Taylor-San-Francisco6

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - see the Golden Gate Bridge

Also known as “The Golden City”, San Francisco is the fourth largest city in the state of California and it is known for its hills that shine during sunset, the Golden Gate Bridge, an amazing food scene, an eclectic culture and so much more. In case you’re wondering what to do during your first time in San Francisco, there is so much exploration and discovering!

During late June 2021, I did a dream California road trip for my 30th birthday. I first started my road trip with Ashley from World to Wander where we spent two days exploring Palm Springs and the surrounding areas. From there, we proceeded with a stunning coastal road trip from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.

A woman in front of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco

After spending two nights exploring San Francisco, my mom met me on my actual birthday and we enjoyed a wonderful time tasting wine and adventuring in California’s Wine Country.

In this blog post, discover what to do during your first time in San Francisco, California!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in San Francisco, StayPineapple “An Elegant Hotel”hosted me for two nights.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

What to do for your first time in San Francisco

Traveling to San Francisco:

A woman walking in the Golden City

San Francisco has its own airport called San Francisco International Airport, which you can most certainly fly into if you’re only spending time in the Bay Area, but since I was already on a road trip where I started in Southern California, I flew to Palm Springs International Airport from Newark with a layover in Phoenix.

Since I ended my California road trip in Wine Country with my mom, we flew from Sacramento International Airport back to Newark with a layover in Seattle. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

Even though you can get around San Francisco through various forms of public transportation, it is best to rent a car so that you can also venture outside of the city. Plus, if you’re on a road trip around California, it is difficult to get from place to place without your own vehicle.

A woman in front of a Moroccan facade in San Francisco, California

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

If you do plan to take public transportation in San Francisco, there is the BART train (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which is an all-electric train that is fast and inexpensive and it takes passengers from SFO airport throughout downtown San Francisco. Next, the SamTrans buses (San Mateo County Transit Agency) is a public bus service that runs throughout the city. San Francisco also offers Uber and Lyft services.

Staying at StayPineapple in San Francisco:

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - stay at StayPineapple

During our road trip, Ashley and I spent two nights and a day in a half exploring all the hotspots that San Francisco is known for.

Before I go into what to do during your first time in San Francisco, I do want to talk about our stay at StayPineapple. It is a collection of boutique hotels that have numerous locations in cities around the United States. StayPineapple’s San Francisco hotel is considered “An Elegant Hotel” and it is conveniently in the city’s Union Square area. (Each StayPineapple hotel has its own unique nickname.)

Not only was I brought back in time with all of San Francisco’s beautiful Victorian architecture, StayPineapple boasted Great Gatsby vibes. I absolutely loved the 1920’s ambiance at this lovely boutique hotel from the building’s exterior façade to all of the gold and black décor in the lobby and rooms.

The Rooms at StayPineapple:
A hotel room at StayPineapple in San Francisco

StayPineapple hosted us in their Celebrity King Room that features a cozy king-sized bed, desk, en-suite bathroom, high-speed WiFi, HDTV, Keurig®, mini-fridge, safe, bedside iHome with Bluetooth docking stations and USB charging, Tommy Bahama bath products and so much more! (I also loved the pineapple coffee mugs.)

What is cool about being a guest at StayPineapple hotels is that they offer “The Naked Experience”, which is European style bedding with individual duvets, big fluffy towels and comfortable robes for you to enjoy during your stay.

The other rooms where guests can choose from are the Personal Queen, which is the coziest room at StayPineapple, it is a basic room that is perfect for a solo traveler; Starlet Queen is the most popular room of choice at this hotel, it offers a queen-sized bed and is perfect for couples and lastly, the Drama Queen is a deluxe room that offers a queen-sized bed.

StayPineapple Amenities:
StayPineapple - an elegant hotel in San Francisco

Overall, StayPineapple in San Francisco provides guests with a great experience both at the hotel and within The Golden City. It is situated in the heart of the city, near a lot of great restaurants, shops and sites.

If you are trying to decide what to do to get around San Francisco during your first time, definitely take advantage of the beach cruisers that are offered at StayPineapple and use them to explore the city! There is also unlimited coffee and pineapple sugar cookies for you to take with you at any time and enjoy them as snacks throughout the day.

What is also awesome about staying at a StayPineapple hotel is that it is dog-friendly!

