San Francisco Travel Guide

In May, my sister and I traveled to San Francisco before we left for our trip to Thailand. Neither one of us had ever been and we were very excited to explore the golden gate city. With three and a half days to explore, we squeezed in a bunch of tourist sights, restaurants and ice cream shops. My guide below will give you the highlights of our trip and my must visit places. I hope to go back one day so that I can add on to this list and explore even more of this amazing, beautiful city!

In-N-Out Burger

If you've never been to In-N-Out, this should be a definite stop on your list. We went to the one near Fisherman's Wharf so if you do that, you can walk around the area after. However, there are other locations if that one isn't convenient for you. In-N-Out is known for their burgers and fries, which we got both of, and they were delicious! The line was very long, but it moved pretty quickly. This is a great place to go if you are trying to save some money, each of our meals were under $5.

Leo's Oyster Bar

How cute is this palm tree print wall paper and tile combination?! Leo's Oyster Bar is a great dinner spot that has some out of this world oysters and creative cocktails. It is a small space, so I would definitely recommend a reservation. Also, heads up- it is a little pricey so don't freak out when you get the bill. 

*If you want to be in the middle of the action, request to sit at the raw bar and watch the chefs at work.

Smitten Ice Cream

On of the many ice cream spots we stopped at, Smitten Ice Cream was absolutely delicious! This ice cream is made in a very unique way, using liquid nitrogen to craft the perfect treat. They only have a few flavors (see above), but you can't go wrong with any of them. 

I went with a scoop of the almond + chocolate macaroon and a scoop of the cookie dough + pretzels and chocolate chips topped with caramel and it was so good! They have multiple locations, but if you want a cute, fun atmosphere head over to the Hayes Valley location. The shop is in a small open building draped with string lights and lots of character. 

Baked Bear

I don't have enough good things to say about Baked Bear! This dessert spot serves up the most delicious ice cream sandwiches i've ever had. Pictured above is the cookies and cream ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie and oreos and right below that is rocky road ice cream with a snickerdoodle cookie and brownies. They also hot press these things so that they are warm and gooey! I really wish we had one here in Atlanta so I could eat these every single day. 

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has grown wildly popular thanks to their delicious cronuts and the above sign. Do it for the Insta, definitely applies here! We stopped by one morning for breakfast and waited in a short line until they opened at 7 AM. They don't serve their famous cronuts until 9 AM, so we got a monkey bread muffin and a matcha croissant. Both were very tasty! I would definitely recommend stopping here for a picture of the sign and a pastry. They also have the cutest boxes if you get a few pastries!

Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw is an ice cream chain that I have been wanting to try ever since I saw their shop in Portland. When I saw they had one in SF, I knew it was meant to be...and boy am I glad because it was so good! Seriously, San Francisco is killing it with their ice cream shops because every single one that we stopped at were amazing! 

They have some great and unique flavors that incorporate local ingredients. Pictured above is the sea salt w/ caramel ribbons and the chocolate gooey brownie. They also let you try as many flavors as you want until you've made a decision. Heads up, the line will be long but I promise it is worth it!

Lombard Street

Lombard Street is a quick stop, but an important one none the less! There are a bunch of other tourists taking pictures at the bottom, but the walk down is just as beautiful as the view up. Take some time to look at the houses that line this street and all the blooming flowers. 

*Walking up the back of this street is tough, so unless you want sore calfs for three days definitely get dropped off at the top. Trust me, we learned the hard way!

Painted Ladies

This is another San Francisco must stop. If you didn't realize already, these are the houses shown in the opening credits for Full House. If you come to SF and don't get a picture of the Painted Ladies, did you really even come here at all? 

Unfortunately, there is a giant gate around the park right in front of the houses as you can see above. It definitely kills the selfie game, but some brilliant human being cut a hole out of the gate so you could still get a good picture. There is still a little green space open that you can lounge around on if you want to just relax and take in the scenery. It is also a great area for people watching!

Lands End & Sutro Baths

Lands End is a beautiful park located in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. It was about a 25 minute drive from the Painted Ladies. This is a great spot for hiking, sight seeing, and exploring. Walk around the bath's ruins and then head down the trail towards the labyrinth. On your way, you will get great pictures of the Golden Gate bridge and the sea cliffs. Be sure to bring a jacket, because it gets really windy on the coast! If you have time, stop by the Cliff House after your hike for some drinks. I mean, you just walked around a deserve it! 

*Tip: sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders to get the local scoop on what to do during your time in SF.


Even though it is super touristy, Alcatraz was a really fun tour that I am so glad we added to our list! The island was beautiful and the ferry out there had great views of the city. The tour itself was very well executed and wasn't at all boring...which is hard to find when it comes to historical sights!

*Tip: Beat the crowds and buy your ticket online for the early bird spot.

Mission District

Mission District could of gone under eating or seeing, but I put it under seeing just because it is a cool area to walk around. This is an up and coming, hipster area that is known for their restaurants, bars, and Mexican food. Unfortunately, most of the good spots don't open up until dinner so we stopped at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant for lunch called Puerto Alegre. It was decent, but nothing earth shattering. Head to this place at night time for some fun dinner and late night spots! Just be careful, we heard it gets sketchy after dark.

Napa Wine Tour

Anna and I have never been to Napa, but have been dying to go. Since San Francisco is only an hour and a half away, we set up a day tour through Viator. Our tour took us to 4 vineyards, included a boozy breakfast on the bus, and an olive oil and chocolate tasting. It was a great deal and an amazing afternoon. If you have the time while in SF, I would highly recommend doing this!

Blue Bottle Coffee

If you need a little afternoon pick me up, Blue Bottle Coffee is the perfect place! There is usually a line, but the coffee is well worth the wait. Be sure to grab a bag to take back home with you or to give as a gift!

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