7 days in San Francisco

Epic 7 days in San Francisco itinerary by a local (with options for 10 days)

Affiliate Disclosure
Looking for the most perfect San Francisco itinerary for 7 to 10 days?

San Francisco or SF or just “City” as we locals call it, is the most famous and densely populated city in Northern California and a financial and cultural hub. I have lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco suburbs and know the city quite well. I have also worked in San Francisco Financial District for a few years.

Even after so many years and visiting SF countless times, I love going to the city. San Francisco is home to me and has a special place in my heart.

Planning to visit San Francisco? I have the perfect 7 days in San Francisco itinerary planned for you which covers all the must-see and must-do things!

There is so much to see and do in San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz island, historic cable cars, crooked Lombard Street, unique neighborhoods, and sights. You need at least a week in San Francisco to explore all that it has to offer.

In a hurry and looking for the top recommendations for a trip to San Francisco?

Best Hotel to stay in San Francisco:

Rent a car at SFO International Airport. I recommend Discover Cars as they check top car rental brands and provide the best rates.

Top Activities to book in San Francisco:

Buy the Go City San Francisco pass for huge savings on entry fees for 25+ attractions

Itinerary for 7 days in San Francisco

This itinerary is for a week in San Francisco. The daily itineraries are created such that the most popular sights are in the initial days.

So you can follow this itinerary for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 days in San Francisco and you will be able to explore the most popular SF attractions in that order.

The daily places and activities suggestions are grouped by location so that you do not spend too much time in transit and can maximize and truly enjoy your day. Of course, the most popular things are in the first 3 days!

This 7 days in San Francisco itinerary is jam-packed and covers a lot, but can be customized as per your vacation style. There is enough here to please the do it all folks and others can just pick one or two activities each day and take it all in at their own pace.

I have listed some more day trips from San Francisco ideas in the end, if you want to extend your itinerary for 10 days or more! I think you should!

If this is your first trip to San Francisco it might be a good idea to take a tour of the city to see the main sights and get a lay of the land. Some of these tours also combine a trip to Muir Woods to see some redwood trees!

➡ Check rates and availability for this San Francisco city tour which combines Muir Woods and Sausalito.

Day 1 in SF: Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito

On Day 1 in our San Francisco itinerary, we will explore the most famous San Francisco landmark – the Golden Gate Bridge and visit the town of Sausalito to the North of the bridge.

In the evening you can choose to take a sunset Catamaran cruise to admire the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay at twilight.

Golden Gate Bridge

If you have time to see only one thing in San Francisco, it should be the Golden Gate Bridge!

Golden Gate Bridge was at one time the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world and is still an engineering marvel. It connects the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County.

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

But all that technical facts aside, Golden Gate Bridge is so breathtakingly gorgeous!

The red bridge stands out like an icon against the blue ocean and the white sky. I can admire it for hours and still not have my heart full! It’s majestic and not to be missed.

Best places to see Golden Gate Bridge Views

There are quite a few vista points to admire the Golden Gate bridge as you need to be a bit away from it to look at the whole panoramic view of the bridge. Some of them are listed below.

Dana Bowers Rest Area and Vista Point – This is the biggest parking lot on the northeast end and closest to the Golden Gate Bridge. Even if the parking lot is full, circle a few times or wait and you are likely to find parking. We always do. You can see really clear views of the bridge and you can walk on the bridge from here as well.

Headlands Parking – This is a smaller parking lot, on the other side of the Dana Bowers parking lot, northwest area of the bridge.

From Hawk Hill in Marin Headlands – The Hawk Hill offers one of the best panoramic views of the bridge. You can drive up Conzelman Road, there are a couple of parking lots here and you can park your car along the street as well. There are several vista points on Hawk Hill to admire the Golden Gate bridge.

Battery Spencer – This is a very famous vista point on Conzelman Road with a slightly bigger parking lot than the other higher-up vista points. There is a chain link fence here that makes taking photos a bit tricky.

From Sausalito, you can park on Sommerville Road near the Bay Area Discovery Museum and see the bridge from below, this is a completely different and breathtaking angle of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crissy Field – From the southeast part of the bridge, Crissy Field offers some great views of the bridge.

Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge

If you enjoy biking or someone in your group does, biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is a very popular thing to do in San Francisco.

The bike route starts from Fisherman’s Wharf and goes along the water and across the Golden Gate Bridge to the charming town of Sausalito on the other side of the bridge.

Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge takes around 3 hours one way from Fisherman’s wharf to Sausalito.

At Sausalito, take a break and you can either ride back or take a ferry back (recommended) to Fisherman’s Wharf to come back to the starting point. You can take your bike with you on the ferry.

There will be areas along the route where you will be driving on the road in the bike lane with traffic. Locals bring their own bikes to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge but if this is your first time I highly recommend booking a tour for this experience as doing it yourself can be a bit daunting.

➡ Check rates and availability for this guided bike tour from Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito


In the afternoon visit the town of Sausalito. If you biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, you will arrive in Sausalito at the end of your route. If you are driving, then there is paid public parking at the Sausalito Ferry Building and street parking as well.

Sausalito with the fog rolling in

Sausalito is a charming town to the North of Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. It reminds me of a Mediterranean seaside town with the Ocean on one side and hills on the other with homes perched high up on the hills.

You can easily spend a couple of more hours here, walking along the marina, shopping at the cute shops that line the main Bridgeway street, and eating at one of the many fantastic local restaurants.

Lappert’s Ice cream is a must-try before heading back to the hotel. You can take the Ferry back instead of biking all the way back as the way up the bridge can be quite uphill. It is highly recommended to book return ferry tickets in advance.

Sunset Catamaran Cruise

End your first day in San Francisco by taking a sunset cruise to admire the city skyline, the Bay, and the Golden Gate bridge at twilight!

➡ Check rates and availability for this San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Day 2: Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, Pier 39

On Day 2 of our San Francisco itinerary, we will explore the Fisherman’s wharf area, Ghirardelli square landmark, the unique crooked Lombard Street, and Pier 39.

Lombard Street

Start your day by visiting the famous crooked street of San Francisco! Lombard Street is a very unique street with 8 hairpin turns and it’s open for traffic. There are houses on both sides of the street as well!

Lombard Street in SF
Lombard Street with hairpin turns

If you have a rental car and are adventurous, you can drive the one-way street by entering from Hyde and Lombard intersection and going down. Otherwise, the next best thing is to view it from Leavenworth Street and Lombard Street so that you can see the full street from the lower end.

Morning time is when you might find fewer tourists and can take better pictures.

Fisherman’s Wharf

From here you can walk to Fisherman’s wharf and explore the northern waterfront. Fisherman’s Wharf is a lively tourist area full of souvenir shops, eateries, and tourist activities. Make sure to visit the famous Ghirardelli square and try the delicious Ghirardelli ice cream.

Ghiradelli Square in SF
Ghirardelli Square in SF

Walk along the Aquatic park and Aquatic Park Pier admiring the views of Ghirardelli square and the San Francisco Bay. If you are into historic ships, visit the Hyde Street Pier.

At Hyde and Jefferson is the Cable Car turnabout. If you want to ride the historic San Francisco Cable Car then this is one of the two boarding areas. The other is at Powell and Hyde near Union Square (more on Union Square later).

Alcatraz Prison Tours

If you are able to book a ferry ticket or tour to Alcatraz island, then you can do that on Day 2. Alcatraz tour is very popular and booked months in advance, if this is a must on your list then you might have better chances of visiting it by booking a tour.

➡ Check rates and availability for this tour that combines a trip to Alcatraz with Fisherman’s Wharf.

Alcatraz was a maximum security federal prison during the 1900s and it was considered to be impossible to escape. It had the reputation of being the toughest prison and the worst inmates were sent there.

Alcatraz Island

There is a true story about 3 prisoners who escaped Alcatraz but were never found. There is a movie made on this story called ‘Escape from Alcatraz’.

The prison is free to explore, it’s the ferry ride to the island that gets sold out way in advance. Once you make it to the island there are docents that provide free guided tours of the prison, cell, gardens, and other administrative buildings.

Blue and Gold Fleet Cruise

If touring a prison is not your thing, then you can hop on a 1-hour cruise from Pier 39 on the Blue and Gold Fleet and enjoy fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the San Francisco skyline.

➡ Check rates and availability for this 1-hour San Francisco Bay Cruise

Pier 39

In the evening explore the Pier 39 area of Fisherman’s wharf. This is the most touristy pier in San Francisco with tons of tourist attractions, restaurants, carnival rides, street performers, shopping, and the world-famous sea lions!

