Weekend Guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is a city full of life, art, food, music and so much to see and do! It's hard to fit everything into a weekend but we crammed it in pretty good! Here is my weekend guide to San Fran + all of the reader recommendations that I wasn't able to accomplish this time around.  I LOVED everything I shared in this post from our experience (the things I didn't like I did not share). I also read about all of the recommendations sent in by readers and let's just say, I can't wait to go back and try them out!!!

san francisco

Where to Shop

Hayes Valley- Hayes Street: Super cute street with local boutique after local boutique. So many unique, beautiful shops to wander in and out of plus, cute cafes and restaurants on every block.

Pac Heights- Fillmore Street: A great street to walk with tons of shopping and restaurants. More designer destinations with tons of stand alone stores that we don’t have in Chicago. ex: Frame, Freda Salvador, Current/Elliott and more.

The Mission- Valencia Street: My friend explained Valencia Street as the epicenter of gentrification in San Francisco. It’s a great mix of classic San Fran, with great architecture and beautiful, stereotypical San Francisco homes and tons of cool local shops and restaurants.

Where To Eat

Tartine- the most famous bakery in San Francisco and not overrated at all. There can be huge lines to expect a wait, but we lucked out and went at about 2pm on a Sunday and only waited about 10 minutes. None of us were hungry but between the 4 of us we split 5 pastries. Our favorites were the banana muffin, apple pie and pumpkin bread. We didn’t get any but word is that their bread is out of this world. They made a mean cappuccino as well.

Nopa- A San Francisco staple and gathering place. Shared plates with seasonal items from local growers. In one word: yummy.

Souvla- We actually didn’t eat here (can’t do it all in 3.5 days). But, I was recommended this place by about 15 people. Quick but bomb greek food. I’ve heard their greek yogurt with honey is delectable too.

Chubby Noodle- The most fun dinner we’ve ever had! This place was POPPIN. We had to push our way through like we were at a club to get through the door (it was halloween Saturday so this may have also had something to do with it) and they played the kind of rap music that you want to dance to like, 50 cent and Nikki Minaj. The menu is hysterical withe drink names like, The Chubby Noodle described as; "like the ideal significant other: smooth, not too sweet, goes down easy" and the noodles, ohhh the noodles were soooooo yummy. Our favorite was the Kobe Beef Chow Mein. Also, not sure if this is normal or if our waitress just really liked my mom… But within 10 minutes at the table she asked my mom to take a shot with her. By the end of dinner, she had brought all 6 of us 3 rounds of shots! It was pretty hysterical. We danced the whole dinner and it was a blast.

Petite Marlowe- If you’re looking for a really upscale, quaint beautiful dinner and you like seafood, this raw bar style restaurant is for you. 

Out The Door- This place was an accident but it was a very very happy one! We wanted to stay close to our hotel and were in the mood for Vietnamese. This was the closest place and had good reviews. The restaurant was beautiful and the foods delicious! My Dad actually voted this as his favorite meal of the weekend!

Jane- a delicious and super healthy breakfast and lunch spot on Fillmore street. I had one of the best salads. Definitely recommend! 

The Ferry Building- There are tons of cute vendors in the Ferry Building that looked amazing! We didn't get a chance to eat at any but I have heard that Hog Island Oyster Company is AMAZE.

Things To Do

Walk “Billionaires Row” - In Pacific Heights, walk the blocks on Broadway between Lyon and Divisadero to see the most amazing homes in the city! We were going nuts over how amazing and huge these places were. So dreamy!!!

Iconic Lombard Street- So fun to pop by and see this famous street! It's really fun to walk up and is very picturesque. It's quite a scene too- always pretty busy.

Hike in Muir Woods- The amazing Muir Woods is only a 30-45 minute drive out of the city and is SO worth it. If you arrive before the visitor center opens at 9am, admission is free! We did an early morning hike and it was gorgeous! We also saw a wolf on our drive up which was beyond cool. I'd never seen one before!

The Farmers Market at The Ferry Building- Patrick and I agreed that this was arguably our favorite part of our weekend in San Fran. Patrick, my Dad and I woke up early before my cousins wedding to head to this market because my best friend who lives in SF said it was really fun. I totally trust her recs and even though I'm not a morning person one bit, I dragged my bum out out bed and boy am I glad I did! This is the most charming market ever!!! There was a live band playing music that sounded like the soundtrack of Midnight In Paris which made it absolutely charming. It was a foggy (ish) morning so the look of the bridge and the water was so beautiful. Side note: did you know that the fog in san Francisco has a name? It's Carl. Anyways! We had the best Mexican breakfast at one of the stands at the market and bought the most gigantic, gorgeous bunch of flowers to take back to my mom for only $10!!!! High recommend this if you're there on a Saturday!

Walk the famous graffiti alleys- If you're in the Mission District there are two graffiti alleys which are pretty fun to walk through! There is Clarion Alley and Balmy Alley. They are the the most concentrated collection of murals in San Fran. 

Where We Stayed

The Kimpton Buchanan in Japantown- We loved this hotel. It was cute, simple and charming with a great central location. They also hosted a happy hour with free wine every evening... So that's always a plus!

Other Recs

Before I left for San Fran I asked my Instagram family for recommendations! We did a lot of them but there of course wasn't time for all of it in 3.5 days. BUT! Your recs were so good so I figured I would share!!! Here are all of the reader recommendations I was sent!

Food + Drink

Seed + Salt



Burma Superstar

Swan Oyster Depot

Leo's Oyster Bar

Kitchen Story



Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Garden Creamery- On Saturday's they make ice cream cones out of churros!

Cafe Reveille

Things To Do, Places To Go

The Palace of Fine Arts (super sad I missed this one... next time for sure!)

Marin Headlands- great views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Pika Pika- A fun Japanese photo booth spot!

Explore the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland

Sutro Baths

Museum of Ice Cream

De Young Museum

The Tilted Steps

Sausalito- amazing homes built into the hills (similar to the Amalfi Coast)

Point Reyes Lighthouse- Super cool but kind of a drive

Golden Gate Park

The Painted Ladies- (full house)


If there's anything that hasn't been mentioned, feel free to leave it in the comments! I'd love to add all of your recommendations! Can't wait to go back and try all of these places!

xx Ali