In Travel

Local’s Guide: 24 Hours In San Francisco

San Francisco has a little bit to offer everyone – from foodies and wine lovers to history buffs and those who simply enjoy wide, open spaces.

Given it’s the tech capital of the world, the best way to get around is via an app. Download Uber or Lyft, and you can be anywhere in less than 20 minutes. The street cars are fast and effective too. As is walking and biking.

Have only 24 hours in San Francisco? Here’s how to spend it.

9am: Breakfast at Tartine Manufactory

Rise and shine. For a taste of Tartine Bakery’s delicious pastries and breads, skip lengthy queues outside the original bakery, and instead, head to its spacious sister café, Tartine Manufactory.

Here in a chic, industrial space, order their legendary Morning Bun – a croissant, cinnamon roll and muffin all-in-one. Also on the menu are heartier options, including bread, baked daily on-site.

11am: Spot giant murals in the Mission

Murals in the Mission San Francisco

The Mission District is a hip neighbourhood with a large Latino community. Image: San Francisco Travel

Walk off breakfast with a slow wander to the Mission District, a hip neighbourhood with a large Latino community.

Beyond the vintage furniture stores and cool eateries, The Mission is also home to some pervasive street art, many with a social political bent. Many of them can be found along Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley, and on The Women’s Building.

While in the neighbourhood, pay a visit to the sloping hills of Dolores Park, which offer sweeping views of the city.

1pm: Eat your way through Ferry Building Marketplace


The Ferry Building is in The Embarcadero. Image: San Francisco Travel

For lunch, head towards the water to The Embarcadero. Home to the historic Ferry Building, here you can conveniently sample from a variety of local gourmet produce stands all under one roof.

While it’s easy to pull up a seat at one spot and spend the afternoon admiring the water views and the Bay Bridge, don’t miss the chance to wander and try everything.

Start with freshly shucked local oysters at Hog Island. Then make your way to Cowgirl Creamery cheese shop to taste a fresh racelette.

Finish with a cocktail at Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door. If you’re still hungry, order their famous spring rolls.

2pm: Get lost in the City Lights Bookstore

City Lights Bookstore is a short walk away from North Beach. The landmark independent bookstore and publisher has been a literary meeting place since it first opened in the 1950s.

Even non-literary types will want to spend hours in the three-level bookstore. More like a museum than a shop, it showcases an impressive range of titles from New York Times’ bestsellers to works by obscure, hard-to-find publishers.

4pm: Crack open a fortune cookie in Chinatown    

Golden-Gate-Fortune-Cookie San Francisco

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie has been making fortune cookies since 1962. Image: Golden Gate Fortune Cookies / Facebook

In neighbouring Chinatown, the oldest in North America, visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. The tiny factory has been making fortune cookies by hand since 1962.

Buy fortune cookies in classic or unique flavours, including green tea, chocolate-covered, and strawberry-glazed.

5pm: Browse the shops of Hayes Valley

If you’re after some retail therapy, head to Hayes Valley where the streets are dotted with designer boutiques, furniture stores, and niche specialty shops.

Visit Welcome Stranger for everyday basics for men like soft tees and denim, designed and made right in San Francisco.

7pm: Dinner at Anchor Oyster Bar

For dinner, make your way to neighbourhood restaurant Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro District. The venue has been a favourite among the gay community since its opening in 1977, and is known for its cioppino, a seafood stew that originated in San Francisco.

The dish is tomato-based, and features a mix of Dungeness crab, clams, prawns, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish. Garlic bread is used to soak up the sauce.

While there, also try their generously-sized crab cakes.

10pm: Drink at Mikkeller Bar

Mikkellar San Francisco

Mikkeller Bar is an industrial-cool bar that specialises in rare tap and bottled beers. Image: Mikkellar / supplied

After dinner, head into town to Mikkeller Bar, an industrial-cool bar that specialises in rare tap and bottled beers.

Depending on the draft selection, Mikkeller serves them at different temperatures – the coldest at 4°C and the warmest at 10°C.

Not a fan of beer? The bar also serves over 100 specialty bottles of cider and wine.

11pm: Stay at Staypineapple

To cap off an exhausting day, rest your head at the very elegant and sophisticated Staypineapple Hotel, conveniently located just three blocks from the city’s iconic Union Square.

Housed in a century old building, the boutique accommodation features a gold-accented and marble lobby and complimentary pineapple cupcakes offered every afternoon.

(Lead image: Eduardo Santos) 

Published 04 April, 2019