of my favorite brunch spots was this crepery. Come for breakfast or brunch and have crepes, pancakes, omelet’s and so much more!
So I usually don’t like going to chains when we travel, but we heard Super Duper had great burgers. They were right! After a lot of walking, we refueled on burgers, fries, and shakes, and it was… SUPER!
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
The only baking I did in San Fran was at Mr. Holmes. I can’t even talk about how good everything was. Go for yourself and get a photo of you in front of the sign for the ‘Gram.
What to Do
Walk Around Union Square
Union Square is home to several hotels, businesses and department stores. Our hotels were close to here so in the morning we’d walk around with our coffee and window shop. They also frequently had musicians and performers so that’s fun to watch.
Chinatown was one of my favorite spots to walk through. As someone who loves the color, you’ll appreciate all the murals, lanterns, signs and buildings! As a blogger, it’s also a great place to photograph.
The famous zig-zag street! I’m not going to lie, we walked here and the walk up almost killed me! This was such a crazy area. People would drive down with their go pro’s out the window and tourists were lined up to take photos. Note that if you have kids, this area is not stroller friendly.
This area has it all! Start with a walk down the beach. Granted it was cold and windy, we were bundled up in our jackets, but people were actually swimming! You can walk to different piers and take in the view of the city and the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Campus. You just need to put on your tennis shoes and walk here. You’ll hit Pier 39, The National Liberty Ship Memorial, The Sea Lion Center and much, much more! There’s also a lot of places to eat and shop. We spent most of the day here!
Who doesn’t want to stop by this famous chocolate shop?! A lot of the campus was under construction but we managed to buy some chocolate and get in a sweet treat.
Ride a Trolley
Who doesn’t automatically think of a trolley when you think of San Francisco. We stood in line for a while next to the Fisherman’s Wharf and it was so fun to ride it up and down all the hills!
The Ferry Building is one of my favorite spots. There’s a lot of great places to eat and sit. You’ll find sit down food as well as bread, cheeses, sweets, similar to a farmer’s market.
Walk around Hayes Street
This was such a cool street and was full of boutiques, furniture stores, and restaurants. Take some time to walk around and explore the area!
The Painted Ladies
Down the road from Hayes Street was the famous Painted Ladies. It was so beautiful this day, we laid in the park and took in the views. There were lots of people there picnicking, playing music and it was a great place to sit and rest. I also had the Full House theme song stuck in my head the entire time and kind of wanted John Stamos to show up.
Bike Through the City
Hotel Zeppelin had bikes that we could rent for four hours. We biked to Tartine Bakery, through Mission Delores, and around Golden Gate Park. We also biked up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Not going to lie, it was rough since I don’t bike often, but the views were amazing and I’m glad we did it!
Within a walk of the Ferry Building is Coit Tower. It’s a long staircase up (or you can drive it) and at the top is the most amazing view of the city. You can also pay to go to the very top of the tower and take in the sights.
Palace of Fine Arts
If the weather is nice, take an Uber/Lyft to the Palace of Fine Arts. Bring your camera and photograph this beautiful place! It’s an urban temple with breathtaking grounds. It’s perfect for engagement photos!
Across the street from the Palace of Fine Arts is Baker Beach, Crissy Field, Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge. We spent at least half a day walking around and exploring this area! So make sure you wear walking shoes.
Keep An Eye Out
We saw decorated heart statues all over the city. It almost became a game seeing who could spot a new one first! After some research, I found out these hearts are inspired by the Tony Bennett song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Each year, uniform heart sculptures are painted by different artists and installed at locations throughout San Francisco.
I know, I know, I’m the mural girl. But in San Fran art is everywhere! Below are a few of my favorites.
I saw about 50 houses I wanted to move into. The buildings were all so unique and beautifully made! It had me dreaming of how I would decorate if I lived in SF.
Even in May, it was SO COLD. I literally wore four layers every day. And don’t bother fixing your hair because the wind will just mess it up. My uniform would be a tank, tee, hoodie, denim jacket, hat, and sneakers.
We did Lyft/Uber everywhere we went. Since there were two of us we could do the line/pool and it was pretty cheap. There’s also a lot of people who bike and they have great bike lanes! I do wish that we had rented a car for a day or two and got to drive around and through the Golden Gate bridge. We got a car through the Enterprise in Knob Hill on our way out of SF and loved the rental we got through Enterprise. It was so close to our hotels, it’s easy to pick up/drop off.
Souvla and Salt & Straw sound amazing; definitely checking those out next time Im there! Thanks for sharing this guide!
Lee | LegalLee Blonde
Dying to visit San Fran! That bakery looked soo cool!
xx, Danielle | Pineapple & Prosecco
Ruthie Ridley says
Love this guide! You guys did all the things! I can’t wait to go back soon!!
Great guide! I’ve lived here my whole life, you picked all the perfect sites for people to see!
Shira Rosenbluth says
SF is 100% on my list and salt and straw is on my list right now while I’m in LA!
Jamaria Johnson says
Love this Travel Guide! I’ve always wanted to visit San Fran so I’ll be bookmarking this post for sure! Xo
sandy a la mode says
I loove San Fran! We go whenever possible, it’s so much fun! Such a great guide!
sarah lindner says
I love san fran! It looks like you had a blast and saw everything!
This is so awesome!! I love SF!!!! All of these spots are amazing! Can’t wait to visit again.
I love San Fran! Looks like you had such an amazing trip!
SF has always been one of my favorite cities, ever. It’s so beautiful and so much to do! I want to go back soon. Love this guide!