San Francisco in a Weekend: Best Things to do
If San Francisco were a person, she would be that friend who always seems to be having a midlife crisis.
In the 60s, she was all about the hippie counterculture; in the 90s, it was the dot-com boom (and eventual bust).
and more recently, she’s been exploring her culinary side as the food movement has taken off.
San Francisco: a city that’s constantly changing, yet somehow always the same. The views from the waterfront never get old, and neither does the city’s character. San Francisco is where people can be themselves and be accepted for who they are. It’s a place where you can wander through Golden Gate Park and find something new around every corner. Despite all the city’s new developments, San Francisco remains true to its roots. The community consciousness that San Francisco is known for is as alive as ever. So whether you’re visiting for the first time or a lifelong resident, there’s always something to love about San Francisco.
Best things to do in San Francisco
San Francisco is a city with many faces. There’s the Financial District, with its skyscrapers and suits. There’s Haight-Ashbury, with its hippies and head shops. And then there’s the waterfront, where San Franciscans go to relax and enjoy the best of what their city has to offer. The waterfront has transformed in recent years, shedding its industrial past and emerging as a thriving community of shops, restaurants, and parks. Visitors can start exploring the waterfront in the east, south of the Bay Bridge. They can make their way west to the Golden Gate and then south to Ocean Beach. Along the way, they’ll see many of the places San Franciscans love best . And get a taste of what remains of their city’s maritime heart.
Let’s take a look at the best 10 things to do in San Francisco over the weekend
Visit Mission Bay
Mission Bay is a San Francisco, California neighborhood, located on the city’s east side. It is bordered by China Basin to the north, San Francisco Bay to the east, Mission Creek to the south, and Seventh Street to the west. The area was originally part of Mission Bay, a 3,000-acre (12 km2) salt marsh filled in during the 19th century. Mission Bay today is estimated to be worth around $2.3 billion. It is home to the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus, as well as several biotech and research companies. In recent years, Mission Bay has seen an influx of new residents and businesses. The neighborhood is “San Francisco’s second downtown” and “a model of urban redevelopment.”
When in Rome
Looking to get your heart pumping on a Saturday morning? Then head on down to Crissy Field in San Francisco. This former waterfront airfield has been transformed into the city’s de facto outdoor gym, with joggers, walkers and cyclists cruising its paths. And it’s not just the locals who love it ! Crissy Field has been named one of the best places to run in the country by Runner’s World magazine. So, lace up your sneakers and hit the pavements at Crissy Field for a great workout.
Ride a Cable Car
There’s nothing quite like San Francisco’s iconic cable cars. Whether you’re riding up and down the steep hills of the city or just taking in the sights, a ride on a cable car is an unforgettable experience.
The experience will vary depending on the direction the car is going, your location on the car, your driver, and traffic. However, one of the best routes to take is the Powell-Hyde line. This line starts at the cable car turnaround at Powell Street and Market Street (map). On this route, you’ll have views of Coit Tower, Alcatraz Island, and San Francisco Bay. As it rides north along Powell Street, you pass by Union Square and ride up to Nob Hill where the views can’t be beaten. So, if you’re looking for a great way to see San Francisco, take a ride on the Powell-Hyde line!
Tips for riding a cable car in San Francisco
First, you can board the cable car at any stop along the route. Look for the brown and white sign saying MUNI Cable Car Stop. Second, when waiting at the stop, be sure to raise your hand to signal the driver as the cable car approaches – otherwise, you might get left behind! And finally, keep in mind that if you board at a stop near the beginning of the line, the car might already be full. So if you’re hoping to avoid a packed car, you might want to wait until later in the ride to hop on.
The best way to make sure you don’t miss your chance to ride one is to buy your tickets in advance. The most convenient way to do this is to purchase tickets from the MUNI app. With the app, you can purchase tickets anytime, anywhere. And when it’s time to ride, simply open the ticket image and show it to the conductor. It’s that easy! So don’t wait until you’re standing in line at the ticket booth.
These historic streetcars have been a staple of San Francisco since the 1800s, and today they remain one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Did you know that more people visit China Town in San Francisco than Golden Bridge?!
San Francisco China Town is the oldest one in North America. It was founded in 1848 by Chinese immigrants who were attracted to San Francisco by the prospect of finding gold. The neighborhood is still predominantly Chinese, and it’s easy to spend a day here exploring the streets and alleys and browsing the shops.
