Even though the Euro to Dollar exchange is at its all time low, North America, especially the west coast is one of the most favorite destinations this year among my Austrian friends. Having lived in various states for 2.5 years, I would like to summarize my top tips for the popular west coast roadtrip.
Trip length: 2-3 weeks
Must do and see:
- Walk through the Italian district around North Point and take the
steps up to the Coit Tower for a nice view
- Take the tram up to Lombard Street and view the famous crooked street
- For a nice picnic with a view go to Dolores Park
- Castro, the LGBT district also can’t be missed
- Walk up to the Twin Peaks which offers an amazing 360° view of SF for free!
- Museum of Science in the Golden Gate Park is worth a visit and afterwards head to the Haight Ashbury district which is known for its origin of the hippie subculture has many bars
- SF’s China Town is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia
- On Saturdays, visit the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building
- Stroll through the colorful and vibrant Mission district and admire the street art, have a coffee in one of the hip coffee places or a drink in one of the many bars
- The Full House fan should see the Painted Houses at Alamo Square Park
- Free walking tours can be found here
- Shop around Union Square and Marina District
- Go to a ball game to the beautiful AT&T Stadion and see the Giants win (hopefully)
- ….more at the Stay active section below
- The number of bootcamps is incredibly high but I enjoyed working out in the Marina in front of the Golden Gate bridget with REACCT – book a free intro class!
- Yoga classes are offered by Lululemon stores throughout the city
- Crossfit was born in California and boxes can be found throughout the city. You will most likely get a free intro class but drop in classes are around $25-30
- Rent a bike and ride across the Golden Gate bridge and ride to the hilltop view points on the left. I recommend cycling further to Sausalito, a small fisher town with a few shops wher you can grab an ice cream or coffee bevor heading back by ferry or bike
- Go for a run through the big Golden Gate Park
- There are a lot of steep but also artsy staircases all over SF which provide the perfect setting for some stair runs, jumps and cross training (e.g. Iron Street Stairs, Filbert Steps, Lyon Street Steps, 16 Avenue Tiled Steps,
- Take an evening walk or run along Ocean beach and enjoy the sunset, then pass the Cliff House on the north end and continue on Lands End trail to Baker Beach (different view of the GG bridge) and end it at the Golden Gate Bridge
- Go Kitesurfing or sailing in the Bay
- Alcatraz tour, unless you would like to see San Francisco by night, then do the evening tour and enjoy the view from the boat – Watch ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ instead
- Tenderloin district, especially at night this area is not safe
- South of Market is grungy with a lot of homeless people and drug addicts
- Breakfast or Brunch at Home Plate on Lombard in the Marina District. Home Plate has heavenly homemade scones and a great menu at low price
- Burmese heaven at Burma Superstar (!) – Don’t ever miss out on that!
- Treat yourself to some Ghirardelli chocolate or ice cream which is
- Bi-Rite ice cream is to die for, try some exotic flavors like lavender
- Eat chowder in sourdough bread bowl at Fisherman’s Wharf
- Visit the Off the Grid food truck market every Friday at Fort Mason and dive into various culinary delights like chicken waffles, ice cream sandwiches and more
- Endulge into the signature cheesecakes or have a lovely dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at Union Square on the roof top
Where to sleep: I recommend looking at Airbnb, a SF based company, since hotel prices in San Francisco are super steep!
- Drive up North to Muir Woods and admire the gigantic Sequoia trees
- Wine lovers should head to Sonoma and Napa Valley and sample some of Californias’s finest wines at the many vinyards