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San Francisco Off the Beaten Path

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The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf and Lombard Street are some of the top attractions of this vibrant tech and financial West Coast hub. While these are definitely worth a visit, there are also many undiscovered gems in San Francisco that will truly astonish you. In this list you will find tips both for the hip and vibrant areas where you can mingle with the locals, and for quiet and peaceful trails and viewpoints.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • LGBT
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

9 Places

4 City Tips

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9 Places

Mission District

Neighbourhoods

Lands End

Hiking trails

Mission Dolores Park

Parks

Sausalito

Destinations

Mount Davidson

Religious sites, Mountains

Biergarten

Restaurants

The Castro

Neighbourhoods

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market

Flea & street markets

Richmond District

Neighbourhoods

Kim H's City Tips

  • Take Muni, the cable car, bus, or simply walk. Although San Francisco is known for its hills, the waterfront and downtown are perfectly flat and easy to explore on foot.
  • Staff are usually friendly, but be prepared to add a 15%-20% tip at cafés and restaurants.
  • San Francisco is based on a very tolerant mentality, however, smoking in public places is generally not well perceived.
  • Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." This is clearly an exaggeration, but extra layers never hurt!
  • Save
    Mission District
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    Immerse yourself in the vibrant Latin culture of the Mission, with its artistic ambiance that comes to life through the impressive selection of colorful street murals, and the many bohemian cafés, restaurants and original boutique stores you'll find here.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Try a burrito at La Taqueria, named best burrito in the Mission.
    • Eat at one of the many amazing restaurants on Valencia Street.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #54 of 265 attractions in San Francisco
    • Dirty & unsafe 27/03/2015
    • On top five of neighborhoods 19/03/2015
    • Mission District
    Address:
    Mission St. between 16th and Army Sts.
    San Francisco, CA
  • Save
    Lands End
    Hiking trails
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    This mile and a half long trail along the coastline will take your breath away. It's relatively unknown, even to locals, so you will often find yourself completely alone when enjoying the magnificent views of the peninsula's shore and its natural splendor.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The quietest time to go is on a weekday.
    • Make it down to the beach and explore the coves, where you might find some harbor seals.
    • Don't miss out on the maze, which you'll find at the end of the Mile Rock trail.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #47 of 462 activities in San Francisco
    • Great Walk 25/03/2015
    • Beautiful scenery. 24/03/2015
    • Lands End
    Address:
    Point Lobos Avenue and El Camino del Mar
    San Francisco, CA 94121
    Phone:
    +1 415-561-4323
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    9:00 - 2:30
    Sat - Sun
    9:00 - 3:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Mission Dolores Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    Nothing beats spending a lovely sunny afternoon in Dolores Park, hanging out with the hip young San Franciscan crowd. Enjoy a picnic or get more active, with tennis and basketball courts, as well as a soccer field on offer for its visitors.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Many events, like live music and outdoor movie viewings, are hosted in Dolores Park. Check the agenda on the official website before visiting.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 265 attractions in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The best park in San Francisco 26/03/2015
    • Busy and fun hipster park 24/03/2015
    • Mission Dolores Park
    Address:
    Dolores Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    Phone:
    415-554-9529
  • Sausalito
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    Take the ferry from San Francisco to the tranquil and cozy town of Sausalito, lying at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. This picturesque town is an ideal spot for a day trip and offers several boutique shops and restaurants, where you can enjoy retail therapy and a variety of treats (ice cream is a must) amidst its natural beauty.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can drive to Sausalito over the Golden Gate Bridge as long as you don´t mind a bit of traffic.
    • Play a game of bocce ball and have lunch at Bar Bocce, which is next to a stunning private beach.
    • The ferry takes you from the San Francisco Ferry Building to Sausalito in 30 minutes.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    • Sausalito
  • Save
    Mount Davidson
    Religious sites, Mountains
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    A rustic hike to the top of Mount Davidson is a terrific way to reach the highest natural point in San Francisco. On a clear day both the city and the ocean views are magnificent, and if you look very carefully, you can almost make out the gray whales breaking off the waves in the distance!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The best way to get here is by bus: take line 36 (Teresita), which will stop at the main entry (Dalewood Way and Lansdale Avenue).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #104 of 265 attractions in San Francisco
    • Great sweeping views 08/03/2015
    • FANTASTIC VIEW AND CHARM.. 13/06/2014
    • Mount Davidson
    Address:
    Monterey Blvd.
    San Francisco, CA 94127
    Phone:
    415-831-2700
  • Save
    Biergarten
    Restaurants (German)
    Kim H Says:

    The Biergarten in the Hayes Valley district is a popular hangout spot for San Franciscans, and for good reason. Arrive in either the afternoon or evening, and upon entering you're sure to be greeted with a lively atmosphere, delicious German beers and pretzels, and the perfect place to mingle and have some fun with the locals.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • When the weather is nice, try to get a table outside on the bright and cheerful terrace.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1,374 of 3,577 restaurants in San Francisco
    • It's *ALL* about sitting outside in the sun 31/12/2014
    • Good beer and brat! 14/10/2014
    • Biergarten
    Address:
    424 Octavia
    San Francisco, CA
    Hours:
    Sun
    13:00 - 4:30
    Wed - Sat
    15:00 - 6:30
    Other:
  • Save
    The Castro
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    The Castro District was one of the first openly LGBT neighborhoods in the United States. This is one of those particular places where you know exactly where you are: The vibrant and historic neighborhood is brought to life daily by its colourful decor, quaint shops, and inviting locals. Not to be outdone by other parts of the city, The Castro features some of the most outlandish party and nightlife atmosphere in all of the west coast.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Trendsetter
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Go watch a movie at the stunning Castro Theatre.
    • Many special outdoor events are organised in this area, such as street fairs and the SF pride, so make sure to check what is going on before visiting.
    • Pay a visit to the first museum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in the US, the LGBT History Museum.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 265 attractions in San Francisco
    • Castro area 25/03/2015
    • So San Fran 09/03/2015
    • The Castro
    Address:
    Castro and Market Sts. is the heart of the Castro
    San Francisco, CA 94114
    Phone:
    415-391-2000
  • Save
    Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
    Flea & street markets
    See more photos
    Kim H Says:

    This bountiful market showcases some of the most delicious and fresh local produce. It sits next to the famous Ferry Building, which is the focal end point of Market Street and can be viewed even from the Twin Peaks overlooking the city (a sizeable distance away). The open air market is held each Saturday and is a place where San Franciscans of all types can be seen coming together. Delicious food at affordable prices.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Sit down at one of the tables, and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared with fresh produce from the market.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 241 shopping & fashion in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A startling display of the agricultural variety of Northern California 23/03/2015
    • Lovely food, but pricey 09/03/2015
    • Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
    Address:
    Embarcadero & Green Street
    Ferry Building
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Phone:
    415 353 5650
    Other:
  • Save
    Richmond District
    Neighbourhoods
    Kim H Says:

    Close to Golden Gate Park, this quiet residential neighborhood comes to life at night, when its many restaurants and relaxed bars open up and quickly fill with laid-back locals. This is an especially good place for Asian cuisine: it's hard not to be tempted to try some of the best dim sum in the city.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Go eat at one of the restaurants on Clement Street, referred to by locals as "The other China Town," and filled with Asian and fusion restaurants.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #182 of 265 attractions in San Francisco
    • Decent 24/08/2014
    • Quiet, charming, great restaurants. 20/07/2012
    • Richmond District
    Other:
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