Growing up near some of the most beautiful and popular cities in California will tend to make one become a “not so tourist, tourist”. I say that in the best way possible but in reality the husband I and are probably the least likely to visit Times Square or the Eiffel Tower. When traveling we like to explore the cities we are visiting like a local. We will explore fun neighborhoods, eat at great restaurants and shop at local boutiques. Let’s be honest the tourist thing has never been our thing.
Now that we live in one of the most popular tourist cities in the world I thought I would put together a list of the 10 best things to do in San Francisco through a locals eyes. Here are 10 things we love to do that will keep you away from the crowds of tourists and give you a true representation of SF.
Go to a Giants Game:
This one is an absolute must in my book! Even if you aren’t a baseball fan this is one thing you have to do before you leave the city. From amazing food to beautiful views you won’t want to miss out on the fun. The best part about attending a game is if you aren’t a baseball fan there is so much to do at the park. Tickets range anywhere from $25-100 for great seats (and let me tell you there is not a bad seat in the house!)
2. Hang Out in Dolores Park (or dolo as locals call it):
Newly remodeled Dolores Park is situated between the Mission and the Castro neighborhoods. Grab a beer, blanket and food from a local market (there are so many great ones and some will even deliver!). Not to mention this park dons AMAZING views of the city as well!
Omg yes eat! My husband and I figured out if you ate at every single restaurant here in the city for breakfast, lunch and dinner it would take you years to get through them all. That being said some of our favorites are as follows: Original Joe’s in North Beach (best Italian food ever!), Tommy’s Joint in Russian Hill (comfort food with a great bar, a local favorite), Bob’s Donuts also in Russian Hill (our wedding dessert and let me tell you it was a hit!), Beach Chalet on the Great Highway (my absolute favorite view of the the ocean, the whole restaurant is situated upstairs with wall to wall windows) and Papalote in the Mission (pictured above). Wherever you choose to eat make sure you enjoy every minute of it. No chain restaurants allowed!
4. Drive or Hike to the Top of Twin Peaks:
(photo curtsey of photographylife.com)
Twin Peaks or Sutro Tower (the tower that can be seen across the city) is one of the best views in San Francisco. It can be quite touristy but this is one of our favorite places to go on a Sunday morning. Grab burritos from Tower Market and take them up to the top. Enjoy with the best views of the bay. Some even hike or bike to the top, which can also be a great source of exercise!
5. Walk Through the Mission & View Clarion Alley:
(We love it so much we took our wedding photos here!)
This one is a favorite of Ale and I! The Mission neighborhood is the oldest and most culturally rich with Latino influence. Named after Mission Dolores, the Mission dons thrift stores, bars, coffee shops and great taquerias (our favorite is Vallarta). Take a walk down to Clarion Alley and see of the most famous murals in the world. The Mission is also home to most of San Francisco’s murals and street art which can be found on buildings, alleys and fences.
6. Visit a Museum:
San Francisco is home to so many great museums. From the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art (SFMOMA) to the De Young to the Cable Car Museum (which is free & great if you are traveling with kids). You simply cannot go wrong! Most museums are packed on the weekends so I would suggest attending during the week if that is an option. Also make sure to look up each museums hours. Many are closed on Monday’s and their hours change from season to season. Trust me we have found out the hard way.
7. Walk Down Ocean Beach:
First grab a coffee at Java Beach Cafe on Sloat (right across from the SF Zoo) and walk straight down to the beach. This is Ale & I’s Saturday morning walk with the pup and it has more or less become a routine. The walk is a beautiful one, and on warm days during the summer (which are definitely rare) you can even walk in the water. Make sure to bring a leash and bag if bringing your dog as this is a popular beach for dog owners and their 4 legged friends alike.
8. Anchor Brewing Company Tour:
If you are a beer lover then you will love this little known San Francisco gem. Anchor Brewing Company holds tours of their brewery daily and costs $20 to attend. They take you on a walking tour of the brewery, educate you about Anchor Brewing and their beers, and at the end of the tour you are able to do a tasting in their taproom. Check out more information on their guided tours here.
9. Walk The Ferry Building & Sample Fresh Local Food:
(photo curtsey of:availtours.com)
Although the husband and I don’t do this as often as we’d like it is still a fun, less touristy thing to do. If you couldn’t already tell we are definite foodies. Anytime good food is involved in a beautiful setting we are there. With local, sustainable and seasonal foods who wouldn’t love shopping and sampling some yummy treats.
PS: Blue line coffee is there and it’s amazing!
10. BBQ at Chrissy Field:
If you are lucky enough to enjoy a nice day in the city I would definitely take advantage of having a bbq at Chrissy Field. We did this last year for Ale’s birthday and had a blast! Get there early enough to claim a spot with benches and a bbq pit if you don’t have your own equipment. I you don’t mind bringing your own there is plenty of grass space to hold your own shin dig. This area dons absolutely gorgeous views of the Golden Gate and is generally nicer than Ocean Beach when a nice day happens upon us.
Hope y’all have a blast here in san Francisco when you come to visit. If you plan to visit soon or have already visited in the past let me know what your favorite non-tourist thing to do here is in the comments below.
XO, Mrs. Rodriguez