Even though the bistro and bar weren’t opened during my two nights at StayPineapple in San Francisco, they usually offer food and drinks for you to enjoy throughout your stay. When you check into the hotel, StayPineapple usually provides you with a $10 daily Eat + Drink credit that you can enjoy at any time!

First Time in San Francisco – What to Do!

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - a woman running on Marshall's Beach

Taste All the Best Food in San Francisco:

San Francisco is known to have some of the best food in the country. You can find everything from delicious clam chowder to incredible dim sum!

Even though I was in San Francisco for a short period of time, I made sure that I would try all the amazing staples the city boasts. Ashley had traveled to San Francisco before, so she also knew all the top foodie spots to stop at:

A crepe from Sweet Maple in San Francisco

Sweet Maple: As an amazing breakfast and lunch spot to visit in San Francisco’s Japantown, Sweet Maple has an array of delicious morning dishes for you to choose from that either feature their signature sweet maple syrup or mouthwatering savory meals.

Ashley and I came here for brunch and we both enjoyed a mimosa and cappuccino. As my main dish, I got the Strawberry Nutella Crepe with the Chicken-Mango Sausage as a side dish. Ashley savored the Swedish Maple Pancakes with eggs and bacon. Everything was incredible.

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - eat clam chowder

Boudin Bakery Café: Chowders are another delicious staple in San Francisco and there is no better spot to savor a warm and comforting cup or bread bowl than at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Outside of New England, the Bay Area also has the best chowders.

Even though there are several great spots to grab chowder at the Fisherman’s Wharf, an amazing café that you must go to during your first visit to San Francisco is Boudin Bakery Café. Even if you aren’t a chowder person, if you’re trying to figure out what to do during your first time in San Francisco, you must stand in front of Boudin’s windows and watch the bakers make the famous sourdough bread for the chowder’s bread bowls. The bakers make it fun for everyone by playing guessing games like, “What is the main ingredient in sourdough bread?”

Not only does Boudin Bakery sell delicious New England clam and Dungeness crab chowders, but you can also savor wonderful paninis, sourdough pizza, salads and more. Boudin also sells alcohol too, so you can purchase wine, beer, hard seltzers, etc. and enjoy it with your meal.

During our lunch at Boudin Bakery Café, both Ashley and I got the New England clam chowder in a bread bowl. I had rosé with mine and Ashley got the hard seltzer. Overall, there is both indoor and outdoor dining at Boudin for you to savor your lunch at.

Chicken, mushroom and sesame buns    from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco
Spinach and shrimp dumplings from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco
Noodles from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco

Dragon Beaux: After enjoying sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge, Ashley and I were craving dim sum and since San Francisco boasts a lot of renowned Asian restaurants, we knew we had to get some for dinner!

Located in the Richmond area of San Francisco is Dragon Beaux, which is a sleek Asian-fusion restaurant for dim sum and hot pot. Ashley and I enjoyed some of the items on the DIY dim sum list (I got the Spinach Seafood Dumplings and Chicken Mushroom Sesame Buns and they both were incredible) as well as the Chicken Chow Fun Noodles with green tea.

Everything was amazing and I couldn’t recommend Dragon Beaux more as a dinner option for your first time in San Francisco!

A birthday cake latte from Home Coffee Roasters in San Francisco

Home Coffee Roasters: On my second morning in San Francisco, it was my birthday, so we headed over to Chinatown and got the famous Birthday Cake Latte from Home Coffee Roasters.

If you’re deciding on what to do for breakfast during your first time in San Francisco, you should grab your morning beverage at Home Coffee. There are three locations (Chinatown, Sunset and Richmond). I recommend visiting the Chinatown location so that you can also walk around afterwards. San Francisco is known to have the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.

Home Coffee Roasters has classic coffees, lattes and teas, but they are known for their creative lattes such as the Birthday Cake Latte, which is what Ashley and I had, Red Velvet Latte, Lavender Latte, Cookie Monster Latte, Nutella Latte and more. Home Coffee also has ice cream and delicious breakfast items such as avocado toast, breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

See the Full House House:

The Full House house

If you were like me who grew up watching Full House, then you have to see the famous Victorian home that the Tanners lived in during your first trip to San Francisco.

Located at 1709 Broderick Street, you can either drive or walk past the Full House house. Feel free to take photos, but please note that it is a private home, so you cannot trespass.

