The Best Things to Do in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of my favorite places and I am lucky to live only a little over an hour away. With that, this list will continue to grow as I explore new places so please check back every so often if you’re looking for somewhere new to try in the City. From where to eat, drink, adventure or find a cup of coffee. Check out the map and more information on each spot below it. To see specific categories click on the icon on the top left corner.

Get updates & travel giveaways each week!


My Favorite Eats

Café Madeliene

Various Locations

A little lunch café with great salads, sandwiches, and soups. Oh and the pastries looked amazing but I used my willpower and passed. A friend from the city and I met up there to enjoy a quick catch-up lunch. Very impressed.

Fino

624 Post Street (Tenderloin/Union Square)

This great Italian restaurant is hidden in the Andrews Hotel. From the bread, we started with the limoncello for a finish it was a great dining experience. We were able to walk in without reservations and were sat in about ten minutes. The food was authentic and flavorful; the wine was luscious and well priced. It’s a great way to enjoy some good Italian food in the city without dealing with the parking hell that is North Beach (Little Italy).

Gordo’s Taqueria

2252 Clement St (Outer Richmond)

Quick, fast, and greasy Mexican food. Some of my favorite Mexican food in the city and great for a fast bite if you’re hanging out near the Presidio or the Park. Their tacos and burritos are the best.

Guddu de Karahi

1501 Noriega St (Outer Sunset)

This small hole in the wall Indian food is some of the best we’ve had but don’t go if you are in a rush or don’t feel like being patient. It’s a slow meal, but you get to start it with some chai tea and once you get your meal it is well worth it. The palak paneer was my favorite as well as the samosas. If you’re a fan of Indian food this place is worth it but go for a late lunch or early dinner to avoid the crowds.

Hard Knox Cafe

2448 Clement St (Outer Richmond)

When your girlfriends live a block from a tasty southern food joint you definitely frequent it after late nights. Brunch here is a must and I love splitting one breakfast plate and one chicken plate with someone. The chicken and waffles are also a must. If you go you cannot skimp on the corn bread it really is to die for.

Kennedy’s Curry

1040 Columbus Ave (Russian Hill)

An Irish pub and Indian restaurant may seem like an odd combination, but they make it work. A good environment and even better food. Large portions and the samosas and naan are particularly good.

Lolinda

2518 Mission St (The Mission)

An Argentinian Steakhouse right in the Mission. They have a wide range of tapas as well as very tasty meats. It’s a great place to go and grab and appetizer and drink to start your night or have a hefty meal. Everything is full of complex and savory flavors.

Outerlands

4001 Judah St (Outer Sunset)

One of my favorite brunch spots in San Francisco. They have a rotating menu with the season, but everything is fresh and flavorful. They also seem to always have a version of a sticky bun that is well worth cheating on your diet for. Their coffee is also top notch. It’s a popular place so get there early on the weekends or be ready for a bit of a wait.

Pinecrest Dinner

401 Geary St (Union Square)

San Francisco not only has great eloquent and fancy food they also have some of the best diner food you can find. Sometimes all you want is a good omelet or tuna melt. Pinecrest Dinner is one of these great finds and its just off Union Square. Much better in both quality and price than most of the hotel breakfasts you’ll find around.

Roam Artisan Burgers

1923 Fillmore St (Fillmore District)

In need of a delicious burger in a casual environment? Roam has you covered. They have a great combination of flavors, make your own combos, beef, bison or veggie burgers, as well as gluten-free bun options. On top of that, they have homemade sodas and tasty milkshakes.

Tipsy Pig

2231 Chestnut St (The Marina)

For brunch, lunch or dinner Tipsy Pig is a great spot in the Marina. Whether you want a tasty cocktail or savory food this place has it. For brunch, they do a Benedict just right and have some good morning cocktails. The dinner menu is full of elevated comfort food from gnocchi to chicken fingers. The back patio is perfect for the warm fall San Francisco evenings or the sunny spring days. On the weekend, evenings go a little early if you want to avoid it getting crowded by the bar crowd, if not stay and join them!

