3 Days In San Francisco
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Feb 26, 2011 9:53 AM Last Post By: osopolaramistoso
Feb 10, 2011 11:44 PM
3 Days In San FranciscoIts my first time visiting the states (backpacking through on a budget) & I have 3 days to spend in San Francisco.
Basically I want to know what is most worth doing, best attractions to see, where to stay & eat?
I'm hoping to get by on a budget of about $100 a day including accommodation & I am not yet 21.
Any recommendations would be much appreciated.
Edited by: kij
Feb 11, 2011 4:30 AM
Feb 11, 2011 8:09 AM
2more about what you like to do would help - some generic stuff:
green tortoise hostel in north beach
ride cable cars
go see the golden gate bridge
wander through the castro, haight
if you like hiking take the ferry out to angel island - good views of the bay and SF
$100 shouldn't be a big problem is you stick to budget food. eat burritos in the mission (actually there's a good place in north beach too, but i don't remember what it's called - they sold "southern cal" style burritos with french fries in it. there's lots of good food around cheap.
Feb 11, 2011 8:21 AM
3Do you have a guidebook? That's where you get the basics. A forum is good for more specific questions. At the very least, you can read Wikitravel or http://www.frommers.com/destinations/sanfrancisco
Green Tortoise is a popular hostel with backpackers. It'll run you about $20-25 for a dorm room. Your budget is fine since you won't be spending money on alcohol.
Alcatraz requires advanced reservations. Book now.
Feb 11, 2011 8:49 AM
4The Green Tortoise Hostel is the lively one with a more party atmosphere than other hostels. It's popular with people who want to meet other travelers and have fun. If you have a passport that proves you are not a US citizen, you can attend some of their events, even if not staying there--see web site for details.
If you prefer a quieter place, then the HI Fisherman's Wharf Hostel might suit you better. It is usually called as the "Fort Mason Hostel." It also gets good reviews here, but it is not party central.
Both hostels have free breakfast; the Green Tortoise also does dinners 3 days a week.
Bargain Bites from the San Francisco Chronicle. "The best places to eat cheap...We've included a little bit of everything, organizing restaurants into food categories. To qualify, places can't top $12 in the entree department and for the most part should serve lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a bonus."
A company called Lonely Planet has a web page about San Francisco.
Feb 11, 2011 2:12 PM
5Thank you all so much for the advise! I have read a fare bit about San Francisco. Just wanted to get some insight from people who live/visit there. I am open to any suggestions, probably not big on strip clubs or pubs bzookaj, as I can't legally drink in America yet & it would be a tease, coming from Australia where I have been able to for a couple of years now.. I have been getting advise about what to see from friends that have traveled & thought it would be helpful to get a broader insight. Sorry if I made it complicated to answer..
Feb 11, 2011 3:52 PM
Feb 14, 2011 12:52 AM
7Would enjoy spending some of my time devoted to photography, would love to rent a bike and ride around the city (if you would recommend it with all the hills), obviously I would like to see the golden gate bridge, don't really have an interest in trams (cable car) as I take one to & from work everyday. I'm not that fussy with food. I'd like to go to some markets (food & or goods). I'd like to go to the café that claims to have the best coffee. (I currently believe Melbourne has the best). Want to get the best view of the city....
Feb 14, 2011 4:50 AM
From Coit Tower.
From Twin Peaks.
From Top of the Mark.
From across the bay in Oakland.
The list can go on....
Feb 14, 2011 5:29 AM
Feb 14, 2011 6:54 AM
Ferry Building. In addition to the merchants inside, there is a Farmer's Market outside on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Saturday is the biggest.
San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods. You might enjoy just wandering around. Or, you can take a free walking tour sponsored by the local library. The tour called "Landmark Victorians Of Alamo Square" goes to those painted ladies. The Nob Hill tour will get you some great views (or just go on your own.)
Don't forget that on any given day those great views may not be much due to fog.
Feb 14, 2011 8:18 AM
As a general rule, the people who write guidebooks live in or visit the places they write about. When you read a guidebook, you are getting insight from people who live in or visit the place, in almost every case.
