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kheredia's avatar

Must see things in San Francisco?

Asked by kheredia (5561points) May 28th, 2010

I’m planning a short road trip to San Francisco in June. I’ll only be there for a weekend so I can’t really do a whole lot. Any ideas? I’ve been there a few times in the past but it’s been a while and my boyfriend has never been. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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14 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Buy tickets in advance for one of the museums and spend your entire day there. I want to go back to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor to see their latest exhibit.

lillycoyote's avatar

So much to see in San Francisco. I, of course, will recommend my old stomping grounds, The Haight and Golden Gate Park. I was there quite a bit after the Summer of Love but it was still a long time ago and don’t know quite what it’s like now, but the corner of Haight and Ashbury is still Greatful Dead sacred ground, then you travel onward to Stanyan Street which borders Golden Gate Park, where I bet or at least hope the drummers are still drumming, and from there you can head onto the Steinhart Aquarium which is a most wonderful place. SFMOMA is nice too, The San Francisco Museum of Modern art and maybe a stop in North Beach to the City Lights Bookstore, Lawrence Ferlingettii’s bookstore. One of the most wonderful wonderful bookstores in the world. And then you take the trolley, is it still the N-Judah, to the beach and drink a beer and smoke a joint and watch the sunset. Oh, no, ... I forgot, I don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Anyway, San Francisco is a wonderful city. You can’t help but enjoy it. Don’t go to Girhadelli (I’ve forgotten how to spell it ) though, too touristy, even though the places I’ve mentioned are probably touristy too.

kenmc's avatar

All of your directions are still correct @lillycoyote

Golden Gate Park is truly amazing. One could just walk around in it for hours. The mission district is great for cheap shopping on account of the many thrift stores, but beware of hipster kids. I’d think Golden Gate Bridge goes without mention…

ucme's avatar

I’d love to see Alcatraz personally speaking.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Skip Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. LAME, overly touristed, and consists mainly of shops with overpriced junk geared at tourists. I grew up in SF and we used to go down there in high school to laugh at the tourists eating it all up and losing money by the handful. If you must go there, the only things worth doing/seeing are the SF Maritime National Historical Park (you can check out some old-timey boats) and pick yourself up half a freshly-steamed cracked crab.

Lombard St. (the crookedest street) is kind of lame, too. It’s like one block of a really zig-zagged road. I don’t get the appeal, myself, but it is kinda fun to drive down. However, the last time I took a friend on a tourist tour of the city, I was ready to run down the mobs of oblivious people wandering all over the place, holding up traffic. Perhaps you have more patience than I.

Alcatraz is cool, definitely check that out, but be sure to buy your tickets online in advance (from the National Park Service, so you don’t get ripped off) because they do sell out. Fort Point is also cool if you like history, and it’s directly under the Golden Gate Bridge, which is sort of nifty.

Honestly, there is so much to do and see there, it’s hard for me to pick just a handful. Golden Gate Park is beautiful and there are loads of things inside the park to see and do. There’s a bison enclosure, Stowe Lake (you can rent boats), a Japanese tea garden, the newly-renovated Academy of Sciences, botanical gardens, the De Young Museum (art), and on Sundays much of the park is closed to auto traffic. You can rent bikes and skates at places just outside the park (like at the end of Haight St.). Haight St. isn’t quite as fun as it once was, there is a smaller variety of shops and restaurants and I feel like the street has gotten even more dirty/sketchy than it used to be.

The Presidio is now a historical park and you can walk around and look at the military buildings and such. The Marina (esp. Chestnut St. and Union St.) is an affluent area with loads and loads of shops and restaurants. Pacific Heights is fun to drive through to gawk at all the mansions – this is where the city’s rich and famous live.

North Beach has some of the best Italian food you’ll eat in the U.S., Japantown of course has really super food and some interesting shops full of Japanese goods (Mifune is where the locals go for amazing and affordable Japanese food), Chinatown is very interesting and you will find the best Chinese food there (try the dim sum).

Anyway, I realize this is a lot of info, but I wanted to toss out a bunch of things you could pick and choose from, depending on your interests. Most of all, have a great time! SF is an amazing, beautiful city full of interesting characters. :)

janbb's avatar

Most people have already mentioned great things, I’ll just add Coit Tower for the view and the WPA murals, taking the ferry to Sausalito or Tiburon (if there’s time, the Ferry Building for gourmet noshing and on Sunday, Chinatown for a dim sum brunch (which someone else has mentioned.) If you do end up down at Fisherman’s Wharf the one neat thing to see is the Harbor Seals napping in piles on Pier 39. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Oh – and be sure to eat as much bread and butter as you can; it is truly delicious!

chels's avatar

Ocean Beach is wonderful and I second @lillycoyote and @boots’ recommendation of Golden Gate Park.

marinelife's avatar

Definitely have dim sum!

Union Square is a nice area for shopping and gazing.

Drive to Sausalito (across the Golden Gate Bridge). If you feel like exploring further. Go to Muir Woods and walk through the Cathedral Grove of redwoods. Go early in the day to avoid the crowds.

Consider a drink at the Cliff House at sunset. Walk on the beach. Or consider a drink at the Top of the Mark.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I agree with @YARNLADY‘s suggestion and a drive through the Presidio and a walk after the museum to the Sutro Park overlook to watch the sun go down over Ocean Beach. There’s an excellent restaurant/bar called the Slow Club for dinner.

deni's avatar

aside from the obvious, google THE ALBANY BULB. its so fuckin cool.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@deni – Where is it, exactly? I’m intrigued.

kheredia's avatar

@Everyone, great ideas guys.. thanks!!! I’ll have to start planning ahead and doing my research.. sounds like I’m off to a fun place!

deni's avatar

@MissAnthrope i know its in the east bay area…i can’t remember how we got to it but we were staying right on the line of oakland/berkeley and it was not far away at all. i could have spent days there.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@deni – I looked it up on Wikipedia and it sounds really interesting! I’m going to have to try to find it when I get back home.

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