The San Francisco List

Jonathan Pimento
Jul 15, 2017 ยท 5 min read

๐ŸšŒ Hop-On Hop-Off a bulleted itinerary for 504 hours.

Photo by Sasha

My family visited San Francisco for the first time this summer. They stayed with me for 3 weeks and I was their designated city guide. With just 3 days before they arrive, I started planning an itinerary for 504 hours.

I deal with OCPD โ€” Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. (Itโ€™s okay to talk about these things ๐Ÿ™‚) Bullet points, check boxes and bold headings is what helps me get through my day at home and at work. I have an Evernote list for pretty much everything. Even the thought of this post was nurtured from a voice note to a bullet point and finally a check box over a period of time.

After crafting several lists, reviewing folders of bookmarks and dropping countless pins on the map, I put together ๐ŸŒ The San Francisco List. You can manage most of this with public transit and occasional cab rides.


A little legend to make things easy.

๐Ÿšถ Long walks / Explore on foot
๐Ÿ“ธ Very touristy / Crowded
๐Ÿ• Carry food & drinks
โ›ฐ Outdoors / Nature / Wildlife
๐ŸšŒ Public transit available / Recommended
๐Ÿš– Cab / Drive / No public transport
โฐ Check for timings / Season / Special service / Last departure
๐ŸŽŸ Entrance fees / Pass required / Reservations


North Beach

  1. Walk from the Ferry building to Pier 39, exploring along the way ๐Ÿšถ ๐ŸšŒ
  2. Visit the Exploratorium ๐ŸŽŸ
  3. Stop by Aquarium of the Bay ๐ŸŽŸ ๐Ÿ“ธ
  4. Explore Pier 39 for food and shopping ๐Ÿšถ ๐Ÿ“ธ
  5. Check out the Sea Lions at the Marina dock / Sea Lion Center ๐Ÿ“ธ โฐ
  6. Wrap it up at a Whiskey Bar - Hard Water

Fishermanโ€™s Wharf

  1. Try some chowder and sea food around Fishermanโ€™s Wharf ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐Ÿšถ
  2. Visit the USS Pampanito & SS Jeremiah Oโ€™Brien (WW IIโ€“era naval ship and living museum) ๐ŸŽŸ
  3. Blow up your spare change at Musรฉe Mรฉcanique
  4. Check out the Boudin Bakery & Cafe ๐Ÿ“ธ
  5. Have some amazing sea food for lunch at Cioppinoโ€™s
  6. Grab some dessert at Ghiradelli Square and relax at the Victorian Park / Marinetime Garden ๐Ÿ“ธ โ›ฐ
  7. Wrap it up with some amazing Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista

Presidio & Marina

  1. Drive through the Presidio and have a picnic at Baker Beach ๐ŸšŒ โ›ฐ
  2. Short afternoon hike on the Batteries to Bluffs trail ๐Ÿšถโ›ฐ
  3. Check out the Walt Disney Family Museum
  4. Relax at Crissy Fields (Another great picnic spot) โ›ฐ ๐Ÿ•
  5. Walk past the Palace of Fine Arts all the way down Marina Blvd ๐Ÿšถ
  6. Find something that suits your interest at Fort Mason Center
  7. Wrap up the day with a ride on the Powell-Hyde Cable Car ๐ŸšŒ ๐Ÿ“ธ

Golden Gate Park & Lands End

  1. Cycle through Golden Gate Park โ›ฐ ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐Ÿ•
  2. Visit the Japanese Tea Gardens โ›ฐ ๐Ÿšถ
  3. Visit the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  4. Stop by Conservatory of Flowers
  5. Relax at Stow Lake โ›ฐ ๐Ÿ•
  6. Check out the Dutch Windmills ๐Ÿšถ
  7. Have lunch at Cliff House ๐ŸŽŸ
  8. Hike around Lands End and check out Sutro Baths ๐Ÿ“ธ
  9. Call it a day at the Legion of Honor ๐Ÿ“ธ

Sausalito, Muir Woods, Golden Gate & Alcatraz

  1. Head over to the Ferry Building and grab breakfast at the Farmerโ€™s Market. โฐ ๐Ÿ“ธ
  2. Catch a Ferry to Sausalito (You can even explore Angel Island) ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  3. Grab some lunch in Sausalito at โ€” Lighthouse Cafe or Le Garage ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿš– ๐ŸŽŸ
  4. Fancy some ocean kayaking or paddle boarding around Richardsonโ€™s Bay? โ›ฐ โฐ
  5. Catch the 66F shuttle ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ ๐ŸšŒ to Muir Woods ๐Ÿ“ธ โ›ฐ ๐Ÿ•
  6. Take a bus back to the city via the Golden Gate bridge (Get down at the Vista point and walk) ๐ŸšŒ ๐Ÿšถ
  7. Try to take the night tour at Alcatraz ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ ๐Ÿ“ธ

