California Road Trip Part 2: Things to do in San Francisco

“If you’re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair / If you’re going to San Francisco / You’re gonna meet some gentle people there..” – Scott McKenzie

San Francisco is a city full of vibrant colors and bustling streets.  There is things to do in San Francisco for every traveler whether it is relaxing in one of the many parks, eating delicious Mexican food in the Mission District, admiring the views of the Golden Gate Bridge, or spending the day wandering the many museums.  There is a reason many people flock to this largely populated city- it has a type of spirit that is hard to find and that you won’t be able to resist.

Before You Go:

  • When to Go: San Francisco is a city that can be visited comfortably all year round. However, the best times to visit would be end of summer/beginning of fall.
  • Tip: The summer months of June and July are actually the coldest time of year to visit…expect damp and foggy weather during the day and cold and windy weather at night.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: US Dollar

Things to Do in San Francisco:


There are many different options of museums for history, science, and art lovers to enjoy such as:

  • Exploratorium: a fun museum of science
  • MH de Young Museum: this popular museum showcases art from around the world
  • Beat Museum: learn about this history of the Beat Generation, a beautiful piece of San Francisco history

Tip: You can get discounted admission to The de Young Museum or the Exploratorium with the San Francisco CityPass.  


  • Golden Gate Bridge: can you visit San Francisco without really seeing this iconic landmark?  I suggest Baker Beach and Kirby Cove for some great views.
  • Alcatraz: see the infamous former high-security prison. Make sure you book in advance because tours sell out quickly!
  • Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39: Stop here for some beautiful views of the water while you enjoy a delicious sourdough bread bowl of clam chowder!
  • Chinatown: one of the most visited attractions and for a good reason! Chinatown is full of culture, history, beautiful art, and of course- delicious food.

  • Lombard Street:  the famous winding road with a great view of the city from the top
  • Ghirardelli Square: warning, this area make cause a sugar rush
  • The Painted Ladies: the Victorian-style colorful homes, famously known from the show “Full House”
  • Haight-Ashbury: a former hippie central neighborhood (once home to Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead, whose former house is a block or so away)Haight-Ashbury was the center of the “cultural utopia” for the hippie and anti-cultural movement during the 60’s.  This district was one of my favorite places to visit and is full of vintage clothing shops, record stores, and coffee shops.

Outdoorsy Activities

  • Golden Gate Park
  • Baker Beach: come here for some great views of the bridge!
  • Alamo Square Park: home of the Painted Ladies
  • Dolores Park
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden 
  • The Mission District: one of my favorite areas of San Francisco.  Don’t miss out of the street art, vibrant people, or the amazing Mexican food (try the mission burrito full of rice and beans).

My Favorite thing to do in San Francisco?

Kirby Cove Campground

I feel in love with Kirby Cove because it is a hidden gem (at least when I went) of the city.  A short walk down a hill takes you to panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Did I also mention that it includes a artsy swing to take a perfect Instagram on?  I could have spent hours on the beach, listening to the waves and enjoying the incredible view.  A must-do when visiting San Francisco.

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** found my new favorite spot in San Francisco **

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(Psst… Save up to 40% off tours & activities in San Francisco)

Where to Stay:

San Francisco is a huge city with different districts such as Chinatown or the Mission District.  By figuring out what attractions you want to be near to and which district you want to stay in, it will be easier to reduce the options of which accommodation to pick for your stay in the city.  I found this guide of districts to be very useful.

Where to Eat:

Thanks for stopping by and reading my guide of the best things to do in San Francisco! Did I miss your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments!


Miss Part 1? Read it here: California Road Trip Pt. 1: Santa Cruz and Humboldt County 

Check out the first video of my U.S & Canada road trip here:

Watch out for California Road Trip Pt. 3: Big Sur, coming soon 


Happy exploring,

Leslie x

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5 thoughts on “California Road Trip Part 2: Things to do in San Francisco

  1. Thanks for the guide! I have been wanting to go here for the longest time- maybe even move here. I know it is quite expensive, though. I also heard it is fairly similar to Seattle (where I live). I would love to take a road trip through Cali at some point. San Fran looks lovely!

  2. Everything is California is expensive its so sad 🙁 Definitely worth a road trip though its a great city!

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