San Francisco Travel Guide
Visitors to the city by the bay will be hard pressed to run out of things to do in San Francisco. From the lively nightlife scene, to the multitude of delicious dining options, to the cultural wonders and outdoor attractions, it’s a hard vacation destination to top.
Beer-lovers wondering what to do in San Francisco will be delighted to learn that the metropolis boasts more microbreweries than New York City. Anchor Brewing Company is located in the city, and tours are available by appointment every Friday afternoon. Most bars serve a rotating list of craft beers from nearby breweries.
Because there are so many things to do in San Francisco, it’s wise for visitors to start their trip by taking a walking tour of the city. These tours, which are led by local volunteers well versed in the city’s history, are free and cover a wide swathe of the metropolis, from well-known landmarks to more out-of-the-way hidden gems. If you are still overwhelmed after the tour, these knowledgeable guides can help you craft a list of options for what to do in San Francisco before you leave the foggy city by the bay.
Browser’s cozy carpet-lined interior, collection of antique typewriters, and solid selection of local authors has made the independent bookstore a favorite stop on upper Fillmore since 1976.
On this narrow street branching east from Union Square, chic boutiques close ranks. The highlight, though, is the Xanadu Gallery’s Frank Lloyd Wright building (140 Maiden Lane). Its stern brick façade conceals a graceful interior with a Guggenheim-esque spiral staircase.
Cable cars have competition for Most Endearing Public Transit. These early-20th-century streetcars trundle along the Embarcadero. You might glimpse an orange Milanese number or the olive green “streetcar named desire” from New Orleans.
Two stone lions practically purr for a photo op, flanking this pagoda-style arch.
Perched atop Telegraph Hill, this 1930s Art Moderne landmark is a dashingly romantic spot at sunset. It’s all fluted, ivory glamour on the outside; inside you’ll find period murals of city life. You can climb up to the observation deck, but the bay view from the ground is nearly as grand.
More eclectic and accessible than Design Within Reach just a few doors down, the independently owned Zinc Details has been selling contemporary furniture, lighting, and objects—from Normann Copenhagen’s Grass Vase to Blue Dot’s Buttercup Rocker—since 1991.
In a space flanked by unfinished wood panels and a hanging rope ceiling, patrons enjoy mason jars filled with Churchill’s custom cocktails. The Cape Daquiri’s mix of rum, rooibos syrup, lime, angostura and orange peel, especially, suits the setting.
The heavily wooded, 36-acre hill makes for a quick quiet place just off the bustle of Haight Street. The interior paths of San Francisco’s first city park curl around the 589-foot incline toward an idyllic outlook typically just enjoyed by locals.
Stemmed glasses line up along the bar, getting pre-heated for Irish coffee, the whisky-laced, cream-topped pick-me-up invented here in 1952.
In this glossy, tranquil shop, lift the lids from dozens of canisters to sniff the teas within. The staff enthusiastically describes everything from delicate oolong to smoky black teas; they’ll also steep tasting samples.
Part of a group of Robert Redford-owned cinemas, the Kabuki location offers excellent independent and international fare. Booze is available from one of the cinema’s two bars at over 21 shows, and reserved seating saves you from having to elbow for space.
For over a century, locals have flocked to Molinari for Italian specialties: olive oil, fresh pasta, and the plump, house-made salami dangling over the counter. Take a number for a heaping sandwich on fresh focaccia.