The Perfect Day In San Francisco For Solo Travelers
San Francisco is known for so many things — tech, hippies, great food, fog — that it can be overwhelming to know where to start exploring. As a solo traveler, it’s all about knowing which local favorites to hit up while keeping a bit of white space in your schedule for whatever surprises you discover along the way. Stumped on how to make the most of the city on your own? Here’s how to have the perfect day.
Start your day with breakfast at St. Francis Fountain in the Mission District. Scoot up to the old-school breakfast counter for some great vegetarian and vegan options, as well as all the classic American breakfast fixings. The restaurant’s location in the heart of the beloved Mission makes it the ideal spot for some post-breakfast exploring. Walk off your meal as you wander through the area and get to know its famous murals. To make the most of your self-guided tour, try out the Detour app, which is great for exploring cities on your own. The app’s Mission tour can clue you in on really in-depth knowledge into the murals and vibrant community that lives here.
Soak in some time in by the water by grabbing lunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. It’s in the iconic Ferry Building. You’ll likely wait in line for your food here, but the queue moves quickly, and it’s absolutely worth it. You’ll love the chowder — and, of course, the oysters. Hog Island is close to Chinatown and North Beach, both of which are fantastic for exploring.
Depending on how energetic you’re feeling, take the time to wander through one or both areas. Get “lost” on purpose and see where each block takes you, because every corner has a little something worth discovering. The iconic City Lights bookstore is at the cross-section of the two neighborhoods, so take a peek inside for a little afternoon reading.
If you have the time to make a reservation in advance, treat yourself to dinner at State Bird Provisions, a tapas-style restaurant with a vibe all its own. Get yourself a seat at the bar where you’ll have a chance to make conversation with fellow travelers and locals. You’ll love the fried quail. It’s a bit more of a splurge, but if you’re up for it, it’s a worthy indulgence that will help shape your San Francisco experience.
After a tasty dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth at Confetti Café. You’ll get to tear into some epic cheesecake, but even better, you’ll catch an unbeatable view of Union Square while you chow down. It’s a great spot to unwind after a long day.
If you’ve still got energy to burn, or would just love to make some local friends, join in on the Midnight Mystery Ride. This event happens every third Saturday. You and a group of other participants will set off on a bike ride at midnight, and only the group’s leader knows where you’ll be headed. It’s a great way to get to know other solo travelers and San Franciscans, and you’ll satisfy some adventure cravings in the process. If you don’t have a bike with you, you can rent one at one of San Francisco’s many local bike shops.
St. Francis Fountain, #stfrancisfountain
Detour App, @detour
Hog Island Oyster Co., @hogislandoysterco
Ferry Building, @ferry_building
State Bird Provisions, @statebirdprovisions
Union Square, @unionsquareshop
Claire Hannum is a writer, editor, and traveler based in New York City. Her writing has appeared in CNN, SELF, Health, Prevention, Racked, Adventure, and many other corners of the internet.