Feb 14, 2011 9:01 AM
12best coffee? that will depend on who you ask. pete's coffee is popular and originated in berkeley (on the east side of the bay), so it's considered local, although in recent years it has expanded out. the story goes (as told to me by my friend who used to work there) that they were the inspiration for the people who started starbucks - that they came and like the coffee shop where you could also buy beans and roasted coffee and went back to seattle to start their own. blue bottle coffee in SF also gets good marks from people. if you want more atmospheric cafes, there's some classic ones in north beach that serve up some good italian style coffee - such as cafe trieste and others.
shopping - the upper haight has a bunch of shops geared toward younger tastes.
walking around the city you will find some good views - lots of places where you're up on the hills and can see out. medjool restaurant/cafe in the mission has a great rooftop area that looks out over the city - can be nice at night.
Feb 14, 2011 3:49 PM
13In terms of photography and good coffee, I think San Francisco really is the city to go. For coffee you can use yelp.com to find places. Philz coffee and Blue bottle are some of the best known places for hand made coffee. There are lot of others too.
-Alcatraz, Angel Island, Whale tours, Sausalito, Muir woods national parks. These are of course some of the most famous things so you should consider visiting some of them. They are quite expensive to visit though.
Three days is such a short time. It´s possible to spend 3 days just wandering in one or two neighbourhoods like Fillmore, Mission or North Beach/China town area, especially when the weather is nice. Everybody likes different places best but after living here in San Francisco for some time and seeing most places and as someone who also enjoys photography and walking a lot this is one example how I could spend 3 days if I would now come here for the first time:
Go to Civic center in the morning to see City hall, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and other beautiful buildings plazas and statues. Continue via Hayes street(full of small shops and cafes for breakfast and the way you can visit parallel Linden street as well to have coffee from a carage, Blue Bottle) to Alamo Square to see Painted ladies. Architecture is beatiful all around Alamo Square, not just what you can see from the park. Public bathrooms in the park and lot of tourists most of the time.
Walk to Haight street, to see some of the Lower Haight and continue to more touristy Upper Haight towards the Golden Gate park. On the way you see Buena Vista park, with some "buenas vistas" to the city. But you can also skip it. There´s lot of small strange shops and big record store on Haight so visit some of them. Buy some snacks from the stores and hit the Golden Gate park. You can rent a bike there to go through the park, and see some of the places like Stow lake, Botanical garden, Bison park, windmills, Japanise te garden or some of the museums. The park is huge, you can walk no problem but if you decide to walk, you should have food, water and really good shoes(as you should any way in San Fran). In the Young museum they have a tower to see the park from above. I have not visited it yet, but that should be cool.
At night if you have time and energy, you can always go to Downtown and take the cable car(which is fun at night, with shorter waiting lines) or you can walk in China town or North Beach to eat some chinese or Italian food.
Take bus number 5, 31 or 38 from downtown to get near Ocean beach. I like bus 38, since you it´s final stop is next to Sutro Heights park with a beautiful views of the beach and some of the GG park, but with 5 and 31 you get closer to the actual beach(water is always cold though.) Visit Cliff house if you like and start hiking the Lands end trail by the ocean. It´s easy walk with really nice views and you easily forget being in a big city. China beach is a nice little beach with some good views of Golden Gate bridge, but you can walk further to Baker Beach, which is a popular party or family picnic place with one of top 3 best views of the bridge for photos, and you can very likely see some professional photographers there with models or just marrieds in the afternoon.
You can walk all the way to the Golden gate bridge, Take more pictures and then you can walk from the golden gate park towards the city, trough really nice parks and beaches. That´s a lot of walking though, but it´s fun. Lands end trail and Coastal trail to the bridge probably take like 3-4 hours of walking with some pauses and photography, and there really aren´t any restaurants on the way.
(Lot of people walk to the other side of the bridge. That´s over 3 miles walk and I think it´s over-rated, noisy walk next to heavy traffic, unless you go up the hill on the other side to get pictures of the bridge with the city on the background. I don´t no if you can walk there, I´ve only been there by car. But it´s an epic view, especially with some fog.) There´s probably some people always going there from Fort point(the south end of the bridge) so maybe it´s possible to hitchike at the parking lot.)
