One Day In San Francisco
One Day in San Francisco

Why should you spend at least one day in San Francisco?

I’m lucky enough to live across the Bay from the gem of northern California, San Francisco. Trust me on this, San Francisco offers the best blend of gorgeous views, rich history, contemporary culture, and trendy city life.

You can’t beat the food, the colors, the music, the shopping, and the relaxed vibe. You’ll feel completely transported to another zone when you spend one day in San Francisco.

Here’s how to make the most of it!

Know before you go!

Best Time To Go

I recommend you don’t stress about the weather in San Francisco and come whenever you can! It’s unpredictable due to the Bay, the hills, and the micro climates. The official warm months are June through October and cold months are December through February. Not to worry, however, becasue there is plenty to do rain or shine.

Just think layers and comfortable shoes!

Where To Stay

San Francisco has innumerable budget friendly choices through VRBO and Expedia. 

Choose your location based on your transportation preferences. Are you are up for a lot of walking on hills? How comfortable are you with navigating the public transportation system? Are you renting a car? Will you be using rideshare services?

(If you’re renting a car, please know that parking can be a bit of a hassle!)


Do you want to see a lot in one day in San Francisco? Make sure you have rideshare apps downloaded before you venture out. Be prepared with a portable phone charger, and get going early!

This is a 4 trip, ride-service day, if you don’t rent a car, so have that budgeted.

See these sites in this order, and make your one day in San Francisco memorable! Here we go!

The Golden Gate Bridge

Ready to begin your one day in San Francisco? Grab breakfast and start here! Being on the Golden Gate Bridge in fog or sun and looking up at those towers from the road below is special every time I do it!

Your driver can let you off at the foot of the bridge so you can walk part of the 1.7 miles and then head back.

There’s a shop, a café, and bathrooms at the foot of the bridge. Every angle is photo worthy! It truly is spectacular!

When you have had your fill, call another ride and have them drive you through the Presidio, the former army base, with gorgeous views, to Ocean Beach.


Ocean Beach

Next up! As you exit the Presidio, hop off at the Sutro Baths. Walk down to the water and explore the ruins of the old bath house, then continue on to walk past the Cliff House, and look out at the famous Seal Rock

Stroll on the sand and take lots of photos of the Pacific Ocean! Across the street you can have lunch at the Beach Chalet. I recommend the Seared Tuna Salad with one of their local brews! 

Finish lunch and walk to the entrance of Golden Gate Park for a photo at the Dutch Windmill, overlooking the ocean.

Time to call for another driver to take you through the park to The Japanese Tea Garden


Golden Gate Park

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, with its 1017 acres of unicorporated land, is home to the most treasured spots.

The Japanese Tea Garden

I highly recommend the Japanese Tea Garden for a stroll, photos, and some tea. Admission is $12 March through September and $10 during off months. San Francisco residents, seniors, youth, and children are discounted.

You can also choose from the Conservatory of Flowers, the DeYoung Museum, or the California Academy of Sciences.

Or opt for a drive through the park to see Stowe Lake, the rose garden, and the famous San Francisco buffalo!

No need to call for a car after the Tea Garden, just use your navigation app and walk straight to Haight St.



Don’t miss “The Haight” because it offers a peek into what used to be the center of the Summer of Love and the birth of the hippie culture. The shops and food are signature to the San Francisco experience.

Get some ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s and then time for another driver pick up! Your driver will take you on a 20 minute drive through a big chunk of the city to the famous section of Lombard Street.


Lombard Street

Ask your driver to drop you off at the top of the hill. Lombard is known as the “crookedest street in the world,” and yes, it’s a crazy tourist attraction, but has an interesting history.

Some History

In the 1920’s, streets in San Francisco were too steep for cars, so the landowners created a wildly curvy street for cars to maneuver.

A photo of curvy Lombard Street ended up on a post card in 1961 when the hydrangeas were in full bloom. Just like an Instagram pic gone viral, the street became one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist spots.

After you’ve had your fill of the views, take the 15 minute walk down toward the Bay to Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf.


Fisherman’s Wharf &
Ghiradelli Square

Your one day in San Francisco must include Fisherman’s Wharf. This is the most “touristy” of all the tourist spots in the city. Experience the street entertainment, the seals, the shops, the chowder, the sourdough bread, and the Ghiradelli chocolate.

Alcatraz Tour

If you have more time, get a reservation for the boat ride and tour of Alcatraz. The boats leave from the wharf and you can get tickets right there, or online. It’s an iconic San Francisco experience not to be missed.

Grab snacks and souvenirs and head to the line for the cable car ride at Hyde and Beach Streets. You may want to get a famous Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista across from the Cable Car ticket booth.

Cable Car Ride

Get your tickets first! They cost $7 and you can book online in advance or buy at the stop. The line can take a while and the wind kicks up there, so Irish Coffee might warm you up for the wait!

When you hop on the Cable Car, try to score outside seats, so you can really get the full experience of hanging on while riding down the crazy San Francisco hills.

The Cable Car is the last remaining, manually operated cable car system in the US.

This line will take you all the way to Chinatown. So, hang on and enjoy! Tell the conductor that you want to hop off in Chinatown. If you don’t, no need to panic, it is just a short walk from the final car stop at Market Street back into Chinatown.



Hop off the Cable Car in San Francisco’s famous Chinatown. It’s literally as though you’ve been transported to another city all together. This is the oldest, most established Chinatown in the US.

Take the iconic photo at the Dragon Gate, wander through, shop, and make sure you eat!

After dinner you can head back home and collapse! You did it! You spent one day in San Francisco!




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