Featured Image: Everyday Pursuits
Article By: Mikayla Linakis
Home to the Fuller family and Monk, San Francisco has a lot to offer those living there in addition to those passing through. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. Since visiting, I have realized it has much more to see than that! It is a city filled with beautiful sites and activities for all ages.
What if you only have a day or two to explore? Hopefully, this guide will give you some ideas on how to spend your time in the city if you only have 48 hours to see as much as you can.
Keep in mind that depending on where you’re traveling from, you want to leave plenty of time for travel and parking. Much like most other cities, San Francisco is very busy and it can be a hassle trying to find street parking. The earlier you arrive, the better your chances are of finding a spot. Most street parking is metered, but there are also several parking garages around including Union Square Garage, Anchorage Garage, and Pier 39 Garage. The best thing to do regarding parking is to decide ahead of time where it is you want to go and find somewhere affordable nearby. Also, look into riding a cable car to and from your parking spot!
If you are looking for a place outside of the city for a more quiet stay, consider checking out different Airbnbs. Superhost, Leo, offers his guest suite in Oakland, just a 10-minute car ride from downtown San Francisco! It is a private suite that houses up to 3 people for a low price of $72 a night. The suite includes 1 bedroom, 1 bath, T.V., free WiFi, heat, air conditioning, free street parking, and many more. For more information on the suite and host, click here. And if you’ve never used Airbnb before here is a $40 credit towards your first booking.
Looking for a nice place to get away for the night? There are many highly rated hotels around San Francisco, but Cornell Hotel de France gets the ratings and is also a bit more affordable than its competitors. For $149 a night, two guests can appreciate a beautiful interior design as well as continental breakfast, an on-site restaurant, free WiFi, and multilingual staff. The hotel is located at 715 Bush Street/Powell Street in the heart of San Francisco and guests can easily access cable cars to help with travel.
If you’re planning on staying the night, there are many options around the city. Club Quarters Hotel is among one of the most affordable hotels, though the price may vary depending on the time of year. For a price of $125 a night, 2 guests can enjoy their stay at Club Quarters and receive amenities including room service, free WiFi, air conditioning, continental breakfast, laundry facilities, access to the fitness center, bar and lounge and the property restaurant.
The hotel is located in the Financial District at 424 Clay Street, which is a short walk from popular tourist destinations such as Union Square, China Town, and North Beach. Although there is no provided parking for guests, there are many low-budget parking garages nearby!
Alcatraz is another San Francisco landmark. The former military fort and maximum-security prison was once home to gangsters including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. Visitors can spot the island from Pier 39, or even take a guided tour of the island. Ferryboats depart from Pier 33, and the ride is between 10 and 15 minutes. For those who do not have the time to visit the actual island, there is a gift shop dedicated to Alcatraz back in Fisherman’s Wharf where visitors can get additional information on the island as well as buy souvenirs reflecting both Alcatraz and San Francisco itself.
Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing to do upon arriving in the city is visiting the Golden Gate Bridge! This is a San Francisco staple, so of course, you can’t go without seeing it or driving over it. Depending on what side of the bridge you are on, there are overlooks so you can capture the perfect picture. San Francisco does tend to be quite foggy, so if it isn’t a clear view when you first visit, try heading back later to snap some pictures when the air has cleared.
Lombard Street is famous for its unique curves. It is known as the city’s most crooked street, which makes for a great drive, especially with all the San Francisco hills! Take note that Lombard Street is long, and not all of it is crooked. The crooked section is located between Jones Street and Hyde Street, or at 1070 Lombard Street in a GPS. Not only is Lombard Street fun to drive down, but it also is covered in beautiful flowers lining the street, creating a perfect photo opportunity.
Ride a Cable Car
When visiting San Francisco, you will quickly realize that cable cars are a big means of transportation around the city. Not many other cities in the United States have these, so take advantage of the opportunity to ride one! Schedules and tips on how to ride a cable car can be found online.
Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, Musée Mécanique contains over 300 20th century penny arcade games and artifacts, along with blurbs containing the history behind several of them. Games include table hockey, whack-a-mole, arm wrestling, and much more as well as artifacts such as fortunetellers and small-scale models of the area many years ago. This museum can be fun for children and adults as it has a historical aspect to it in addition to it being an arcade.
Pier 39 is famously known for its seals. The pier has a sitting area where tourists can watch a multitude of seals and sea lions sunbathe and swim.
While planning a day trip to San Francisco, determining means of transportation can be a large factor. You want to be able to enjoy your limited time rather than stressing about parking and walking to different locations. Try to have a plan put into place before heading out. Hopefully, this guide provided you with many different options, all very doable if you only have 48 hours in the city! Remember to take lots of pictures!
Fisherman’s Wharf is a very popular area of San Francisco as it contains several restaurants, gift shops, and performances. This area has something for everyone! Upon arriving at the wharf, you will find several little shops and restaurants. The further back you walk, you will come across a carousel, which is a perfect activity for children as well as street performers with benches to sit at and watch.
Located in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, the Coit Tower has been officially named a San Francisco landmark. The tower stands at 210 feet tall and is the perfect location for a city view. Visitors are able to go up to the tower and view the city from above as well as learn about the tower and its surroundings. Down the hill from Coit Tower, there is a small break in the trees with a viewing spot just off the road that visitors can take in the green-screen-like view. The sites are especially breathtaking at night and if you’re lucky, someone will be passing by who can stop and take a photo for you!
Boudin Bakery is a great pick for any bread lover! The bakery is not only a restaurant/café, but it is also where they make their own bread in the area attached. Visitors are given the opportunity to head upstairs to learn a little about the history of the bakery and watch the process from an above viewing section overlooking the bakery. Boudin is famously known for its sourdough, and sometimes there are even samples of the delicacy to make your decision of where to eat that much easier. If you do choose to eat at the restaurant, you will have your choice of several different sandwiches, all made with in-house made bread. The menu also includes pizza, soups, salads, chili, as well as different breakfast options. This is a great spot for both a sit-down meal or a quick snack!
For a quick treat either between meals or before heading home, stop in Crepe Café in Fisherman’s Wharf. Fisherman’s Wharf is home to several restaurants, eateries and sweet treats. If you’re looking for something sweet, you will have many choices, but a personal favorite is crepes. At Crepe Café, savory crepe options include veggie, pesto, Hawaiian, Florentine and more. Some sweet options include Nutella, fruit, s’mores, and sugar. The café also serves fries and warm drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate for a cool night.
As mentioned above, Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place to go for food since it has so many options. Since it is right on the water, this is where you will find lots of seafood! If you are a seafood lover, consider looking into the following restaurants:
- Swiss Louis Italian & Seafood Restaurant
- Pier Market Seafood Restaurant
- Chart House
- Eagle Café