How many taquerias are there in SF
Helpful San Francisco Tips from a Local
Looking for San Francisco Tips? A local will tell you some!
Lots of people are looking for San Francisco tips and restaurant recommendations that are truly unique. Getting San Francisco tips isn't really that hard - the hard part is getting really good recommendations.
With so many San Francisco travel tips out there, it can be hard to tell the good ones from the generic ones. That's why we asked a local for advice.
When it comes to San Francisco, neither of us are experts. We've both been to San Francisco at different times in our lives, but it's been so long that we can't remember some things and could only recommend a few of the typical sights.
So we asked our good friend Greg to share some insider travel tips for San Francisco with us. Eric met Greg a few years ago in Prague while traveling!
As a local, Greg knows San Francisco well and can share a few of his San Francisco favorites with you - from breathtaking vantage points to cafes and hikes! So let's go Greg!
Very briefly: The blog post was written in English by Greg and then translated into German by Lisa. We didn't want to withhold the good tips from our German readers. Have fun while reading!
San Francisco tips
Whether you spend a day or two weeks in San Francisco, the city has a lot to offer. This metropolitan area is full of interesting sights, diverse cultures and experiences that create the atmosphere we know and love today.
The nice thing about a city like San Francisco is that there is always something new to discover! So don't let that stop you from trying new things and creating your own experiences.
Exploring a city will always have its challenges - such as avoiding tourist traps, but still feeling like you've seen the landmarks that define a city.
Below are my 5 favorite things to do and see in San Francisco. This list is constantly changing and gives you a glimpse of the many things this city has to offer!
Are you looking for a hotel in San Francisco? Here you can find the latest hotel deals
Move with the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is by far one of the most iconic bridges in California - maybe even the United States - and is well worth a visit! The 746 foot (approximately 227 m) high bridge has been open to the public since 1937 and spans 4,200 feet (approximately 1280 m).
Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes or get on a bike to cross the bridge. It's about 1.5 miles there and back.
If you're feeling really good, you can walk the path along the bay before crossing the bridge. This is the San Francisco Bay Trail and it's beautiful.
A couple of years ago I took part in a race called Bridge to Bridge, which mainly takes place on this trail. I attribute it to the beautiful prospects of getting through this race without training.
This trail stretches for 500 miles and includes 9 Bay Area counties and 47 cities. You can come across the trail in different places. I would recommend a bike or a skateboard so that you can cover longer distances in less time.
It's fun to cross the bridge, whether it's a clear day or the top of the bridge disappears into “Karl dem Nebel”. Yes, the fog in San Francisco is called Karl.
Check out his twitter account if you don't believe me. Some say this is a reference to Tim Burton's movie "Big Fish". Either way, it's a fun thing.
Crossing San Francisco to the Marin Headlands takes you to one of my favorite views of the bridge and my next favorite thing to do in town. Read below for more details!
Visit Battery Spencer
This retired military battery was originally built in 1897 and is named after Major General Joseph Spencer. At one point it housed three M1888 cannons that were used to protect the bay.
Coming from San Francisco, take exit 442 Alexander Avenue and turn left, then turn right onto Conzelman Road, which unfortunately has limited parking.
Exploring the battery is cool, but I usually skip it and go straight to the cliff edge which has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz depending on the weather. Either way, it's a great experience.
Depending on whether you're going for sunrise, sunset, or anytime in between, you can grab a beer or coffee and enjoy the view.
Personally, I like to go to sunset and watch the city lights come on while I have a beer with good friends. A blanket or small chairs are never a bad idea if you plan on staying a little longer.
Get the best views of San Francisco: Coit Tower and Russian Hill
Through all the trips I've made, viewpoints in a city are often my favorite and most unforgettable experiences.
They're often free, and it's a great way to step back and see the city from the outside. I have two favorite viewpoints in San Francisco. The first is Coit Tower.
Coit Tower was built in 1933 and is also known as the Coit Memorial Tower - in memory of the firefighters who were killed in some of the biggest fires in San Francisco. It was built with the money of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who the fire department greatly admired.
The tower is on Telegraph Hill, which means you get the best 360-degree view of the city. Finding a parking space can be a little tricky - depending on what time you're there - but it's definitely worth a visit!