Fisherman's Wharf in SF
Fisherman’s Wharf in SF

From Pier 39, you can see fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. The Sea lions lounging at the K Dock is a sight to see and they have a permanent home at Pier 39.

There are plenty of tourist attractions at Pier 39 like the Aquarium of the Bay, the 7D experience, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, Musical Stairs, and The Flyer.

The Carousel is very popular with younger kids. There are free outdoor stage shows for all to enjoy several times during the day.

Pier 39 in San Francisco
Pier 39 in San Francisco

Pier 39 is home to some world-famous restaurants like Fog Harbor Fish House, Boudin Bakery Café, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

With two levels of shops, there are several unique shops here like Pearl Factory and Houdini’s Magic Shop.

Day 3: Ferry Building, Chinatown, Union Square

On Day 3 of our 7 days in San Francisco itinerary we will explore the Embarcadero, Chinatown, and Union Square areas of San Francisco. This is the financial District of San Francisco with beautiful views of the Bay Bridge in the backdrop.

San Francisco Ferry Building

Start your day by exploring and having breakfast at the Ferry Building. The historic Ferry building originally built in 1898 has a grand exterior with the iconic Clock tower, and an amazing restored interior with an arched ceiling that allows a lot of natural light.

The San Francisco ferry building is a terminal for ferries going across the bay to Sausalito, Tiburon, and Larkspur. It is also a dining and shopping hub with food stalls from local farmers, bakeries, breweries, etc. Here you can shop for wines, cheeses, bread and baked goods, fresh produce, and picnic food items for your day.

Alternatively, you can take a food tour and explore unique delicacies with an expert guide.

➡ Check rates and availability for this San Francisco food tour at the Ferry Building

Ferry building in San Francisco
Ferry building in San Francisco

Some popular eateries here are the Hog Island Oyster Co., Gott’s Roadside, Blue Bottle coffee, and Humphry Slocombe ice cream.

Walk along the long Pier 14 boardwalk south of the Ferry Building for excellent views of the San Francisco city skyline and Bay Bridge. At the very end of the boardwalk, there is seating to admire the 360-degree views!

If you are traveling with young kids, the Exploratorium is a great indoor science hands-on museum with endless things to nurture creativity and science in young minds.

China town

In the afternoon visit the China Town neighborhood which is one of the oldest and largest Chinatown neighborhoods in the United States. You can easily spend a few hours or an entire day here exploring the shops, eateries, and attractions.

➡ Check rates and availability for this Chinatown food tour to sample some authentic Chinese cuisine!

Most touristy places are along Grant Ave between Bush Street and Broadway. Stockton Street is popular too and where the locals shop for Chinese groceries and produce.

The Dragon Gate at the intersection of Bush Street and Grand Avenue is a must-see here and a great photo op. Sing Chong and Sing Fat historic buildings depict traditional Chinese architecture and are at Grant and California Street.

There are several souvenir shops and restaurants here to explore. Try tea tasting at Vital Tea Leaf which is free, but you might end up buying their delicious tea. Good Mong Kok Bakery on Stockton St is very popular for dim sum and baked goods.

Union Square

In the evening explore the Union Square area of San Francisco. Union Square is the main shopping hub of San Francisco which high-end stores and souvenir stores lining the four sides of the iconic Union Square. A lot of luxury hotels are in this area like the Hotel Fairmont Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, Beacon Grand, and many more.

Union Square during Holidays
Union Square during Holidays

The iconic Dewey memorial is at the center of Union Square as a tribute to American Hero – Admiral George Dewey. There are shopping hubs here like the block-long Macys, The Westfield Center, Croker Galleria, and high-end stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany and Co.

The starting point of the historic Cable Car is at Powell and Market which is a few blocks from Union Square.

Some popular restaurants here are the rooftop Cheesecake factory with amazing views of Union Square, and Barlett Hall which has a sports bar theme.

During the holidays Union Square has an ice skating rink and a magnificent Christmas tree, adding festive cheer to the holiday season.

Day 4: Golden Gate Park, Ocean beach, Haight-Asbury neighborhood

On Day 4 of our San Francisco itinerary, we will explore Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, and the Haight-Asbury neighborhood.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park (not to be confused with Golden Gate Bridge, they are both in separate places!) is on the western side of San Francisco and is huge. It is considered to be much larger (almost 20 times larger) than Central Park in New York. East to West is 3 miles.