Drive Down Lombard Street:

A woman walking on Lombard Street in San Francisco

What you should also do during your first time in San Francisco is drive down Lombard Street, which is known as the “Crookedest Street in the World”.

Now, most of the time Lombard Street is crowded, but thankfully when Ashley and I were there, we were able to drive down the famous road without any traffic or heavy tourism.

Lombard Street features eight sharp hairpin turns, has beautiful mansions, perfectly manicured lawns and flowers and it also has breathtaking views of the city itself, the bay and more! Please be mindful that if you’re walking up or down Lombard Street that you stay on the sidewalks.

San Francisco has some of the steepest streets in the world and Lombard Street was built to increase safety. In the 1920s, a property owner made the street and walking paths for cars and pedestrians.

Walk around the Fisherman’s Wharf:

The Fisherman's Wharf

Another must-do adventure in San Francisco is visit the Fisherman’s Wharf on the bay. It features a boardwalk that is filled with restaurants, museums, souvenir shops, arcade games and exhibits, rides, ice cream and candy stores, plus so much more.

What you can also do at Fisherman’s Wharf during your first time in San Francisco is rent a bike or Segway and explore the area, hop on a bay cruise and also see the adorable sea lions on Pier 39.

Usually, Pier 39’s K-Dock is filled with sea lions, but during the summertime, most of them migrate south to the Channel Islands for breeding season. Ashley and I only saw one sea lion during our time at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Enjoy Some Wine by the Painted Ladies:

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - see the Painted Ladies

What you must also do in San Francisco for the first time is visit the iconic Painted Ladies to enjoy some lovely views. (It is located on Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square.)

Also known as “Postcard Row” or “Seven Sisters”, the Painted Ladies are a row of colorful Queen Anne-styled Victorian houses that feature a stunning back-drop of San Francisco’s downtown skyscrapers. One of the best things to do in San Francisco, no matter when you go, is to grab a bottle of wine and some snacks and sit at Alamo Square while admiring these pretty houses.

Over the years, the Painted Ladies have become an icon to San Francisco. They were featured in the opening scene of the 1987 ABC television series Full House as well as the 1978 book “Painted Ladies – San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians” by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen.

These beautiful gingerbread homes survived the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco and that is why they look a little slanted when you stare at them. Over the years, they have been renovated and restored, and for the homes to be repainted, they need to get approval by the city since they are historical.

During mine and Ashley’s time in this stunning city, we brought a bottle of red wine and the sugar cookies from StayPineapple with us to Alamo Square where we enjoyed a lovely afternoon admiring the pretty Painted Ladies!

Check out the Golden Gate Bridge:

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - see the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Cranston

Known as the most iconic spot in the city of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is a golden-color suspension bridge that spans one-mile and connects the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

What you should do during your first time in San Francisco is head over to one of the famous viewing points in the city to admire the beauty of this bridge! (The bridge’s construction started in January 1933.)

The Golden Gate Bridge during sunset

Overall, there are countless spots throughout the city of San Francisco where you can catch views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here is an article on the 12 best views of the Golden Gate Bridge from a local.

During my first time in this lovely city, I first saw the bridge in person at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. When Ashley and I went to one of the closer lookout spots for photos, we first went to Battery Cranston followed by Marshall’s Beach. (I also got to drive over the bridge with my mom after I picked her up at SFO and drove straight to Wine Country.)

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Battery Cranston is one of the most popular viewpoints and there is a parking lot right next to it. (This is also the famous spot where photographers take photos of the cars driving over the bridge.) From there, you can hike down (around 15 minutes) to the stunning Marshall’s Beach.

Relax at Marshall’s Beach:

What to do in San Francisco during your first time - see the Golden Gate Bridge at Marshall's Beach

After seeing the bridge from one perspective at Battery Crantson, Ashley and I did the 15-minute hike down to the scenic Marshall’s Beach, which offers another unique viewpoint of the bridge with the ocean waves crashing along the shore.

A happy woman at Marshall's Beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background

We spent sunset at Marshall’s Beach and it was absolutely beautiful. If you stay until the sun is down, you can see the lights twinkling from the bridge. It truly is a beautiful spot for photography, picnics or simply just relaxing at the beach.

(One thing to note about visiting Marshall’s Beach is that it is a famous spot for nudists to hang out. We didn’t see anyone nude when we were there and I honestly didn’t know this until a friend on Instagram told me.)

A woman laughing and having fun at Marshall's Beach in San Francisco

Overall, we were lucky to have seen the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear day. San Francisco is also known as the Fog City, since the Bay Area brings about a lot of fog. I also recommend dressing warm during a visit to San Francisco during summer. It is pure sweater weather! (San Francisco experiences Indian summers, so fall is when you’ll experience the best weather in The Golden City.)

Admire the Palace of Fine Arts:

A woman at the Palace of Fine Arts

Located in the same area of where you’ll find a lot of viewpoints for the Golden Gate Bridge is the Palace of Fine Arts.

If you are pondering on what to do during your first time in San Francisco and want to feel like you’re in Europe, visit the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of the city. It is free to get in and there are so many wonderful photo spots for you to enjoy.

Overall, the Palace of Fine Arts is a peaceful spot within San Francisco. It opened in 1915 and was constructed for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition. Nowadays, the Palace of Fine Arts is a venue for private galas, weddings, trade shows, corporate events and so much more. It is open every day except for Mondays and when special events are happening. There is also a café to grab food and drinks too.

Take a Tour around Alcatraz:

Alcatraz Island - What to do During Your First Time in San Francisco

Even though it was temporarily closed when Ashley and I were in San Francisco, another cool thing to experience during a first trip to San Francisco is Alcatraz Island.

Overall, Alcatraz is the former military fort and notorious maximum-security federal prison that housed Chicago’s most infamous Prohibition-era crime boss, Al Capone.

During a tour around Alcatraz, you can visit the Lighthouse, Gardens of Alcatraz, do an island walk or bird viewing and make your way through the actual prison and see the cells where former inmates resided.

Overall, Alcatraz was notorious for being one of the most dangerous and violent prisons to be sent to. Only the worst of the worst were housed there. The prison was shut down in 1963 due to the high cost of maintaining it.

There were 14 escape attempts, 23 people were caught actually escaping, six were killed, two drowned and five disappeared.

Enjoy a Day Trip:

Napa Valley, a day trip from San Francisco

During a trip to San Francisco, you must also venture outside of the city and explore the rest of the Bay Area’s gems. Below is a list of great day trips to take from The Golden City:

  • California Wine Country (Sonoma County and Napa Valley) – Over an hour drive.
  • John Muir Woods National Monument – A 45-minute drive.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore – Less than a two-hour drive.
  • Yosemite National Park – Around a four-hour drive.
  • San Jose – Around an hour drive.
  • Sausalito – A 30-minute drive.
  • Oakland – A 20-minute drive.
  • Sacramento – Over an hour and a half drive.
  • Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea – A two-hour drive.
  • Big Sur – Less than a two-hour drive.
  • Santa Cruz – An hour and a half drive.
  • Berkeley – A 20-minute drive.

A woman hanging out by a piano at StayPineapple in San Francisco

I hope you all enjoyed discovering what to do during your first time in San Francisco, California and reading about my stay at StayPineapple. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., CA State Capital: Sacramento, Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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7 Comments

  1. Robyn on July 23, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Your stay at StayPineapple sounded like a lovely time! That birthday cake latte also looked just as good!

    • Taylor Deer on July 29, 2021 at 9:22 am

      It totally was Robyn! I loved my time in San Francisco! 🙂

  2. Kylee on July 23, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Great post, Taylor! Love SF 💕

    • Taylor Deer on July 29, 2021 at 9:22 am

      Thank you Kylee and me too! 🙂

  3. Kim Deer on July 23, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    San Francisco looks like an amazing city to visit ~ so many great restaurants, shops and cafes ~ love the color of the beautiful Golden Gate bridge! It is so breathtaking driving on that bridge and looking at the old prison Alcatraz. Love the finger psinted houses ~ especially the house where Full house was filmed! Loved this blog and stunning photography ~ love you, mom xoxo 👩xoxo

  4. Maria on July 26, 2021 at 5:17 am

    The view from Marshall’s beach is amazing! I also loved Fisherman’s Wharf when I visited San Francisco. I haven’t heard of the restaurants that you mention, but would love to try some of those on my next visit to SF 🙂

  5. Cosette on July 27, 2021 at 11:07 am

    San Francisco is such a great city. We visited way back and loved the vibe. We had the Golden Gate Bridge without fog, which is un typical.

Leave a Comment





Taylor-San-Francisco6

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - see the Golden Gate Bridge

Also known as “The Golden City”, San Francisco is the fourth largest city in the state of California and it is known for its hills that shine during sunset, the Golden Gate Bridge, an amazing food scene, an eclectic culture and so much more. In case you’re wondering what to do during your first time in San Francisco, there is so much exploration and discovering!

During late June 2021, I did a dream California road trip for my 30th birthday. I first started my road trip with Ashley from World to Wander where we spent two days exploring Palm Springs and the surrounding areas. From there, we proceeded with a stunning coastal road trip from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.

A woman in front of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco

After spending two nights exploring San Francisco, my mom met me on my actual birthday and we enjoyed a wonderful time tasting wine and adventuring in California’s Wine Country.

In this blog post, discover what to do during your first time in San Francisco, California!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in San Francisco, StayPineapple “An Elegant Hotel”hosted me for two nights.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

What to do for your first time in San Francisco

Traveling to San Francisco:

A woman walking in the Golden City

San Francisco has its own airport called San Francisco International Airport, which you can most certainly fly into if you’re only spending time in the Bay Area, but since I was already on a road trip where I started in Southern California, I flew to Palm Springs International Airport from Newark with a layover in Phoenix.

Since I ended my California road trip in Wine Country with my mom, we flew from Sacramento International Airport back to Newark with a layover in Seattle. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

Even though you can get around San Francisco through various forms of public transportation, it is best to rent a car so that you can also venture outside of the city. Plus, if you’re on a road trip around California, it is difficult to get from place to place without your own vehicle.

A woman in front of a Moroccan facade in San Francisco, California

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

If you do plan to take public transportation in San Francisco, there is the BART train (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which is an all-electric train that is fast and inexpensive and it takes passengers from SFO airport throughout downtown San Francisco. Next, the SamTrans buses (San Mateo County Transit Agency) is a public bus service that runs throughout the city. San Francisco also offers Uber and Lyft services.

Staying at StayPineapple in San Francisco:

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - stay at StayPineapple

During our road trip, Ashley and I spent two nights and a day in a half exploring all the hotspots that San Francisco is known for.

Before I go into what to do during your first time in San Francisco, I do want to talk about our stay at StayPineapple. It is a collection of boutique hotels that have numerous locations in cities around the United States. StayPineapple’s San Francisco hotel is considered “An Elegant Hotel” and it is conveniently in the city’s Union Square area. (Each StayPineapple hotel has its own unique nickname.)

Not only was I brought back in time with all of San Francisco’s beautiful Victorian architecture, StayPineapple boasted Great Gatsby vibes. I absolutely loved the 1920’s ambiance at this lovely boutique hotel from the building’s exterior façade to all of the gold and black décor in the lobby and rooms.

The Rooms at StayPineapple:
A hotel room at StayPineapple in San Francisco

StayPineapple hosted us in their Celebrity King Room that features a cozy king-sized bed, desk, en-suite bathroom, high-speed WiFi, HDTV, Keurig®, mini-fridge, safe, bedside iHome with Bluetooth docking stations and USB charging, Tommy Bahama bath products and so much more! (I also loved the pineapple coffee mugs.)

What is cool about being a guest at StayPineapple hotels is that they offer “The Naked Experience”, which is European style bedding with individual duvets, big fluffy towels and comfortable robes for you to enjoy during your stay.

The other rooms where guests can choose from are the Personal Queen, which is the coziest room at StayPineapple, it is a basic room that is perfect for a solo traveler; Starlet Queen is the most popular room of choice at this hotel, it offers a queen-sized bed and is perfect for couples and lastly, the Drama Queen is a deluxe room that offers a queen-sized bed.

StayPineapple Amenities:
StayPineapple - an elegant hotel in San Francisco

Overall, StayPineapple in San Francisco provides guests with a great experience both at the hotel and within The Golden City. It is situated in the heart of the city, near a lot of great restaurants, shops and sites.

If you are trying to decide what to do to get around San Francisco during your first time, definitely take advantage of the beach cruisers that are offered at StayPineapple and use them to explore the city! There is also unlimited coffee and pineapple sugar cookies for you to take with you at any time and enjoy them as snacks throughout the day.

What is also awesome about staying at a StayPineapple hotel is that it is dog-friendly!

Even though the bistro and bar weren’t opened during my two nights at StayPineapple in San Francisco, they usually offer food and drinks for you to enjoy throughout your stay. When you check into the hotel, StayPineapple usually provides you with a $10 daily Eat + Drink credit that you can enjoy at any time!

First Time in San Francisco – What to Do!

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - a woman running on Marshall's Beach

Taste All the Best Food in San Francisco:

San Francisco is known to have some of the best food in the country. You can find everything from delicious clam chowder to incredible dim sum!

Even though I was in San Francisco for a short period of time, I made sure that I would try all the amazing staples the city boasts. Ashley had traveled to San Francisco before, so she also knew all the top foodie spots to stop at:

A crepe from Sweet Maple in San Francisco

Sweet Maple: As an amazing breakfast and lunch spot to visit in San Francisco’s Japantown, Sweet Maple has an array of delicious morning dishes for you to choose from that either feature their signature sweet maple syrup or mouthwatering savory meals.

Ashley and I came here for brunch and we both enjoyed a mimosa and cappuccino. As my main dish, I got the Strawberry Nutella Crepe with the Chicken-Mango Sausage as a side dish. Ashley savored the Swedish Maple Pancakes with eggs and bacon. Everything was incredible.

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - eat clam chowder

Boudin Bakery Café: Chowders are another delicious staple in San Francisco and there is no better spot to savor a warm and comforting cup or bread bowl than at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Outside of New England, the Bay Area also has the best chowders.

Even though there are several great spots to grab chowder at the Fisherman’s Wharf, an amazing café that you must go to during your first visit to San Francisco is Boudin Bakery Café. Even if you aren’t a chowder person, if you’re trying to figure out what to do during your first time in San Francisco, you must stand in front of Boudin’s windows and watch the bakers make the famous sourdough bread for the chowder’s bread bowls. The bakers make it fun for everyone by playing guessing games like, “What is the main ingredient in sourdough bread?”

Not only does Boudin Bakery sell delicious New England clam and Dungeness crab chowders, but you can also savor wonderful paninis, sourdough pizza, salads and more. Boudin also sells alcohol too, so you can purchase wine, beer, hard seltzers, etc. and enjoy it with your meal.

During our lunch at Boudin Bakery Café, both Ashley and I got the New England clam chowder in a bread bowl. I had rosé with mine and Ashley got the hard seltzer. Overall, there is both indoor and outdoor dining at Boudin for you to savor your lunch at.

Chicken, mushroom and sesame buns    from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco
Spinach and shrimp dumplings from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco
Noodles from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco

Dragon Beaux: After enjoying sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge, Ashley and I were craving dim sum and since San Francisco boasts a lot of renowned Asian restaurants, we knew we had to get some for dinner!

Located in the Richmond area of San Francisco is Dragon Beaux, which is a sleek Asian-fusion restaurant for dim sum and hot pot. Ashley and I enjoyed some of the items on the DIY dim sum list (I got the Spinach Seafood Dumplings and Chicken Mushroom Sesame Buns and they both were incredible) as well as the Chicken Chow Fun Noodles with green tea.

Everything was amazing and I couldn’t recommend Dragon Beaux more as a dinner option for your first time in San Francisco!

A birthday cake latte from Home Coffee Roasters in San Francisco

Home Coffee Roasters: On my second morning in San Francisco, it was my birthday, so we headed over to Chinatown and got the famous Birthday Cake Latte from Home Coffee Roasters.

If you’re deciding on what to do for breakfast during your first time in San Francisco, you should grab your morning beverage at Home Coffee. There are three locations (Chinatown, Sunset and Richmond). I recommend visiting the Chinatown location so that you can also walk around afterwards. San Francisco is known to have the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.

Home Coffee Roasters has classic coffees, lattes and teas, but they are known for their creative lattes such as the Birthday Cake Latte, which is what Ashley and I had, Red Velvet Latte, Lavender Latte, Cookie Monster Latte, Nutella Latte and more. Home Coffee also has ice cream and delicious breakfast items such as avocado toast, breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

See the Full House House:

The Full House house

If you were like me who grew up watching Full House, then you have to see the famous Victorian home that the Tanners lived in during your first trip to San Francisco.

Located at 1709 Broderick Street, you can either drive or walk past the Full House house. Feel free to take photos, but please note that it is a private home, so you cannot trespass.

