5 Nights In San Francisco: What To Eat, Drink And Do In America’s Coolest City

Digital editor Victoria left her heart in San Francisco. Here she rounds up the best things to do in a city she fell in love with.

Golden Gate Bridge

Just what is it, that to my mind at least, affords San Francisco the title of America’s coolest city? Perhaps it’s the hippy culture for which it’s famed, the relaxed vibe that’s evident by the bay or the very fact that even sea lions find the city’s piers a desirable place to lounge.

Whatever it is, it’s certain that there’s a somewhat magical quality to San Fran, acting as a sort of antidote to some of America’s more uptempo cities.

Having spent five days in LA and a crazy two nights in Vegas prior to my visit, San Fran offered me something I’d found lacking in my previous US destinations: Culture.

San Francisco is rich in it. Whether it’s the diversity and quality of the food that’s on offer, the openness of the people or indeed the many engaging activities you can spend your time involved in there, I found the city to be not only a visual feast for the eyes, but a form of respite for the soul.

So how best then do you spend your allotted time in a city, which in my opinion, you could surely live in and still find new things to do?

Here I’ve created a carefully considered list of some of the best things San Francisco has to offer.

Eat

It’s by no means an exaggeration to say that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to delectable dining in San Fran. For a quick bite to eat near Union Square, grab tacos in Colibri. It’s a small Mexican eatery just off the square that provides only the most scrummy of dishes.

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf also offers you a wealth of choice and no trip to SF would be complete without some seafood fresh from the bay. Head to Pompeii’s Grotto and be sure to try out the city’s quintessential dish, a seafood chowder served in a bread bowl – washed down with a glass of white of course.

Not your thing? Pier 39 is rammed with up-market burger joints for those looking for some all-American grub and jumbo-sized cocktails.

Grab some ice-cream from one of the parlours down the street and eat it by the pier for afters.

Drink

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If a night out with a difference is what you’re after then Asia SF will surely meet that need. Sup on cocktails and enjoy three-course dining while the city’s hottest drag queens perform dance routines on the bar.

If that’s not to your liking, check out San Fran’s Castro District, commonly known as one of the first neighborhoods in the US to embrace LGBT culture. With a variety of bars and clubs you’re sure to have a night out to remember.

Do

Golden Gate Bridge1

While the food and drink certainly give San Fran that something more, it’s the city’s sightseeing activities that really give it that added edge of ‘cool”, and few experiences could be cooler – and more breathtaking – than hiring a bike and riding it across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. A three-hour cycling tour with Blazing Saddles will take you the 1.7 mile distance across the bridge and into the stunning bay town of Sausalito.

Alcatraz

Also, ranking high on the San Fran bucket list is a tour of Alcatraz, but for the best buzz take the night time tour. You’ll spend the evening indulging in the prison’s fascinating history and can step outside to watch the sun set over the city across the way. Partake in the Alcatraz Debate to determine what really happened during the prison’s infamous escape and stay right until closing to hear the sound of the slammer in action.

Finally, for an unforgettable finish, wrap up your trip with a ride on one of San fran’s historic cable cars. Ride it all the way to the bay and chill out on Pier 39 as you watch the sun set over the harbour. Bliss.

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