A 3 day San Francisco Itinerary ! We flew into San Francisco for 3 days in September from London ( thanks to Manchester no longer doing direct flights... ) before heading off down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA. Here is all we planned and fit into our 3 days. We found it easier to explore the city in sections so that we were not darting here there and every where each day to keep it manageable and allow us to hopefully get a bit of an all rounded San Francisco experience in only 3 days. This is from the perspective our where our hotel was located - so you may mix it up depending what is easiest for you in terms of travel.

Hotel - we stayed at the  Chelsea Inn in the Marina District and found it to be a really good base for people who did not rent a car here. We could walk to most places and it was really close to great restaurants, bars and shops. 

DAY 1 

Fishermans Wharf, Japantown & Filmore Street

Breakfast - Mel's Drive Inn. This is a stones throw from the hotel & a must try. Especially if this is your first morning in the US. It really sets the tone for your American experience. Get a tshirt. Live a little. It is actually one of our favourite pieces of merch from the trip. I recommend the steak or the pancakes to eat.

Tour of Alcatraz. We took the 10am tour and the island was not busy yet so we got to wander and could see everything we wanted to . We got our tickets here. 

Fishermans Wharf - as we were close by we walked around Fishermans Wharf & got some famous Clam Chowder for our lunch from the pier. Other places to explore near here are Ghiradelli - the chocolate shop & factory, 757 Beach Street for Umbrella Alley, Musée Mécanique for a vintage games arcade and Pier 45 for the war ship. Pier 39 is obviously a must for the sealions , whom you will hear before you see them. 

Walk up to Polk Street to Vintage Shops- we wanted to explore on foot so we set off walking up Polk Street towards Japantown. Polk Street runs from near our hotel to near Union Square and has lots of vintage shops on including ReLove, Moody Goose Vintage, Fashion Exchange. Polk Street also has Cinch Saloon which is perfect for evening drinks!

Enjoy walking around Japantown

Head back down on Fillmore Street enjoying more thrift shops and finally heading to the house from the Mrs Doubtfire movie at 2640 Steiner Street just off Filmore Street. 

Some great places to eat or drink in this area are:

Tacolicious / Over the Moon Creamery Ice Cream / Marine Lounge / Reed & Greenough


Haight Ashbury & the Golden Gate Bridge 

Breakfast - Cracked & Battered in the Marina District. 1000/10. Chicken, waffles, fruit and a cute little place with really good service. 

Then we got a taxi over to the Inner Sunset Sunday Flea Market - which was small but worth a visit if you are over that way.

Explore Haight & Ashbury. We wandered up and down these streets and in and out of all of the shops. Ameoba, Held Over, Wasteland, Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, Decades of Fashion and the Grateful Dead house all get a good mention here. 

Grab some food & head over to Alamo Square Park to see the Painted Ladies and great views. 

Golden Gate Park has paddle boats for rent and this was one of the best things we did. You feel miles away from anything in the city and its a great way to spend an hour in the afternoon. 

Some great places to eat or drink in this area are: 

Fiorella Sunset / Hot Cookie / U Desert Story

We watched the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Spencer Scenic View Marin Headlands to finish the day

DAY 3 

Lombard, Chinatown, Union Square & The Mission District 

Viator Love Tours - We started our day in a themed VW campervan complete with fur rug carpet to explore San Francisco and learn about the 60s/70s culture, the hippy movement, the musicians such as Hendrix and Janis Joplin and explore all of the districts. This was a great way to explore areas you will not have time too and learn a lot too.

Walk up Lombard Street 

Walk to China town & find Molinari for some good sandwiches!

Shop Union Square. Make sure to check out Retro Vintage Tees !

Explore the Mission District. So many great shops and places to eat. For shopping look out for No Shop, Community Thrift, After Life Boutique, Buffalo Exchange, Cary Lane, Stuff Modern. Lots of amazing taco places here also !

Ride a cable car - the best line for this the Powel Hyde line that you can get from Union Sq back to Fishmermans Wharf and visa versa and runs until 10pm. 

Chinatown - Make sure to hunt down the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to see fortune cookies being made and buy many different varieties. 

Little Italy - Try Tonys Pizza - it is supposed to be some of the best Pizza in Little Italy. Also explore some of the clothes shops here - we got an incredible shirt from Al's Attire - incredible quality & the team in there were really nice and personable. 

For the evening head to Dance Deco bar or The Cinch Saloon which is a 1970s dive bar!