What to Do and What to Avoid in San Francisco
Recently I explored San Francisco for the second time, getting to go deeper into the city and experience more that it has to offer. The first time I visited San Francisco I didn’t care for it too much to be completely honest, but I had an amazing time this trip, I am so happy I gave it another chance! San Francisco has so much to offer in its unique neighborhoods, eclectic food choices, and people passionate about their city, contributing to it and making it unlike anywhere else.
Where to Stay:
There are many hostels in San Francisco, but during this visit I stayed at USA Hostels. It was $47/night with a great location and a social atmosphere. They only do 4 people to a dorm room which I was a little bit concerned about because I’ve never stayed in a hostel dorm that small, but it actually worked out really well! The hostel was social with nightly events and daily walking tours and one of the best parts of this hostel was actually going out one night with the other 3 people staying in my dorm.
Where to Eat:
Have breakfast at Louis’ Restaurant for an amazing, and Instagram-worthy view of the Pacific while you eat! Here you can expect a classic, diner-style breakfast or lunch at tables along huge windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s very affordably priced, expect to pay $10-$15 for any entree and they open as early as 6 AM so you can eat here and still get an early start to your day.
I ate soup dumplings at Bund Shanghai in Chinatown . SO GOOD! You definitely need to eat in Chinatown if you’re in San Francisco, and visit Lo Pi while you’re at it. Anthony Bourdain went to Lo Pi and liked it, that was enough of a reason to get me there.
I had brunch at Liberty's Bar and Bistro with a Girls LOVE Travel meetup, the food was great and the company was better. Liberty’s Bar and Bistro is in The Mission District so you can walk from here to Dolores Park and the street art alley, or just explore The Mission before or after your meal.
Where to Explore:
Haight Ashbury is cool to visit, but is one of the most touristy parts of San Francisco (second to Fisherman’s Wharf). It’s historically a part of San Francisco that I think should be seen, but it’s definitely a very curated hippie vibe that has remained alive simply for tourism. It’s still fun wandering in and out of record stores and thrift stores. I had a gyro for lunch from Blue Front Cafe and there’s a Haight Street Market with a deli that seemed pretty popular.
The Mission District was really neat and I wish I had spent more time there. I walked around a bit and went to the Street Art Alley to see what all the fuss was about and it left me wishing I had more time left in San Francisco. The mission had a ton of cool restaurants and has the reputation for the best tacos and burritos in San Francisco. The Mission is on the list of every tourist visiting the city, but is also a place that locals hang out and has the vibe that people actually live and work there every single day. That was what I thought made it better than Haight Ashbury and what made it unique.
Dolores Park in the Mission is where you need to be on a Sunday afternoon. Grab a blanket and a book and go to Dolores Park with the hundreds of other people spending their afternoon there. Bring a few bucks to buy something from Hey, Cookie! Founder Christa Hill sells homemade cookies, brownies, and rice crispy treats and was walking around the park selling them out of a basket. She is so sweet and Hey Cookie! was voted Best in the Bay for desserts by 7x7 and Guardian magazines, you’ve got to catch her!
Where NOT to Go:
Do not waste your time visiting the mosaic steps. I did and the steps were just covered with people trying to take instagram photos, so much so that it made it nearly impossible to actually get a good photo. Especially as a solo traveler, when you’re alone people tend to be more inclined to just get right in front of you or interrupt what you’re doing to ask you to take photos of them and their friends.
Mosaic Steps expectation:
Mosaic Steps Reality:
Do not visit Billy Goat Hill if you’re hoping to take a photo on the swing. The swing you’ve probably seen on instagram or someone else’s blog is no longer there. There is another swing on a different tree, but it’s just a rope with a piece of wood tied to the bottom. Not quite the same experience. The view from Billy Goat Hill is really great though, so you can still go for the view without being disappointed!
Here's some photos of the view!
Where is a place that you gave a second chance that changed your entire perspective of it? Leave a comment or tweet me @beckasaurousrex and let me know!