I know that I mentioned I was exhausted from my week in San Francisco here, but it was truly so fun to get to be back in one of my favorite cities and seeing one of my best friends. We ate such great food and had an amazing time, so I wanted to share some of the best things to do in San Francisco after my second trip!
I was there for 4 days of vacation and then stayed the rest of the week for work. So if you’ve got a 4 day weekend to take or coming up, this post will be helpful in planning where to eat and what to do!
MY GUIDE TO THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO:
WHERE TO EAT:
Breakfast + Brunch:
Jane on Fillmore: Jane is always a winner in my book when it comes to brunch and it’s also very Instagrammable. Go for the avocado toast, sprinkle cookies, and a chai latte.
Split: We weren’t able to eat here, but saw it and wanted to go in immediately. It looked so cute and it looks like a great place to get a classic American breakfast.
Project Juice: If you’re in a hurry or wanting to slow down after a big dinner the night before, you can’t go wrong with a juice or smoothie here! If you go to the one on Polk St. just know that they don’t make the smoothies there to-go – it’s their juices and some smoothies pre-bottled.
Thorough Bread Cafe: This place had the best pastries…o.m.g. The blueberry scone and almond croissant were SO good.
Beanstalk Cafe: I had the best almond milk chai latte of the whole trip here – I want another one right now just thinking about it! This is the perfect place to go to for a bagel and other breakfast items if you’re looking to grab something and get going on the day’s activities.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse: You’ve most likely seen this bakery on Instagram already and I have to say it’s definitely a must as far as best things to do in San Francisco go. Their branding is so cute and the pastries are unreal. We loved the sticky bun the most out of the donut and churro croissant that we tried. People were lining up for the cruffins (croissant-muffins?!) so if that sounds delicious to you get there early to get your spot in line!
Souvla: I WISH this place would come to Dallas. It is SO good. It’s a Greek restaurant where you can pick a dish to have either as a gyro or a salad. So fresh and so yummy! But definitely go hungry and order the garlic fries and the frozen greek yogurt with baklava on top – YUM.
Gracias Madre: Also another restaurant that I’d just die to have in Dallas. This is an entirely vegan Mexican restaurant but you seriously can’t even tell. Everything on the menu sounded so good. I ended up having vegan chorizo flautas that were unreal and our chips and guac to start were also pretty unforgettable.
Sweet Green: If you’re looking for something quick and healthy, this is the place to go!
Pane e Vino: This restaurant is a must. It’s a very authentic Italian restaurant with such a homey, family feel. And the pizza was some of the best pizza I’ve EVER had. Start with the burrata and get the Alla Salsiccia pizza for one of the best meals ever.
Pizzeria Delfina: Another amazing stop for pizza with a really great atmosphere. Our waitress also did an incredible job of recommending the most delicious things on the menu for us! I’ll never forget the fried risotto balls because they were so, so good. This restaurant also made it onto one of my favorite’s, Julia Engel’s, SF restaurant guide so pretty glad I got to eat there 🙂
The Big 4: I mentioned this bar/restaurant in last year’s post and it was so fun to go back on this trip! It is quite a bit pricier than other spots, so I’d save this for a special occasion or for your last meal before you head home.
Nob Hill Cafe: More amazing Italian to be had here with SUCH good homemade pasta. I would give anything to have that pesto tortellini again… The cozy atmosphere in here is also so lovely for an intimate dinner!
20 Spot: This wine and apps bar was so cool and an amazing spot for people watching. It’s a former record store which gives it its cool vibes. Go and split a bottle of wine with your friends before or after dinner!
Top of the Mark: I’d mentioned in last year’s post that I really wanted to make it here for a drink, so I’m glad I got to on this trip. We ate a yummy cheese board and sipped on Moscow Mules while overlooking the gorgeous skyline. This is a must do on any trip to San Fran!
Bi-Rite Creamery: When I think of great fro-yo, I’ll be thinking of this place. Their soft serve with rainbow sprinkles was SO creamy and thick. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t live in San Fran because I’d eat this dangerously often!