At the West of Golden Gate Park is Ocean Beach and at the East is the Ashbury Heights neighborhood. JFK Drive and MLK Drive are the two main streets inside the park.

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco

Walking the entire Golden Gate park loop would be around 7 miles starting and ending at Ocean beach and would take around 5 to 6 hours. An alternative is to just walk one way and then take a taxi/rideshare back to your car.

There are several must-see attractions in Golden Gate park and you can spend hours at each of these awesome places. If you only have one day to spend here, pick a few that interest you the most.

California Academy of Sciences is great for all ages and not just for kids with a planetarium, rainforest, and several historical and science exhibits and artifacts.

The Japanese tea Garden and Conservatory of flowers are both great for experiencing nature and tranquility. De Young Museum is a must for art lovers.

The Bison Paddock is a great place to see these beloved resident animals of the park. Golden Gate Park also has numerous lakes, waterfalls, and a Dutch windmill.

Alternatively, you can book a Segway tour and see the entire Golden Gate Park in a couple of hours in a super fun way!

➡ Check rates and availability for this fun Segway guided tour to explore Golden Gate Park

Ocean beach

Ocean beach is on the Western end of Golden Gate park and is popular among locals. You can start your day here first and then visit Golden Gate Park. Alternatively, you can end your day here and watch a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Ocean beach is popular for surfing, walking, kite flying, dog walking, and bonfires. There are designated concrete fire pits for bonfires. There are few surf shops here for renting surfing gear. The water here is always cold and currents can be strong, so swimming is not recommended at Ocean beach.

There are several parking lots along the length of Ocean beach and you can park on the nearby residential streets as well. It can be pretty windy here so keep a jacket. Northern California beaches are not like Southern California, it can be cold here!

Haight-Asbury neighborhood

In the evening (or morning, if you are going to Ocean beach in the evening) spend a couple of hours strolling through the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.

Haight-Ashbury was once the epicenter of the Flower Power and Summer of Love movement in the 1960s. Many shops here still retain the hippie vibes of the olden days.

Things to do and see in Haight Asbury, San Francisco
Famous Legs statue in Haight-Ashbury neighborhood

Stroll through the vintage stores, and quirky shops, and see the iconic Haight-Asbury sign, wall murals, and the famous “Legs” statue above Piedmont Boutique. You can have dinner here at one of the many restaurants.

➡ Check rates and availability for this 2 hour city tour that starts at Haight Ashbury in a colorful Volkswagen van!

Day trips from San Francisco to explore nearby popular places

San Francisco itinerary should not only include the main city but also the popular things nearby, after all the entire region is called San Francisco Bay Area.

After visiting the popular attractions and neighborhoods in SF, on days 5, 6, and 7 we will explore the nearby famous and must-see places like Angel Island, Muir woods, and drive on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1 route.

Day 5: Day trip to Angel Island

On day 5 we will take a day trip to Angel Island State Park. Angel Island was once an Immigration processing station and is now designated a California Historical Landmark. Now Angel Island is a popular recreational spot with hiking trails and biking.

Angel Island is only accessible via ferry from Tiburon or private boats. You can book the ferry tickets online and it’s highly recommended for weekends. Bikes are allowed on the ferry, bike rentals are also available on the Island. Pack a picnic lunch or you can buy food from the café on the island.

Angel Island in San Francisco
Angel Island in San Francisco

The Perimeter trail along the island is a wide paved road and is 5.5 miles long. You will come across the old immigration buildings while walking on this trail. The trail offers excellent panoramic views of the San Francisco bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz island.

If you are up for some elevation, then the Sunset trail is around 3 miles with 800 feet of elevation gain and takes you to the top of Mt. Livermore. From here you will see excellent panoramic views of the Bay.

The Island has a restaurant, gift shop, restrooms, and bike rental facilities. There are also group tram tours of the island in large open-air trams, that go along the entire Perimeter. The tour provides good history about the Island for first-timers and also stops at a couple of vista points for photo ops.

There is a small beach on the island at the left-hand side of the ferry station with very calm waters. The beach is the perfect place to relax after a long hike.

Day 6: Day trip to Muir woods

On day 6 in our San Francisco itinerary, we will visit Muir woods and Point Reyes to the north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Mir woods is very popular for hiking trails in the redwood forest.

