On our 2 week California road trip we only had one full day and night to explore the beautiful San Francisco. It was a jam-packed day but we managed to fit in everything we wanted to do – so here’s how to do San Francisco in one day!
We stayed at USA Hostel a few minutes walk from Union Square (highly recommend to young travellers, fab location and reasonably priced if booked in advance).
- Street car F from Powell street station to pier 33 (very cool, traditional way of getting around San Fran, similar to their cable cars but cheaper) for our Alcatraz tour.
- Alcatraz Island tour (book through Alcatraz Cruises, they are the only official/direct company you can book through). Our tour started at 11am, (cost about $40) and you can spend as much or as little time on the island as you like, as long as you get on the last ferry back to San Fran (free ferry included in the ticket). I can’t recommend this tour enough, it comes with a great free audio tour that you can listen to at your own pace.
- Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. From pier 33 we walked to the famous Pier 39 where we wondered round and looked at the cute buildings, restaurants and shops (this area is very touristy but I still loved seeing it) we got some lunch from one of the many fish and chip takeaways and sat and watched HUNDREDS of Sea Lions laze around by the pier!
- Cycle over Golden Gate Bridge. We walked further down fisherman’s wharf and stopped at one of the many bike rental stalls. (2 hours for $16 – or 24 hours for $33) – this was the perfect afternoon, with some steep parts of the cycle path but majority is flat and amazing views of San Fran along the way!
*Don’t leave it too late in the day to hire bikes because most shops will close at 7pm and then you’ll have to take it with you until the next day*
- Lombard Street. Returned our bikes and walked to Lombard street (the steepest street in the world so prepare for leg burn!) watched the cars struggle down the famous zigzagged street!
- Cable car to Union Square. We couldn’t visit without getting on one! We did the touristy thing and hung off the side – it was great fun cruising up and down the hills of San Francisco
- Cheesecake Factory in Macy’s Union Square – we were recommended this place and now I would also recommend it! The restaurant is at the top of Macy’s with an amazing view of Union Square! Ridiculous amounts of food to choose from on the menu – amazing food, we ate too much and didn’t have room for cheesecake! *The Korean style cauliflower is BANGINGGGG*
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