San Francisco is an increasingly popular transit port, over and above LAX, as well as a destination for travellers from across the world. To begin with, as informed by locals in the Bayside Area, no one calls San Francisco “San Fran” anymore, it is all about “SF”. So be sure to know the correct terminology or be prepared to be corrected. After arriving at SFO, clearing customs and heading downtown on the BART, where do you begin to make the most of a day stopover or your first day in SF? Well read on to pick up some ideas, or replicate the below itinerary to make the most of your time in this eclectic and bustling city.
Depending on arrival time, you may be feeling peckish for some breakfast. The city is full of delicious spots to satisfy your tastebuds. For a quick, but tasty combination of a donut and coffee, or toast and a coffee, head to The Mill near Haight Ashbury. Grab it to takeaway and walk one block over to Alamo Square and sit in the sunshine (I hope!) and enjoy the view of The Painted Ladies and the cityscape behind it.
Following breakfast, head up Haight street towards Haight Ashbury and take a good look at all the shops, art and people. A colourful and interesting suburb not to be missed. Catch the bus back into the city and get off down at Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you can visit the lazy sea lions at Pier 39 and grab some seafood chowder for lunch. Make sure you grab it in a Sourdough Bowl. You will have ample choice of chowder bars to choose from, street trucks, the Boudin Bakery or an upstairs restaurant with a harbour view.
After lunch head one block up from Fisherman’s Wharf to “Basically Free Bike Rentals” where for $24 for a half-day or $32 for a full-day, you can hire a bike to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. The best part of heading here is that you will receive $34 store credit for Sports Basement, which is on the bike path out towards Golden Gate Bridge that you can redeem for any extra piece of clothing, active wear or outdoor equipment that you forgot to bring on your travels. There is something for everyone at Sports Basement.
It takes a couple of hours to get across to Sausalito if you are stopping to take photos. Spend a little time browsing the little streets in Sausalito for souvenirs or grab a fresh smoothie or frozen yoghurt for afternoon tea. Then take the ferry back to the city and get a great view of Alcatraz on the way.
There are a mass of options for dinner in SF. Chinatown, Little Italy or hidden Mexican spots with endless chips and salsa, just to name a few. If you are interested in Italian, head to “Little Italy” on Columbus Street and stop on by to Calzone, where you can sit out on the pavement and watch the city pass by whilst enjoying pizza, pasta or calzone.
If you are after Mexican food, I can highly recommend Tropisueno off Market Street in the City. They run happy hour from 4-6pm where you can begin with nibbles and margaritas at a great price, then their full dinner menu begins service after 6pm. Chinatown doesn’t differ much from a Chinatown in any other country where you have endless options of cheap joints with authentic Asian food.
To finish of the day, grab some gelato in Little Italy and wander the streets. Or use the phone app Yelp to find the best cocktail bar nearby, as there are sure to be many that fit the bill!
// Words: The Good Wolf Manifesto
// Images: Property of The Good Wolf Manifesto