48 Hours in San Francisco

  • 01 of 07

    48 Hours in San Francisco

    ••• SF Travel

     There are about a million and one things to see and do in San Francisco, but it is possible to cram a quintessential SF experience into a mere 2 days. Just be ready to be on your feet and ready for action for every second of it. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in San Francisco. 

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  • 02 of 07

    Day 1: Morning

    ••• SF Travel

     Start your day by fueling up on Blue Bottle Coffee and exploring the Ferry Building Marketplace, the hallmark of San Francisco cuisine.  You’ll find good bread at Acme Bread Company and the Marla Bakery kiosk, amazing cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery, and delicious confections at Dandelion Chocolate and Recchiuti Chocolate. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays there’s a farmers market outside with even more vendors, including Tacolicious, Roli Roti and Wise Sons

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  • 03 of 07

    Day 1: Afternoon

    ••• Getty Images

     Head out to the Marina neighborhood for a walk along Crissy Field, where views of the bay, Alcatraz, and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge will greet you (if the fog hasn’t smothered them). It’s about a two and half mile walk from the Marina Green out to Fort Point, the Gold Rush-era fortress underneath the bridge. Once you’re done walking around, treat yourself to a drink at The Interval at Fort Mason. Part bar, part café, and part museum, this space plays with your perceptions and serves up some killer cocktails and ice cream sandwiches. 

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  • 04 of 07

    Day 1: Evening

    View of San Francisco at dusk
    ••• Thomas Winz/Getty Images

     For dinner, North Beach has plenty of options. Known as San Francisco’s Little Italy, this hillside neighborhood is full of tiny mom-and-pop pasta and pizza joints. Pizza lovers should put their name in at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, but be ready for a wait. It could be well over an hour so make yourself at home next door at Original Joe’s by ordering a $5 martini and finding a spot by the fire (yes, this does make a great date night). Pasta lovers should head to Ideale on Grant Avenue. This tiny spot does homemade spaghetti, parpardelle, tortelloni—you catch the drift. Plus the owner is an incredibly friendly Italian who will love to tell you all the ins and outs of the neighborhood. After dinner, grab a night cap—North Beach is chalk full of bars. Church Key is great for beers, but 15 Romolo has sangria and cocktails. Finish off your night with a trek up Telegraph Hill to see Coit Tower—less people go after dark, but the view of the Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge and downtown are...MORE something you won’t soon forget. 

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  • 05 of 07

    Day 2: Morning

    ••• SFMOMA

     Lace up your comfortable shoes because you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet today. First and foremost, head to the newly remodeled San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). It’s best to start fresh here because there’s a ground to cover with 7 floors full of contemporary works. Grab a cup of Sightglass Coffee and a pastry at the café on the third floor, which is almost entirely dedicated to photography. After you’ve given yourself ample time on that floor, head to the top and make your way down through German impressionism, pop art, and two sculpture terraces. You probably won’t be able to tackle the whole museum in one day so pick the exhibits that sound most interesting. But whatever you do, don’t leave without checking out Richard Serra’s Sequence sculpture near the Howard Street entrance. It’s a great way to cap your museum experience, wandering through the massive rusty maze and feeling like you somehow entered a forgotten canyon. 

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  • 06 of 07

    Day 2: Afternoon

    ••• SF Travel

    The Serra piece is also a great segue to what you’ll be doing next: exploring San Francisco’s wild side! Take a cab out to Golden Gate Park to explore the Botanical Gardens. Here you’ll find blooms from as far away as Australia and Japan as well as 150-year-old redwoods, grown from seedlings right inside the park. But before you do that, you probably want to eat, right? Stop by Nopalito in the Inner Sunset—it’s delicious small plates Mexican fare and just a few minutes walk away from the gardens. After spending a few hours in the park—which could also be a whole day in and of itself—head out to Sutro Baths for sunset. Watching the sun dip into the Pacific from the ruins of the once great bathhouse, which mysteriously burned down in 1966, is one of the best views in the city. 

     

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  • 07 of 07

    Day 3: Evening

    ••• Aubrie Pick

     San Francisco’s most buzzy neighborhood is by and far the Mission. It’s where every new restaurant wants to open and where old funky bars have somehow remained despite rising rents. If you’re not sick of Mexican food (which isn’t really possible, is it?) then go for a casual burrito dinner at Taqueria Cancun or La Taqueria. Both will be crowded with locals, which is your sign that they’re worth waiting for. For a nicer affair, head to Lolinda. This Argentinan steak house is large enough to take walk-ins, but still full of menu surprises. Try the ceviche, which comes with fried corn fritters, and definitely order some kind of steak. After dinner, head up to El Techo, the restaurant’s affiliate bar, for beautiful rooftop views of the city. Or for a more casual experience, head to The Homestead, where popcorn comes free and the cocktail are poured heavy. For dancing, head to the Make Out Room or The Elbo Room, whose upstairs is dedicated to a soul dance party every Saturday night.