San Francisco is serviced by one major international airport, San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Dependent on what your plans are while there, I would recommend getting a rental car for your stay. Many of the attractions in the city are very centrally located, but to really get a feel for the Bay Area, a car is essential.
Weather in San Francisco is a rare beast. We once visited the area for July 4th weekend and found ourselves freezing the entire time that we were there. The best time to visit the city is around late fall, around this time you will be blessed with less crowds and some of the warmest temperatures of the year.
As I previously stated, having a car is great to get around the Bay Area, but there is also a great public transit system. Unfortunately the system is a little pricey. I would recommend getting a one day pass for your time in the central area. $11 will include the one day visitor pass and allow access to the famed cable car system and many of the well known attractions.
Standing tall at over 700 feet, the Golden Gate bridge is one of America’s most famous landmarks and most certainly the symbol of San Francisco. It seems that you can see it from almost anywhere in the city. For a really good up close look, check out Battery Cranston. Here you will find possibly the best view!
A must stop on your stop in San Francisco for some fresh seafood and also a quick souvenir to take away from the city as it is a busy tourist attraction filled with souvenir shops as well.
This island is best known for being a very strict prison, but you’ll find a visit here that it is in fact much more than just that. Be sure to reserve your tour before you arrive in the city or else you may not be able to get out there.
A lesser known attraction in the bay area often overshadowed by Alcatraz. In fact, we only came here because we had to stop here to get to Alcatraz. The island was in fact an unexpected treat. We were treated to some of the best views in the city and also learned a bit of history about the Bay area as well.
* Prime Tip: If you like camping, check out the campsites here as the views here are breathtaking.
You can’t come to San Francisco and not ride a cable car! It is relatively pricey compared to other public transit around the world, but it is definitely a must do! If you can, be sure to hang off the side once!
I’ll be honest, if you want to really explore Yosemite, you’ll most certainly need multiple days, but if you want to see the highlights it is doable in a day. There are several easy hikes possible from the valley area and more difficult hikes as well if you want to spend a night.
Check out these links for more information on the park.
If you are a baseball fan going to the Giants game is a must do. The atmosphere here is one of the best in baseball! Stop by a local brewery like Black Hammer brewing or 21st Amendment for a few pregame brews.
Point Reyes National Seashore
This is another attraction that is located well outside of the city and also an option to get away from people. Whether you want to just relax on the beach or go for a short hike, there is something here for you!
If you didn’t check out the redwoods out in Yosemite, you can also check them out here. The path is paved and very easy to walk. Make sure you get here early though to get a good parking spot.
The drive down the PCH is one that I will never forget. We were able to take it all the way down to San Diego, but if you aren’t doing something like that at least check out Monterrey. Here you can check out the 17 mile drive for some of the most breathtaking views along the entire PCH!
Art’s Cafe: For an unforgettable breakfast in the area check out Art’s Cafe and try the Samurai omelet. This was recommended to us by a local that we had met, and it was the perfect way to start our day.
Belly Uptown: You can also check out Belly Uptown in Oakland if you happen to find yourself in that area for some unforgettable tacos! Read our full review here!
Dim Sum in China Town: San Francisco has a rather large population of Asians, which comes along with a great China town. Stop on to one of the local restaurants for Dim Sum as well as one of the other shops. We tried some homemade Chinese candy one day and lets just say that it was “different!”