5 Things to do in San Francisco 

 December 4, 2020

By  Wilson

San Francisco is one the most beautiful cities in the world. (Minus the homeless problem and the part where rent costs you a kidney.)

What do we think of when we say San Francisco? Tech hub, Silicon Valley, lots of men, cold summers, great LGBT community, stoner central, gorgeous city. Yeah.

Just one favor… please don’t call it “San Fran”. Call it “The City”. Because otherwise you’ll sound like an amateur.

And I only know that because I lived in San Francisco for nearly 2 years. It was a blast.

There are so many things to do in San Francisco that I had to expand my normal list of things to do from 3 to 5. Yes – it’s that great of a city.

Here are my top 5 favorite things to do in San Francisco:

5 Things to do in San Francisco

1. Golden Gate Bridge

Obvi. The Golden Gate Bridge is not overrated at all – it’s just… gorgeous.

There’s a lot to do with the bridge. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to hike Lands End, because I always get a nice view of the bridge. But note to self: Battery Spencer (Google Maps link) is the best place to take my next viral Instagram picture.

Golden Gate Bridge

I took a picture of my friend, Ponti, taking a picture of the bridge at Battery Spencer. Science

Here’s a Reddit-esque tip in case you’re asking for a friend… one great date idea is to rent a bike from the Marina District in SF city limits, and then ride it across the Golden Gate Bridge. Then drop the bike off in North Bay and take the boat from Sausalito back to the City.

Another fantastic view of the bridge comes after hiking Lands End (difficulty: low). Here’s the Google Maps link.

2. Painted Ladies

I never watched Full House growing up, so I never fully understood what the fuss was about.

Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies

The rival to Painted Ladies is definitely Dolores Park – but my problem with Dolores Park (Google Maps link) is that it’s always very crowded and usually smells like mArIjUaNa.

Painted Ladies is often the “forgotten” gorgeous park with an incredible panoramic view of the city skyline. This is where I see a lot of people taking their baes and picnicking on a nice day. It’s also a great place to do some low-key activities, like throw a baseball around.

3. San Francisco Cable Car

This is another iconic part of San Francisco, and the SF Cable Cars are very well-known around the world.

The Powell Street and Market station has lines around the corner – so I always go to the one next to Hyde Street and Beach Street station near Fisherman’s Wharf (Google Maps link). And the great thing about this line is that it goes by Lombard Street.

Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Car

There are 3 cable car routes. I don’t know of any locals who actually uses the cable car as a means of actual transportation. One reason is because it costs me a whopping $7.50 for a one way ride, so every time I rode the cable car, it was really only to show my out-of-town friends.

4. Embarcadero

This is a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, aka the subway) station in the eastern-part of the city near the Financial District. This BART station is the last stop before the trains head to Oakland.

The Ferry Plaza is one of my favorite places to visit in Embarcadero (Google Maps link). It used to be a ferry station, but it’s now a huge market where I can buy my next Blue Bottle Coffee.

Standing at the end of Pier 7, I had a gorgeous view of the Bay Bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco. I turned around and I took a photo of the beautiful Transamerica Pyramid building:

Transamerica Pyramid

Transamerica Pyramid

So yea. Brb, adding this to my list of possible places to propose to a future gf.

5. Alcatraz Island

There’s a very famous saying: “Break the rules and you go to jail. Break the jail rules and you go to Alcatraz.”

Al Capone highlights the list of Hall-of-(in)Famers for prisoners at Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

View of the City from Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island is super touristy but I think it’s worth seeing. We took a large ferry from Pier 33. The whole experience took about 4 hours. I low-key regret not booking a night tour in advanced, but maybe it’s overhyped? TBD on that.

And of course, the view of the city from Alcatraz was breathtaking.

Honorable Mentions

Twin Peaks is a great place to see the City. I love going during the evenings to see the lights that outline Market Street, which seems to “divide” the city in half from a geographical standpoint.

Lombard Street is the world’s most crooked street. I thought it was worth coming here because FOMO.

Lombard Street

Lombard Street

Ocean Beach is the beach that’s a part of San Francisco city limits. Yes – the waves are surf-able (sometimes too much – it can be dangerous, so I prefer Pacifica). I’ve had bonfire dates with my friends over there.

  • Golden Gate Park – This is a common place to hang out with friends and family. It’s huge. Cue the picnic and playing basketball on a Saturday afternoon ideas. Did you know that it’s about 15% larger than Central Park in New York?
  • For Nightlife – Mission Street (if I’m feeling latin), The Castro (if I feel like putting my gay hat on), and Polk Street (if I’m feeling a modern, young vibe) are my favorite spots.

I know. One might be thinking “w.t.f. Wilson, where is Fisherman’s Wharf?” But tbh I’m not a big fan of Fisherman’s Wharf because it’s super touristy, and the best parts of the area are easily replicated. *avoids eye contact with the people who love Fisherman’s Wharf*. You can walk along the San Francisco Bay in other places where locals aren’t pestering you to buy their souvenirs.

Closing Remarks

I take this city personally in more ways than one. I remember when I was growing up, we’d always stop by SFO on the way to see family in Taiwan and always enjoyed landing adjacent to the bay. It’s the city of opportunities and a place that helped me break into tech.

I fully believe that San Francisco is a city that’s both 1) great to live in, and 2) great to visit. I find it rare in this world that a city can make me feel very welcomed for both living and visiting.

But when I made it work from a financial standpoint, it was worth it.

Final Grade: A-


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Hi, my name is Wilson, founder of WFH Nomad. I was born and raised in the US, and I boast engineering and business degrees from top programs in the US. I work a normal, WFH job for a great company in America. I am extremely passionate about traveling and my job in the Tech industry, and the best part of the WFH Nomad concept is that I can do both at the same time.

I have traveled to over 47 different countries in my lifetime and I look forward to continue this lifestyle for the foreseeable future. Thanks for visiting the website!

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