San Francisco is one of the most eclectic cities in the United States!
It is home to Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, delicious Chinese food, seafood, well fantastic food in general, and so much more. It was my first-time visiting San Francisco and 1.5 days was definitely not enough in this vibrant city - I would recommend 3 days.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your time in San Francisco - see, explore and experience in three days!
Day 1 - The Golden Gate Bridge
See the highlights of the city on a 2-hour San Francisco City Highlights and Sausalito tour. This tour is perfect for those who want to see the key sights of the city.
You will travel through San Francisco’s historic downtown, past Chinatown, the historic Barbary Coast, Little Italy and Fisherman’s Wharf before crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge to the lovely coastal town of Sausalito. There will be a photo stop at the Golden Gate Bridge and a 30-minute stop in Sausalito. I would highly recommend adding the optional Ferry return from Sausalito so you can spend more time exploring this quaint little town, don’t forget to taste the Gelato!
If you are feeling adventurous, you can hire a bike in Sausalito and ride it across the Golden Gate Bridge back into downtown San Francisco.
Day 2 - Alcatraz / Hop-On-Hop-Off-Bus
Take a walk through the famous Alcatraz Prison and enjoy an award winning 45-minute headset tour inside the prison cellblock that features actual recordings of former employees and inmates. The audio will make you feel like you are inside the prison as they tell you about the Famous Five who tried to escape. The chilling sounds you hear of gun shots and the cells closing will send goose bumps down your spine.
Alcatraz is a 1.25 miles ferry ride from San Francisco. The Ferries do sell out months in advance so if you have your heart set on visiting Alcatraz make sure you pre book (Hastwell Travel & Cruise can book it for you!). I can highly recommend this tour, I loved learning about the history of Alcatraz and the conditions in which the prisoners lived.
After spending the morning exploring Alcatraz you can catch the ferry back to the mainland and explore the beautiful city on the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus. Explore Chinatown, the painted ladies, take a ride on the cable cars, visit Pier 39 and so much more.
Day 3 - Take a walking tour / Golden Gate Park
San Francisco has a number of interesting walking tours where you can learn about the history of the eclectic neighbourhoods or show you all the scrumptious food the city has to offer.
One of the top places to eat in San Francisco is the Ferry Building Marketplace which is a foodie’s dream. Outside the building on weekdays there are a lot of food stands and on the weekends, there’s also a big farmers market. Inside, you’ll find restaurants and food vendors selling specialty food items as well as butchers, cheesemongers, wine bars, and more.
Explore Golden Gate Park. This gigantic park features a Japanese garden, a museum, an arboretum, and tons of hiking and walking trails. Three miles long and stretching about 30 blocks to the sea, it’s 20 percent bigger than New York’s Central Park. Walking from end to end will take half a day! If that’s too much for you, spend at least a few hours here exploring the park, especially if it’s an unusually warm and beautiful day in the city.