Why you should visit Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the city’s most vibrant and lively communities. It’s a bustling neighborhood that is only partially dependent on tourism. The prevailing dialect is still Cantonese. The news vendors sell only Chinese-language publications, and side streets like Waverly Place, home to numerous Buddhist temples and family associations, seem profoundly foreign. In recent decades, the revival of trading relations with mainland China and the influx of people and money from Hong Kong have given new life to this city within the city. Chinatown is a vital part of San Francisco, and it’s a great place to experience the city’s rich culture and history.
San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts
This beautiful building, with its iconic dome and curved columns, is set in a beautiful park in the Marina District. It’s my favorite place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the city.The Palace was built as a temporary structure for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. It was supposed to be torn down after the expo, but both visitors and locals fell in love with it.
The city of San Francisco decided to keep it standing, and it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Hundreds of people visit the Palace every day, and it’s easy to see why. The Palace is a beautiful example of classic architecture, and it’s surrounded by a lush garden that is perfect for exploring on a sunny day. If you’re ever in San Francisco, be sure to check out the Palace of Fine Arts!
It’s one of the most scenic backdrops for your Instagram feed. The Palace is located in the Marina District, and it’s easily accessible by public transportation. Once you arrive, you’ll be able to explore the grounds, take in the stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, and snap some photos of the beautiful architecture.
The Presidio is one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco, and it’s perfect for a leisurely stroll. The grounds are home to miles of hiking trails and plenty of scenic overlooks to enjoy. The landscape is also dotted with stunning installations and sculptures by artists like Andy Goldsworthy. One of Goldsworthy’s most famous pieces is Spire, a soaring wooden spike that stands tall in the park. Another great work is Wood Line, a Forest-floor S made of eucalyptus. The Presidio is a truly special place, and it’s definitely worth a visit
The crookedest street
First-time visitors to San Francisco may be surprised to find that the city’s famed, most crooked street is Lombard between Hyde and Leavenworth. This iconic stretch of road features eight switchbacks flanked by dense foliage, flowers and people’s homes, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists. Unfortunately, the popularity of the street also means that traffic can move slowly, especially during peak hours. However, first-time visitors should not be discouraged – the experience of driving (or walking) down Lombard Street is well worth the wait.
If you are up for the challenge
San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of the hilliest. That’s why some of the city’s best views are from its steepest streets. If you’re up for a challenge, try riding Filbert Street between Leavenworth and Hyde in Russian Hill or 22nd Street between Church and Vicksburg in Noe Valley. These streets have a gradient of 31.5 percent, so they’re not for the faint of heart. But if you’re looking for an incredible ride (or a day’s workout in 10 minutes flat), they’re definitely worth checking out.
Bonfire at Baker Beach
San Francisco’s Baker Beach is one of the best places in the state to enjoy a beach bonfire. There’s something about the combination of the salty ocean air, the sound of waves crashing against the shore, and the smell of wood smoke that just screams “California.” And while the wind can sometimes be a bit chilly, the atmosphere is always warm and friendly. So bring a blanket, a guitar, and some good vibes, and enjoy an evening under the stars.
San Francisco’s Sunset district
San Francisco’s Sunset district has become known in recent years for its fashionable boutiques, cafes, and art spaces. However, some of the district’s best-hidden treasures are its surf shops. Mollusk Surf Shop is a great place to find used boards, other surfing gear, and jeans and slingshots. The Woodshop is a collective of four artists who sell everything from customized chairs to hand-painted signs. The group is usually friendly and bearded, and their workspace is by appointment only. However, most of the time, a knock on the door will do. So next time you’re in San Francisco, check out the Sunset district – you won’t be disappointed!
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists. However, the western edge of the park, facing Ocean Beach, is often overlooked in favor of the more well-known cityside flanks. So next time you plan a trip to Golden Gate Park, explore the whole park, including the often underrated western edge.
Golden Gate Bridge
Looking to get the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge? Then you’ll want to start your journey at Fort Point Lookout. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to see the entire bridge and get up close and personal with a statue of Joseph B. Strauss, the bridge’s designer. And if that’s not enough, you can also check out a sample of the three-foot-thick suspension cable. Once you’re done at the lookout, it’s time to head to the toll plaza and then make your way across the bridge into Marin County.
Touching up the Golden Gate Bridge is no small task – it requires gallons of orange paint each week! That’s because this world-famous bridge is one of the most photographed structures in the world. Maintenance crews work tirelessly to keep it looking its best. And all that orange paint helps ensure that this icon of San Francisco shines brightly for all to see.
