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Jacinda
Singapore

San Francisco

Must go in SF- non touristy and touristy?

I'm from Singapore, its my first time in SF and I've only got 3 days to spare. 

So where are the absolute signature locations of SF that one must visit? I've heard how bad Fisherman's Wharf is (apart from the seals) so I won't be going. I was hoping to visit both non touristy and worthy-touristy places! Thank you! I also like local flea markets and vintage stuff.

How about driving in SF? Will that be too much of a trouble? We'll be staying in Oakland. We're going in September and every place in SF is fully booked (incl airbnb) or cost $500 a night.


7 Answers

top answer by
Kristal from San Francisco

Hi Jacinda,

Must sees:

Ferry Building Marketplace - If you're a foodie, you'll love walking around this place and just enjoying the different restaurant and food options. Worthy stops inside: Cowgirl Creamery for some cheese - I love the Mt. Tam brie. Acme Bread Company for some bread - eat it with the cheese! Blue Bottle Coffee if you like coffee - I like their affogatos. Hog Island Oyster Co., Incfor oysters, grilled cheese and clam chowder. Frog Hollow Farm Cafe for avocado toast. Miette Cakes for sweet treats. 

Review of Hog Island here.

Review of Frog Hollow Farm here

- Mission District - There are new restaurants popping up every second here, but if you're down to walk and explore - this neighborhood is great. I also feel like tourists don't really visit this area and it's definitely worth the trip. For foodie destinations: La Taqueria(best burritos in SF - make sure you ask for it dorado), Tartine bakery - one of SF's most well-known bakeries, Myriad Gastro Pub - great appetizers and lamb sandwich, Little Star Pizza - great deep dish pizza. There's a ton of places, be adventurous and pick something that looks great!

Marin Headlands - This is just over the bridge on the north side, but it's definitely worth a trip out there - the views of the bridge are spectacular - definitely one of my favorite places.

Golden Gate Park - there's so much to do, but a few hours will give you a great escape from a city feeling and make you feel like you're somewhere else. It's fun to rent a boat to row around Stow Lake. 

Food places that can't be missed:

B. Patisserie - GET THE KOUIGN AMAN - clearly i'm excited about it haha

20th Century Cafe - if you like honey - their honey cake it AMAZING!

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse - get their early and get the cruffin - you need to be there by 8:30, wait in line and they come out at nine - trust me it's worth it

Chantal Guillon Patisserie - make sure you go to the Howard location - they serve breakfast and all their desserts and they are great!

Rove Kitchen - hands down best fried chicken sandwich ever!!!

- Sushirrito - SOMA - make sure you check locations for hours - all locations are different. Sushi burritos definitely worth trying! 

I have reviews on these places and exactly what to order on my blog, Eat & Escape.

Best,

Kristal


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ferry Building Marketplace (attraction)
  2. Cowgirl Creamery (attraction)
  3. Acme Bread Company (restaurant)
  4. Blue Bottle Coffee (restaurant)
  5. Hog Island Oyster Co., Inc (restaurant)
  6. Frog Hollow Farm Cafe (restaurant)
  7. Miette Cakes (attraction)
  8. La Taqueria (attraction)
  9. Tartine bakery (restaurant)
  10. Myriad Gastro Pub (restaurant)
  11. Little Star Pizza (restaurant)
  12. Marin Headlands (attraction)
  13. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  14. B. Patisserie (restaurant)
  15. 20th Century Cafe (restaurant)
  16. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (restaurant)
  17. Chantal Guillon Patisserie (restaurant)
  18. Rove Kitchen (restaurant)
  19. Sushirrito - SOMA (restaurant)
5 thanks


answered by
Jo from New York City

If you're there on a Saturday, go to the best farmers market in America on the pier (think its Pier 39 or something, you can't miss it). Rent a bike and bike around the whole bay and over the Golden Gate Bridge -- then keep biking into Sausalito, have lunch in the gorgeous Italian town and take the ferry back to SF (they allow bikes) for very cheap fun! Make a day out of it, highlight of my trip.  

Also, get out of SF and road trip up or down highway 1! visit Muir Beach, Pacifica, Santa Cruz and Big Sur!!!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pier 39 (attraction)
  2. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  3. Sausalito (city)
  4. Muir Beach (city)
  5. Pacifica (city)
  6. Santa Cruz (city)
  7. Big Sur (city)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Anna from Athens

I'm attaching a post about the things my friends and I did in 3 days in San Francisco. Have to admit that most are touristy ones. Fisherman's Wharf is not worth visiting but you can got to Pier 39 only to visit Fog Harbor Fish House, a very nice seafood restaurant (seals nearby as well). We had a car so we visited Sausalito as well. If you're travelling with family, the Golden Gate Park has a lot of things to do!

