If you are going to San Francisco, take the time to explore this fascinating city in California. Located on the west coast of the United States, it knows how to charm travelers in more ways than one. From the bay where the Golden Gate Bridge stands, to the winding streets of Lombard Street, to the Victorian houses of the trendy Mission district, Frisco is a delight to explore if the fog lifts. Here are the must-see places to discover during a one-week stay.

travel tips to visit san francisco

Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco and explore the city

Fresh off the plane, set down your bags in your place of stay. Start by strolling through the neighborhood of your hotel for a gentle immersion in the city. Let yourself be carried away by chance, and wander the surrounding streets. Take the opportunity to taste local specialties such as the famous seafood dishes.

In the evening, head to the bay to watch the sunset. The beaches of Baker Beach, Lands End Lookout or Treasure Island are considered some of the most spectacular. There is many things to do in San Francisco !

Day 2: The Golden Gate Bridge and its park, Fisherman’s Warf

If time permits, take advantage of this second day to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. The red silhouette of this Art Deco style monument symbolizes the city. It’s best to walk or bike over the bridge to take in the magnificent view. Postpone this activity to another day if the weather does not allow it.

Golden Gate Park, located south of the bridge, is a landscaped park that includes the De Young Museum for American art lovers, the Japanese Tea Garden and the California Academy of Sciences. You will have to choose between these proposals according to your preferences. Closer to the bridge is The Walt Disney Family Museum. This historical museum is dedicated to the director. It traces his life, from his childhood to the creation of the DisneyWorld theme park.

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Day 3: Alcatraz Fort

Legendary, this isolated penitentiary in the middle of the sea has locked up the greatest criminals. After the boat trip, which offers a splendid view of San Francisco, you can enter this place full of history. Equipped with an audioguide, you can walk through the different rooms on your own. The audio commentary mixes recordings of the time, testimonies and explanations to help you immerse yourself in this place. Emotions and thrills guaranteed! Be careful, you have to buy your ticket in advance, especially during the summer.

visit alcatraz

Back in the city, a walk on the Fisherman’s Warf is a must. The stroll is very pleasant, punctuated by street performers. On the rocks, sea lions are lounging in groups. Restaurants are numerous, offering an impressive variety of dishes. Of note, the Bubba Gump Shrimp, a chain of seafood restaurants, is inspired by the movie Forrest Gump and features the hero’s shrimp on the menu.

Finish your day by walking up Lombard Street. Its winding slope, with eight hairpin turns, is easily recognizable. The residential neighborhood of Russian Hill, where it is located, offers a beautiful view of the bay. You can buy your tickets here !

Day 4: Union Square, South of Market and Chinatown

Spend the day exploring the Financial District and South of Market. From the Embarcadero, you can see the Oakland Bay Bridge, the world’s longest steel suspension bridge. Then, you can follow Market Street Boulevard as it branches off to the right and left on perpendicular streets.

The SF Moma, San Francisco’s museum of modern art, displays famous works such as paintings by Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol. Nearby, the Asian Art Museum has one of the most impressive collections of Asian art in the world. In the South of Market neighborhood, festivals are held throughout the year. From there, you can go to Union Square with its many stores.

While you’re there, take a ride on a cable car, one of the city’s cable-powered streetcars. The Powell-Hyde line passes through Union Square and ends at Ghirardelli Square where you will end your day.

Day 5: Mission, Coit Tower and Chinatown

Mission is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, mostly Hispanic. Here, color explodes. It’s a must-see for street art enthusiasts. Murals with a Mexican theme abound. If you have time, you can also see the blue house that inspired the song of Maxime Le Forestier.

Then go back to the Telegraph Hill neighborhood where the Coit Tower is located. Shaped like a fire hose to pay tribute to the firemen, the tower overlooks the bay. A spiral staircase leads to the top. Walk down Napier Lane, a charming path surrounded by dreamy private gardens. From there, take the transportation and venture to the Chinatown area. Pass through the entrance to the famous Chinatown Gate. You can have dinner here before heading back to your accommodation.

china town in san francisco

Day 6: Excursion to Muir Woods National Monument

Take advantage of this stay to hike in the wilderness. Twenty kilometers north of San Francisco is a breathtaking redwood forest. At Muir Woods National Monument, impressive specimens are planted that can reach up to 76 meters high. To get there, you can rent a car for the day. We advise you to take a shuttle from the village of Sausalito, or to let yourself be guided by a specialized agency. Remember to book early, as this park is so sumptuous that it is often overcrowded.

Day 7: Last visits and departure from San Francisco

For this last day before departure, explore Japantown, the Japanese district of the city, or go back to the bay to stroll on the Pier.

Finally, what would a trip to San Francisco be without seeing its famous painted ladies? The most famous of these Victorian houses are lined up on the edge of Alamo Square. They are a last mythical stop in the city before heading to the airport, or continuing on a road trip in the American West! The City of the Bay is sure to leave you with a lasting impression.

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