Feb 25, 2020 | SF Activities
The Perfect 3-Day Weekend in San Francisco
Planning for a trip to San Francisco is key to making the most out of your time. While it’s impossible to take in all the excitement in such a short time, you can still enjoy the most popular attractions. A good itinerary is all you really need to hit the city’s highlights. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Union Square (and everything in between), read on for the perfect three-day weekend itinerary in San Francisco.
First things first, you will want to set yourself up with the best possible resources for taking on the city. We recommend that you download the Uber or Lyft app to traverse our city of hills with ease. Right outside our Union Square boutique hotel, you can step onto the cable car trolley, BART, or bus for access to all the city’s attractions listed on this itinerary. Tickets must be purchased in advance. If you don’t have exact change for the fare, you can download the SFMTA’s official app, MuniMobile, to buy tickets instantly through your credit/debit card or PayPal account.
After checking in at Hotel Abri in Union Square, it’s time to explore the neighborhood. Our historic boutique hotel is in the heart of the Union Square district, close to popular department stores, designer shops, and the best eateries in the city. Use our neighborhood guide to discover the area’s best attractions like the Theater District, the Tenderloin neighborhood, and beyond.
Take the 20-minute walk or hop on the cable car east to the Embarcadero. The city’s eastern shoreline is home to the Ferry Building, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the popular Pier 39 with its myriad of seafood-centric restaurants, street performers, and “sea-lebrity” sea lions. Unless you’ve made ferry arrangements to Alcatraz, you’ll be enjoying the sights of the legendary island from the mainland. SF bonus points: Break away from the Embarcadero and ascend to the top of the 210-foot Coit Tower on Telegraph Avenue for 360-degree views of the city.
It’s day two and we’re picking up right where we left off in North Beach, just south of Fisherman’s Wharf. The neighborhood is steeped in Italian heritage and is lined with sidewalk cafés. Make sure to snap a shot of the eight hairpin turns of Lombard Street, the “crookedest street in the world.” Visit City Lights Booksellers, famous for its Beat-era roots and its publication of Allen GIndber’s Howl in 1955. Vesuvio Café is just next door, a bar that was frequented by Beat generation celebrities like Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Bob Dylan.
After getting your book officially stamped with the City Lights logo, step right into Chinatown and walk south on Grant Avenue under the floating lanterns until you reach Dragon’s Gate, the landmark gateway arch of the neighborhood. Next, you’ll need to hop in a cab to travel northwest to Crissy Field. The former U.S. Army airfield is now part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area and lies on the northern coast of the city. From Crissy Field, you’ll see arguably the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the city. Take the walk west towards the bridge until you reach the Fort Point National Historic site, an old seacoast fortification where you can see stunning views of the bridge’s underbelly. SF bonus points: Rent a bicycle from a nearby shop and take the trip over the 1.7-mile long Golden Gate Bridge.
Begin the day with a visit to the Painted Ladies, a historical row of brightly-colored Victorian houses known for their appearances on movies and TV shows. From there, it’s about a 20-minute walk to Haight- Ashbury, the former hub of 1960s counter-culture where you can spend the day popping into vintage boutiques, browsing the isles of the beloved Amoeba Music, or having a pint at a dive bar.
Just west of Haight-Ashbury, the 1,017 acres of Golden Gate Park begin. The large urban park is home to the California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. The park’s array of gardens, groves, lakes, and meadows are a wonderful way to wind down a busy weekend in the city. SF bonus points: End the day with a drive to Twin Peaks. The 922-foot-high summit has a grassy hilltop park where you can see 360-degree views of the sun setting over San Francisco.
Get to your exciting three-day weekend plans faster with our Experience San Francisco package to save 20% on accommodations and snag tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco Bay Cruise, Walt Disney Family Museum, Hornblower Brunch, Lunch Cruise, and so much more.