Things to do:

http://aspectsofstyle.com/2015/04/03/15-things-you-shouldnt-miss-in-san-francisco/

Golden Gate Park: http://aspectsofstyle.com/2015/04/06/golden-gate-park-san-francisco/

Nice Restaurants: http://aspectsofstyle.com/2015/05/19/restaurants-san-francisco/


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fog Harbor Fish House (restaurant)
  2. Sausalito (city)
  3. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Jillian from Los Angeles

Hi Jacinda,

As a frequent visitor, I personally love the view from Hoppers Hands where you can get close to Golden Gate Bridge

I'd also make sure you head to Mission District for some authentic burritos and eats as well as shopping. Make sure to stop at Wallflower Boutique for amazing vintage clothes and jewelry (the owner Lindsey is my friend so tell her I sent you!). In addition, a stop to SF isn't complete without trying some pastries at Tartine bakery, but warning you there will be a line. :) 

Have fun!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hoppers Hands (attraction)
  2. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  3. Mission District (neighborhood)
  4. Wallflower Boutique (attraction)
  5. Tartine bakery (restaurant)
1 thanks


answered first by
Dani from Oakland

Check into Oakland, it is off the beaten path and not as touristy. Some awesome food on Lakeshore Ave or Lower Grand Ave areas and definitely downtown (12th or 14th on Bart).  Rockridge area is also nice for walking around.  Prices will be cheaper than SF.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oakland (city)
  2. Lakeshore Ave (attraction)
  3. Lower Grand Ave (attraction)
  4. Rockridge (neighborhood)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
AJ from United States

Hello Jacinda,

If you happen to time your visit well, the Alameda Point Antiques Faireoccurs the first Sunday of each month.  There are also numerous shops all along Mission St in the previously mentioned Mission Districtdedicated to found items.

Again, depending on the season, you might be able to catch the Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio, which along with Dolores Park are popular sunny day hangouts. The Presidio itself is full of places to explore, from historic military structures to beautiful vistas like Inspiration Point and even outdoor art installations that you might trip over if you're not looking while on a hike.

Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge are so essential that almost every answer here has mentioned them...including mine!  A fun route for you to take would be to start in the Marina District for a young bustling neighborhood, then onto Crissy Field to get a little picnic/yacht/beach time in, then to Fort Point National Historic Site or Palace of Fine Arts to get a unique view of the bridge as well as see a bit of local history.  From there, hike/bike up to the bridge itself (make sure you have layers to address cold/hot weather).  Cross the bridge on foot and hike down to Cavallo Point and find the lodge to have drinks and snacks to reward yourself for the hike.  If you're on bike, it's easy to go to Sausalito proper as Jo mentioned and enjoy the small seaside town life.

Inside the park itself, there are myriad places worth visiting: California Academy of Sciences, De Young Museum, San Francisco Botanical Garden and even the Bison Paddock

For a different vibe, visit Bernal Heights it has it's own collection of unique shops and a strong neighborhood identity.  Definitely more relaxed than visiting the Mission

Another urbane neighborhood to visit would be Hayes Valley.  There are plenty of little details sprinkled throughout the neighborhood and lots to explore.

If it interests you, San Francisco has a very strong cocktail culture, some favorites of mine include Hard Water for the best selection of American Whiskies anywhere, ABV for a place that shows SF cocktails at its best, The Interval to understand the depth of cocktails, and of course Trick Dog if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

If beer is more your thing, then I'd suggest City Beer Store, Monk's Kettle or in the east bay Beer Revolution and The Dock at Linden Street.  Or visit the breweries themselves The Rare Barrel, Anchor Brewing Company, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Cliff House and Park Chalet Garden Restaurant are pretty run-of-the-mill when it comes to food and drink, but they're examples of great tourist friendly hangouts in beautiful settings.

If you want to see the slightly silly San Francisco version of a Hawker Center find Off the Grid: San Francisco at almost any of their locations, but the Fort Mason Location is the most significant.

The Ferry Building has already been mentioned, but if you do go, go on a Saturday Morning as early as you can manage to catch the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market The farmers market will give you a look at the produce that defines this area.  If you want something more laid back, my two favorite farmer's markets are Marin Farmers Market on Thursdays and Old Oakland Farmers' Market on Fridays.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Alameda Point Antiques Faire (attraction)
  2. Mission St (attraction)
  3. Mission District (neighborhood)
  4. Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio (restaurant)
  5. Dolores Park (attraction)
  6. Presidio (neighborhood)
  7. Inspiration Point (attraction)
  8. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  9. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  10. Marina District (neighborhood)
  11. Crissy Field (attraction)
  12. Fort Point National Historic Site (attraction)
  13. Palace of Fine Arts (attraction)
  14. Cavallo Point (hotel)
  15. Sausalito (city)
  16. California Academy of Sciences (attraction)
  17. De Young Museum (attraction)
  18. San Francisco Botanical Garden (attraction)
  19. Bison Paddock (attraction)
  20. Bernal Heights (neighborhood)
  21. Hayes Valley (neighborhood)
  22. Hard Water (attraction)
  23. ABV (restaurant)
  24. The Interval (restaurant)
  25. Trick Dog (attraction)
  26. City Beer Store (attraction)
  27. Monk's Kettle (attraction)
  28. Beer Revolution (restaurant)
  29. The Dock at Linden Street (restaurant)
  30. The Rare Barrel (restaurant)
  31. Anchor Brewing Company (restaurant)
  32. Speakeasy Ales & Lagers (attraction)
  33. Cliff House (attraction)
  34. Park Chalet Garden Restaurant (restaurant)
  35. Off the Grid: San Francisco (attraction)
  36. Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market (restaurant)
  37. Marin Farmers Market (restaurant)
  38. Old Oakland Farmers' Market (restaurant)


answered by
Patti from Glendale, California

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)




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