Get our recommendations of things to do, see and eat while in San Francisco if you’re planning to visit or new to the city.

San Francisco is one of the 50 cities that everyone should see in their life time. We have summarized a few tips to help you prepare and recommendations of things to do, see and eat while you’re here.

Let’s start with the tips to that you make the most of your trip.

Timing: If you’re expecting a sunny California vacation, come in the spring or fall.  San Francisco winters are typically rainy and summer can be foggy and cold.

Planning: If you want to make the most of your time here, plan ahead.  There is no off season here so book the popular tours of landmarks as soon as you make your travel arrangements.

Clothing: Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes.  The city is very walkable if you’re dressed for the microclimates of the different neighborhoods and prepared to walk the hills and stairs.

Our recommendations will give you some ideas of how to make the most of your time and experience some of the things we do as locals but you should also check out our San Francisco Favorites board on Pinterest for more ideas of what to do, see and eat while you’re here.

Meet the Locals: Roll out of bed in the morning and go for a coffee.  You can have your coffee at the shop or on a morning stroll of the neighborhood or the bay.  Don’t worry about hair or makeup.  It might seem like an odd thing to do but you’ll be in good company.

Explore Neighborhoods:  Do a city walk and experience the different neighborhoods.  For instance you might want to start with a little shopping in Union Square and lunch at the Neiman Marcus Rotunda.  After lunch, you could walk through Chinatown and stop for an afternoon tea tasting and then end the day in North Beach for dinner and drinks.  You’ll probably find some live music and/or dancing there too.

Hike up to Coit Tower:  If you take the stairs from Sansome Street to the tower, you’ll likely see the Parrots of Telegraph Hill.  The lower level of the tower has some amazing murals painted during the depression and the top has incredible views.  It is worth the effort to see.

Adventure out of the City: Rent a car for the day and head North of the city into Marin for a day hike.  Take the coastal trail starting from Tennessee Valley and hike into Muir Beach.  Walk out to the road for lunch at the Pelican Inn and then hike back to your car and head over to Sausalito to relax and take in views of the city.  If that sounds a little too strenuous go further North to Tiburon for lunch at Sam’s on the water and then take the ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island. Either way you’ll get exercise, fresh air and most likely sun, even if the city is socked in with fog.

Enjoy the Food Scene: Go to the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building on Saturday and either enjoy a meal there or buy some ingredients to prepare a meal at your vacation home.  Either way you will experience some of the delicious fresh food produced by the local organic farmers.