Elegant architecture, sparkling water, historic cable cars – San Francisco has to be the most beautiful U.S. city I’ve ever traveled to. Walking through the city felt like an eerie dream complete with views of the ever so blue pacific at every hill top. I was even lucky enough to score a window bed at a hostel with a complete view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Your key to getting around San Francisco can be summed up in 4 letters – muni. That’s San Fran’s public transportation system that will take you virtually anywhere you want to go. Using muni was completely painless – just take a look at their website and you’ll find comprehensive maps and schedules. Once you get your handle on muni, you’re on your way to some great San Fran sites. The 5 below were my favorites during my stay.
I almost didn’t visit Ocean Beach because it was so far from where I was staying, but I’m so glad I did. This 3.5 mile beach is not a beach for swimmers as the temperatures are quite freezing (and waves quite treacherous), but it is instead the perfect place for spotting some gorgeous scenery or surfing some waves. Just make sure to bring a jacket! 😉
Golden Gate Park – Japanese tea garden
Just a hop and a skip from Ocean Beach is the Golden Gate Park. Impossible to see everything in one day at this park, because this place is HUGE! While there, I was able to go for a stroll and check out the Japanese Tea Garden which I absolutely loved! The tea garden felt like zen paradise.
Day Trip to Muir Woods & Sausalito
Muir Woods is a national monument about 15 miles north of San Francisco. Like something straight out of Lord of the Rings, the trees gape over 200 feet tall and have been around an average of 400-800 years (!) I think what surprised me most about Muir Woods was how large the trees actually were. I’m 5’10” and did not even come up to the full tree trunks. #crazy The sights were truly mesmerizing – an absolute must see!
About 8 miles south is a little waterfront town called Sausalito. This quaint town is accompanied by little boutiques, shops, eateries, and coffee shops.
San Fran’s official gayborhood is Castro, but its equal partner is Mission. Castro might be the most openly gay neighborhood decorated with rainbow crosswalks and gay flags on every corner, but Mission had the most queer lady friendly bars, cafes, and shops that I saw. Both neighborhoods border each other, so it was easy to spend an afternoon exploring both of them. My absolute favorite was Delores Park in the Mission neighborhood.
Coit Tower & Little Italy
A trip to San Francisco was not complete without a trip to Coit Tower, which showed 360 views of San Francisco. The surrounding neighborhood – Little Italy – mirrors an Italian style with cute patio cafes and coffeeshops.
Now tell us: have you ever been to San Francisco? Would love to hear your experience in the comments!