This is the first “48 Hours In” where we have genuinely experienced the rush of spending such a short time in one place. We are usually there for around a week so that we can soak up the atmosphere and try a load of different places and find you, the reader, the best of the best.
Between leaving the farm, and catching our flight to Bangkok, we had 72 hours to get to San Fran, experience all it had to offer us and have our bums in our seats on our trans-pacific flight.
That requires a lot of research. We talked to people, googled, pinterested and asked on Twitter. But we had an absolute blast with the things that we did, and now we have compiled them in a list here so you don’t need to do all those hours of research that it took for us to know what to do when we got to “The Gold City”
The first thing to do when you land in San Francisco is to head out to Alcatraz on the late boat for a creepy night tour of the former prison. Watch the sun set behind the Golden Gate bridge and listen to the stories of the former residents of the island. Make sure you book it early, especially in the summer as dates get booked up fast.
We learnt this the hard way after trying to book tickets two weeks in advance and finding they were completely sold out! Sadly we
never got to see Alcatraz from the inside – but it is top of our bucket list for when we go back to California.
Wake up bright and early to rent some bikes and head out to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a dedicated bike path across the bridge and it is frowned upon to stop for photos except at designated spots, so you get an enjoyable and unobstructed ride.
Afterwards, if your legs can take it, head down to the Golden Gate Park and cycle round, taking in the lush greeness with families and friends frolicking in the park.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head back into the City Centre and stop off at Cafe Isabella’s – A cute cafe that serves delicious Mexican inspired food.
Explore the fantastic (and free) cable car museum nearby that still controls all the city’s cable cars. Not far away is Chinatown, so get down there and pretend you’re in the far east!
For dinner, head down to Market Street and find Montesacro which is tucked just behind the main road. The food is great, the wine is great and the atmosphere is wonderful. If you’re still awake after such a full day, take a visit to Oddjob, a super hip bar.
In the morning, head down to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market on the east side of the city to look at all the cool stuff you can buy. There’s fresh fruit and veg, coffee and my favourite, mushroom growing kits.
Walk along the seafront taking in the views of the Bridge, Alcatraz, the bay and the fog until you get to the Fishermans’ Wharf area. Here there are cool coffee shops to rest your weary legs, cute boutiques to explore, and Boudin Bakery has a demonstration workshop here too. The most famous thing about this area is the Sealions at Pier 39. They sunbathe on the docks while tourists take multiple photos of them lazing the day away. Not far from here is Lombard Street, the famous wiggly road, which is great just to see people lose their road safety sense while trying to get a picture.
For a laid back afternoon, Castro is the place to be, where you can sit and people watch at marvellous cafes trying to see if you can spot all the innuendos in the shop names like ‘The Sausage Factory’ (an Italian Restaurant) and ‘Hand Job’ (a manicurist).
Have you been to San Francisco? Have anything to add to this itinerary? Anything you recommend in the wider Bay Area? Let us know in the comments!