The other view I love is from Russian Hill, which takes its name from Russian sailors buried up there.
In the midst of the few commercial buildings and many residential buildings, there are great views of Alcatraz and the financial district.
My favorite place is at the intersection of Vallejo and Jones Streets. It's at the top of some of the steepest hills to climb in town. So either prepare for the climb or take the Powell-Hyde cable car up the steep sections and walk over.
Sunset is my favorite time to capture the golden light in the city. After enjoying the beautiful view, go to Allegro Romano, a small Italian restaurant on the corner of Jones and Broadway Streets.
Explore the Mission District
Of the many boroughs in San Francisco, the Mission District is definitely my favorite. Over the years, this district has grown very popular and for good reason.
Originally a home for workers from Latin American families, this cultural district is now full of good bars and great restaurants. Many also say that today's California burrito culture originated here.
What many would call "grungy" I would call character and there is a lot of that in the Mission District. Stop by Ritual, Sightglass, or Four Barrel Coffee to get your caffeine (or tea) for the day. There is certainly no shortage of a variety of good coffee in the Mission District. I often drink a couple of latte throughout the day.
Dolores Park is a great place to take a break during San Francisco's few sunny days. Treat yourself to a few drinks with friends or just drop by and make new friends there.
Dolores Park has become a hotspot on the weekends. So if you want to have a good time this is the place for you!
Mission District restaurants
Whether you fancy Italian, Chinese or one of the countless taquerias, there is something for everyone here. For Italian, I definitely recommend Flour and Water!
It's on Harrison Street, right in the center of the Mission District. If you are looking for Neapolitan pizza, good pasta or traditional Italian cuisine this is the place for you!
For interesting Chinese dishes, you should try Mission Chinese. Many describe this place as hipster, but I prefer unique. They serve everyday Chinese food here that is completely new yet strangely familiar.
When it comes to good Mexican food the options are endless and you can't go wrong with any of the taquerias you find first. My favorite is La Taqueria, which many award for the best burrito in San Francisco. This place is only takes cash so be prepared.
Stroll through Chinatown
One of the most iconic places in San Francisco is Chinatown - full of crowded shops, cool markets, and home to many generations of immigrants who helped make the city what it is today.
Chinatown is one of the lowest income areas in San Francisco and is mostly populated by old and new Chinese immigrants. Whether you want to wander the streets or just want to people watch, Chinatown is well worth a visit.
Check out the groups playing Chinese chess in Portsmouth Square or wander into the many small shops that sell everything from small trinkets to types of fish you've never seen before. This densely populated area is full of unique experiences.
If you're looking for good dim sum, you've come to the right place. You can either go to Good Mong Kok Bakery or China Live for authentic dim sum for a good price. Teahouses are also a popular destination in Chinatown.
These places are a fun way to get a glimpse of Chinese culture. Chinatown is full of them and you can't really go wrong simply walking inside one.
Don't forget to check out the iconic Dragon Gate located at the intersection of Grant and Bush Streets. Grant is one of the oldest streets in San Francisco and runs almost the length of the city. There is debate as to whether or not it is actually the oldest street - in any case, it is old.
Bonus! Do yoga at Grace Cathedral
This is fun and well worth it if you like yoga or just looking for a spiritual experience. Grace Cathedral, which you should visit anyway, hosts yoga on Tuesdays.
Its aim is to meet people spiritually wherever they are. People of all ages and beliefs can take part.
Meditating in the middle of the beautiful labyrinth floor and the high vaulted ceiling is truly a "graceful" experience. The event is free, but they suggest a donation of $ 10.
And there you have it - sightseeing tips, lots of great recommendations for places to eat in San Francisco, and a bonus tip.
Now nothing stands in the way of your exploration of San Francisco, right? What do you think? Let us know if you've tried any of the tips above - we'd love to hear about your experience.
Again, a big thank you to Greg for his knowledge! You can follow his adventures around the world on Instagram at @greg_always. The only problem with this post now is that we REALLY want to go to San Francisco again ... but we currently live in Europe.
As always, happy waddling!
If you are planning a longer trip through California, then check out our other posts about it:
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