San Francisco in a Day
Allowing just one day for San Francisco sightseeing might be a little unfair towards the ‘City by the Bay’, but with a little bit of luck and good planning you’ll be able to squeeze in quite a lot of attractions. San Francisco is very tourist-friendly and quite small compared with NYC or Los Angeles, so you won’t have to drive 50 miles from one attraction to another. Booking a hop on-hop off tour bus, a segway or bicycle tour can save you precious time, but if you want to be independent and see as much as you can from San Francisco in a day, here’s my suggested itinerary:
Start early in the morning at Fisherman’s Warf. Here you can enjoy a frugal breakfast, get a picture with the sea lions and try to glimpse at the Golden Gate bridge emerging for the fog. Fisherman’s Warf is also a great place to look for souvenirs, but don’t waste too much time shopping, otherwise your only memory of San Francisco will be the magnet on the fridge.
China Town and Union Square
Catch the historic cable car from the Warf and go up Russian Hill and Nob Hill towards the city’s downtown. You can stop at the Cable Car Museum, right in the heart of China Town. Wander around this picturesque ethnic district and then head for Union Square. The famous brand boutiques give the square a very urban vibe – this is the very heart of the city and also the place where you can see Tony Bennett’s ’ ‘heart’, painted by the singer himself. The San Francisco MOMA is just a short walk from the square, and who knows what brilliant 20th century artist they’ll be featuring next.
Columbus Street and Lombard Street
Mission Street and Market Street in downtown San Francisco offer numerous possibilities for shopping and fine dining. Market Steet leads to the famous Embarcadero and the oceanfront, but if you are willing to adventure back into the city then head for the iconic Transamerica Building. From there, Columbus Street will take you into the heart of Little Italy, where you can enjoy the Bohemian City Lights Bookstore, the Garlic Restaurant, the Washington Square and St. Peter and Paul Church, where Joe DiMaggio married Marylin Monroe. Turn left on Lombard Street and take a hike along the city’s steepest hill. Lombard is part of the 101 route alongside the Pacific so if you go east on Lombard you’ll get quite close to the Exploratorium Museum and Fine Arts Centre. Or you can just turn back to Pier 39 and spend the rest of the evening shopping and overlooking the Bay.