Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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San Francisco itinerary in 4 days

Hotels

San Francisco:

The Orchard Hotel

♥♥♥♥

The location of this hotel is very good. Walking distance to Union Square and close to the famous trolley. The hotel is very nice, comfortable and clean. Recommended. 

Guides and Tours

San Francisco:

  • Discover Walks - Chinatown tour. This was an interesting tour which gave the history of Chinatown. These tours are free and tip-based.
    Website: www.discoverwalks.com
     

  • Mission area food tour with Foodie Adventures - This was an excellent tour with Chris, the owner. He is very entertaining and lots of fun. A variety of delicious tastings and history of the Mission area. Highly recommended.
    Website: www.foodieadventures.com
    Email: tickets@foodieadventures.com

Noteworthy Restaurants

San Francisco:

  • Boulevard Restaurant. This is located in the Embarcadero district. It is an upscale restaurant. Our dinner was delicious. Refined American cuisine in great atmosphere.

  • New Asia Restaurant. This is an authentic Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. The dim sum was very good and is served in traditional way with carts coming around. The staff speak very little English.

  • Perbacco Restaurant. This an upscale Italian restaurant. The food is  delicious. Located in the financial district.

  • Boccalone Salumeria. This small deli is in the Embarcadero district inside the ferry building food market. They have homemade salamis and make delicious panini sandwiches. Good to grab a panini for lunch and sit outside.

  • Brandy Ho's Asian Restaurant. We went there for some Hunan style Chinese food. It is good, modern Chinese food.

  • Tony's Coal Fired Pizza Restaurant. This is a must-have when in San Francisco. You can eat in the restaurant or grab a slice to go. The pizza is delicious. It is in the North Beach area which has many Italian restaurants.

Favourite Museums

San Francisco:

I love California - it's always one of our favourite destinations.

 

San Francisco is a unique city - surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It's known for the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, fun ethnic areas such as its famous China Town, vintage cable cars, and great restaurants and eateries.

We combined this trip with the Sonoma itinerary in 4 days and the Pacific Coast Highway itinerary in 3 days.

Day 1

 

Afternoon

We arrived in San Francisco and checked into the Orchard Hotel located in walking distance to Union Square and close to the famous trolley.

We took the famous San Francisco cable car over to Lombard Street, which is known for its steep incline and zig zag road. It was fun watching the cars carefully manoeuvre their way down the challenging street.

 

From there we walked down to Little Italy on Columbus Avenue and had lunch.

 

We spent the afternoon walking around North Beach and then we headed over to Union Square, the commercial hub of the city, to explore the area which is filled with retail shops and a mall.

 

Evening

We had dinner in the Embarcadero area at Boulevard Restaurant. This upscale restaurant serves delicious American cuisine. 

 

 

Day 2

Morning

We did a walking tour of Chinatown which we booked through Discover Walks. Our guide was pleasant and took us on an interesting tour of San Francisco's famous Chinatown. We went into some temples, eating establishments and shops. It was very interesting.

Our guide recommended a restaurant for lunch, New Asia, which is a large dim sum restaurant. It was very authentic (very little English spoken), with carts coming around filled with dumplings and some unrecognizable treats. We chose relatively conservatively and the food was quite good.  

 

Afternoon 

We rented bicycles near the Marina District. We took a ferry across the Bay over to Sausalito. This is a cute town with lots of shops and restaurants. Very touristy.

 

After a coffee, we rode our bikes back to San Francisco. This was a very challenging ride as it is uphill almost the entire way. I recommend doing it the opposite way (which is how most people do it) - ride from San Francisco over to Sausalito which is a smooth downhill ride and take the ferry back. The nice thing about doing the bike ride (in either direction) is that you get to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Evening

We went to Perbacco Restaurant for dinner which is an excellent Italian restaurant in the Financial District.

Day 3

 

Morning

This morning we went to the Embarcadero, which is a beautiful area along the water. There is a market in one of the buildings where we grabbed paninis and ate our lunch outside. We bought delicious sandwiches at Boccalone Salumeria, an establishment that makes their own cured meats and salamis.

 

Afternoon

We headed over to the Pier 39 to walk around and grab a ferry to Alcatraz, a small island which used to house a federal penitentiary. We did a tour with audio guide which was very interesting. The views of San Francisco from the ferry were beautiful.

 

Evening

We had dinner at Brandy Ho's Asian restaurant which specializes in flavourful Hunanese cuisine near North Beach.

Day 4

Morning

We joined a walking food tour of the Mission Area with Chris, through Foodie Adventures. This was one of the highlights of our time in San Francisco. The tour guide was excellent - very animated and entertaining. We had several delicious tastings and met many of the proprietors. We learnt a lot about the history of the Mexican and Latino community in San Francisco. Highly recommended.

 

Afternoon

We went to the newly renovated Jewish Contemporary Museum, which had an interesting exhibit of Jewish American artists.

Evening

We had dinner in a nice Italian restaurant in Little Italy which is around Columbus Avenue. After dinner we walked around Little Italy and my husband insisted on trying a slice of the famous pizza at Tony's Coal Fired Pizza Restaurant. Their pizza is cooked in a coal fired oven which gives it a unique flavour. There are long line-ups but it was worth it. So delicious.

Day 5

 

Morning

We checked out of our hotel and started our drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. See my Pacific Coast Highway itinerary in three days.

 
Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with: