3 Day Trip to San Francisco

Use this itinerary to spend 3 days in San Francisco and be sure you won't miss any of the best attractions. Get to know San Francisco. One of the largest cities on the West Coast is a popular tourist destination famous for its architecture, cable cars, steep hills with crooked streets, Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge. Every neighborhood is vibrant and eccentric and offers all kinds of sights. This 3 day itinerary will take you through Chinatown, Japantown or Castro District. Transamerica Pyramid, Alcatraz and Pier 39 are a must.
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Day 1: 3 Day Trip to San Francisco

Lombard Street

Connecting Leavenworth Street and Hyde Street in San Francisco, is one of the city’s most iconic places. It gained its popularity for its unusual shape. The rather steep downhill street includes eight turns which are quite close to one another. Therefore it is sometimes called the world’s "crookedest street". It gets rather crowded in summer when many tourists wish to drive down the Lombard Street so if you plan to visit it at that time, you might want to consider not driving down the street but maybe just walking.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower, also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California. The tower, in the city's Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit's bequest to beautify the city of San Francisco; at her death in 1929 Coit left one-third of her estate to the city for civic beautification. The tower was proposed in 1931 as an appropriate use of Coit's gift. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2008. The art deco tower, built of unpainted reinforced concrete, was designed by architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and Henry Howard, with fresco murals by 27 different on-site artists and their numerous assistants, plus two additional paintings installed after creation off-site. Although an apocryphal story claims that the tower was designed to resemble a fire hose nozzle due to Coit's affinity with the San Francisco firefighters of the day, the resemblance is coincidental.

Transamerica Pyramid

The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. Its height is surpassed by Salesforce Tower, currently under construction. The building no longer houses the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, which moved its U.S. headquarters to Baltimore, Maryland, but it is still associated with the company and is depicted in the company's logo. Designed by architect William Pereira and built by Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, at 853 ft, on completion in 1972 it was the eighth tallest building in the world.

Chinatown San Francisco

Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest and also the oldest Chinatown in the US (dating back to 1848). It is a friendly neighbourhood where you can really experience the true Chinese American culture. There are many gift shops but there are also plenty of little restaurants where you can taste the traditional Chinese cuisine. It is also a good place to shop for cheap groceries. Before you visit San Francisco Chinatown be sure to check the official website because there are many events organised there nearly every week. You can make your visit all the more special by watching e.g. the Lion Dance performance.

Cable Car Museum

This San Francisco museum is just the place to be at, if you are in the least interested in cable cars or machines. Not only will you be able to enjoy going through their exhibition here, you will also be allowed to drive a cable car yourself. The museum, founded in 1974, is run by Friends of the Cable Car Museum as a nonprofit organisation, so the entry into it is free. Inside await photographs of cable cars, a lot of information on them as well as many cable-car related items on display. These range from the large, like engines, to the small, like grips. The most popular are three whole cable cars, as old as the 1830s. The museum takes an interesting approach to showcasing its items, you will be able to see various parts of the cable cars still running. Thus, you will get to learn how the cable cars worked exactly through observation, too. There is also a small shop by the museum, where you can purchase various souvenirs, including real cable car bells.

Cable Cars

The cable cars are the moving icons of San Francisco and also represent the last surviving active manual cable car system in the world. You can travel by cable cars on three lines (out of the 23 original lines established by the end of the 19th century). Today it is more of a tourist attraction than an actual part of the public transport of San Francisco. It is no surprise that the cable cars appear in films quite often. Among the most famous ones including the San Francisco cable cars are e.g. Yours, Mine and Ours or Mrs. Doubtfire. You do not need to get your tickets in advance. They are sold by the conductors of the cable cars.

Mission Dolores

Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the seventh religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions. The Mission was founded on June 29, 1776, by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Francisco Palóu, both members of the de Anza Expedition, which had been charged with bringing Spanish settlers to Alta California, and evangelizing the local Natives, the Ohlone.

Twin Peaks

The Twin Peaks are two prominent hills with an elevation of about 925 feet located near the geographic center of San Francisco, California. Only 928 foot Mount Davidson is higher within the city.

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Day 2: 3 Day Trip to San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf

This San Francisco neighborhood is best known for the tourist attractions and its sea food. There are many annual events organised (e.g. Crab Feed, Fleet Week or the 4th of July celebrations) for the tourists and the locals. It got its name in the 1880s when the fishermen settled here. Today, you can taste the local seafood here, visit some of the shops (e.g. Pier 39, Cannery Shopping Centre etc.), visit the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Franscisco Maritime National Historical Park or Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum. Fisherman’s Wharf was one of the filming locations of the film A View to Kill (James Bond film).


