Sixteen hours sounds like a long day I know, but you can get so much done in San Francisco when you wake up early to go and explore! Let’s say this time frame is from waking up at 7am to finishing at 10pm- even an early night! (that is if you want to call it a night there.) Everything in this post is doable in just one day, so here’s your next sixteen hours!
The first thing you want to tick off on your San Fran list is Alcatraz, the ferry leaves from Pier 33 every 30 minutes starting from 9AM to 4PM. By taking an early ferry to Alcatraz island (“The Rock”) you beat the high volume of tourists that arrive there throughout the day, and you’ll actually be able to walk around your self guided audio tour (included in your admission) without knocking into someone every five seconds. You only really need a maximum of two hours looking around Alcatraz, once your audio tour is over there is a 45 minute movie to watch about the prison in the theatre and a gift shop if you’re after a souvenir. I skipped the movie and shop to head back to catch the ferry to tick the rest of the day off.
Once you finish at Alcatraz it’ll be around lunchtime and after looking around that lovely prison cafeteria I’m sure you’ll be hungry! From the pier I took a seven minute Uber up to Nourish Café where I ate the most delicious vegan salad bowl. It was filled with nothing but goodness, fishless tuna, lettuce, cucumber, hummus, happiness! This was the best food I’d ate since being in America (and this was three weeks in).
The windiest street in the world is on Lombard street! And by windiest I mean a very bendy road, not that it gets very breezy on this particular street. If you have a car this will only take you five minutes or less to loop down this famous street, but even on foot it’s fun to sit on the pavement and watch all the cars attempt the spiral down! I actually got an Uber driver who’d never driven down it before and was very excited to take me! (Yes.. I’m still taking Ubers after the Santa Monica incident)
Mrs Doubtfire House
If you’ve already read my As Seen On Screen post (Yay you!) ( If you haven’t, it’s here: http://lydslocations.com/as-seen-on-screen-california/) you’ll know I visited the Mrs Doubtfire House whilst I was in San Fran! This is just a quick little photo stop as I’m sure the owners who bought the house are tired of people “Hot dogging” outside of it! It’s located at 2640 Steiner Street.
Fellow hotdog: @garethjoness
The Painted Ladies
The Painted Ladies isn’t what it sounds like.. I imagined some street performing women just covered completely in paint and I wasn’t too sure why we were going. The Painted Ladies are a row of famous Victorian houses on 710-720 Steiner Street (close by to The Mrs Doubtfire House). They were built between 1892 and 1896 by a developer Mathew Kavanaugh and have now become a well known attraction sometimes known as “Postcard Row”. Without going too much into their history, they’re some seriously pretty houses!
Alamo Square Park
Just opposite The Painted Ladies is Alamo Square Park where you can go sit on that hill to admire the view of the city (and get an ice-cream of course).
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
If Alamo Square isn’t enough park life for you, head to The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Originally I thought Gareth was just dragging me into a museum on such a beautiful sunny day due to the name of this place. But as neither of us knew what to expect, both of our jaws dropped when we arrived. This place is the perfect spot for a wander or just to bench chat for hours.
The Golden Gate Bridge (Did you think I forgot?)
Of course you have to see the Golden Gate Bridge whilst you’re in San Francisco! I have no recommended time to get to this Wonder of the Modern World as no matter what time of day it is, it’s filled with people (unless you’re a 5am Instagram queen). The great thing about the Golden Gate is that there is so many different view points you can choose from to get your best look at this beauty. I was at the Battery Lancaster area near the Welcome Centre for my favourite view.
Adventure Cat Boat Cruise
When just being next to or on the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t enough, how about sailing under it? Adventure Cat Boat Cruises costs just $60 for an hour and a half boat trip under the bridge and back to the pier. Plus there’s snacks and a bar on board where you have two complementary drinks included in your ticket! (Not sure why that’s the part I sound the most excited about..) Watch the city slowly light up behind you as the sky starts to glow through the Golden Gate Bridge. Just remember to arrive 30 minutes early to Pier 39, Gate J, next to the sea lions! And bring yourself a jacket.
As I just mentioned, whilst your down at the pier you may run into these guys too.. they are the loudest sea lions I’ve ever heard, you can’t miss them! But they’re just saying hello, you are on their pier after all..
Well that was a big day! Tired yet?
So that’s how I recommend spending your sixteen hours in San Francisco, if you have more time here it would be great to spread these plans out over a couple of days, but if you’re pushed for time like I was, you got this!