Oh San Francisco, how I’ve missed you!
From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to vintage cable cars, moody skies and the hilly landscape, there’s never a dull moment exploring the ever-changing City by the Bay. With so many must-see attractions as well as local gems, it’s easy to soak up the city’s vibes doing whatever your heart desires.
A weekend trip to San Francisco with my best friend meant red-eye flights, boozy brunch, spotting colorful street art downtown, dodging the rain, exploring Alcatraz and so much more.
So for those looking to spend a weekend in San Francisco, here are some of the things that I recommend adding to your San Francisco two-day itinerary.
2 Days in San Francisco
How To Spend A Weekend in San Francisco
Where to Stay in San Francisco?
Parc 55 San Francisco
When you’re only in town for the weekend, a centrally located hotel is so important.
After landing in San Francisco International Airport (SFO), head to Parc 55 San Francisco, a Hilton Hotel only a few steps away from Union Square. Near the finest bars, galleries, shops, clubs and eateries, Parc 55 San Francisco is a welcoming hotel in downtown San Francisco with views of the city and the bay from all floors!
Deluxe Guest Rooms
Our deluxe room on the 28th-floor was spacious with dramatic bay-style windows that entice you with San Francisco’s gorgeous skyline. Here I admired the spectacular views of downtown San Francisco from the comfort of my bed.
Every room features 49-inch HD TVs and self-serve tea and coffee.
With a fully equipped 24-hour fitness center, stylish event spaces and top of the line dining options nearby, you can get a sweet treat at Barbary Coast, a coffee shop right outside the lower lobby entrance.
For a filling breakfast, head to Poached for an all-inclusive breakfast buffet with table service and a variety of delicious breakfast items like omelets, pancakes, fruit, freshly squeezed juices, oatmeal and more. Grab lunch or dinner at Kin Hao or a glass of wine at Cable 55 Restaurant.
Have a four legged family member? At Parc 55, pets are guests too; there are plenty of pet friendly rooms here.
Where to Eat in San Francisco?
Brunch at Mymy
Mymy is one of the best brunch spots in San Francisco. Brunch at Mymy is straightforward where you can order sweet dishes like a Banana Souffle Pancake topped with powdered sugar or savory dishes like Shrimp & Longanisa Cheddar Grits made with roasted brussel sprouts, Pico de Gallo, poached eggs and grilled toast.
Arriving at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Mymy was already packed with hungry patrons but service was extremely fast.
In addition to the intimate seating area inside, there’s also outdoor sidewalk seating or you can grab a seat at the counter for a more casual dining experience.
I ordered Challah Bread French Toast without the crispy bacon, a side of scrambled eggs and cheese. I washed it down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Sosa however ordered egg whites, peppers and bacon with a bowl of mixed fruit and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice – all delicious!
Overall I enjoyed my San Francisco brunch experience and I recommend checking out Mymy next time you’re in town.
Dinner at Urban Tavern
After spending the day exploring San Francisco, how about dinner at Urban Tavern, a metropolitan gastro pub conveniently located inside Hilton San Francisco Union Square. With an eclectic menu that boasts specialty dishes like, “Pork Belly & Waffle” and “Charred Spanish Octopus”, Urban Tavern is a foodie’s paradise. And if you’re up for a drink, Urban Tavern hosts happy hour every day from 4-5 p.m and all-day happy hour on Sundays!
Things to Do in San Francisco
To have a Chinatown in a city is one thing, but to have the oldest Chinatown in the country that just so happens to be the largest Chinese enclave outside of China is another thing!
But what makes San Francisco’s Chinatown so unique isn’t just its dense Chinese population. San Francisco’s Chinatown is known worldwide for its rich cultural history and contributions.
Some of these contributions include being the old stomping ground for young Bruce Lee (who shares a mural with Tupac Shakur), and the filming location for classic Hollywood films like “Big Trouble in Little China”, “The Maltese Falcon” and “Godzilla”.
For one of the best views of San Francisco, head to the Coit Tower.
Commissioned by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, – a patroness of San Francisco’s volunteer firefighters – Coit Tower was built at the top of Telegraph Hill in 1933 to highlight the city’s beauty.
Fast forward some 80 odd years later, this 210-foot tower continues to serve that purpose and adds a magical aesthetic to San Francisco.
Admission to the Coit Tower observatory is $8 USD for adult non-residents and $6 USD for San Francisco residents.
Cable Car Ride
A visit to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without an iconic cable car ride.
San Francisco’s cable cars have been a city staple since the 1870s. The cable cars, which have been historic landmarks since 1964 continue to offer a reliable means of transportation for both tourists and San Francisco residents everyday from 6 a.m. to midnight.
With three cable lines running – Powell/Hyde, Powell/Mason and California/Van Ness, riders can start at any of these starting points.
For riders looking to add even more adventure to their ride, the cable car comes equipped with a special pole that allows you to enjoy the ride from outside the car. Just make sure to hold on tight, it’s a bumpy ride!
You’re going to jail…but this isn’t just any jail. This is Alcatraz we’re talking about!
Alcatraz is a federal penitentiary so impossible to escape that even Hollywood had to make a movie about the badass Clint Eastwood escaping it!
All jokes aside, the now closed Alcatraz prison is one of San Francisco’s main attractions, peaking the interest of people from all over the world who want to experience the maximum security federal prison which housed notorious inmates like Al Capone.
Now a museum, Alcatraz is one of the “Top 3” most popular landmarks in the United States. From Pier 33, board the Alcatraz Cruises ferry which takes you to Alcatraz island, a fortress in the middle of San Francisco Bay.
Cocktails at Cityscape
End your weekend in San Francisco at Cityscape, a cocktail lounge on the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Don’t worry no reservations required.
This spacious lounge offers unobstructed, panoramic views of San Francisco which pairs perfectly with small plates, craft cocktails or a glass of wine.
Open from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, what better way to wind down a weekend’s worth of sightseeing then by treating yourself to a cocktail and San Francisco’s dreamy skyline.
Lastly, if you’re looking for popular day trips from San Francisco, consider checking out either Lake Tahoe or Pacifica, California.
What are some other cool things to do in San Francisco?
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.