Sunset & Great Highway

  1. Catch a concert or a nice walk at Stern Grove ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  2. Fancy a recreational swim or a lap swim at the Sava Pool ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  3. Walk down to Ocean beach (Whale watching) ๐Ÿšถ
  4. Visit the San Francisco Zoo ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ โ›ฐ
  5. Go fish at the Pacifica Pier โ›ฐ ๐Ÿ•
  6. Check out Fort Funston on the way back ๐Ÿšถ
  7. Experience Karl โ€” The Fog.

Market St & Union Square

  1. Take the Muni or BART to any stop along Market Street. ๐ŸšŒ
  2. Walk & shop around Union Square, Westfield Center and Powell St. ๐Ÿšถ ๐Ÿ“ธ
  3. Have lunch at the Cheese Cake Factory ๐Ÿ“ธ
  4. Visit St. Patrickโ€™s Church
  5. Stop by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐ŸŽŸ
  6. Relax at the Yerba Buena Gardens
  7. Call it a day at Bourbon & Branch or Mensho Tokyo โฐ ๐ŸŽŸ

Japan Town & China Town

  1. Explore Japan Town on foot ๐Ÿšถ
  2. Catch a movie at the Sundance Cinema ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  3. Have some good Ramen at Suzu Noodle House
  4. Visit the Painted Ladies ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐ŸšŒ
  5. Start from the Dragonโ€™s Gate and explore China Town on Foot ๐Ÿšถ๐ŸšŒ
  6. Stop by the Golden Gate Bakery & Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Telegraph Hill & Russian Hill

  1. Get early in line for some amazing breakfast at Mamaโ€™s ๐Ÿšถโฐ
  2. Visit Coit Tower ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐Ÿšถ
  3. Head over to Lombard Street for its famously crooked street features 8 hairpin turns & landscaped flower beds. ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿšถ
  4. Russian Hill has some great places to eat and shop as well ๐ŸšŒ

Mission & Castro

  1. Visit Mission Dolores Park ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐Ÿ•โ›ฐ
  2. Grab some ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery ๐Ÿ“ธ
  3. Walk around Castro Street exploring the neighborhood ๐Ÿšถ
  4. Have lunch at Twin Peaks Tavern โฐ ๐Ÿ“ธ
  5. Lots of great places to eat in the Mission district ๐Ÿšถ
  6. Watch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  7. Grab some donuts Dynamo Donuts
  8. Always check out for local events, fairs and park events โฐ

Forest Hill, Noe Valley & West Portal

  1. Plan a hike to Mt. Davidson (Best view of the city) ๐Ÿšถโ›ฐ ๐Ÿ•
  2. Head over to Patxiโ€™s Pizza for some great deep dish in Noe Valley โฐ
  3. If you still have some energy head over to Twin Peaks for another great view ๐Ÿšถโ›ฐ ๐Ÿ•
  4. Call it a day with some good food while exploring West Portal Avenue ๐Ÿšถ

Wine Country โ€” Napa & Sonoma

  1. If you can drive, rent a car else hire a local wine guide to pick you up. ๐Ÿš–
  2. Wine tasting at the oldest winery for some amazing wine at Buena Vista Winery (Take the Tour) ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  3. Head over to Domaine Carneros for some sparkling wines on the balcony ๐Ÿ“ธ โฐ
  4. Grab lunch and some more wine tasting at V.Sattui ๐Ÿ“ธ
  5. Visit Sterling Winery and take the cable car for an amazing view with wine tasting. ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  6. Explore Castello di Amorosa, Helena Highway, Calistoga ๐Ÿ“ธ ๐ŸŽŸ โฐ
  7. Drive around Yountville, Rutherford, visit the small town of St. Helena and Calistoga ๐Ÿš–
  8. A 2-day trip should be good enough to cover a lot of wineries around Napa and Sonoma. ๐Ÿš–

Hope this list helps you plan your next trip to San Francisco. If you can drive around, thereโ€™s so much more to explore like Lake Tahoe, Monterey Bay, Carmel, Big Sur and so many national parks. I plan on updating this list in the future. Would love your thoughts and suggestions!

Done โ€” Phew.

Jonathan Pimento

Written by

Dropping pixels, fixing breakpoints & building roadmaps. Designer turned Product Manager on @AdobeXD โšก๏ธ www.jonathanpimento.com

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