Muir woods

Muir Woods National Monument is named after the legendary naturalist John Muir and is located in South Marin country and around 30 minutes drive from San Francisco.

You do not need a car to visit Muir woods. You can take the ferry to Sausalito and take the shuttle bus to Muir woods from Sausalito. Parking is very hard to find at Muir woods and you now need a reservation to park there.

To save time and avoid the hassle of parking I recommend this tour that combines both Muir woods and wine country in a day trip!

➡ Check rates and availability for this Muir woods and Wine Country day trip tour

Muir woods
Giant Redwood trees in Muir woods

Muir woods is majestic with all the tall redwoods towering above you. The redwoods provide a lot of shade and Muir woods is great for hiking even in the summer months.

Some popular Muir Woods hikes
  • Muir Main Trail (easy) – Also known as Redwood Creek Trail, this is the main initial trail and is doable for all age groups. The total trail length is 1.5 miles and is out and back. Initial part of this trail is paved or has a boardwalk.
  • Fern Creek, Lost, and Canopy Trail (moderate) – This is a loop trail and is around 3 miles with an elevation gain of around 600 feet. It’s a beautiful hike surrounded by giant redwoods.
  • Dipsea Trail (difficult) – The Dipsea Trail is around 9 miles long out and back trail that goes to Stinson beach and back. This trail has around 2700 feet of elevation gain and is quite strenuous. It is a full-day hike. You can also start and end this hike at Stinson beach instead.

Muir woods has a cafe, gift shop, restrooms, and picnic tables. Muir woods is a very popular weekend hiking spot among the locals as well so expect crowds here, especially near the café and on the initial paved boardwalk portion of the trail. As you go deep into the trails, the crowds thin out.

Day 7: Drive the CA-1 Pacific Coast Highway from SF to Big Sur

Several hidden beaches along Pacific Coast Highway

No trip to San Francisco is complete without driving on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1 also known as the PCH. The entire drive is cliffs and towns on one side of the road and the Pacific Ocean on the other side with breathtaking views at every turn of the road. You will need a rental car for this epic Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

The most scenic part of the Pacific Coast Highway road trip is the drive from San Francisco to Big Sur, which is around 3 mile round trip without any stops. But of course, you will make a lot of stops along the way as it’s so beautiful! Start as early as possible in the day.

Best stops on the Pacific Coast Highway 1 drive

Half Moon Bay beach is a very popular beach in Northern California. The water is cold here and it can be windy so layers are advisable. It’s Northern California, and we have beaches that require jackets 🙂 but we will take what we get!

Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk
Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk

The next stop is Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk and if you start early you can stop here for lunch and a stroll along the Boardwalk. Santa Cruz beach and the Boardwalk are very popular and you can spend an entire day here. This is a great day trip destination on its own.

Monterey is next, which is a famous seaside city. Monterey is famous for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its bustling downtown with restaurants and souvenir shops. Monterey beach is very popular with the locals as it is warmer than the San Francisco beaches.

17-mile drive in Pacific Grove is a popular drive along the coast and you have to pay to drive on this part of the road.

Carmel is another seaside town, popular for the Carmel beach and small-town feel.

Bixby Bridge vista point is towards the end of this drive near Big Sur and is a very popular bridge on highway 1, you will see this bridge in a lot of Highway 1 pictures. Caste Rock Viewpoint is a great place to get some photos of the Bixby Bridge.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State park is popular for its beaches and hiking trails.

If you are doing a Pacific Coast Highway day trip then depending on the time of the day you can return back from any of the stops listed above. Each stop can take up a whole day to explore, so it’s best to just pick two or three stops to explore.

Check bonus day 8 for my recommendation on how to make the most out of the PCH road trip.

Bonus Day 8, 9, 10 days in San Francisco

If you have a few extra days in your itinerary, below are some suggestions for things to do for the next 3 days in San Francisco, making it a 10-day San Francisco itinerary. San Francisco enjoys close proximity to several beach towns, and wine country destinations ideal for weekend trips from San Francisco.

Day 8: Overnight in Monterey and 17-mile drive

If you have an extra day in your San Francisco itinerary then you can spend more time on the CA-1 Pacific Coast Highway road trip which is listed as a day trip on Day 7. There are so many awesome towns and cities along Highway 1 that staying overnight in Monterey will give you more time to explore them.

In the morning, you can spend a couple of hours driving on the 17-mile drive scenic route. It has a lot of cool vista points to explore like the famous Lone Cypress tree.

