Travel Guides

Map2Next’s Ultimate Guide to 3 Days in San Francisco: Day 2

3 months ago by Kimia

So you just arrived in San Francisco, and you’ve got three days to explore the city. Whether on foot or by cable car, we’ve got you covered when it comes to the packed seven-mile stretch of steep and colorful hills encompassing the City by the Bay. It’s time to get your walking shoes on, because you’ve got a ton to do and see over the next few days!

From queuing up outside of the best bakeries and cafes to living your best life at rooftop bars with sweeping views, there’s no end to delicious eats and charming spots to check out while you’re here. Let’s not forget popular local activities like picnicking at Dolores Park, exploring breathtaking landmarks like Sutro Baths, or visiting the Exploratorium, either! You’ll want to keep reading for our ultimate guide to San Francisco.

Day 2, it’s time to get started. You’ll be spending the day in the Sunset District and at Golden Gate Park.

Outerlands

One can not simply visit San Francisco without going to brunch at least once. Nestled in the foggy Outer Sunset district, this fan-favorite New American spot is definitely one of the best!

Oh, and guess what else? Outerlands is on the more affordable side of the brunch spectrum when it comes to the citywide selection, so both your stomach and your wallet can go home happy.

16th Avenue Tiled Steps

The beautiful artwork on the mosaic-tiled steps at 16th Avenue started out as a community project back in 2003. Neighborhood residents Jessie Audette and Alice Yes Xavier combined grassroots efforts in order to beautify Golden Gate Heights — and they were certainly successful. Located on Moraga Street between 15th and 16th Avenue, the sea-to-stars-themed stairs are a popular attraction for that perfect SF selfie.

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The Hidden Garden Steps

Lesser-known neighbor to the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, the Hidden Garden Steps are worth the visit as well — especially if you don’t have the patience to wait for every other tourist to take their picture before you get your own Instagram-worthy shot on the stairs.

Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park

While there is so much to do and see at Golden Gate Park, our #1 pick has got to be the Japanese Tea Garden. With its idyllic scenery and peaceful atmosphere, you’ll be able to snap a few cute pics for the ‘gram, in addition to getting your zen on before heading off to your next destination.

Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park

Can’t get enough of the flora and fauna Golden Gate Park is so famous for? We’re with ya. Next, you’ll want to check out the Conservatory of Flowers, also located in the park. This stunning, Victorian-era glass greenhouse has more than 2,000 species of plants and flowers — and that’s not even counting the myriad butterflies fluttering around inside!

California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park

The California Academy of Sciences is a science museum and educational institution located in Golden Gate Park. But hold on, let us back up a second, because it’s so much more than that! Featuring an aquarium, planetarium, and a variety of intriguing exhibits, the Cal Academy of Sciences has something for everyone. Be sure to wait in line for the museum’s all-too-appropriate San Francisco earthquake exhibit, as well as its indoor rainforest, which features humid temps and lush greenery.

Hamon Observation Tower at the DeYoung Museum

After you’ve satisfied your inner nerd at the Cal Academy of Sciences, you can hop on over to the Hamon Observation Tower at the De Young Museum. Don’t worry, it’s not far — and you won’t want to miss out on the view — or taking a selfie in front of it — from the 360 observation deck up top!

Ocean Beach

You’ll want to bundle up in layers before heading out to Ocean Beach, the premier destination for super-dedicated surfers in San Francisco. For pretty much everyone else, Ocean Beach is a notable spot for relaxing next to a crackling bonfire on the beach, and for exploring the many scenic historical landmarks this beach is surrounded by.

Sutro Baths

A lesser-known but nonetheless significant landmark in the area, the Sutro Baths has a fascinating history. It was initially built in 1896 (!) as a privately-owned public bathhouse facility. The swim and amusement center once featured seven saltwater swimming pools. Years after falling into disrepair, however, the Sutro Baths’ concrete ruins and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean are still a popular draw for tourists and locals alike.

The Bistro at the Cliff House

Another historical landmark, the Cliff House was originally constructed in 1863 as a resort for the wealthy post-Gold Rush. In 1881, philanthropist and soon-to-be mayor Adolph Sutro bought the resort from its former owners. After being sadly ravaged by fires, not once, but twice, Sutro’s daughter, Emma Sutro Merritt, oversaw construction of a third Cliff House following her father’s death. #KnowBeforeYouGo

Today, it’s part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, after being rehabilitated by the National Park Service in 2005. It houses the Bistro Restaurant at the Cliff House, which is a pricey but esteemed staple of the area, with stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and coastline.

Lands End Trail and Lookout

Simply follow the path from Sutro Baths to explore the Lands End Trail and Lookout. Trails here wind around the rocky clifftops, so that you’ve got views of the ocean, and later, the Golden Gate Bridge from much of the trail. Trust us, it’s just as beautiful as it sounds!  

You can opt to hike down to Mile Rock Beach, or continue along the trail, which will spit you out in the Outer Richmond District.