A First Timer's Guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is a place that is on the bucket list of many people. The weather can be great, there are plenty of famous attractions, and many blockbuster movies have been set here. It is a place in the US that is quite unlike any other, so makes a fun change to see a new city. Not to mention that southern San Francisco is classed as ‘Silicon Valley’ as it is the home to many a tech startup, as well as companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google. So for work or for pleasure, San Francisco is a great place to visit. But what are some of the best places to go, eat, drink, or see? Here are some of the top reasons to visit and a bit of a guide for people heading there for the first time.


Great Range of Food

Cites tend to do a variety of food really well, and in SF (what you should be calling it, darling) is all about the food and range of it; there is something for everyone. You could start the day with breakfast or brunch at the Tartine Bakery, as their classic baked goods are to die for. This is a popular spot you may have to wait in line, but it is going to be worth it. The Devil’s Teeth Baking Company (such an awesome name) is known for their breakfast sandwiches, and being located right by the beach, gives you a great backdrop with which to enjoy your sandwich.

For something for lunch, it can be fun to experience something with seafood, being located right by the sea, and all. The Hog Island Oyster Bar is worth a visit, especially on a weekend when there is a farmers market close by too. Overlooking the bay, you can try oysters, and enjoy as much clam chowder as you can handle; a classic for this area of California. For something for dinner, again, you are a little spoilt for choice. You could learn more here about Rokaakor, where you can find Japanese food in SF, or you could go for something a little more all-American with burgers and pork chops at Nopa. Just be warned, they take bookings months in advance, so get planning now.


San Francisco is a city, but as cities go, it is relatively small. But still with that in mind, it can be hard to get around. There are things like trams that you can use, but really, one of the simplest ways to get around is using Uber. you are likely to want to hit up a few different things each day, and as the city is pretty small, you won’t have to pay a lot for the fare. That being said, getting around on foot can be pretty popular too. Just make sure that you pack your comfy shoes (SF is not the place to break in a new pair of shoes). It is pretty hilly, so be prepared.

Best Times to Visit

Being almost like an island, as it is a long thin strip of land, with the ocean on either side, the city can experience some really varied and unpredictable weather. So really, there isn’t a ‘best’ time to go. Of course, summer can get some of the warmest temperatures, but there can still be a lot of fog in summer. So don’t pin all your hopes on seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in all of its glory in August, as it may not happen. June Gloom, as nicknamed by locals, is definitely a thing as well. So really, it is California, so temperatures are generally going to be pretty steady. It can just get cooler and foggier due to the island-like set up that the city has.


Top Attractions to See and Do

As has been mentioned, SF has featured in the media a lot, so there may be some film sites that you want to visit, as well as the classic things that the city is known for. Some of the top things to see and do are:

  • Twin Peaks: this is the place to get a look at some of the best views in the Bay area; you will need a clear day to see it all, of course. If you’re looking for a romantic spot, then heading up here just near sunset can be a good choice, and as it is high up, you can get a little chilly. So bring a jacket or hoodie with you.

  • Lombard Street: the classic street that is shown in pretty much anything SF related really has to be seen to be believed. It can be a busy place, especially if you are going to travel down by car, but really, it is going to be worth it. You can walk up or down it too, and experience those eight hairpin turns on the way down.

  • Alcatraz Island: the island that was just basically a prison, is a short ferry ride away, and can be seen from most spots in SF. It is now a museum with tours, so you can learn all about what went on in that area and some of the tales of the escapees that were never found again. The tours can get booked up, so this needs to be done a few weeks before you plan to go. During the day gives the great views, but visiting in the evening can make it a little spookier.

  • Golden Gate Bridge: this is probably one of the most famous things about San Francisco. But located right by the beach, you can see it in all of its glory, as long as there isn’t a thick or heavy fog. There are trails to follow, or you could simply drive across if you really want to experience it. It is also a great photo spot in the city, as you can view Alcatraz from there, as well as most of the city, and the sandy beaches.

Have you ever been to SF before? It would be great to hear what you think.

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