San Francisco in 24 hours

San Francisco should have been my first blog-post about the U.S. cities, because I admire it a lot. I already visited San Francisco more than 5 times, and it never gets old. It's one of the most liberal, laid back and colorful cities you will ever discover in the United States of America. People always ask me, how many days they should plan on spending in SF. Believe it or not, you can experience the most popular parts of San Francisco within a day, if you leave your hotel very early in the morning. Of course, the ideal time for your visit should be around 3 to 4 nights.

Every time I get back to my favorite city in California, I'm mostly traveling with different people, and I have to introduce them to the beautiful city of San Francisco. Below you can see a map, how I start my journey:

  1. {green} Union Square
  2. {blue} North Beach / Coit Tower
  3. {yellow} Bay Area
  4. {orange} Lombard Street
  5. {grey} Alamo Square
  6. {red} Haight-Street
  7. {pink} Castro



I usually try to get a hotel around Union Square, even though it's the less charming part of the city. It's surrounded by the most common shops and shopping malls, that you will find in any other U.S. city. But Union Square is always busy, and mostly very safe at night. There's a big selection of restaurants and bars, and some of those are busy every day, so you don't lose time on finding a right spot to socialise with the locals or other travelers. During my stay in San Francisco, I always get food at The Old Siam Thai, it's cheap, always delicious, and their service is super fast. Try the Thai-Icetea!


If you walk straight up north from Union Square, you will walk all the way through Chinatown, til you reach North Beach, the italian neighbourhood of SF. There's not "that much" to check out in Chinatown, nor in North Beach. But I love having a coffee at the TRIESTE cafe. It's very italian-like, and you can watch the locals getting by and grabbing a coffee. Considering some articles I read online, Francis Ford Coppola wrote much of his screen-play for his masterpiece "Godfather" in that coffee-bar. 

Move up north, and check out the small, but lovely Coit-Tower. You will notice the tower, from too many places all around San Francisco. It's located on the top of a hill. For only a couple of bucks, you can get on top of the tower, to take some beautiful photographs of the city.

"Saint Peter & Paul Church" is located west of the Coit-Tower, the church where Marilyn Monroe, and the legendary baseball player Joe Dimaggio got married. 


Still head up north, til you reach the beautiful bay area of the city. Check out "Pier 39", do some shopping, grab some delicious sea-food, and take some photos of Alcatraz Island. "Pier 39" is a very touristic place, but you will still enjoy it, if it's your first trip to San Francisco. The sea lions, the Fisherman's Wharf sign, the last cablecar stop, ... there's so much "San Francisco" in the bay area, and of course the straigh view on the Golden Gate bridge [if it's not too foggy]. That's usually the place where I have my lunch/brunch. Visiting Alcatraz will cost you lot a of time, and mostly you gotta wait a couple of hours after you bought your tickets. Sometime it's even soldout and you need to get a ticket for a different day.

After filling your stomach with seafood, walk west towards the Aquatic Cove, and from that point it goes uphill again, til you reach the famous curvy Lombard Street. 



If you feel like it's becoming a long day already, or if you wanna save some energy for the evening, get a cab for a couple of bucks, and take a ride to Alamo Square. Everybody will recognize Alamo Square from the Tv-Serie "Fullhouse". Sit back, enjoy the view, and drink a delicious coffee at one of the coffee-places around the square.



From Alamo Square, you're only a couple of blocks away from Haight Street and the beautiful Buenavista Park, however it will take you 30-45 minutes to walk through its green area. Follow Haight Street towards Golden Gate Park, and discover the craziness, the hippies, and the creative shops of Haight Street. Love it, or hate it! I love spending some hours in the local clothing shops, book stores, and of course the holy music store called Amoeba. If you love buying records or CDs, Amoeba is a must! It's the biggest music store I've ever been to.

After Haight Street, it's up to you, if you prefer visiting the Golden Gate Park, and its Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Botanical Garden, or Stow Lake. The second alternative would be the worldfamous gay neighbourhood called CASTRO.  I'd recommend Castro.  Golden Gate Park is just too big, to walk through it. Save the park-tour for a different day, take a bus ride and check out the peaceful and colorful Castro area. Everybody who visited Castro, loved it... trust me. :)


You've made it ! You've seen "a lot" of San Francisco on your first day, but there's still so much to check out in San Francisco. I'd never recommend to visit the city in one single day. It's just too much at a time, and you will not enjoy, nor discover the big heart of the city.

But if you're only having a stop-over in San Fran, i'd recommend following this plan.