So you’ve got a week to kill in San Fran which, by international standards, is a rather small city and super easy to get around. This means that getting lost isn’t an option for you to factor into your time-killing plan.
If you’re there for a week, the most cost effective means of transport will be the MUNI cable car. The tourism office at Union Square sells seven day transport passports for $40. Considering one cable car ride costs $7 it’s a pretty good deal.
Now that you have your transport sorted what the hell are you going to do on your first day? Is it a nice day? Not foggy? Chances are if you’re there in the middle of summer it will be foggy and super-cold (it actually gets colder in San Francisco in the summer) but if it does happen to be a sunny day you can visit Golden Gate Park for a leisurely stroll or hire a bike and cruise around it. If you don’t mind spending $8, the Japanese Tea Garden is a tranquil place to centre yourself at the start of your trip.
Once you’re done with tranquility–because let’s be honest there’s only so much peace and calm we can take before we get bored–catch bus number 28 towards the Golden Gate Bridge. You can either walk or cycle across it depending on how fast your hand and eye coordination is as you will have to swerve around tourists (but 10 points for each one you hit).
After you’ve cycled or walked all of your fluids out, catch the bus towards Chinatown and walk through it until you get to BOBA Guys bubble tea. You’ll know you’ve reached it by the line out the door but fret not, they pump these bad boys out in no time. It is also good to know that all the bubble teas are brewed from leaves, not powders and are free from artificial ingredients. They also use “Grade A balls.” I’ll just leave that there for you.
Wake up! Look outside! Is it a nice day again? Yes? Well, you’d better head on down to Pier 39. Here you can go souvenir shopping (if that’s your thing and you’re not a poor backpacker), check out the plethora of seals on the warf and grab a bite to eat. Then walk down to pier 45 and check out the Musée Mércanique, an antique arcade for some cheap thrills (arcade games cost between 25c – $1.50 and entry is free).
Hungry now? Head on over to Boudin, they claim to be the place that started the famous clam chowder in a bread bowl ($9.99).
If you’re still looking for something to do then grab an Irish coffee (or four, if you can handle it) at Buena Vista, which is famous for its Irish coffee. The story of Buena Vista largely began when a travel writer and the owner concocted coffee after coffee until they successfully recreated an Irish coffee that was served at Shannon Airport in Ireland.The secret is in making the cream float on top.
Approximately 2 kilometres off-shore from San Francisco sits Alcatraz – the famous maximum-security prison which operated as a federal between 1936 – 1966. Ferry tickets cost $33 and it offers some great views of the city as you ride out to the island. Be sure to take your time with the audio tour and don’t be afraid to press pause.
Day 4 and 5
Sometimes we just need to get out of the city and if you’ve got such a long time in San Francisco then camping at Yosemite National Park is a must! For those who don’t have camping gear with them or for the indoorsy types then Orange Sky Adventures offer an all-inclusive two day camping trip at an extremely affordable price compared to other one-day trips to Yosemite.
You probably need to chill after your visit to Yosemite because let’s be real – hiking is hard. Okay. Really hard. So, why not walk around Union Square and check out some of the local art and photography on display. Or simply grab a delicious beverage and watch the world go by.
For your last night in San Fran, head to Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday for some beverages and piano duelling. The artists are both hilarious, talented and can play almost any request. Note: there is usually a cover charge of $10 but it is totally worth it.
Chances are you have a long journey ahead of you so a hearty breakfast is in order. Head on over to 50s themed Lori’s Diner for a big-ass omelette. You could also head here after Johnny Foley’s for a burger and shake as it is open 24 hours.
I hope you had a lovely time and found even more things to do. Naturally, there are probably hundreds of things which I left out but this is was my week in San Francisco and I had a swell time.