Drive Down Lombard Street:

A woman walking on Lombard Street in San Francisco

What you should also do during your first time in San Francisco is drive down Lombard Street, which is known as the “Crookedest Street in the World”.

Now, most of the time Lombard Street is crowded, but thankfully when Ashley and I were there, we were able to drive down the famous road without any traffic or heavy tourism.

Lombard Street features eight sharp hairpin turns, has beautiful mansions, perfectly manicured lawns and flowers and it also has breathtaking views of the city itself, the bay and more! Please be mindful that if you’re walking up or down Lombard Street that you stay on the sidewalks.

San Francisco has some of the steepest streets in the world and Lombard Street was built to increase safety. In the 1920s, a property owner made the street and walking paths for cars and pedestrians.

Walk around the Fisherman’s Wharf:

The Fisherman's Wharf

Another must-do adventure in San Francisco is visit the Fisherman’s Wharf on the bay. It features a boardwalk that is filled with restaurants, museums, souvenir shops, arcade games and exhibits, rides, ice cream and candy stores, plus so much more.

What you can also do at Fisherman’s Wharf during your first time in San Francisco is rent a bike or Segway and explore the area, hop on a bay cruise and also see the adorable sea lions on Pier 39.

Usually, Pier 39’s K-Dock is filled with sea lions, but during the summertime, most of them migrate south to the Channel Islands for breeding season. Ashley and I only saw one sea lion during our time at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Enjoy Some Wine by the Painted Ladies:

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - see the Painted Ladies

What you must also do in San Francisco for the first time is visit the iconic Painted Ladies to enjoy some lovely views. (It is located on Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square.)

Also known as “Postcard Row” or “Seven Sisters”, the Painted Ladies are a row of colorful Queen Anne-styled Victorian houses that feature a stunning back-drop of San Francisco’s downtown skyscrapers. One of the best things to do in San Francisco, no matter when you go, is to grab a bottle of wine and some snacks and sit at Alamo Square while admiring these pretty houses.

Over the years, the Painted Ladies have become an icon to San Francisco. They were featured in the opening scene of the 1987 ABC television series Full House as well as the 1978 book “Painted Ladies – San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians” by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen.

These beautiful gingerbread homes survived the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco and that is why they look a little slanted when you stare at them. Over the years, they have been renovated and restored, and for the homes to be repainted, they need to get approval by the city since they are historical.

During mine and Ashley’s time in this stunning city, we brought a bottle of red wine and the sugar cookies from StayPineapple with us to Alamo Square where we enjoyed a lovely afternoon admiring the pretty Painted Ladies!

Check out the Golden Gate Bridge:

What to do during your first time in San Francisco - see the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Cranston

Known as the most iconic spot in the city of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is a golden-color suspension bridge that spans one-mile and connects the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

What you should do during your first time in San Francisco is head over to one of the famous viewing points in the city to admire the beauty of this bridge! (The bridge’s construction started in January 1933.)

The Golden Gate Bridge during sunset

Overall, there are countless spots throughout the city of San Francisco where you can catch views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here is an article on the 12 best views of the Golden Gate Bridge from a local.

During my first time in this lovely city, I first saw the bridge in person at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. When Ashley and I went to one of the closer lookout spots for photos, we first went to Battery Cranston followed by Marshall’s Beach. (I also got to drive over the bridge with my mom after I picked her up at SFO and drove straight to Wine Country.)

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Battery Cranston is one of the most popular viewpoints and there is a parking lot right next to it. (This is also the famous spot where photographers take photos of the cars driving over the bridge.) From there, you can hike down (around 15 minutes) to the stunning Marshall’s Beach.

Relax at Marshall’s Beach:

What to do in San Francisco during your first time - see the Golden Gate Bridge at Marshall's Beach

After seeing the bridge from one perspective at Battery Crantson, Ashley and I did the 15-minute hike down to the scenic Marshall’s Beach, which offers another unique viewpoint of the bridge with the ocean waves crashing along the shore.

A happy woman at Marshall's Beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background

We spent sunset at Marshall’s Beach and it was absolutely beautiful. If you stay until the sun is down, you can see the lights twinkling from the bridge. It truly is a beautiful spot for photography, picnics or simply just relaxing at the beach.

(One thing to note about visiting Marshall’s Beach is that it is a famous spot for nudists to hang out. We didn’t see anyone nude when we were there and I honestly didn’t know this until a friend on Instagram told me.)