If you did not go to the other side, you can start walking from the bridge to get to Palace of Fine arts and Exploratorium. On the way you can take pictures of boats, the bridge or good looking people jogging. You can also take a bus 28 from the bridge to get there(that 28 that goes to Fort Mason, the other one goes trough GG park)You can go to some science/art expos(tickets aroud 20$) there or you can just walk in the park(free!) and feel like your in angient Greek or something. Good photography there. Other option is to go to Chestnut street(between Divisadero and Fillmore) to eat something.
Since you can not miss Mission you should go there now. Depending where you are staying you could take BART to 16th street or 24st station or some bus if you like. There´s no point in walking there from Downtown. The most interesting streets are Mission, Valencia and 24th street(especially between valencia and Folsom) If you like fleamarkets and second hand shops like pawn shops you could start from 16th street walking on Mission street towards south. There is so many good and cheap Latin American restaurants everywhere there, tacos, burritos, pupusas etc.. There´s lot of street art and paintings on 23rd and 24th street. Houses are old and beautiful on many of the streets including in and around Folsom street.
You can also easily walk to Castro from Mission. 18th or 17th streets are good routes, and on 18th street there are really good organic ice-cream, restaurants and Mission Dolores Park. Castro is a sort of tourist trap, more expensive than Mission, but it´s beautiful, with colorful houses, weird stores and fun people watching. Now there´s even a new gay history museum. Have not seen it though. From Castro you can take historic street car to Downtown or travel by Muni Metro.
It looks like I could not fit all that I´d like in 3 days, so this extra day actually has some of the best things that one should not miss while in San Francisco, so you and other travelers can use my advices to make combinations that suits everyone best.
Go to the Fillmore street. There´s not so much to see in the south end of the street, but if you start from Hayes street(near Alamo Square) or from Mcallister street(bus 5 takes you there) and start walkin north, there is a lot to see. Small of beautiful stores, cafes, bars and lot of places for live music including Famous The Fillmore. Walk around Japanise town with Japanise shopping center, some interesting buildings and Japanise statues. Go back and continue on Fillmore. Alta Plaza park has some really nice views, so it´s worth visiting too. Once you get to Broadway street you can see the Bay and Marina from above. Go down the Fillmore st. to Union street and turn right. Union street is just like upper Fillmore a very upscale part of the city. It´s also feels like a very safe area to walk at night. After walking a while on Union st. you can take a bus(41 or 45) to get to Washington Square. You are in Italian part of the city now, so eat some pizza or pasta and walk around. Coit Tower(tickets 5$) is close by on the hill and it offers very good views of the city. Also the hill itself is really nice for photography and views. Columbus street and Grant avenue have the most shops and restaurants. From there it´s easy to go to Fisherman´s Wharf or to Chinatown. Grant street is also one of the main streets of Chinatown, but if you are there during the daylight you should also walk around Stockton street where Many Chinese people buy their food and stuff. There´s not much going on in Chinatown after dark, except on Grant street closer to Union Square, which has a lot tourist gift shops and restaurants.
Some parks in Chinatown have old men playing board games at night and sometimes chinese artists singing so those can be interesting to see as well.
Other places and things to see:
-Twin Peaks has one of the best views of the city, so you should probably go there too. I think there is no bus that goes all the way, but you can walk from Castro or maybe from Portola(?) from 48 bus route.
-Pier 39. 90% of the tourists seem to go there to see the sealions. If you like sealions and amusement park atmosphire it´s worth going. There´s less sealions now than normally, because many of them went to Oregon, because there is more fish there. And Fish left because they know there´s a big earthquake coming. Just kidding. But you never know. ;-)
-Fisherman´s Wharf. Most tourists go there, and many of the locals too like once a year. but I don´t think it´s necessary if you only have 3 days. It feels like amusent park with wax museums and overpriced souvenier shops etc. Some good seafood and some street artists usually.
-Presidio has some forest and parks that can be really beautiful and peaceful to visit
-Palace of the Legion of Honor is a great place with good views of the bay and the bridge
-Fort Funston is an amazing place, with very special views of the shore line. Lots of kite-flyers and dog-lovers spend their sundays there I think.(bus 18 takes you very close)
-Financial district makes you feel almost like Manhattan with tall buildings and busy rat-race whole day. You may or may not like it, but at least it´s easy to reach.
