Travel in a Minute: San Francisco


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Photo credit: Andrey Bayda via Shutterstock
Photo credit: Andrey Bayda via Shutterstock

By Cailin O’Neil

San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in all of the US, known for the famous Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz it is also a food lovers dream. Said to be the 35th on the list of top tourist destinations in the world it should be high on your list of places to visit at least once in your life.

In the embedded video “San Francisco in a Minute” I give you a quick lighthearted tour of some of the best things to see and do in the city as well as some great insider tips. Hit play to have your mind full of information about San Francisco in only one minute and then continue reading for more details.

Things to do in San Francisco

1. Visit the icons

1 Golden Gate Bridge Salim Virji on flickr
 The Golden Gate Bridge | Photo credit: Salim on Flickr

The best known icon in the city is the Golden Gate Bridge. There are many ways to see the bridge from one of the numerous view points on either side of the bay . You can also drive across it in a rental vehicle or on a hop-on, hop-off bus, walk across it, or better yet rent a bicycle and ride across it. Warning: only rent a bike if you are at least a bit athletic, otherwise you might end up taking 4 hours to complete the journey like I did.

Be sure to also check out the crooked street — Lombard Street — but a word to the wise, if you are walking approach from the east as the backside of the street on the west side is an extremely large hill that you do not want to walk up. You should also plan to get out on the water. A great way to do this is by taking the ferry to Alcatraz. This way you get two nice boat rides and you get to tour around the famous prison and island. If you wish to visit Alcatraz, you should book your tour at least 3 days in advance as it is nearly impossible to get a walk-up ticket.

2. Eat in Chinatown

2. Chinatown in San Francisco by budgetplaces on flickr
Chinatown decorations. | Photo credit: Budgetplaces on Flickr

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America. Sprawled out over several blocks and hills in the city the best places to eat are the hidden gems in the back alleyways. From a tiny fortune cookie factory to small restaurants, ask the locals for the best places to eat. The city also has lots of great restaurants for seafood, Italian, Mexican, sushi, and everything else you could want.

3. Take in a Sporting Event

3 AT&T Park in San Francisco by EvilTomeThai on Flickr
AT&T Park in San Francisco | Photo credit: eviltomthai on Flickr

One of the most American things you can do in San Francisco is go see a baseball game. At the AT&T Park you can often catch a game with the San Francisco Giants or, if you would rather watch football, the city is also home to the NFL team the San Francisco 49s. Book your tickets in advance for lower prices or, if you are staying at a hostel in the city, check to see if they have discounted tickets for their guests.

4. Try the Transportation

4 A Cable Car in San Francisco by Ronnie MacDonald on Flickr
A Cable Car in San Francisco | Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr

If you can navigate the hills San Francisco can be a fairly walkable city. There are also two railway and subway systems and the buses are fairly cheap. Somewhat pricier (about $6 a ride) are the famous Cable Cars. Often overloaded with people, it might be hard to get on one unless you are at the beginning of its route and even then you may need to wait in a line. It’s a bit pricey, but there is nothing like the wind blowing through your hair as you hang off the side of a street car coasting down a big hill as you narrowly miss getting hit by other passing street cars.

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