Tropisueno

75 Yerba Buena Ln (Financial District/SOMA)

Looks like a nice restaurant but tastes like street tacos: the perfect combo. I ordered an enchilada and a taco for about $6 and they more than filled me up, along with free chips and a variety of salsas. Plus TVs where you can stop in to watch a game if you need a break from the conference.

Uncle’s Boy

245 Balboa St (Inner Richmond)

A whole in the wall place with tasty and unique burgers. Whether they have jalapeño poppers or mozzarella sticks on your burger they’ve got the thing for you. We had the pool boy and the cowboy both of which were delicious. And their fries are to die for with a perfect blend of crunchy and still fluffy on the inside.

Looking for the best things to do and places to go in San Francisco. If you're looking to hit more than just the tourist spots here are some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and explore.Yumma’s Mediterranean Grill 

721 Irving St (Inner Sunset)

So much goodness. We stumbled across this place after a night at Outside Lands Music Festival and were in need of some quality food and Yumma’s did not disappoint. Everything was flavorful, they had a variety of plates that allow you to try a little of everything and its cheap.

TOP COZY COFFEE SPOTS

Dynamo Donut + Coffee

110 Yacht Rd (Marina)

A walk up coffee and donut shop right out at the Marina on your way to Crissy Fields. It’s delicious coffee and meets San Francisco’s high standards. It’s a great drink to grab before walking the beach for a view of the Golden Gate.

Looking for the best things to do and places to go in San Francisco. If you're looking to hit more than just the tourist spots here are some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and explore.La Boulange de Yerba Buena

781 Mission Street (Financial District/SOMA)

Now yes they are owned by Starbuck and the coffee isn’t amazing but if you need a quick break to get away from your conference this patio feels like another world. Grab a coffee or a salad and enjoy a break to catch up on emails or even better read a book.

Marla’s Bakery

3619 Balboa St (Outer Richmond)

A quiet relaxing spot with quality coffee and very tempting pastries. They have something for every time of day from cookies to croissants to bread. They also have back patio that feels like a cozy backyard and is perfect for reading a book on a nice day.

Nespresso

90 Grant Ave (Union Square)

Want a fun coffee experience? Stop by the Nespresso store. So I am spoiled and we have one at home but I still enjoy sitting down in the café and enjoying one of the creative drinks they make. Plus the open windows make it a great place to people watch everyone walking around Union Square. If you don’t feel like the café you can head downstairs to the shop where you can taste the new flavors they are offering.

The Best Places to Grab a Drink

Arlequin Wine Merchant, connected with the Arlequin CaféLooking for the best things to do and places to go in San Francisco. If you're looking to hit more than just the tourist spots here are some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and explore.

384 Hayes St (Hayes Valley)

My favorite spot to grab a drink in the city, you can either grab a glass or open up a bottle to share with friends. From the shopfront, you can’t really tell but there is a giant courtyard with beautiful trees. I can spend hours in this courtyard just relaxing either with a good book or with some friends.

Biergarten

424 Octavia St (Hayes Valley)

If you’re more into beer stop by this traditional beer garden. On a nice day, this place can get busy but you can always find a spot to squeeze in. There are large picnic tables and the food and drinks are sold out of shipping containers. If you’ve got a big group this place can be a lot of fun. Then take a nice walk about Hayes Valley.

Dirty Habit

12 4th St. (SOMA/Union Square)

This is a bar hidden up on the top of the Palamor Hotel. Walk right through the bar and there is a huge patio. Good patios in San Francisco seem to be few and far between, especially down by Market Street. This place was a great way to spend a perfect SF afternoon and enjoy their craft cocktails.

Eno Wine BarLooking for the best things to do and places to go in San Francisco. If you're looking to hit more than just the tourist spots here are some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and explore.

320 Geary Street (Union Square)

I didn’t even notice this place as I walked by it but then I saw a sign making a wine joke and had to stop in. It is a cozy place that I fit in both in my jeans one night and a formal dress the other. They had a World Cup themed tasting flight. Not a place for cheap wine but definitely worth the cost. Cheese and chocolates great as well.

