Going to San Francisco. Advice on places to see

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by xxjorelxx, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Hey guys,
    We and my wife will be going on a short trip to San Francisco this up coming weekend for a wedding and we'll have one day free (Saturday) to be tourists and roam around. I know we have to see the Bay Bridge and we'll probably want to check out Chinatown. But other than that, does anyone have any other ideas on good places to see while there? We want to see as much of the city as possible but with only one day free, im trying to consolidate a list of "must see" places for us to check out. Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. karma

    karma Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    What are your interests?

    I just got back from SF last week. I've visited a few times.

    Btw, you probably misspoke, but the Golden Gate Bridge is the one that everyone goes to see. It connects SF to the Marin Headlands. The Bay Bridge is different and connects SF to Oakland (while also quite nice, it's not iconic like the GG).
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  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Don't try to rent a car, there is absolutely nowhere to park anywhere and it's a fortune if you manage to find something. The Streetcars are a fun way to get around and have some historical appeal. I wouldn't mess with the Trolleys anymore, though. You have wait in line forever and they are just an attraction, not public transport anymore.

    One of the most fun ways to see the bridge, if you are in OK shape (I'm kind of fat and I did it) is to ride a bike from the Fisherman's Wharf area up to the Golden Gate bridge. Takes a couple hours round trip (unless you ride across). You get to see the whole Northern waterfront of the bay that way and it's pretty scenery.
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  4. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2016
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Rob Campbell
    one day on a saturday is not a lot of time and you'll be in the thick with the weekend tourists.

    Embarcadero and the Ferry Building is a great place to tool around. Lots of people on a weekend and great stalls and street food for snacking.

    Alcatraz tours off the pier run pretty regularly. Worth a visit if you haven't been.

    @tkbslc@tkbslc says to not bother with the street cars and I agree but the streetcar museum is pretty damned cool.

    SFMOMA is a favorite of mine but I think it's still undergoing renos, may not be accessible.

    The asian art museum is very neat. asianart.org

    Japan Town is another favorite neighborhood. Pop into one of the izakayas for snacks or find a local for shabu shabu.

    Union Square is fun.

    So many things to see and do in SF. Pick something that interests you and have a great time.
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  5. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Peter, you are correct. I meant the Golden Gate :) Good thing you pointed that out. My list that I made actually had "Bay Bridge" listed on it. Would have been a major fail if I asked the taxi to bring me there.

    Dont really have any specific interests other than seeing the iconic spots and grabbing a few pictures. We also LOVE good food so i'm open to suggestions there. Thanks again
  6. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Lots of good suggestions so far. I definitely will have to map this out and fit in as much as possible. Thanks again guys!
  7. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Grab a hop-on hop-off bus and enjoy, they go to most of the places you want to see. Other places people haven't mentioned yet are Lombard Street, Fisherman Wharf the painted ladies.
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  8. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I'd add Lombard Street, "Japanese Tea Garden" and market at one of wharfs to the list .
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  9. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Alcatraz is awesome and has good photo ops, especially at night.

    The Presidio area, especially around the Golden Gate Bridge, is great to explore. Golden Gate Park has lots to see. The cliffs down here in Pacifica (Mori Point) are worth the 15-minute drive south if you have wheels.

    I second the previous suggestion to avoid driving a car. Totally recommend using Uber or Lyft to get around. If you've never used it before, you'll love it.
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  10. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Yes, definitely avoid driving a car. I also recommend hop-on hop-off bus. No more than $5/hop/person and they accept cash & Clipper (pre-paid card) only. If you like walking, walk across Golden Gate Bridge, less than 2miles from Welcome Center to the other end's Vista Point. On the bridge, you can overlook SF, Alcatraz and Bay Bridge. Hop back the bus to Fisherman Wharf where the good foods are.
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  11. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Lot's of great ideas. I'll add the Legion of Honor/Land's End/Cliff House as being off the beaten tourist track and worth a visit. If you are around the Presidio, it is only a short distance away. If you do end up driving to Pacifica, go down the Great Highway from the Cliff House. But avoid driving if you can.
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  12. JDS

    JDS Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 11, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    David Schultz
    Right at the intersection of Chinatown and Union Square is the Leica store. Not just the most beautiful camera store I've ever seen, it's the most beautiful store, period. The various Porsche Design / Chanel / Gucci etc stores nearby look like Walmart by comparison. Definitely stop in if you go to Chinatown! Also, I second going to the Ferry Terminal, the food is pricy and pretentious- until you try it. The butterscotch sauce at the Humphry Slocombs ice cream place should be illegal, it's insane.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
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  13. ApGfoo

    ApGfoo Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 10, 2012
    Bay Area
    Research Baker Beach...I'm actually going there this Friday for some Instagram inspired photo meetup. Looks like a nice place for photos.

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  14. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Man... you guys are awesome! I wish I had another day to check out all the spots being suggested. If anything, just another reason to come back and visit again :)
  15. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2014
    One of our favorite cities:
    Coit Tower
    Lombard street
    The Fisherman's Wharf area is crowded and very touristy if you like that kind of thing.
    You can rent a bike down by the wharf, ride across the Golden Gate to Sausalito and take the ferry back across the bay
    The Ferry building is a great place to walk around and get a snack. The Slanted Door at the Ferry building has great Vietnamese food (but you probably need to make a reservation yesterday).
    If you are reasonably fit, San Francisco is a walkable city (if you don't mind hills!)
    Hot Cookie in the Castro District (x-rated cookies but really the best oatmeal cookie I think I've ever had).
    As mentioned above, the streetcars are fun, but unreasonably crowded.
    Great city. Great Food. Nice people.
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  16. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Second this suggestion. It is just a commuter ferry (not meant as a tourist attraction) so it is cheap (I think something like $11-$12 one way per person). It takes about 30 minutes to cross and gives nice views of the bridge but more importantly runs very close to Alcatraz island. Alcatraz tours sell out months in advance for the summer months and may already be sold out for now, so this is a cheap way to get close. You will want a longer lens for the ferry to grab shots of the island.
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  17. harryz

    harryz Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 3, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    + 1 for last two comments. That what I did for my last trip to SF. Take Cable Car from Powell Bart train station (if you don't mind to wait 1 hour or so) to Hyde. There you can rent bikes. Bike to Sausalito (it is very beautiful ride) and return back to SF by ferry. You can take 2 different routes: short and long. For the long one you need to start early to be on time on ferry. Short path will take you about 3 hours and long 5+.
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  18. dcuttler

    dcuttler New to Mu-43

    Mar 15, 2016
    David Cuttler
    If you happen to be walking around in North Beach, stop at Golden Boy on Green street, and have a square slice of pizza and a draft beer. It's a hole in the wall, but tastes great.
    I live across the bay in Oakland, and stop there often. Actually we were there last Sunday.
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  19. dwkdnvr

    dwkdnvr Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    I was in SF for a conference last year, and my wife flew out to join me for the weekend. The Slanted Door was where she wanted to go, but they were booked solid even several weeks out. Based on their advice, we got there close to opening on Fri and just sat/ate at the bar. Absolutely fantastic and highly recommended. Not cheap, but then again not much in SF is.

    Yes, this is what we do. Stay centrally (Union Square this time), and walk for the most part - fantastic walking city and endless opportunities for street shooting. This time we did to the streetcars down to Fisherman's Wharf, but we got an outside seat and I got to dangle out the side for the entire trip which made the wait worth it.
  20. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    If you drive across the bridges with tolls and don't have a pass, get online asap and pay (enter your license plate #), or they will further gouge you when they mail you the bill.
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