-Union Square. Depending where you stay, you probably spend time around this place any way, since cable cars, shopping centers and many of the hotels are around it. Post or Sutter streets close by have some cheaper hotels as well I think, and Theater district seems like a good place to look for acomodation since it´s close to many sights and all transports.
Polk street has a lot of interesting bars, cheap restaurants and shops. Polk is like Fillmore or Union street for people with less class and money, and it´s really interesting place, it´s gets more upscale towards Russian hill, and it´s close to Hyde street and the famous must-see Lombard street curves(between Hyde and Leavenworth) There´s no reason to walk on the soutside of the Polk st. at night. I do not know the crime statistics but Tenderloin area does not have the best feeling and reputation at the moment, and there is some stuff going on especially at night.
-MOMA(museum of modern art) is a great place to see lot of visual art. Tickets are like 15-20$ so it´s not the cheapest place, but there always lot to see. They have free days every month, check their website.
-Yerba Buena Gardens is a nice tranquil place in the city, with some great photographic possibilities.
-West Portal, and 48 bus route. Not many tourists do that, but West Portal is a beautiful place to visit. Lot of very rich people live there, so it´s clean, beautiful and neat. It feels like a city within a city almost. Some good photography of hills with houses. You can go there and out with 48 bus or K,L, and M MUNI metros. Some really nice views over Noe Valley from Portola that the bus passes on its way to Mission.
-Street artists, like musicians tend to go where tourists are so expect to find them in Haight-Ashbury, around and inside Powell BART station, at 24th street BART station plaza, Near Union Square, Fisherman´s Warf, North Beach, Castro, Theater District, Market street, near Ferry Building etc.
-Noe Valley. 24th street is great also in up in the Noe Valley. It´s very different from the Mission side of the street but lot of interesting, unique(and expensive) shops and beautiful houses. You can go there while moving between Mission and Castro, or Mission and West Portal for example. Take busses every now and then to save your legs, lot of hills there too.
-Sunset also has some fun streets with all kinds of shops and restaurants just south of GG-park(Irving st, 9th st etc.)
-There are also some outdoor movie nights that are free. Duboce Park has them sometimes, Japan town has some of them. I think they even have websites.
-Also there are all kinds of political protest every now and then that can be great to witness or to take photos, but I don´t think there is any collective website listing those.
Near San Francisco:
Via BART it´s very easy and cheap and fast to visit Oakland and or Berkeley, and both cities have a lot to see.
In Berkeley, the UCB campus is really beautiful with historical buildings and parks. upper Telegraph avenue is sort of like "Haight street" of Berkeley with street people and funny shops. College avenue is great with all kinds of restaurants, famous organic ice-cream places and movie theaters. Also some historical streets just north of campus, where houses look like old castles actually. Big outdoor fleamarket at Ashby BART-station every saturday and sunday is funny place to visit, with lot of African and African-American people selling this and that and also some live music made with drums.
In Oakland there´s even bigger outdoor fleamarket(sat. and sun.) with mostly Latino people selling there. You never know what you are going to find there. It´s called Laney College Fleamarket and it´s like 10 minutes from SF to get there by BART. It´s great people watching and cheap great spicy food. Since San Fran and even Berkeley are out-pricing people with less money out of the cities, lot of not so famous artists and musicians have moved to Oakland. There is a lot going on these days and if you happen to be in the area during Art Murmur(big event every month) it´s definitely worth going. Some Parts of Oakland are also still famous for social problems and crime so going to southern parts of Oakland alone, at night is not the safest idea. Same thing with some of the southern parts of San Francisco too, where there is still some gang and drug problems.
It´s always good to check local newspapers about the events in the area. San Francisco Chronicle has lots of travel information and calendar to search for concerts etc. Also you can find lot of blogs about the city by Google, because there are new things and places all the time.
Also articles like this could give some good ideas of where to go:
(San Francisco's best nature walks and urban escapes)
Feb 14, 2011 4:41 PM
14San Francisco's other trams (on the F line, not the cable trams) are interesting because they are all museum pieces - ie old tramcars from around USA and the world. I spotted a nice one from Milan, as well as one from Melbourne, my hometown.
As for guidebooks, sometimes locals don't see (ie take for granted) what's under their nose, and might not appreciate things that a foreign visitor might like.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$271.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$269.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$229.00 per night