Rickhouse

246 Kearny S. (Financial District)

One of those places that has a bit of a prohibition feel to it, which mind you I love. You need to sneak upstairs to overlook the place and get out of the crowd a bit but once we got away from the bar the place had a great feel and the cocktails couldn’t have been better.

Top of the Mark

1 Nob Hill (Nob Hill)

If you are looking for a view this is the spot. It is at the top of the Intercontinental hotel in Nob Hill. While the cocktails aren’t cheap but they are still very good and the view makes it worth it. This bar has the best view I’ve seen around town with its panoramic views of the entire city. Their French 75 is my favorite.

ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES TO TRY

Baker’s BeachLooking for the best things to do and places to go in San Francisco. If you're looking to hit more than just the tourist spots here are some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and explore.

1504 Pershing Drive (The Presidio)

One of two great beaches in the City where you can really see Golden Gate Bridge. This one is on the ocean side and is just into the Presidio from the Outer Richmond. It’s a nice cove with a great view of the bridge.

Crissy Fields

1199 East Beach (The Marina)

The other beach right by the bridge, this one is bigger so if you’re looking for a long walk or a place to run this is it. You can watch the boats sailing on the bay on a clear day or the fog rolling in past the bridge. Well worth a visit.

De Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park)

One of the fine arts museums in San Francisco and with a great and diverse collection. Admissions is $10 but if you aren’t up for that you can still visit the gift shop and the cafe. If you’re wandering through Golden Gate Park it is well worth a stop.

Dolores Park

19th & Dolores St (The Mission)

San Francisco is full of open spaces to relax and play in. Dolores Park is one of these. Right in the heart of the mission this open space will have a little bit of everything, people playing frisbee and sports while dogs run and friends sit and have a picnic. Also right nearby is the Bi-Rite Creamery, probably the most famous ice cream in San Francisco.

The Fillmore Looking for the best things to do and places to go in San Francisco. If you're looking to hit more than just the tourist spots here are some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and explore.

1805 Geary Blvd (Fillmore District)

One of the most historic music venues you can find. Almost every anyone you can think of has played this venue from Johnny Cash to James Brown. Nowadays, you can find a wide range of acts come through so no matter what your music taste there will be an act playing for you. It’s a simple but beautiful venue and the music sounds great. It’s a blast to be upfront and enjoy a show.

Japanese Tea Garden

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park)

Hidden within Golden Gate Park is the Japanese Tea Garden and it is a hidden gem. You walk in and get a chance to enjoy the unique garden architecture, the bridges, towers and koi pond. It was a relaxing place to spend a couple hours. After walking around stop at the tea shop and enjoy a great cup of tea and a dessert. It’s a great place to relax and people watch as well.

Jesse Square Garden

Mission Street between 3rd and 4th (SOMA)

This garden just across the street from Moscone North is a quick escape with a great view. Grab your book or if you’re hungry you’ll find food trucks parked right there.

Palace of the Fine Arts

3301 Lyon Street (The Presido)

The Palace was built as a part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915 and was build on top of marshland which would surprise you now. Walk over from Crissy Field and enjoy the garden, the birds, and the art. Take a seat on the hill and people watch or enjoy a book.

St. Patrick Church

756 Mission St. (SOMA)

If you’re someone like me who enjoys a beautiful church St. Patrick’s is a worth popping your head in. The current church was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and has a great history as a piece of the city that hasn’t changed.

A Tour Exploring Napa and Sonoma Wine County

A trip to Napa Valley is on every wine connoisseurs’ wish list! Travel on a luxury coach from San Francisco to one of the world’s greatest wine regions. You’ll have the chance to take in exceptional views of the Bay Area as you pass through the scenic Napa Wine Country via the Golden Gate Bridge. Once you’ve arrived at the vineyards, enjoy amazing tastings at three wineries, paired with delicious food. This full-day experience is a true treat for the senses. Find some of my favorite spots in the area here.

For more information about San Francisco check out these great books on Amazon including 111 Places in San Francisco That You Must Not MissLonely Planet San Francisco, and Fodor’s San Francisco. Or find more interesting places in San Francisco.

Get updates & travel giveaways each week!