I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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The Messy Bun Traveler is designed to bring you fun stories, destination guides, and healthy travel advice. To help cover the cost of running this site, all posts are sprinkled with hand-selected affiliate links. When you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only accept affiliate links and paid advertisements from brands I believe in, trust and use personally. Thank you for your continued support!
San Francisco is one of the most magical cities in the United States. With its rich history, it’s the home to liberal arts majors, hippies, hipsters, engineering and tech giants, artists, and just a melting pot of all cultures from around the globe.
Having lived in San Francisco for six months while working as a travel nurse, I can tell you that even though this city is small, roughly 47 square miles, it’s packed with so many fun and exciting activities.
When I was a tourist coming to San Francisco for just a weekend getaway with friends, I admit I wasn’t entirely sold on the fairy-tale of San Fran. But having lived there and really getting to experience it, San Francisco is now one of my favorite cities, with hidden gems scattered around every corner.
With all the city offers, it’s hard to truly experience this city in just a weekend.
If you plan on exploring around San Francisco, like the Muir Woods or Sonoma Wine Valley, you’ll need at least a week.
If you’re planning on staying within the city’s borders, most visitors find three days in San Francisco enough time to taste what this city has to offer.
The best time to visit San Francisco is in the fall, from September to November. You’ll experience the city’s warmest and driest temperatures during this time.
You’ll also be visiting during the low season, so you’ll be met with fewer crowds and cheaper hotel prices than during the summer months.
Compare San Francisco hotel prices here.
Golden Gate Bridge
Ride a Cable Car
Visit the Palace of Fine Arts
Outer Richmond District
Visit Ghirardelli Square
The Painted Ladies/Alamo Square
Experience the Nightlife
Check into your hotel. Need help finding the perfect hotel for your weekend getaway? Compare hotel prices here.
Walk the Golden Gate Bridge. This breathtaking 1.7-mile landmark is the most famous bridge in the world. A pedestrian walkway allows crossing on foot, and bikes are allowed on the west side of the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is said to be one of the most photographed things on Earth, so get your camera ready!
Dine Out in the Marina District. After walking the Golden Gate you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. Here’s a list of restaurants I recommend:
Ghirardelli Square. Head to Ghirardelli Square for some delicious, chocolate dessert or some warm hot chocolate to warm you up from the chilly bay breeze.
San Francisco Nightlife. No weekend trip to San Francisco is complete without immersing yourself in the city’s nightlife. There are so many nightclubs, cocktail bars, and restaurants to choose from!
If you’re celebrating a birthday or just a fun night out with the girls, I highly recommend Temple Nightclub San Francisco! Doors open at 10 pm and the party doesn’t stop ’til 2 in the morning!
Visit the Rock. Start your day bright and early with a ferry ride to Alcatraz Island. Take a tour where you can visit the cell house and explore the Rock. The day tours begin as early as 8:45 am with the last ferry leaving at 3:50 pm.
Want to skip the line? You can prebook your Alcatraz Tour here.
Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39. Fisherman’s Wharf is named after the generations of fishermen who sold their catches at the harbor back in the day. While this is no longer in practice, it’s now a famous tourist attraction.
Take a leisurely stroll around the pier and Fisherman’s Wharf as it’s a great hub where shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues are brought together to make for excellent entertainment for visitors. Make sure to keep your eye out for the famous San Fran street performers!
Ride a Cable Car. The cable cars of San Francisco have been transporting people around the city since the late 19th century. The cars run on tracks and are moved by an underground cable along three routes. Their welcoming bells can be heard ringing from blocks away.
Each one-way ride ($8) will provide spectacular views of the city’s rolling hills and an exhilarating ride.
Palace of Fine Arts. As the sun is setting, be sure to head over to the Marina District to see the Palace of Fine Arts. The entire building is a true work of art inspired by Roman and Greek architecture. It’s free to stroll around the outside of the building.
Saturday Night: Ready for a wacky fun-filled evening? Head to Nick’s Crispy Tacos for dinner. This Mexican Restaurant has a vibrant bar scene with incredible food, music, and even dancing.
Looking for a bar that’s completely wacky and can only be found in the Windy City? Grab a drink at Kozy Kar Bar located on Polk Street.
Have a delicious brunch at Sweet Maple. San Francisco is known for its infatuation with Sunday brunch, and Sweet Maple definitely steps it up when it comes to the brunch scene. Before you end your weekend in San Francisco, make sure to grab some food here. You won’t be disappointed!
Outer Richmond District. Head to the west side of the city and explore the more serene areas of the Bay. Depending on how much time you have before heading home, be sure to hit up:
If you have more time in San Francisco and looking for some day trips outside the city, here are my top recommendations:
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