Camera obscura at the Cliff House
In a darkened room, visitors view a parabolic screen onto which lenses and a mirror project a live, moving picture of the scene outside. That’s right – you can see live, moving pictures of San Francisco without leaving your seat!
Leonardo da Vinci and other Renaissance scholars dreamed up this fascinating device, and is quite rare to see nowadays. Essentially, it’s a large box with a tiny hole in one side. When you look into the hole, an upside-down image of the surrounding area is projected onto the opposite wall of the box. So if you want to see the Golden Gate Bridge standing on its head, or the downtown skyline turned upside down, this is definitely the place to be! Just be warned – it’s not for those claustrophobic, as you will be enclosed in a small space with no windows. But if you’re up for an adventure, it’s well worth a visit.
See San Francisco from water
San Francisco is a notoriously hilly, and one of the best ways to get a good look at the landscape is from the water. Tour boats frequently leave from Pier 39, Pier 41 and other points on the Embarcadero. Many offer narrated tours to learn about the city’s history as you take in the sights. Bring a sweater or jacket because it can get chilly out on the Bay.
City Lights is one of the most interesting bookstores, not just because it was founded by San Francisco’s poet laureate, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It’s also because it has a poetry room upstairs! When you walk in, you’re immediately transported to another world – a world of words and ideas. The shelves are lined with books of all genres, and the staff is always happy to help you find what you’re looking for. But the real attraction of City Lights is the poetry room. Upstairs, in a secluded corner of the bookstore, you’ll find a cozy space filled with poetry books and magazines. Whether you’re a fan of poetry or just looking for a quiet place to relax, the poetry room at City Lights is definitely worth a visit.
More action for book lovers
Green Apple Books on the Park is the newest addition to the Green Apple Books family.The shop stocks a wide range of new and used books, and there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for your next great read or want to explore San Francisco’s literary scene, Green Apple Books on the Park is worth visiting.
The Queen Wilhelmina Garden
The Queen Wilhelmina Garden in San Francisco is a beautiful sight to behold in the springtime. Each year, 11,000 tulips bloom in the dell at the base of the Dutch Windmill, drawing a crowd of flower-lovers. If the weather cooperates, the tulips should be in full bloom by the end of March. However, given the unpredictable nature of San Francisco weather, there’s no guarantee that the Queen Wilhelmina Garden will be open to the public on any given day. So if you’re planning a visit, be sure to check the forecast and plan accordingly!
San Francisco weather
San Francisco is renowned for its cool, foggy summers. In fact, the city’s climate is so unique that it has been known to confuse even the most seasoned traveler. As the story goes, Mark Twain once visited San Francisco during the summer. He was so taken aback by the cold weather that he proclaimed it to be the ”coldest winter I ever spent.” Of course, whether or not Twain actually said this is hotly debated. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that San Francisco’s summers are definitely not like anywhere else. So if you’re looking to escape the heat this summer, you know where to go!
Best things to do in San Francisco for first time visitors
- San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and varied cities in the world, making it a bit overwhelming for first-time visitors. To help you make the most of your trip, here is a list of the top San Francisco attractions that you won’t want to miss.
- The waterfront is a great place to start and avoid Fisherman’s Wharf, which can be too commercialized for some taste.
- Chinatown is another must-see, and don’t forget to try some of the delicious food while you’re there.
- North Beach is also worth a visit, and if you’re looking for something a little less touristy, Golden Gate Park is a great option.
- Union Square is perfect for shoppers, and the Civic Center and Montgomery Street financial district are interesting places to explore. Finally, don’t miss the chance to see the beautiful homes in Pacific Heights.
- With so much to see and do, San Francisco, is sure to delight visitors of all ages.
When is the best tie to visit San Francisco?
San Francisco is a great year-round destination, but the best time to go is during the fall. The weather is still quite warm to enjoy all the city has to offer, but without tourist crowds and high prices of peak season. Plus, there’s something special about watching the leaves change color while you stroll through Golden Gate Park. If you’re looking for the ideal time to visit San Francisco, I recommend planning your trip for September or October.
San Francisco is a must visit destination
San Francisco is a city that is full of surprises. Something new pops up to catch your eye when you think you’ve seen it all. Take, for example, the roses in Golden Gate Park. They’re always in full bloom, adding a splash of color to an otherwise gray city. Or the Opera House, where Richard Wagner is casting his spell on the San Francisco Symphony. And, of course, there’s the Golden Gate Bridge, which is getting a fresh coat of paint. As usual, it’s a beautiful red-orange that blends in with sunset colors. All in all, San Francisco is a city that is always full of life and excitement.