The Loving Cup: Even though I was indulging in #allthethings over the past week, I did manage to get a healthier, dairy-free dessert in once – yay me 😛 ! I love The Loving Cup because they can blend up dairy-free yogurt for you with any toppings of your choice.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO:
Dolores Park: We spent Sunday afternoon just sitting in the park, listening to music, and people watching. It made me wish there were parks like this in Dallas! That’s why sitting out in a park like this one is one of the best things to do in San Francisco.
Pier 39: We didn’t get around to doing this but it’s high up on the list for next time. It’s a shopping center with carousels and rides out on a pier! This is also where you can go to see the sea lions sun bathing 😉
Alcatraz: If you’ve never done this before on a visit to SF or are visiting for the first time, it’s definitely a must. Book your tickets in advance though!
Day Trip to Sonoma: We had planned on heading to Napa for the day over the weekend, but you need to make reservations much farther in advance. So we headed to Sonoma for a more relaxed vibe and so that we could do more without any prior planning.
- Grab lunch to go at Glen Ellen Village Market: My sister-in-law’s sister (say that 5 times fast) gave us great recs for Sonoma and this one was so helpful! We stopped in here first to grab delicious sandwiches and other snacks to go to eat out at the wineries.
- Head to Benziger + Imagery: These are sister wineries and both so beautiful. I really loved Benziger’s tasting room – it was so easy to taste, grab a bottle, and head out to some chairs to eat our lunch. Imagery was my favorite from the day though because they have lawn games and chairs surrounding the lawn that you can just relax in and take in the scenery.
- Chateau St. Jean: Make sure to head out to Sonoma before noon-ish so that you can spend a good amount of time at each winery. Most of them close at 5, so since we headed out a little later, we didn’t get to make it this winery. It’s DEFINITELY on my list for next time!
Best Things to Do in San Francisco – Shopping near Fillmore:
- Lip Lab by Bite Beauty: My sweet friend took me here to make my own custom lipstick for my birthday! It was SO much fun and would be perfect for you and a friend or a small group. Make sure to make an appointment because it’s very popular and unlikely you can get in as a walk-in.
- Joie: We met the nicest sales lady in Joie, so it made discovering these booties even better (and for 25% off!). They’re the PERFECT boot to wear with bare legs with dresses and skirts. You know how some boots can cut your leg off in a weird way and give you cankles? Well NOT these – that’s why I think they’re worth the investment!
- Anomie: I mentioned this boutique in my post about San Fran from last year, but I just had to go again on this trip. I’d been wanting to get this shirt ever since my friend had gotten it the year previously. This boutique is super well curated and has really unique clothes, bags, and jewelry. Also obsessed with the candle brands they stock there!
- Isalis: Didn’t end up buying anything at this boutique, but I loved everything that they had. Definitely worth a stop in and it’s right by Anomie!
WHAT TO PACK:
One of the best things to do in San Francisco is people watch, and I especially love to see what people are wearing in other cities! It gives me so much outfit inspo. After visiting San Fran last year, I had a better idea of what to bring along on this trip so I wanted to share 🙂
Crew Neck Tees: I always travel with tees like this one in 2-3 different colors. They’re perfect for layering and using as a base for different outfits and with jackets!
Cargo or Jean Jacket: San Fran can start to warm up more as the fall months start which is strange, so I didn’t need to bring too heavy of a jacket with me on this trip. That’s why it was essential to top off an outfit with either a jean jacket or camo military jacket in the evenings when it cooled down!
Leather Sneakers: To be honest, I didn’t pack my favorite pair of leather sneakers with me this time and had ALL the regrets. There were so many times when we were going to be walking somewhere to eat and all I wanted to do was grab my sneaks but only had booties. Needless to say, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes that will go with your outfits! This pair truly is amazing and my all-time favorite.
Fall Dress: If only I’d discovered this dress before our day trip to Sonoma! I didn’t bring a dress with me on the trip, but this one I ended up buying would have been perfect for the wineries. Bring a dress that you can easily layer with a jacket and pair with booties or sneakers to go between more dressed up and casual.
Do you have any San Fran recs? Please share! I absolutely love this city and want to go back already to eat and see more!