24 Hours in San Francisco - The best things to see & do
When we went on our Pacific Coast Highway roadtrip from Los Angeles to San Francisco it was only for 3 days and was more of a way to get a little sneak peek of each place and to take in all the Californian vibes. Most people, especially Europeans, say they prefer San Francisco to LA but I wasn't so convinced.
We went during the month of August and whilst it was hot and sunny in LA, as we went further up north of the coast, the colder it got. We had cold cloudy weather in SF and I must say it didn't make it that enjoyable. Anyway, it was still a great experience to visit this international city and explore its most iconic monuments.
We visited all of these famous places in a day so don't worry if you haven't got days on end to visit San Francisco because you’ll still get a good feel of the city.
We stayed at a hotel near Lombard Street so it was the first place we visited. The name of the street may not ring a bell to you but when I say is the little steep street that goes around in S I'm sure you'll know the one I'm talking about! Apparently it’s the crookedest street in the world! I was surprised by how many people we saw there taking pictures and interfering with the drivers' passage. There are even signs saying you can't go on the road! Uppss I guess I broke the rule...
Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39
We then walked down to the Fisherman's Wharf where you can see the famous Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge form a distance. There are lots of shops, restaurants, cafes and even an arcade by the pier making it rather lively and popular. Hyde Street Pier is a historic ferry pier that's interesting to visit. Too bad it wasn't a sunny day when we went...
We then got a taxi to Mission District to see all the vibrant murals everyone had been talking about. I must say the area is a bit dirty and seems a bit dodgy for my liking. The graffiti murals are cool to see but I was expecting something more wow! I don't know much about street art to it's hard for me to have a solid opinion...
This is one of the main squares and meeting points in SF surround by some of the major hotels, restaurants and department stores. We went up to the top of Macy's and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
What's great about this place is the outdoor terrace with its panoramic views of the square and surrounding buildings.
Painted Ladies - Alamo Square
It's funny how in every city there is that one particular residential street that becomes famous on social media and where everyone then goes to take pictures. The property market must be booming in all these areas! In San Francisco, it’s the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square that get all the attention. These lovely pastel-coloured houses and mansions will make you dream about living exactly here if you were ever to setlle down in SF.
According to Wikipedia, in American architecture, "painted ladies" are Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies - San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians.
On our way driving out of SF we passed by Chinatown and it looked quite a lively and a fun area to explore. It's actually the oldest Chinatown in North America established in the late 20th Century as it was the port of entry for early Chinese immigrants.
Golden Gate Bridge
We saved the best part for last. The Golden Gate Bridge is a spectacular structure to admire and there are so many different viewpoints. Traffic was mayhem so we didn’t actually drive across the bridge. Instead we went to Vista Point to get a good view of the bridge. It was extremely grey and windy so we didn’t stay there that long to be honest...
If you're staying in San Francisco for longer than 24 hours and want some more insider information then I suggest heading over to one of my favourite travel bloggers Tour de Lust website to get all the local tips as Christine is actaully based in San Francisco.
What did you like the most about San Francisco?