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Itinerary: Three-day weekend in San Francisco

Trip details:

I'm visiting San Francisco for the first time from Feb 7 - Feb 10. I'd like a plan that covers all the best things to do, tourist highlights as well as some unique and fun things. I'm a single female, 27 and don't know anyone in the city. I'm interested in art, culture and food.

Food Trucks on Friday Feb 7th:

If you like street food and food trucks, there is a location about 8 blocks way between 11am-2pm on Friday when you arrive. http://offthegridsf.com/markets#1-5m-5th-and-minna



Directions: Walk on Post St towards Powell St. Turn Right and walk 4 blocks to Market St (where the cable car turnaround is) Cross the street and walk right to 5th St. Walk 1 block to Mission St and cross Mission. There will be a small street called Minna. Turn right and you will see the food trucks.


This area can be a little sketchy but daytime hours are safe. The link above will have links to the food trucks and their menu.

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Hop On & Off Bus Tour:

Here is the link to the tour: http://www.buysanfranciscotours.com/tours/sf-open-top-one-day-sightseeing-hop-on-hop-off-tour.html


This tour goes across the Golden Gate Bridge, which I think is a must! You can get on the bus at Union Square across from Macys. This is only 2 blocks from the hostel. The site says it is a 2.5-hour tour but I’ll add more time at the bottom with the stops you should get off and explore. If you want to have breakfast prior to the tour, I would recommend Honey Honey Crepe House. This is on Post St at Taylor St, right across from your hostel. Good coffee and great food. Everything is under $10. Food is a little expensive here.



  • Union Square across from Macys-This is the pick up stop

  • Hilton Hotel at Mason and Ellis Street

  • Civic Center at the Asian Art Museum on Larkin Street

  • Fulton Street at Fulton and Franklin Street

  • Alamo Square at Fell and Divisadero Street-Get off at this stop. Alamo Square Park is famous for the Painted Ladies (colorful Victorian houses with the skyline behind them). It’s a beautiful site for photos and relaxing in the park. 30-45min

  • Haight & Ashbury at Stanyan and Haight Street-The famous neighborhood! Get off here and stroll up Haight St and turn around at Central Ave. Here are a few places to eat: http://www.sparrowbarandkitchen.com and People’s Café (no website) it’s on Haight @ Masonic. People’s Café is one of my favorites and more on the cheaper side. 1.5 hrs

  • Golden Gate Park: Music Concourse in front of Academy of Sciences-Here is a really cool San Francisco thing! I would get off here and walk towards the Music Concourse. It’s an outdoor concert. You will see lines of trees. Try to find the one with a ribbon wrapped around it. Walk over and look for the fairy door. The story of this door was all over the news. http://untouristsf.com/2013/05/10/the-tiny-elf-door-at-golden-gate-park I went to find it and I thought is was really cute and unique. 30min

  • Golden Gate Bridge at the South Vista Point

  • Golden Gate Bridge at the North Vista Point

  • Palace of Fine Arts at Richardson and Francisco Street

  • Lombard and Filmore Street

  • Lombard and Gough Street

  • Westin St. Francis Hotel Union Square at Post and Powell Street

  • Chinatown Gates at Grant and Bush Streets-Spend some time in Chinatown! Stroll up Grant St. It’s full of shops and bakeries. If you didn’t stop to eat in Haight, there is a great place near Chinatown. http://houseofnanking.net House of Nanking. It’s family style so you are seated at large communal tables and it’s fast service. There is a line sometimes because it’s so popular. I also recommend exploring Stockton St, which is one block up from Grant St. It’s way less touristy and you’ll see more locals out shopping. 1.5-2hrs

  • Ferry Building Area at Stuart Street in front of Harbor Court Hotel-Stop here to check out the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge. If you’re here before 2pm on Saturday, you’ll get to experience the huge farmer’s market. Along side of the building, local restaurants have food carts selling warm meals! There are so many it’s hard to choose. Inside the Ferry Building are food shops, coffee shops, and cafes. If you like coffee, stop at Blue Bottle Coffee. It’s one of the most delicious and popular local coffee roasters. Just a short walk down from the Ferry Building is another fav restaurant. http://www.theplantcafe.com/location/pier-3 It’s all organic and so good! The have a restaurant and a take out area so you can get food to go. There are lots of benches nearby to eat and relax. 2hrs

  • Pier 39 Main Entrance-This is the stop to see the sea lions. They are not hard to find since they are very loud and sometimes stinky but so cute! You can walk out to the pier and get a view of Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge, and The Bay. 1-1.5hrs

