As the sun breaks through on a foggy San Francisco morning, you have some big decisions to make. Where do I go first? Where are the best places to eat? Why am I so cold in the middle of July? Your weekend itinerary in San Francisco has to be planned well since the city has so much to offer. Good news: We are here to help solve those questions, but we might not be the best at explaining microclimates. This itinerary will ensure that your 2 days in San Francisco give you the full “City by the Bay” experience.

Day 1

07:00 AM – Breakfast at Fisherman’s Wharf

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - May 14, 2016:  San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the U.S. and is known for its cool summers, fog, rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks

Don’t step out that door yet… you should check the weather. You’ve probably heard Mark Twain once said “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” He never actually said that, but the quote is certainly true. Layer up and head out for some breakfast to start your day. Stop by at EIGHT AM along Fisherman’s Wharf for a classic American Café experience. This popular spot has something for everyone, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. If you have limited mobility or want to avoid walking too far, this would be a great time to rent a hop-on/hop-off bus pass for 48 hours.

09:00 AM – Ghiradelli Square and the Cannery

Beautiful view of historic Pier 39 with famous sea lions in summer, Fisherman's Wharf district, central San Francisco, California, USA

Now that you have fueled up for the day, walk across the street to stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf. This famous attraction is the home to Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, the Cannery, and plenty of other unique experiences. If you want to see the entire neighborhood, hop on a Segway for a 2.5-hour tour of the wharf and waterfront.

11:30 AM – Lunch at Pier 39

Female friends sitting in a nice restaurant, having drinks and seafood.

Nestled in Pier 39 with fresh seafood and stunning views of the bay is Fog Harbor Fish House. Choose from award-winning clam chowder, freshly caught fish, Dungeness crab, and everything in between. Not a fan of seafood? Don’t worry, this restaurant also offers pasta, burgers, steak, and salads. 

01:00 PM – Bike the Golden Gate Bridge

Now that the sun has (hopefully) cleared out the fog, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay. Grab a three-hour bike rental and depart from Fisherman’s Wharf with a guided tour of the bridge. You will ride past Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Presidio, the Marina, and Fort Point. After marveling at the city skyline while you cross the bridge, continue to Sausalito. This quaint neighborhood offers plenty of shops, restaurants, and art galleries to help you prepare for a return trip across the bridge. This tour also comes with a guided tour of Alcatraz the following day, so you get two experiences in one.

05:00 PM – Take a cable car on Hyde Street

SEPTEMBER 4, 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO: Traditional Powell-Hyde cable cars at Union Square in central San Francisco

Take one of San Francisco’s legendary cable cars up Hyde Street. Along the way, hop off and snap a photo of Lombard Street, the “most crooked street in the world.” Trust us, you will be more comfortable looking at the street than trying to drive it…especially with a manual transmission. Continue on your cable car journey to Seven Hills restaurant for dinner. Enjoy a traditional Italian meal with farm-to-table ingredients. With a candlelit atmosphere and homemade pasta, this is the perfect way to reflect and relax after an eventful day.

06:00 PM – Cruise the San Francisco Bay

You have been on your feet all day, now it’s time to sit back and relax. Take in the sunset from a cruise along the bay. You will sail past Alcatraz Island for a sneak-peak of your adventure tomorrow. Pass under the Golden Gate Bridge to appreciate yet another perspective of this landmark. After 1.5 hours of sailing, catch the sunset and the skyline as you arrive back in Pier 39. The sea lions will be there to greet you. 

07:30 PM – Catch a ball game (or a foul ball, if you’re lucky)

You aren’t tired yet, are you? With only 48 hours in San Francisco, you will be glad that you pushed through for a few more hours before bedtime. Catch a night game at Oracle Park and cheer on the San Francisco Giants. Located on the water with the Bay Bridge in the distance, you don’t need to be a baseball fan to appreciate this stadium. If you time out your visit (and the Giants play well), you may even catch some celebratory fireworks.

Day 2

08:00 AM – Explore the Japanese Tea Gardens

Japanese Tea Garden

You had a big day yesterday, but you will thank us later for the early wake-up call. Pay an early visit to Golden Gate Park and wake up with the city. Go for a morning run, grab a rental bike, or just stroll along the paths. This is the perfect way to start your final day. The park is home to the Japanese Tea Gardens, Stow Lake, and seven miles of paved trails along waterfalls and gardens. 

10:00 AM – Have a meal (or two) in Chinatown

Chinatown - San Francisco. California, USA

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a meal (or two) in Chinatown. This is the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia, and your experience will reflect that. Take a picture in front of the Dragon Gate, a gift from Taiwan in 1969. Learn about the history of the fortune cookie at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie company. Stroll down Grant Avenue and window shop to your heart’s content. For true foodies, take a three-hour culinary tour of the neighborhood. This tour will give you a new appreciation for the history and authenticity of the Chinatown food scene. 

01:00 PM – Make your way to Alcatraz

San Francisco, California, USA - January 28, 2014: These visitors are at the end of Pier 39 with view of Alcatraz as well as San Francisco Bay with Chinese Gentleman performing on historic musical instrument on this cloudy over cast day the prison on Alcatraz island is the showcase of the bay at this time and on this January day it was entertaining and exciting to enjoy.

It’s finally time for your trip to Alcatraz. Don’t worry, it’s just temporary, but you will feel the full weight of history on this 2.5-hour guided tour. Learn about daily life at the prison, notable inmates, and the history of the island. You will feel lucky to have a quick ferry ride waiting to bring you back across the bay. 

03:30 PM – Unwind at the San Francisco MoMA

Yuerba Buana Park, San Francisco

After a packed itinerary with food and fun, it’s time to decompress and connect with your inner artist. Take a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This building holds over 33,000 pieces of art, with a heavy emphasis on local artists. After spending 48 hours in the city, you will understand why so many pieces are inspired by the architecture and culture of San Francisco. 

We’d love to hear your San Francisco tips in the comments below. Hint: make sure you’re logged into Facebook to share your knowledge with us.

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