By Nicolas Raherinjatovo
San Francisco amazes by its atmosphere incomparably different from other cities in the United States. Its singular architecture, its cultural diversity, its openness, its tolerance, its nonconformist, its famous sloping streets, its cable cars running down the streets, its emblematic and glowing Golden Gate without forgetting its mythical penitentiary. Everything here enchants! The challenge is choosing what to do in San Francisco to make the best of a short trip there. Here is the best of San Francisco if you have three days there.
What to do in 3 days in San Francisco
San Francisco Day 1:
The first day is sometimes your arrival on site, so you can head to your hotel and after starting the tour, but if your arrival is at night, it is best to wait until the morning to start visiting the city. Since there are a lot of cheap flights to San Francisco, if you’re travelling on a budget, you can always go there and enjoy the place and your stay.
To start your first full day, head to one of the best places in San Francisco for coffee lovers: The Blue Bottle Coffee. This famous coffee shop has many kiosks and small establishments throughout the city. You will find their very first establishment in Hayes Valley, nestled in an alleyway. Now it’s time to visit the renovated De Young Museum, located at Golden Gate Park. There are constantly interesting exhibits. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts usually features more Avant-Garde exhibits, including videos and films.
If you want to take the streetcar on your first day in San Francisco, here’s a tip: most visitors take the Powell line, which has very long queues during the peak tourist season. The California Line, especially from the western terminus near Van Ness Avenue, is much less busy despite its spectacular view of the bay towards Oakland as the trains descend the hill.
If you start your visit on a Friday, Off the Grid at Fort Mason offers excellent food trucks and lively social life. Be sure to check out the schedule to attend one of the Off the Grid events during your stay and enjoy one of the city’s most delicious and eclectic cuisines.
San Francisco Day 2:
Take advantage of the second day to visit the surroundings. Alcatraz is usually one of the most popular destinations, but many tourists are unaware that it is imperative to book well in advance. If you haven’t done so, you can still venture out on the water on a ferry to Sausalito, or simply opt for one of the bay cruises offered by many providers such as Blue & Gold.
If you have a car, you can admire the beautiful natural scenery just minutes from the city. Further to the north, you will find the Marin Headlands, a windswept peninsula with hiking trails and beautiful beaches. A little further on, Muir Woods is renowned for its redwood forest which is simply breathtaking. Mount Tamalpais State Park also offers many hiking trails; the Dipsea / Steep Ravine Loop is one of the most popular with locals. Stinson Beach is very popular, especially on weekends and when the weather is good. You can also opt for Pacifica and Half Moon Bay beaches by continuing south, where fog is more prevalent than in Marin County.
San Francisco Day 3:
Start the day by visiting Golden Gate Park and discover its wide range of activities, walks, and hidden lawns. Start at Stow Lake in the heart of Golden Gate Park and enjoy a pleasurable boat ride.
Cross the Great Highway to Ocean Beach and gaze eastwards, your feet soaked in the still cool Pacific Ocean. When you feel the need to warm up, head to the renovated Beach Chalet, with its Great Depression murals and brasserie restaurant with a wonderful ocean view. The Park Chalet, at the back of the same building, features an indoor/outdoor bar with comfortable Adirondack chairs and blankets to help you cope with the fog.
This may not be your last night in San Francisco, as you may promise to return as soon as possible.