The well-known Alcatraz used to function as a prison with famous prisoners like Al Capone. Nowadays, this place is a great museum of its history. It is strongly recommended to buy tickets in advance, they frequently sell out. Also note that the island is home to thousands of seabirds – do not feed or disturb them.

Pier 39

A shopping center full of attractions located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood in San Francisco. It has a bit of everything – shopping, great fresh local seafood, talented street performers and all sorts of attractions (e.g. aquarium or the music stairs). It is also a great place to celebrate and socialise. The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, 4th of July celebrations and many more are organised there as well as many parties (e.g. Roller Disco Party, summer dance parties etc.), free Movie Nights or other events (e.g. Fleet Week). Also, if you do not manage to see the sea lions which are always to be seen at Pier 39, you can watch them later on the special webcam on Pier 39's official website.

The Embarcadero

The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, along San Francisco Bay. It was constructed on reclaimed land along a three mile long engineered seawall, from which piers extend into the bay. It derives its name from the Spanish verb embarcar, meaning "to embark"; embarcadero itself means "the place to embark". The Central Embarcadero Piers Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 2002. The Embarcadero right-of-way begins at the intersection of Second and King Streets near AT&T Park, and travels north, passing under the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. The Embarcadero continues north past the Ferry Building at Market Street, Pier 39, and Fisherman's Wharf, before ending at Pier 45. A section of The Embarcadero which ran between Folsom Street and Drumm Street was formerly known as East Street.

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Day 3: 3 Day Trip to San Francisco

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall is the seat of government for the City and County of San Francisco, California. Re-opened in 1915 in its open space area in the city's Civic Center, it is a Beaux-Arts monument to the City Beautiful movement that epitomized the high-minded American Renaissance of the 1880s to 1917. The structure's dome is taller than that of the United States Capitol by 42 feet. The present building replaced an earlier City Hall that was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake, which was two blocks from the present one. It was bounded by Larkin Street, McAllister Street, and City Hall Avenue, largely where the current Public Library and U.N. Plaza stand today. The principal architect was Arthur Brown, Jr., of Bakewell & Brown, whose attention to the finishing details extended to the doorknobs and the typeface to be used in signage. Brown's blueprints of the building are preserved at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.

Golden Gate Bridge

The nearly three kilometres long suspension bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County is definitely the best-known icon of San Francisco. Its construction was finished in 1937 and it was the longest suspension bridge till 1964. The bridge features in many films (e.g. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still or Superman) or TV series (e.g. Charmed, where the top of the bridge features very often). You can cross the bridge on foot or by bike but beware of the weather conditions and check the weather forecast before you set off - it gets cold and windy there.

de Young Museum

Located in the Golden Gate Park, this long-operating museum (opened in 1895) offers its visitors a look at great collections of art. It is one of the two fine arts museums in San Fancisco and was founded by newspaperman M. H. de Young. From modern paintings and sculptures to ancient amrecia pottery, this museum is sure to provide fun for an entire afternoon - even though it is relatively small, it may take about three hours or more to see all the expositions. The building of the museum is very modern, with the entirety of the premises accessible on a wheelchair. There is also a japanese garden next to it. When visiting, do not miss the museum's observatory tower – it offers a great view of the city and it is accessible free of extra charge. If you travel on a budget, you will probably want to avoid the museum's café, which is a bit pricey. So is parking near the museum, so if you can, try to find a parking spot in one of the nearby streets or take a bus. There is free entry on the first Tuesday of every month as well as for people with membership. There are also various lectures and symposia hosted at the museum, for more information, check the museum's website.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, United States, is a large urban park consisting of 1,017 acres of public grounds. It is administered by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, which began in 1871 to oversee the development of Golden Gate Park. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20 percent larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a mile north to south. With 13 million visitors annually, Golden Gate is the fifth most-visited city park in the United States after Central Park in New York City, Lincoln Park in Chicago, and Balboa and Mission Bay Parks in San Diego.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is a beach on the west coast of San Francisco, California, United States, bordering the Pacific Ocean. It is adjacent to Golden Gate Park, the Richmond District, and the Sunset District. The Great Highway runs alongside the beach, and the Cliff House and the site of the former Sutro Baths sit at the northern end. The beach is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is administered by the National Park Service. During the late spring and summer, San Francisco's characteristic foggy weather frequently envelops the beach. The average temperature for the last 5 years has been 13.2 °C However, the beach is popular with surfers and participants in bonfire parties. More beach-friendly weather occurs in late fall and early spring, when fog is less prevalent.

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