7 Highlights of San Francisco You Won’t Want To Miss

san francisco mansions

San Francisco is a lively city that embodies America’s diversity and hums with creativity. Not only has the city taken a center stage during numerous artistic and social movements, this vibrant city is known for progressing at a rapid pace with its innovative industries. San Francisco is a multicultural gem of Northern California that became home to several large groups of foreign-born residents, while its great neighborhoods provide a wide range of tourist attractions.

The cocktail and restaurant scenes all over the city do not fail to impress. An array of culture collides in the city to make it an eclectic city to visit. It really doesn’t matter when you’re planning to visit San Francisco, you can expect a bunch of great festivals throughout the year. While you may need several weeks to experience all the highlights of San Francisco, this quick guide aims to provide you with tips for a short visit.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

San Francisco offers a plethora of accommodation options from affordable guesthouses to eccentric luxury offerings. If you scour through the city, you will realize that it can prove to be a challenging task of finding a place in this glamorous city. If you do not wish to break the bank during your trip, make sure to find some inexpensive budget accommodations that offer value for your money. Check out private room rental options offered by Airbnb. You can consider Bed & Breakfast options as well that would place you right in the heart of the city. Solo travelers can check out the numerous hostels that offer dorm-style bedrooms and budget hotels for their stay. The best thing about staying in communal spaces is that you can get to interact with the fellow travelers either in the kitchen, lounge or the dining area.

Food in San Francisco

You do not really have to spend a lot of money to indulge in scrumptious meals while touring the city. San Francisco is home to some incredible eateries that can offer you delicious stuff no matter what your budget is. Do not forget to visit these places to savor the tastiest bites while looking for affordable dining options in the city.

Hit the Bini’s Kitchen to gorge on some Himalayan food. All you need to spend is 10 USD for the Gorkha Chicken Curry combo that comes with four turkey momo dumplings and rice. If you want to taste some heavenly ceviche, then visit Cholo Soy that serves authentic and delicious Peruvian food for just 5 USD. Daily specials include massive portions of roasted lamb or braised beef served with rice and beans at just 10 USD.

If you are looking for healthier eating options during your travel, then consider exploring the menu offered by Eatsa. You can grab a burrito or quinoa bowl at just 6.95 USD. The HRD Coffee Shop is another great place in the city where you can go for lunch. Much of the offerings on the menu have been priced under 10 USD and the portions large enough to keep you full. There are several street vendors and food trucks all over the city that offer delicious, satisfying offerings at reasonable rates.

7 highlights of san francisco

Getting Around San Francisco

There are several budget options of getting around San Francisco for a backpacker. If you do not exercise care, then you may end up blowing your budget with the transportation costs while in the city, however. Consider purchasing a cable car pass. A one-day pass costs 14 USD and is one of the incredible ways to experience the city. Alternatively, stick to a Muni pass, which includes streetcars, light rail, and buses. Purchasing a pass would be a worthwhile investment because cable cars are a part of the Muni transit system. A 3-day pass would cost you 22 USD and would save you a lot of money.

Top Things to See in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

This is one of the most popular attractions and the most enduring symbols of San Francisco. This majestic bridge offers a plethora of options when it comes to capturing picturesque snaps. Head to the Vista Point that overlooks the city if you are a photographer! You may spend most of the day taking postcard worthy images at the location. The incredible architecture of this bridge doesn’t fail to enchant the visitors. Walk across the bridge if the place is not really crowded. It would certainly be a walk you would remember for the rest of your life. This bridge is accessible on foot, by a bicycle, car, and by bus.

cable car in san francisco

Cable Car in The Street

Fisherman’s Wharf

If you prefer a quieter attraction, then give Fisherman’s Wharf a miss because this place is incredibly popular amongst the travelers. The Wharf is Home to Pier 39 that is popular for a multitude of restaurant and shopping options. Don’t miss the chance of taking a snap with the sea lions that sunbathe near the docks. The Wharf also has the reputation for housing family-friendly attractions. Expect to find the Aquarium of the Bay, the San Francisco Dungeon and the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The Maritime Museum and the Maritime National Historic Park are alternative options in case you can allocate more time exploring the Wharf.

Union Square  

Nestled in the heart of the downtown San Francisco, the Union Square is loved by the locals and the travelers alike for its incredible energy and awesome location. The abundance of amenities, accommodation, dining and shopping options makes Union Square a hot spot in the city. This is a great place to shop and plentiful public transportation options can be availed from this place for exploring the rest of the city.

Chinatown

Do not miss visiting this place while in San Francisco if you wish to walk through the oldest Chinatown. Explore the region on foot for temples, food markets, renowned restaurants, exotic shops and much more. Gorge on some delectable dim sum and purchase potions from herb shops for an incredible experience. Do visit the souvenir shops and the Fortune Cookie Factory if you are intrigued by the way they are produced. You can explore the district at any time of the day.

lombard street

Panoramic View From Lombard Street

Walking tours

Several volunteer organizations offer free walking tours around San Francisco. Make sure not to miss this opportunity to mingle with the locals and view the city from their perspective. You can learn a lot about this fabulous city this way rather than venture into prime attractions alone. Check the website for further details as well as the schedule. This will save you a lot of time and money while discovering the offerings of this stunning city.

Twin Peaks

When the fog clears, you may want to experience some of the San Francisco’s best panoramic views while hiking the Twin Peaks trails. Twin Peaks is a very popular place amongst travelers and locals. It offers spectacular views no matter the time of day. On a clear day, expect to see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Oakland. On the other hand, the fog is something that adds some magic to your trip there. Seeing the fog blanketing the city, climbing up the sides of the hill, and slowly cascading down the east side is truly awe-inspiring. Bring a jacket because it is a bit windy up there.

Lombard Street

This one-way brick-paved street consists of eight hairpin turns that were designed to make descent for cars and pedestrians safer. You can find Lombard street among the top landmarks in San Francisco. This usually implies swarms of tourists on weekends. Apart from viewing vehicles slowly overcoming impressive zig-zag switchbacks, the street is filled with splendid mansions, handsome landscape and flowers on either side. As you reach the top of the hill, you will be rewarded with a sweeping view of the Bay Bridge and Coit Tower. However, you can do the Lombard street from either side.

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