From Seattle, San Fran is a quick 90 minute flight and a ton of fun for a quick trip. You can have a very successful weekend getaway and fit in a LOT of action. We’re lucky to have a friend who lives in the city so we have an apartment to crash at, but you could just as easily nab an Airbnb to have a similar authentic experience. Having a car is nice, though parking can be tough, and much of visiting this city can be accomplished on the train or by bus. We ended up taking a lot of public transport all weekend and it worked just fine! This is what we did on a Saturday and Sunday (aside from drinking Rosé) and how to weekend in San Francisco:
1. Brunch at Presidio Social Club
Don’t waste any time when you get off the plane, just head straight north for some delicious brunch. Presidio is a perfect place for groups of friends, celebration, and breezy brunches. It’s the Bay Area so bring a jacket but try and sit by a window or out on the back deck to get some sun. I had a sparkly hibiscus drink and my friends enjoyed other types of champagne cocktails. Definitely get a cinnamon bun to share. This is definitely a fun way to spend a morning…and a little bit of the afternoon.
2. Hiking Muir Woods
Drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and try to get some parking at this National Park with miles of hiking trails. We stumbled across the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center and our Green Gulch Loop hike took us right through the organic farm and retreat – meditating, gong ringing, Buddhist statues and all. Climb the steep hills for amazing views and stop the beach for some sea breeze on your way back. Expert tip: nab a beer at the Pelican, an English pub tucked away in the woods. A pitcher is fun to share sitting out on the lawn. Everyone is in such a good mood, you’ll find yourself even talking to your neighbor (somewhat uncommon on the West Coast!)
3. Dinner at Leo’s Oyster Bar
So, I don’t eat oysters but everyone else does and Leo’s has a lot more to offer than oysters (though they do specialize in seafood so you have to be into that). Visit this gem of a restaurant downtown San Francisco but make sure to nab a reservation – this place is packed! Honestly, the thing I enjoyed the very most was the wonderful service. And the ambiance…..and the food. It’s pricey but such a great experience. Start with sparkling Rosé and enjoy the beautiful tropical decor if you arrive early. I had the halibut and it was absolutely wonderful.
4. Brunch at ‘āina
Head on down to the trendy Dog Patch to this hot brunch spot – I recommend arriving about an hour or two earlier than you want to eat as they are guaranteed to be on a wait. That’s ok! Take a walk through this industrial neighborhood to kill time and get some steps. The service was bizarre and the bathroom didn’t lock but the food was great and very unique. Aina blends flavors so well together and you can request to make most dishes vegetarian. I got the Smoked Honshimeji & King Oyster Mushrooms without meat. Be sure to get the Malasadas (like a donut with guava jam in the middle) to split with the table. You might have to get two orders actually….
5. Visit Alcatraz
This is the most touristy thing we did on our trip and it was awesome! Definitely purchase tickets in advance as they sell out most days. You should arrive early and get in line for the short ferry ride. During the trip, you’ll get a little bit of history and are welcomed on the island with some tour guides who will tell you stories – ours featured those who tried to escape the island. I highly recommend moving on to the guided tour – it’s very worth the time. Visiting is creepy but so interesting and the ~hour you spend inside is insightful. This is a very unique and educational tour.
6. Happy Hour at the Interval Museum and Bar
While you wait for your reservation, stop by this very unique bar. The bartenders are a bit sassy and everything seems quiet and serious but the tables and chairs remind you of a science experiment while intriguing books and sketches line the walls. They have a binder full of beer, wine and cocktails and some cute little spreads like carrot hummus you can eat with crackers. If I lived in the area, you’d find me studying here on a regular basis for sure.
7. Dinner at Greens
This vegetarian staple at Fort Mason was delicious! Definitely make a reservation (like everywhere we went!) and choose from all of the completely vegetarian dishes. One of the most special things about this spot is the view so try and request a window seat. They have an extensive wine list which pairs well with all the bold flavors offered on this diverse menu. You can’t go wrong with any of the soups or salads and the Shepherds Pie was a favorite in our group. We didn’t save room for dessert but I wish we had because they looked fabulous.
How else do you weekend in San Francisco? Tell me some of your favorites in the comments below!