San Francisco is one of my absolute favourite cities in the US. After all, this place was at the centre of the flower child movement of the 1960s, and that electric atmosphere is still apparent in the air today. If you’re planning a long holiday travelling around the USA, you should definitely stop here.
However, if you only have a few days to spend in the city, it can be tough to decide where to go and what to do. Here are a few of the things I think you should definitely squeeze into your visit.
Stroll around Fisherman’s Wharf
This is one of the most tourist-friendly areas of San Francisco, which may convince you to avoid it. However, it’s popular for a reason so you shouldn’t discount it – there’s so much to see here it’s worth taking a quick stroll. If you want to beat the crowds, you could visit early in the day before they arrive.
From here you can take a boat trip to Alcatraz, the infamous prison also known as The Rock because its operators claimed that no one had ever successfully escaped its confines. Alternatively, you can cruise over to Angel Island, which is a stunning state park where you can hike or take a segway tour.
Back at the Wharf, make your way to the famous Pier 39 and lap up some of the attractions on it. While you’ll meet countless street entertainers vying for your attention, perhaps the most popular residents are the sea lions that moved here following the major earthquake of 1989.
Party in North Beach
With so much to do, you can easily spend a day on Pier 39, but once night starts to fall head to San Francisco’s Italian heart, North Beach, for a lively evening of entertainment. This is the place to be after sunset as you never have to look far for a cocktail or some great music.
The roads are lined with cabaret and jazz clubs and the party frequently spills out on to the street as revellers dance till dawn. Keep a lookout overhead as well, as a flock of wild parrots live in the trees here.
Admire the view
If you can manage it after partying the night before, get up early on the last morning of your visit and make your way to Nob Hill. This is where you can enjoy the prime view down over San Francisco Bay.
Take a California Street cable car to get the best view, or stroll through the area to see some of its most famous monuments up close. Among them you will spot a replica of the Notre Dame and a copy of a 16th century Roman Fountain.
Nob Hill is also home to Lombard Street, which you’ll probably already be familiar with as it is renowned for being the most crooked street in the world.
Enjoy the sunshine at the Presidio
Round off your city break in style by visiting the Presidio, which was once dairy land and is now a beautiful urban national park. Famously, it is passed over by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Stop at Union Street in Cow Hollow for a coffee as you relax and enjoy the final moments of your trip. I hope you have a great time on the next leg of your American adventure!