  • Fisherman’s Wharf at Mason and Jefferson Street

  • Fisherman’s Wharf at Taylor and Beach Street

  • Washington Square at Columbus and Union Street-This is North Beach aka Little Italy. This park is so lovely on a sunny day. You can relax here for awhile or stroll up and down Columbus Ave. This street is chucked full of Italian restaurants and cafes. I would walk up Columbus to Broadway and check out City Lights Bookstore. Right next to it is a favorite bar of mine, Vesuvio. http://www.vesuvio.com Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and many other beatnik writers hung out here. You can order a drink and head upstairs to find a seat next to the window. Great people watching and so much history! 1.5-2hrs

  • Embarcadero at Clay and Battery Street


Get off at Union Square. I would estimate this would take about 8-10 hours depending how long you want to explore. It’s an all day tour and I think this is the best to see the most!

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Ocean Beach/Sutro Baths/Lands End:

Sutro Baths


This will feel like you've left the city. The #38 bus will take you out there. It's about a 40-45min ride. Lands End is a park with trails right along the edge. You will see the other side of the Golden Gate Park. Sutro Baths is now old ruins from 1896 of an indoor swimming pool. If you walk down to check it out, find the tunnel to walk through. Ocean Beach is at the end of the city. It's about 3.5 miles of beach with lots of surfers, dogs, runners, everyone hanging out enjoying the sun. The Beach Chalet is a 2 story restaurant/brewery near the beach with public bathrooms. Java Beach is a cute little coffee shop one block up from Ocean Beach. They have some food and beer (and a bathroom)! Oh how finding bathrooms is important.

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Neighborhoods: Mission (Valencia St and Dolores Park):


Valencia St in the Mission is one of my favorite places to spend the day. You can get on the F car on Market St and take it down to Valencia. This street is full of vintage, 2nd hand, funky, odd, and strange shops. Some of the best restaurants are on this street as well. Fourbarrel coffee is super popular. Therapy is my favorite boutique store. They also have a furniture store right next door that is really good! You'll find many alleys filled with beautiful murals and graffiti. Early in the day is best to visit Dolores Park. It's way warmer! Walk west on either 18th 19th or 20th. It's a huge park filled with hundreds of people. If you walk to the top you will get a great view of downtown! It's good people watching too, well this whole city is good people watching.

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Neighborhoods: Nob Hill/Russian Hill/Polk St:


This is my old hood and I miss it dearly. If your staying downtown, you can either walk up Powell St or Stockton to California St. You could take the cable car too! California St is so beautiful with a view of the Bay Bridge through the tall buildings of the Financial District. Nob Hill is where the first millionaires lived during the Gold Rush. You can head west to Polk St by walking or taking the #1 California bus. Polk is full of bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops. I would recommend walking north up Polk St. It's great just to stroll around the neighborhood and look around. I've seen some strange and quirky things! One thing that is kind of cool is this apartment that has a large bay windown. The person who lives there has mannequin's that they change often. I believe it's on Washington St in between Polk/Larkin.

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1   2  
Welcome to San Francisco! By Olivia Sumner
Replies (+)

Olivia Sumner wrote:  

Thanks you for choosing me as your "Travel Ninja" and coming to San Francisco! I have a few questions to help me create your itinerary. Do you have a budget? Will you be staying in a hotel, hostel, airbnb? Will you be traveling solo? I have so many fun ideas for your trip!

Jessie Andrews wrote:  

Hi Olivia,

Nice to "meet" you. :)

1. i don't have an exact budget but i am generally sparing with my spending while traveling.

2. i have not chosen accommodation yet - would really like you to help with that also - i feel airbnb or hostel would suit my style.

3. Yes, i'm traveling solo.

Look forward to hearing your ideas.


Where to stay By Olivia Sumner
Replies (+)

Olivia Sumner wrote:  

https://www.airbnb.co.in/s/San-Francisco--CA 

https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/1370128

https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/2068062 

Above are some apartments I found on Airbnb. They are under $150 and are in a good location. The one of Leavenworth and the one on Sutter St are both in a great location. I use to live nearby and it's very close to Union Square, which is very central. They are both surrounded by so many cafes, restaurants, and pubs.

Anytime friends or family come to visit, I always have them stay here:

www.sfmayflowerhotel.com

It's a great hotel, walking distance to downtown and many buses, offers free breakfast (yay to save money!) and right next door is a market for food and drinks.

Tomorrow I'll write up directions on how to get from SFO airport to the city. It's not super close and taxi's are very expensive.

Thanks again!

Olivia

Jessie Andrews wrote:  

Hi Olivia,

The links to the third apartment and the hostel did not work for me. The Mayflower hotel looks nice however I'd go with the hostel if it's considerably cheaper. Can you check the link to the hostel and post again?

