Almost 8 hours by car from Los Angeles, this city is completely different, both for its architecture, as well as for the distribution of the streets and the atmosphere in general. Of course, during the days you are in this city, you can take some of the trams that run through the city (very touristy) or its bus network (very good), but without a doubt, the best way to enjoy this city is walking.
The main neighborhoods that you should not miss: Castro, North Beach, Chinatown, the Financial District, Mission, and Haight Ashbury.
This neighborhood without a doubt you cannot miss it, it is one of the best Chinatowns you’ll find in the United States (even better than New York and, of course, Los Angeles), so yes, you are going to find a lot of tourists tremendous, but it is well worth strolling through its streets and stopping at the stalls that take most of the shops. Pass through the Chinatown Gate and the Waverly Place area (between Grant St. and Stockton St.), in these streets, you will find the typical Chinese facades and temples.
This area is north of Chinatown, is full of Italian restaurants and establishments ( Little Italy ). During your walk through it, you will find impressive slopes and from here you can see the Transamerica Pyramid and the tremendous murals painted on the facades of the buildings.
On the way down from North Beach to the pier, you end up finding the Fisherman’s Warf, it is the maritime area of the city, exhaustingly touristy, but it is also true that you should not do without being able to take a walk and take some of the ferries from here going to Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Tiburon. The price of these ferries will depend on where you want to go, but as a reference for adults, it is between $ 10 and $ 20.
The Financial District
This is the most spectacular part of the city, it is where the main skyscrapers and emblematic buildings are located. Some of those that you will not tire of taking photos of is the Bank of America, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Russ Building, and the Cylindrical Tower. The interest in this area lies mainly in seeing the facades of these buildings and entering some of its Asian food restaurants.
To the west of the city and taking Market St. to take a tour of these three neighborhoods, which tend to be off the beaten track and therefore much more interesting.
The most interesting thing about this area is the architecture of the houses and its tranquility, during the tour of this neighborhood you will find a large number of vegetarian and Mexican restaurants (Valencia St. and 16 St.). Make a stop at the Mission Dolores Church, it is really beautiful.
You can get to this neighborhood from Mission, and you will know that you are in it since it is crowned by several Rainbow flags. It has a great atmosphere, with restaurants and designer shops that are worth a few stops, like the rest of San Francisco, it has some impressive slopes. Make a stop in front of the Castro Theater. From this neighborhood, you can walk to Haight Ashbury.
The main attraction of this neighborhood is concentrated along Haight Street, where not only the façade of the buildings but also the shops it has, are worth a couple of hours. This neighborhood, being to the west of the city and away from the tourist circuits, is more “authentic”. If you arrive at lunchtime, stop by the Cha Cha Cha restaurant (1801 Haight St.), the decor and the menu are quite curious (they have “tapas” and “paella”).
The interest in this area is concentrated in the Golden Gate, it is a forest area where you can see the Presidio Museum Baker. Something that must be kept in mind is the constant presence of fog in the city, with which, the beauty of this bridge will rarely be able to enjoy as in the movies, in any case, it is always interesting to cross the Bay by the Golden Gate.
Without a doubt, the reference is usually Sausalito, and yet, dispensable, it is a town that you can reach by boat from Fisherman Warf for about $ 10, the grace of this town is to walk along its pier (crowded with tourists), buy Some souvenirs and return to San Francisco if you are short of time, it is not worth spending time. This Ferry trip will allow you to take some spectacular photos of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate, or the Alcatraz Prison.
Other excursions you can do are Berkeley and Oakland, in both cases, you have to cross the Bay Bridge and the drive (without traffic jams) can be half an hour (approximately from Market St.)
Drinks & Dinner
Without a doubt, the best neighborhoods to go out for a few beers and dinner are North Beach (full of pizzerias, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and jazz clubs), Columbus Av. It is perfect to make a stop (during the day) and have a drink on a terrace, from here you can see the skyscrapers of the Financial District. If you stop by the Vesuvio Café, have a beer here, it’s curious, it is not very crowded by tourists despite being referenced in several travel guides; and the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, along both streets there are several very interesting bars and restaurants.
San Francisco also has the clothing chains Urban Outfitters (at 80 Powell St. in Union Square and 3322 Fillmore St. in the Marina District), Anthropologie (at 880 Market St, these stores are generally quite large, but this one, in particular, is quite larger than normal) and Abercrombie & Fitch (865 Market St. and 3251 20th Ave); but it certainly deserves a lot to spend some time in the shops of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, that’s how they define it in www.sanfrancisco.com “ On Haight Street, one of the most eclectic and perennially busy San Francisco shopping stretches, San Francisco shoppers can find just about anything, from hardware to punk gear and fishnets to upscale vintage ”.
For footwear there is Shoe Pavillion (at 838 Market Street), the store is huge so you will have to spend a good time, it has a good collection of brand footwear (mainly from North American designers - Steve Madden, Tommy Hilfiger or Tory Burch - ) at very good prices, but you’ll have to do some searching.
Another shopping center (in the style of El Corte Inglés) that has very good prices on footwear and accessories is Nordstrom’s (865 Market Street) and Nordstrom’s Rack (555 9th Street).
Of course, there are the incredible shopping stores like Macy’s (170 Ofarrell St.), Saks Fifth Avenue (there are several establishments, but visit the ones at 220 Post St. and 384 Post St), and Neiman Marcus (150 Stockton St), to This is going to have to take a lot more time and money.
Make a stop at Border’s (at Union Square, 4000 Post St.), this bookstore is a real treat, they have any book (or almost) you want, and the bookstore staff goes to great lengths to find you whatever title you ask for.