San Francisco

5 Things I Love About San Francisco

Travel Blog - Maritime National Historical Park San Francisco

My first impression of San Francisco from a few years back was how it resembles a lot of our hometown Melbourne, Australia – a completely magnified version of it. The trams (trolleys), the streets, the buildings downtown and even the coffee culture. But after having been in San Francisco a number of times, there are many aspects of San Francisco that are quite unique to itself and it’s no wonder why people keep going back to this picturesque bay city.

Ghirardelli MarketplaceGhirardelli Square 

Ghirardelli Square – San Francisco

I am sure you’ve heard of all the typical must-visit places such as the Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square and Union Square. But after a few visits or perhaps when you have some extra days to spend in San Francisco, you’d probably enjoy a taste of living like a local… just like the Airbnb slogan “Don’t go there, Live there”.

Union Square San FranciscoUnion Square – San Francisco

Here are the Top 5 Things To Do and See in San Francisco that are not way too touristy:

1. The Hills

Almost everything about the hills in San Francisco. No, not ‘The Hills’ reality show. But the moment you drive into SF you’ll notice the city’s beauty mark has to do a lot with the hills. The houses on the hills, the roads, the greenery, the views and to top if off – the tip of San Francisco is surrounded by scenic water views where San Francisco Bay meets the Pacific Ocean.

San Francisco SunsetLombard Street San FranciscoThe most crooked & steepest road in SF – Lombard Street (priceonomics.com) Travel Blog - San Francisco

Where can you get the best views of San Francisco?

Check out these places:

  • Twin Peaks Summit
  • Coit Tower
  • Bernal Heights Park
  • Alamo Square (where the colorful Painted Ladies are)
  • Vista Point
  • Battery Spencer
  • The View Lounge, Marriott Marquis

Marriott Marquis San FranciscoThe View Lounge – Marriott Marquis (sfviewlounge.com) 

2. The Parks

Golden Gate Park is a large urban park in downtown San Francisco, a great place for any age to relax and do all sorts of activities from boating, biking, running, segway-ing or even a picnic.

The park also has a lake, a Japanese Tea garden and a Museum. There are also other less-oversized parks such as the Alamo Square, Mission Dolores Park, Palace of Fine Arts, Maritime National History Park (by Ghirardelli Square) and Lake Merced Park.

Mission Dolores Park - Travel Blog Mission Dolores Park

Alamo Square - San Francisco Alamo Square – The Painted Sisters

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park 

Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts (tripandtravelblog.com)

3. Sausalito

Sausalito is a city in the San Francisco bay area located just right across the Golden Gate Bridge. There are several waterfront restaurants with stunning views and would make you feel like you’re having lunch in Capri, Italy (sort of).

Sausalito WaterfrontSausalito Waterfront

Salito's Crab House SausalitoSalito’s Crab House

Some of the waterfront restaurants:

  • Salito’s Crab & Prime Rib House
  • Venice Gourmet
  • Le Garage

4. Brunch & Coffee Places

San Francisco probably has one of the biggest brunch scenes I’ve ever seen (another similarity to Melbourne) and if you come in early enough or pick the right ‘hidden’ spots you could probably avoid the 1-hour (and sometimes 2-hour) wait. I’m just not into waiting for tables that long anymore, with or without kids, we’re not exactly getting any younger here.

Marlowe San FranciscoMarlowe – 500 Brannan St, San Francisco

Here are some suggestions apart from the well too-established places like Plow, Zazie or Sweet Maple (PS: some of these places takes reservations, so try to call ahead if you can):

Coffee:

Sightglass Coffee San Francisco

Sightglass Coffee – 270 7th Street

5. Golden Gate Bridge

Ok, so this one isn’t exactly a secret or anti-tourist, but the sight of this magnificent 80-year-old bridge would never fail to take your breath away and it would be wrong if I didn’t include the Golden Gate Bridge on this list.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

There are a number of spots where you can view and take your best Golden Gate Bridge moments:

By taking a cruise or boat tour around the bay

  • Vista Point
  • Battery Spencer
  • Baker Beach / Presidio
  • Fort Point

Travel Blog - Marianne in San FranciscoPlaying Tourist – Ghirardelli Square(2016)

Travel Blog - Wanderlust Mama San Francisco Boating at Stow Lake – Golden Gate Park (2013)

Do you have your own favorite & secret spots in SF? Message me!

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