Traveling looks a bit different this year for everyone, and for some, a weekend getaway to a nearby city is currently the safest way to go on a trip. But with only one weekend in the bay area, it’s hard to fit everything you want to do in your 2 day San Francisco itinerary. Nevertheless, we have some great recommendations for must-see places and destinations for your SF weekend getaway.

2 Day San Francisco Itinerary:

  1. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  2. Buena Vista Cafe with Irish Coffee
  3. Go to the Aquarium of the Bay at Fisherman’s Wharf
  4. Head to North Beach
  5. Visit Chinatown
  6. Visit Yerba Buena Gardens
  7. Visit SFMoMA
  8. Visit the Salesforce Park
  9. Visit Haight-Ashbury
  10. Rent a Boat at Stow Lake
  11. Visit Green Apple Books
  12. Window Shop Hayes Valley
  13. Get Mochi in Japantown
  14. Mission District picnic in Dolores Park
  15. Get some special views at Twin Peaks

1. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

A must for every tourist, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is a beautiful, brisk start to any day.  The bridge is 1.7 miles long, so if you don’t want to walk 3 and a half miles, you can always walk halfway and then come

2. Buena Vista Cafe with Irish Coffee

After a walk along the bridge, nothing warms you up quite like an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe in Fisherman’s Wharf.  The iconic San Francisco concoction of hot coffee, Irish Whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream is a mainstay of this venerable wharf restaurant. Buena Vista Cafe is only a three-block walk from GoCar’s Fisherman’s Wharf location.

3. Go to Aquarium of the Bay at the Fisherman’s Wharf

With over 20,000 animals from San Francisco Bay Watershed, including sharks, jellyfish and otters, the Aquarium of the Bay is a great place to learn about the ecology of the San Francisco Bay Area.

4. Head to North Beach

A short walk up Columbus Street from Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach is a bustling Italian neighborhood with some of the best pastries and espresso in the city. North Beach’s many sites can be seen along the Columbus Ave portion of GoCar’s Chinatown Downtown Tour.

5. Visit Chinatown

North Beach quickly gives way to Chinatown at the corner of Broadway and Columbus.  If you haven’t filled up on the tasty treats of North Beach, pick up some dim sum from one of Chinatown’s steam-filled bakeries or get a box of egg custard tarts from Golden Gate BakeryChinatown is one of the many neighborhoods featured in GoCar’s Chinatown Downtown Tour.

6. Visit Yerba Buena Gardens

An oasis in downtown San Francisco, Yerba Buena Gardens are a great spot for a break and enjoy one of the most urban parks downtown.  Yerba Buena Center encompasses a center for the arts, bowling alley, skating rink, merry-go-round, movie theatre complex, food court, and open grassy lawn.  The Martin Luther King Memorial Fountain sits at the east end of the lawn, and the splashing water adds to the calming ambiance of this urban oasis.

7. Visit SFMoMA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is across the street from Yerba Buena and has 7 gallery floors of art by artists like Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and Wayne Thiebaud. Space, remodeled and expanded in 2016, is a light and joyful exploration of many different mediums of modern art.

8. Visit the Salesforce Park

Floating above the Salesforce Transit Center, Salesforce Park is a great place to pretend you are one of San Francisco’s tech employees.  The rooftop open area floats three stories above the busy streets of downtown San Francisco, with views into the offices of Salesforce and downtown office buildings among the more than 600 trees that fill the park.

9. Visit Haight-Ashbury

Haight Ashbury, the epicenter of the Summer of Love, retains the hippie-bohemian vibe of that era.  Stroll along the street and visit one of a kind shops like Amoeba Records, one of the largest Record stores in Northern California (yes they still sell records!) or pick up a tie-dye shirt and take a photo under the famous street sign at the corner of Haight and Ashbury.  Haight Ashbury is part of GoCar’s Golden Gate Park and More, Painted Ladies and Haight Ashbury, and All Day Tours.

10. Rent a Boat at Stow Lake

A man-made lake with a small island at its center, Stow Lake has charmed locals for decades.  One of the most fun experiences at the lake is renting a pedal or rowboat for a leisurely ride around Strawberry Hill Island.  Keep an eye out for basking turtles, swimming ducks, a waterfall, and the Chinese Pagoda on your ride.  Visit Stow Lake as part of your GoCar’s Golden Gate Park and More, Painted Ladies and Haight Ashbury, or All Day Tour.

11. Visit Green Apple Books

With over 250,000 titles of new and used books shelved in a maze-like 1906 building on foggy Clement Street, Green Apple Books is a cozy book-lovers dream. The worker-owned shop is a great place to pick up a discounted used best-seller, cool cookbook, a favorite book from childhood, or souvenir. Green Apple Books is a part of GoCar’s Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Loop Tour.

12. Window Shop Hayes Valley

Once overshadowed by a freeway off-ramp that was heavily damaged during the 1989 earthquake, Hayes Valley has evolved into a chic, walkable dining and shopping district. Visit some of the pre-’89 tenants, like the venerable Bavarian beer hall Suppenküche, as well as some of the exciting newcomers, like innovative ice cream shop Salt and Straw or the United States’ only Sake store, True Sake. 

The street also has an open-air park with rotating public art projects and a city-sponsored shipping-container pop-up mall.  Hayes Valley is just down the street from the Painted Ladies on GoCar’s Painted Ladies Haight Ashbury Tour.

13. Get Mochi in Japantown

Benkyodo Company was originally opened in 1906, serving hand-made Japanese Confections called mochi, made with pounded rice and various fillings.  The company has continued the tradition through three generations.  Try one of the more traditional mochis filled with sweet red adzuki beans, or one of the newer flavors – like peanut butter or strawberry.

14. Mission District picnic in Dolores Park

With its sweeping view of downtown, and unparalleled people watching, Dolores Park is one of the most-visited public parks in San Francisco. The typically warm Mission District park attracts a wide variety of San Franciscans, from Latin paleta (popsicle) vendors to local families to muscle-bound sunbathers. Grab a sandwich or pint from one of the local stores that ring the park and enjoy the view!

15. Get some special views at Twin Peaks

Sitting 900 feet above San Francisco, Twin Peaks Natural Area covers 31 acres of land atop Eureka and Noe Hilltops.  The sweeping views atop the hills include all of North San Francisco, and on a clear day can extend across the Bay to Marin, Oakland, and even Mount Tamalpais.  Twin Peaks is one of the best places to get an overall view of the city – just dress warm, the summit can get quite cold!  Twin Peaks is an option on GoCar’s Painted Ladies Haight Ashbury Tour.