Every touristy guidebook lists Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Golden Gate Bridge. And that’s where the majority of the visitors to San Francisco go, and it shows, those spots are all insanely crowded. But if you want to go where the locals go, you’re in the right place!
Here’s a list of the 5 best things to do in San Francisco from a local’s point of view.
Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge
The cost to drive across the bridge these days is so expensive (at least $6.75/car), we tend to avoid it unless we’re going up to Marin. With that said, it’s still worth it to bike across the bridge! You can rent a bike from the shops by Fisherman’s Wharf which includes a ferry ticket back from Sausalito and a map.
It’s great that they provide the one-way return ticket since after you bike all the way there, your legs will be tired and you’ll be able to rest on the boat!
In a way, this island is stuck under the shadows of Alcatraz because it is much less popular amongst tourists since Al Capone didn’t exactly live here. But if you’re into hiking and great views, this is the place to be!
There are several trails that take you around the island and to the panoramic viewpoint, from here you can get a 360 view of the San Francisco Bay Area. On a clear day, you can see from Marin county all the way down to Silicon Valley.
This island was also once home to the “Ellis Island of the West,” where many Asian immigrants to the United States were once held awaiting approval into the country. At the Immigration Station museum here, you will learn about their lives detained on the island and see Chinese poetry they carved into the walls.
Ferry Building/Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
This is one of my favorite places to go in the city! Mainly because I love food, but also because I love the selection here.
Any day of the week, you can go inside the Ferry Building and be treated with lots of stalls selling food and various types of housewares. My favorite stalls are Blue Bottle Coffee Company, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream, Acme Bread Company, and Hog Island Oyster Company.
If you’re lucky enough to go on a Tuesday (10am-2pm), Thursday (10am-2pm), or Saturday (8am-2pm), there will also be an outdoor market where you can buy cooked food as well as fresh produce. There are also stalls selling fish and flowers so there is a lot of variety in offerings.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps
If you’re a fan of Antoni Gaudi, like I am, and you’re missing his insanely gorgeous mosaics. San Francisco’s got a spot for you!
This local gem is hidden within a residential neighbourhood, the tiles are beautiful and you can see the amount of work that went into creating the mosaic. They were created when neighbours banded together to beautify the community by sponsoring handmade tiles including shapes of animals, fish, and shells.
After you walk up the tiled steps, you can continue walking up additional concrete steps to Grandview Park to get a view of the Sunset district and the Pacific Ocean.
I’ve saved the best for last! Point blank, this is one of my favorite places in San Francisco because you get the most amazing views of the city.
This spot is beautiful day or night. During the day, you can see Marin county, Golden Gate Bridge, East Bay, and best of all, downtown San Francisco. At night, the views of the sparkling lights of Downtown and the main thoroughfare of Market Street are gorgeous.
Twin Peaks is a spot you must do on a clear day, on a cloudy or foggy day there will be nothing to see.
Hope you enjoyed these local spots in San Francisco! For a great 2-3 day weekend trip itinerary, check out A Weekend Away: San Francisco.
This post was kindly written by a lovely Wandering Darling- Constance fromThe Adventures of Panda Bear. I’m sure you loved what you’ve read as much as I have so check out her blog and social media channels with the links below for more great information and inspiration
Constance is a graphic/web designer and blogger living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where technology rules the world. She and her boyfriend, Jimmy, are always in a state of wanderlust, looking forward to their next adventure eating their way around the world. Follow them on their blog, The Adventures of Panda Bear.
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