San Francisco is one of those cites that everyone has heard of. People usually think of its foggy weather, golden bridges, amazing sea views, or its vibrant LGBT culture. My road trip down highway 101 concluded in San Francisco, so I had the wonderful opportunity to experience the city and all it had to offer. It was the perfect way to enjoy an amazing city in the States before I began my journey abroad. Here are some tips for visiting San Francisco.
Get the Perfect Shot of the Golden Gate Bridge
The focus of almost every SF picture is centered around the Golden Gate Bridge. It spans across the mile wide straight that connects the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean and shines a bright red color, especially when the sun hits it. The bridge is one of the tallest and longest suspension bridges in the world, so it was a must for me. My favorite view was from Fort Winfeild Scott. It’s on the south west side of the bridge and has some amazing photo opportunities of the bridge and the coast line as well.
Drink at the Beach
Whether your favorite drink is beer, wine, or lemonade, it’s so much fun to drink at the beach. My favorite beach during my trip was Ocean Beach. It has a huge beach line so there’s plenty of room for everyone. It also has fire pits and large sand mounds to sit on to make it the perfect spot to view a sunset. I brought a volley ball and had hours of play time in the sunshine.
Experience the Life of a Prisoner at Alcatraz
Alcatraz was a truly unique experience when visiting San Francisco that I hadn’t seen in other cities. How many places allow you to tour an abandoned island that used to hold criminals? It’s a very touristy thing to do, but I think it was so worth it. It used to be a prison in the 1800’s and 1900’s, and is now a protect area that you can visit. If you’re a history buff like I am, this will be a highlight of your trip. Tickets cost you about $40 and include a boat ride to and from the island.
The Castro District
Out of all the neighborhoods in SF, the Castro District is one that should not be missed. Regardless of your political leanings or personal preferences, it’s a really quirky neighborhood that embraces people’s differences. As someone who loves LGBT friendly neighborhoods, this was a big highlight of my trip. There’s so many gay bars, clubs, restaurants, and bakeries in the part of the city, you don’t have to be gay to have fun. My favorite places included Club Cafe, QBar, Moby Dick, and Hot Cookie.
Dance in the Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts has a structure that has some of the most beautiful architecture in the city. It was my favorite place to wander during my time in SF, and it’s even more beautiful at night. The palace lights up the entire area at night and its reflection glistens across the water next to it. It forms a dome shape that isa perfect place to dance or sing or to do whatever you fancy.
Eat Dim Sum in China Town
The China Town in SF is a thriving one. The buildings change shape, the languages on the signs change, and the aroma is so strong, you can almost smell it from Mexico. I came here for dim sum, and it was delicious. You can go wrong with a visit here – you win some, you dim sum. My favorite dim sum restaurant was Great Eastern, the dumplings were to die for.
Embrace Your Inner 90’s at the Painted Ladies
As a 90’s kid, I love throw backs. I definitely watched the remake of King Kong, I still eat PB&J sandwiches, and I love talking about how the Backstreet Boys were better than N’Sync. SF has a change to visit the location of one of the best shows of the 90’s – Full House. The Painted Ladies are the houses in the opening credits of the film and one of the houses is where the show took place. It was a fun way to revisit past time memories.
Have a Picnic at Delores Park
With sunshine being a common occurrence in SF, parks are requested by locals and tourists. My favorite park was Mission Delores for it’s local vibe. It had a lot of locals sitting in grass, playing Frisbee, and bringing their kids to the play ground. There’s lots of space to play and it has some pretty cool views. Delores was my favorite spot for a picnic lunch.
View Some Local Street Art
In the Mission District (which has amazing burritos) lies an alley full of SF culture and art. Clarion Alley is an alleyway in a neighborhood full of graffiti artwork. The walls are covered from the floor to the roof and it’s a really fun place to walk around and see each artist’s depiction.
Visiting San Francisco was such a unique experience and it had such a vibrant culture, I cannot wait to go back. What’s your favorite part of the city? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to contact us if you need any help planning your next trip.