My husband and I and our two kids 23 and 18 will be in San Francisco for 2 1/2 days in July and would like to find out the best way to spend our limited time there besides the typical touristy things. Any fun restaurant suggestions from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining would be appreciated as well!
In that amount of time I would definitely skip Fisherman's Wharf and instead head to the Ferry Building, if you happen to be there on a Thursday, there is a farmer's market that sets up in front with food stands. I like Wise Son's Deli and Tacolicious. Inside the Ferry Building you should try Boccalone Salumeria, they have great paninis and their meat cone is fun to sample the various deli meats they offer. Also you should definitely grab some Acme Bread Company(cash only) and then head over to Cowgirl Creamery to pick up some Mt. Tam brie cheese to have with your bread. Hog Island Oyster Co., Inc is also good, the prices are a bit high, but the oysters are super fresh and the clam chowder is very unique (much more soupy and not as creamy or thick, but they are served with whole clams - and lots of them).
Some yummy places you can eat at and things to see:
B. Patisserie is a must, their kouign amann is the best! Anything you order will be amazing (especially any of their bread based treats).
If you don't have anything like it where you're from Sushirrito - FIDI Transamerica always makes the locals happy. They are sushi burritos (essentially large handrolls), but they're very tasty!
Kokkari Estiatorio is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Their lamb chops are delicious, their whole grilled fish can't be missed and their octopus appetizer is amazing.
For a classic SF bakery, Tartine bakery is a must! I like their bread, tartes and their passion fruit, lemon cake.
Molinari Delicatessen is a great deli in North Beach. I order their focaccia special and it's delicious. Any sandwich is great!
If you like focaccia, I think the best in the city is at Lucca Delicatessen.
If you don't mind spending a bit more, I always enjoy my meals at Cotogna, great Italian food.
For a street full of amazing restaurants head to Hyde St between Jackson St and Filbert St. In that stretch, there are multiple restaurants that have won awards, made it on must-try lists etc. There is Frascati, Stones Throw, Zarzuela, and Seven Hills (I can definitely vouch for this one).
If you're there on a Friday, you should head over to the food trucks at the Fort Mason Center.
While it may be considered touristy, I think Golden Gate Park is worth checking out, it's huge so you won't be able to see everything, but you can pick an area you like and explore.
SF is really special because of all the different neighborhoods. There are many sites online that will list them out and give you a quick description of each; I really like Hayes Valley, You'll find restaurants, boutiques, and cute cafes. If you're there I like Azalea Boutique for a little shopping, Otoro Sushi if you're looking for good sushi, and 20th Century Cafe, they have the BEST honey cake (this is hands down my favorite cake I've ever had)! They also serve salads and entrees, so you can eat there as well!
I hope this helps.
Have a great trip!
For much more detail on a lot of these restaurants (what to order, etc...) you can check out my blog Eat & Escape.
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Head all the way west to the Cliff House, have lunch or brunch (on weekends) here. Before going, read about the history of the building and the baths. After lunch, walk off the popovers (you won't stop eating them) by exploring the footprints of the Sutro Baths and then wanted/stroll through Lands End-take in the memerials and the excellent views of the bridge (from a different point of view).
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Well, you said "fun" - so take a look at Lori's Diner to see if it's something you'd like to experience. I really enjoyed the decor, don't expect too much from the menu though!
Secondly, how about a Segway Tour of Golden Gate Park? I did this, and loved it, and it might appeal to you and your family as well.