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How to Spend a Weekend in San Francisco

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Only have a few days in San Francisco? Here’s everything you need for a perfect stay

A weekend in San Francisco promises an opportunity to experience new and intriguing things. These ideas will help you see the city from a unique perspective, making for a first-class weekend you won’t soon forget.

Painted Ladies, San Francisco

Friday Evening

Your weekend in San Francisco starts at a boutique hotel. The Hotel Huntington is a stylish modern boutique housed in one of San Francisco’s most beautiful and historical buildings. The hotel also has the Big 4, a dining experience as luxurious as the railroad tycoons it was named after. You may also like Proper, which offers distinctly cool and retro vibes in a mid-market neighborhood.

Get your 72 hours in San Francisco off to a rocking start with a concert at The Fillmore, a legendary venue offering concerts by world-famous artists and up-and-coming bands.

The views in San Francisco are unlike any other city in the U.S. You’ll be amazed by the sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Lights, and landmarks like the Coit Tower and Transamerica Pyramid. A quiet walk on Pier 7 is a less tourist-filled place to take it all in.

golden gate bridge san francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Saturday Morning

Whether you’re an early riser or you prefer to sleep in, you’ll want to fuel your next 48 hours in San Francisco with a good breakfast. Boulettes Larder serves inspired, unexpected breakfast fare, such as poached eggs with cranberry beans, tomatillos, queso fresco, and purslane. If you’re in a rush, grab fresh baked goods and a coffee to go from Outerlands.

Saturday morning is the perfect time to tour. San Francisco’s Lombard Street is known for its lovely gardens and zig-zag roadway. The Lyon Street steps offer a pleasant view of the Presidio Forest and San Francisco Bay if you can make it to the 300th step. If you’re a fan of edgy art walks, tour the street murals of Clarion Alley to see some clever creations.

lombard street san francisco

Lombard Street, San Francisco

Indulge in a well-deserved lunch at Spruce, where you can saddle up to the bar for a wonderfully messy burger and thirst-quenching drinks.

Saturday Night

Your Saturday night in San Francisco is set with posh drinks at The JCB Tasting Lounge in The Ritz-Carlton. Or, if you prefer casual cocktails, head to Top of the Mark, where you’ll get a killer view of the city.

Take courage from the drinks and head to The Speakeasy, a theatre known for its “immersive” experience. There’s no telling what might happen or what you might be asked to do. We Players offers an alternative theatre experience, producing original performances in outdoor locations around town.

The Great American Music Hall is a uniquely lavish venue, featuring two full bars and a lengthy list of highly desirable acts. Their more casual sister bar, Slim’s, is home to some of the city’s best R&B.

For dinner, you can take a walk in colorful Chinatown, where you can choose from tempting dim sum at Good Mong Kok Bakery, spicy Sichuan-style noodles at Chong Qing Xiao Mian, or Vietnamese crepes at My Canh.

chinatown san francisco

Chinatown, San Francisco

Sunday Morning

Don’t waste a single minute of your last 24 hours in San Francisco. Grab a frangipane croissant and coffee at Tartine Manufactory, and then hit the landmarks. Consider a ferry ride to Alcatraz, a groovy walk down memory lane in Haight-Ashbury or watching the sea lions at Pier 39 near Fisherman’s Wharf.

fisherman's wharf weekend in san francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

As you tour San Francisco, you might get lost in City Lights bookstore for hours, ride the cable cars, and wander through the stunning architecture at the Palace of Fine Arts. Now, you’ve worked up your appetite.

Fresh seafood is plentiful in San Francisco, so for lunch, consider chowing down on scrumptious shrimp rolls at Woodhouse Fish Co., a classic bowl of Cioppino at the historic Tadich Grill, or fresh steamed mussels and clams at Sotto Mare. If you’re still near the wharf, tuck into a pleasing bowl of clam chowder from Pier 39.

End your afternoon with tea at the Palace Hotel, where you can nibble on traditional sweets in a surreal Victorian setting.

Sunday Evening

It’s Sunday night, and there’s still so much to do. Catch a movie at The Castro Theatre. You can watch a film the way Hollywood intended in one of the last movie palaces with the opulence and grandeur of the 1920s. Movies vary from silver screen gems to indie features with an artsy, edgier feel.

After your film, you can settle in for a classic Cal-Ital dinner at Delfina for wood-fired entrées and delicious bowls of ricotta cavatelli. Or, you can sip martinis infused with smoked Castelvetrano olive juice and rosemary oil at The Progress while you peruse their unique à la carte dinner menu.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can head out to Treasure Island to get a rare view of the city from the bay.

marina district san francisco

Marina District, San Francisco

Spend your last hours in San Francisco by winding down at one of the city’s historic bars. Hit The Homestead for cocktails or kick back with an Irish coffee at The Buena Vista cafe.

A weekend in San Francisco promises to quench your thirst, tantalize your hunger, and entertain your restless soul. Book your next flight now.

Check out our other Weekend Guides for our top destinations

New York City

Chicago

Nashville

New Orleans

Atlanta


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