After that, you can do a hike in Pfeiffer Big Sur State park and visit Pfeiffer beach. Finally, return back to San Francisco.

Day 9: Day trip to Napa wine country

If you are a wine enthusiast (or not) on your Bonus day 9 in San Francisco visit the world-famous Napa Valley. Napa is a wine country and has more than 500 wineries and vineyards. It is very popular and visited by millions of people each year.

Napa Valley is beautiful and a must-visit if you have an extra day on your itinerary. If you really only have 7 days and love wine, you can switch this with Angel Island day trip.

➡ Check rates and availability for this wine tour from San Francisco that covers both Napa and Sonoma valley in a day trip!

There are several famous wineries and vineyards here like Sattui Winery, Castello De Amorosa, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Domaine Carneros, Trefethen Family Vineyards, and many more. It is highly recommended to book a wine tour or tasting ahead of time with most wineries.

The small Napa downtown is lively and brimming with restaurants and tourists. You can spend hours here admiring the art galleries and the shops. Eat dinner at a nice restaurant.

Napa valley wine train is a popular attraction here in which you hop onboard an exquisite vintage train for a 36-mile round trip journey stopping at celebrated wineries. You enjoy gourmet meals on board and beautiful countryside scenery.

Hot air balloon rides over Napa valley are another popular thing to do here.

Day 10: Point Reyes National Seashore

On day 10 visit Point Reyes National Seashore. Point Reyes is around a 1.5 to 2 hours drive from Muir woods. You will need a rental car to visit Point Reyes Lighthouse.

The last drag of the ride past the town of Inverness on Sir Frances Drake blvd is very scenic with green pastures and open land and lots of cows grazing.

At Inverness look for the Point Reyes Shipwreck near the local market. Further up the road, there is a scenic photo op called the Cypress tunnel, which is a canopy of trees lining the road and is beautiful.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

The main attraction here is the historic Point Reyes lighthouse. The red and white lighthouse looks beautiful against the ocean backdrop. There are 300 steps to go down to the lighthouse so it’s quite a workout climbing back! Also, it is very very windy here with the ocean on all sides! Caps will fly!!

There is a visitor center here at the top of the stairs for souvenirs and snacks. The parking lot is half a mile away and there is a restroom there. There is a paved road from the parking lot that leads to the stairs. Then you descend the 300 stairs to reach the lighthouse.

Drakes beach is a popular beach at Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s good for nice long walks and finding sand dollars and seals! There is a parking lot here. It is a little protected here from the wind and currents because of the bay, perfect for the beach. It can still be cold though.

Point Reyes Beach South is also popular and stretches for miles. Please note, that this beach is for long walks only, or for sunset views. The currents are quite strong at Point Reyes Beach and it’s not advisable to enter the water here.

Where to stay in San Francisco

Union Square and Fisherman’s wharf are the best locations to stay during your visit to San Francisco as they have the most hotels ranging from brand name to mid-range. Public transport is also abundant in these areas.

Best Hotels In Union Square

Union Square area has the advantage of being accessible by BART which is San Francisco’s metro train system. This will help with easy airport transfers as you can take BART train from San Francisco airport to Powell station which is only a few blocks from Union Square.

Luxury hotels in Union Square Area:

  • Palace Hotel San Francisco is a historic heritage hotel close to BART train station and a few blocks from Union Square. The lobby and the pool areas are impressive.
  • The Westin St. Francis is right at Union Square and is also a historic heritage hotel with impressive architecture.
  • Grand Hyatt San Francisco Union Square has excellent views of the Union Square area and is part of the Hyatt chain of hotels.

Mid-range Hotels in Union Square Area:

Best Hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf has the advantage of being closer to Golden Gate bridge and to the various ferries that go to Sausalito, Alcatraz, Angel’s Island, and Tiburon.

Hotel Fairmont Heritage Place is a luxury hotel right on Ghirardelli Square.

Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf is a good mid-range hotel also at a central location in Fisherman’s Wharf.

➡ Check rates and availability for your stay in San Francisco

Travel tips for San Francisco

Below are some travel tips to make the most of your trip to San Francisco!

Use a sight-seeing pass

Using the Go City: San Francisco pass lets you get entry into 25+ attractions in San Francisco with one fee, thus allowing you to save a lot as compared to buying individual tickets.