A woman laughing and having fun at Marshall's Beach in San Francisco

Overall, we were lucky to have seen the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear day. San Francisco is also known as the Fog City, since the Bay Area brings about a lot of fog. I also recommend dressing warm during a visit to San Francisco during summer. It is pure sweater weather! (San Francisco experiences Indian summers, so fall is when you’ll experience the best weather in The Golden City.)

Admire the Palace of Fine Arts:

A woman at the Palace of Fine Arts

Located in the same area of where you’ll find a lot of viewpoints for the Golden Gate Bridge is the Palace of Fine Arts.

If you are pondering on what to do during your first time in San Francisco and want to feel like you’re in Europe, visit the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of the city. It is free to get in and there are so many wonderful photo spots for you to enjoy.

Overall, the Palace of Fine Arts is a peaceful spot within San Francisco. It opened in 1915 and was constructed for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition. Nowadays, the Palace of Fine Arts is a venue for private galas, weddings, trade shows, corporate events and so much more. It is open every day except for Mondays and when special events are happening. There is also a café to grab food and drinks too.

Take a Tour around Alcatraz:

Alcatraz Island - What to do During Your First Time in San Francisco

Even though it was temporarily closed when Ashley and I were in San Francisco, another cool thing to experience during a first trip to San Francisco is Alcatraz Island.

Overall, Alcatraz is the former military fort and notorious maximum-security federal prison that housed Chicago’s most infamous Prohibition-era crime boss, Al Capone.

During a tour around Alcatraz, you can visit the Lighthouse, Gardens of Alcatraz, do an island walk or bird viewing and make your way through the actual prison and see the cells where former inmates resided.

Overall, Alcatraz was notorious for being one of the most dangerous and violent prisons to be sent to. Only the worst of the worst were housed there. The prison was shut down in 1963 due to the high cost of maintaining it.

There were 14 escape attempts, 23 people were caught actually escaping, six were killed, two drowned and five disappeared.

Enjoy a Day Trip:

Napa Valley, a day trip from San Francisco

During a trip to San Francisco, you must also venture outside of the city and explore the rest of the Bay Area’s gems. Below is a list of great day trips to take from The Golden City:

  • California Wine Country (Sonoma County and Napa Valley) – Over an hour drive.
  • John Muir Woods National Monument – A 45-minute drive.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore – Less than a two-hour drive.
  • Yosemite National Park – Around a four-hour drive.
  • San Jose – Around an hour drive.
  • Sausalito – A 30-minute drive.
  • Oakland – A 20-minute drive.
  • Sacramento – Over an hour and a half drive.
  • Monterey/Carmel-by-the-Sea – A two-hour drive.
  • Big Sur – Less than a two-hour drive.
  • Santa Cruz – An hour and a half drive.
  • Berkeley – A 20-minute drive.

A woman hanging out by a piano at StayPineapple in San Francisco

I hope you all enjoyed discovering what to do during your first time in San Francisco, California and reading about my stay at StayPineapple. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., CA State Capital: Sacramento, Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

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7 Comments

  1. Robyn on July 23, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Your stay at StayPineapple sounded like a lovely time! That birthday cake latte also looked just as good!

    • Taylor Deer on July 29, 2021 at 9:22 am

      It totally was Robyn! I loved my time in San Francisco! 🙂

  2. Kylee on July 23, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Great post, Taylor! Love SF 💕

    • Taylor Deer on July 29, 2021 at 9:22 am

      Thank you Kylee and me too! 🙂

  3. Kim Deer on July 23, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    San Francisco looks like an amazing city to visit ~ so many great restaurants, shops and cafes ~ love the color of the beautiful Golden Gate bridge! It is so breathtaking driving on that bridge and looking at the old prison Alcatraz. Love the finger psinted houses ~ especially the house where Full house was filmed! Loved this blog and stunning photography ~ love you, mom xoxo 👩xoxo

  4. Maria on July 26, 2021 at 5:17 am

    The view from Marshall’s beach is amazing! I also loved Fisherman’s Wharf when I visited San Francisco. I haven’t heard of the restaurants that you mention, but would love to try some of those on my next visit to SF 🙂

  5. Cosette on July 27, 2021 at 11:07 am

    San Francisco is such a great city. We visited way back and loved the vibe. We had the Golden Gate Bridge without fog, which is un typical.

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