Thanks,

Jessie

Olivia Sumner wrote:  

I'm so sorry. Here they are again:

http://bit.ly/1dPFdT5

www.greentortoise.com/san-francisco-hostel/index.php

I almost forgot about this one!

www.adelaidehostel.com

This is the hostel I stayed at the first time I came to SF by myself. The 4 bed dorm style room is under $30. The best part is the private bathrooms. I believe each floor had 2. I didn't hang out there much, just to sleep and use the internet. It's located very close to downtown which makes getting around so convienent. It's located across the street from this great crepe cafe where I ate often.

When you arrive at the airport, follow the directions for the Airtran. Take this free shuttle and get off at the Garage G/Bart stop. There you can take Bart into the city. There will be place to purchase a ticket. If your staying near downtown, purchase the ticket for the Powell St stop. One way is $8.65. The machine takes cash and credit card. You will take the Pittsburg/Bay Point train. If I know the exact time I can make sure that is your train. It's about a 30min ride to the stop. This is the easiest and cheapest way.

I'll write more! Let me know if those links work.

Olivia

Jessie Andrews wrote:  

Wonderful, thanks. I went ahead with booking at the Adelaide Hostel.


Organizing my time By Jessie Andrews
Replies (+)

Jessie Andrews wrote:  

Hi Olivia,

Thanks for all suggestions. I especially loved the food trucks and neighborhood suggestions. Not sure if you saw my comment though, so I'm posting this request here - I need your help in organizing my time to optimally cover these sights. For example, if I'm at the food trucks on Friday afternoon, which would be the best neighborhood to explore that evening?

I'm planning to do the hop-on-hop-off tour on Saturday. Is that better than doing it on Sunday (less crowded?).

Also, I'm not sure if there is enough stuff to fill in the remaining two days. My flight back is on Monday evening, so I'll have most of the day to explore.

Thanks,

Jessie

Olivia Sumner wrote:  

I have one more suggested itinerary that I will write tomorrow for you. There are so many different neighborhoods to explore!


Rainy Days in San Francisco By Olivia Sumner
Replies (+)

Olivia Sumner wrote:  

I've been thinking of you these past few days and hoping your still able to do things in this rain. I'm so sorry it's raining during your trip. I really want you to have a great time. I also need to appologize for not writing about my "optional itineray". I've been very sick these past 3 days and have been couch bound. I wanted to let you know if there is anything you need, please email me.

Jessie Andrews wrote:  

Hey Olivia,

Yeah, the weather was bit of a bummer. But I managed to have a good time nonetheless. Thanks for all your help.

Jessie


Getting from the Airport to your hostel:

When you arrive at the airport, follow the directions for the Airtran. Take this free shuttle and get off at the Garage G/Bart stop. There you can take Bart into the city. There will be place to purchase a ticket. If your staying near downtown, purchase the ticket for the Powell St stop. One way is $8.65. The machine takes cash and credit card. You will take the Pittsburg/Bay Point train. If I know the exact time I can make sure that is your train. It's about a 30min ride to the stop. This is the easiest and cheapest way.

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Stay options:

Airbnb listings: https://www.airbnb.com/s/San-Francisco--CA 


https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1370128


https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2068062 


Above are some apartments I found on Airbnb. They are under $150 and are in a good location. The one of Leavenworth and the one on Sutter St are both in a great location. I use to live nearby and it's very close to Union Square, which is very central. They are both surrounded by so many cafes, restaurants, and pubs.


Anytime friends or family come to visit, I always have them stay here:


www.sfmayflowerhotel.com


It's a great hotel, walking distance to downtown and many buses, offers free breakfast (yay to save money!) and right next door is a market for food and drinks.


Here's a hostel you could try out - Green Tortoise Hostel


And I almost forgot about this one! - Adelaide Hostel


This is the hostel I stayed at the first time I came to SF by myself. The 4 bed dorm style room is under $30. The best part is the private bathrooms. I believe each floor had 2. I didn't hang out there much, just to sleep and use the internet. It's located very close to downtown which makes getting around so convienent. It's located across the street from this great crepe cafe where I ate often.

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Fun tips and detailed advice

I had a great trip to San Francisco thanks to Olivia's advice. She helped me choose the right neighborhoods, restaurants, and tours. And a pretty good hostel as well.

I would've liked my plan to be more organized by time though (day 1 - do this, day 2 - do this, ...) and did ask for it that way.

But it was really fun using this service and getting an insiders guide to the city. Olivia really knows San Francisco quite well.

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