We always purchase Go City passes when traveling with family and save a lot! You can get the pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days, I recommend getting it for 3 or 5 days (depending on how many days you are staying in SF) as it is the best value and you get more time to explore the various attractions.

➡ Check rates and availability for Go City San Francisco pass

Best time to visit San Francisco

San Francisco is a year-round destination as it does not snow here. Spring, summer, and fall are the ideal seasons with great weather for outdoor activities.

Summer is the busiest tourist season, so if you are trying to avoid crowds, the fall months of September to November might be better.

Winter can sometimes be cold, rainy, and windy but it’s still a great time to be in San Francisco with all the holiday cheer and city lights. Union Square has a huge Christmas tree and an ice rink during the holidays for skating fun!

How many days to spend in San Francisco?

You can spend as little as 3 days and as much as 2 weeks in San Francisco and still have things and places left to do and see. If you want to add a few day trips to amazing nearby places like Napa Valley, Muir woods, and Pacific Coast Highway drive, then you should plan for a week to 10 days.

How to get to San Francisco?

Flying in and out of San Francisco International Airport is the best way to reach San Francisco. The public transport system BART connects the airport to other parts of the city.

You can also book a taxi or Uber to your hotel or check with your hotel if they have a shuttle service.

How to get around in San Francisco?

If you plan to see all the major attractions and sights in San Francisco then I highly recommend the Hop on Hop off bus which stops at all the tourist attractions and you can ride the bus all day long. Parking can be hard to find and expensive at tourist attractions, and navigating public transport can be tricky.

➡ Check rates and availability for Hop on Hop off day pass

Another popular touristy thing to do in San Francisco is renting a GoCar to ride all over San Francisco with an inbuilt guided audio tour! You will see a lot of these yellow GoCars on the streets of San Francisco, especially at Fisherman’s Wharf.

➡ Check rates and availability for this GoCar San Francisco tour

Do you need a rental car in San Francisco?

Within San Francisco, you can use the Hop on Hop off bus, Uber, or public transport to get to most places. Parking can be expensive and hard to find in popular places. Also, San Francisco city has a lot of steep roads which can be tricky to drive with traffic.

Rideshares like Uber/Lyft are widely available in San Francisco and arrive within minutes.

If you are planning to explore places outside San Francisco city like Muir Woods, Napa Valley, and Pacific Coast Highway drive then you can either book tours or get a rental car.

➡ Check rental car rates and availability with Discover Cars as they check top car rental brands and provide the best rates.

What to pack for 7 days trip to San Francisco

You will definitely need layers here as it can get very windy here occasionally, especially in areas near the coast.

  • Always dress in layers here!
  • A wind jacket is a must here in all seasons.
  • Good walking shoes for all the sightseeing.
  • Good backpack
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Swimwear if your hotel has a pool. The beaches can be very cold here for swimming.

Safety in San Francisco

San Francisco is quite safe to explore during the daytime. Just do not go in deserted alleys and stay with the crowds. Do not keep any valuables in open sight in the car. There are a lot of car break-ins here.

Popular neighborhoods with restaurants and clubs should be ok in the evenings as well. As always trust your judgment, if it doesn’t look safe, it probably isn’t.

In Conclusion: 7 days in San Francisco itinerary

Summary of 7 days in San Francisco itinerary with options for 10 days:

  • Day 1: Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito
  • Day 2: Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, Pier 39
  • Day 3: Ferry Building, Chinatown, Union Square
  • Day 4: Golden Gate Park, Ocean beach, Haight-Asbury neighborhood
  • Day 5: Day trip to Angel Island
  • Day 6: Day trip to Muir woods
  • Day 7: Drive the CA-1 Pacific Coast Highway from SF to Big Sur
  • Bonus Day 8: Overnight in Monterey and 17-mile drive
  • Bonus Day 9: Day trip to Napa wine country
  • Bonus Day 10: Point Reyes National Seashore

Below are my top recommendations for a trip to San Francisco:

Best Hotel to stay in San Francisco:

Rent a car at SFO International Airport. I recommend Discover Cars as they check top car rental brands and provide the best rates.

Buy the Go City San Francisco pass for huge savings on entry fees for 25+ attractions

Top Activities to book in San Francisco:

I hope you are able to explore most of the places and activities outlined in this itinerary and have the most amazing 7 days in San Francisco!

Related Posts