San Francisco


1. Drive down the crooked part of Lombard St  ✓


  1. Attend a concert at The Fillmore – And eat a free apple. And (hopefully) take home a free poster.
  1. Ride a cable car    ✓
  1. “Run” Bay to Breakers   ✓
  1. Drive the 49-Mile Drive
  1. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge   ✓
  1. See a Giants game at AT&T Park   ✓

Preferably a home opener or a playoff game, but really any game will do. Bonus points for eating garlic fries.

  1. Have a bonfire at Ocean Beach
  1. Eat dim sum – Hong Kong Lounge is a good place to start.
  1. Laugh your ass off at Beach Blanket Babylon
  1. Enter the Bring Your Own Big Wheel race
  1. Get a Mai Tai at the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

It’s the only place in SF where you can sip on a drink while enjoying a rainstorm with thunder and lightning.

  1. Enjoy a Morning Bun from Tartine
  1. Take a picture in front of the Full House house
  1. Do the audio tour at Alcatraz. Plus, there’s beer on the ferry ride back.
  1. Toast to the good life at Top of the Mark
  1. Celebrate Pride
  1. Visit the buffalo in Golden Gate Park
  1. Eat the $4 cinnamon toast at Trouble Coffee
  1. Drink a beer at Toronado. You know, a REAL beer.
  1. Devour a bacon-wrapped hot dog. On Mission St. After midnight.
  1. Spend an afternoon chillin’ on Hippie Hill
  1. Drink an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Café
  1. Go to the opera. And also the ballet and the symphony.
  1. Play the antique arcade games at Musée Mécanique
  1. Say hello to the sea lions

And eat some clam chowder in a bread bowl while you’re there.

  1. Walk the labyrinth at Land’s End
  1. Paddle a boat at Stow Lake
  1. Listen to the sounds of the Wave Organ
  1. Eat seafood at Swan Oyster Depot
  1. Slide down the Seward St Slides
  1. Sing along to a movie at the Castro Theatre (we saw Grease!)
  1. Hit up SF’s best museums

Specifically, the de YoungSF MOMAAcademy of Sciences, and Exploratorium.

  1. Enjoy a drink in the back room at Tosca

Figuring out how to get invited back there is all on you.

  1. Buy a book at City Lights
  1. Run the Lyon St Steps

Walking and/or just looking at the view from the top is also acceptable.

  1. Watch the sunset from Twin Peaks.
  1. Go the top of Coit Tower

And climb the Filbert Steps to get there.

  1. Indulge in an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli Square
  1. Shop for records at Amoeba
  1. Go to at one day of the Treasure Island Music Festival
  1. Walk to the top of Mt Davidson. At 938ft, you’ll be at the highest point in the whole City.
  1. Eat at a food truck
  1. Spend a day at the Ferry Building
  1. Enjoy a free concert at Stern Grove
  1. Eat “The Big Donut” donut at Bob’s Donuts
  1. Take a picture in front of the Palace of Fine Arts
  1. Eat a burrito in the Mission

It doesn’t have to be from La Taqueria, but it should probably be from La Taqueria.

  1. Cross the Drum Bridge at the Japanese Tea Garden
  1. Wait in line for an hour for brunch. Even better if it’s bottomless. (Brunch with Shan at Bullit)
  1. Walk through the two-story Gingerbread House at the Fairmont Hotel

And then walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral.

  1. Wait in line for the focaccia at Liguria Bakery
  1. Indulge in a super-sized sub at Submarine Center

And explore West Portal while you’re there.

  1. Spot the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill
  1. Take afternoon tea
  1. Eat ramen in Japan Town

It doesn’t have to be the fried chicken ramen at Suzu Noodle House, but you won’t be sad if it is.

  1. Get a drink at every single one of SF’s oldest bars. Yes, all 18 of them.
  1. Walk Lovers’ Lane in the Presidio
  1. Explore Sutro Baths
  1. Eat the “fried with pride” fried chicken from Frisco Fried
  1. Watch the Blue Angels soar through the sky

Even better if you do it from a friend’s rooftop.

  1. Ride alongside a pro at a gran fondo.

If you haven’t yet experienced the glory and gastronomy of a gran fondo, make 2016 the year to do it.

  1. Visit Yosemite National Park.
  1. Soak up the views along Paradise Loop.

This approximately 35-miler is, well, paradise for both mid-level and intermediate cyclists.*Bonus – take the ferry from Tiburon to SF at sunset

68. Hike Big Sur.

  1. Eat clam chowder at Spud Point Crab company.

Bodega Bay, about two hours north of San Francisco. But trust us: The clam chowder alone at Spud Point Crab Company is worth the trip.

  1. Spend a weekend driving Highway 1.

When the itch for a road trip pops up, don’t worry about a plan: Just toss the tents and sleeping bags into the car, grab the map, and hit Highway 1, one of the most iconic and jaw-droppingly beautiful stretches of pavement in the country, if not the world. The rest will take care of itself.

  1. Torch your quads on the infamous Sand Ladder.

Running from Baker Beach up to Lincoln Avenue, this torturous set of “stairs” is basically made up of logs and cables—and a boatload of sand—that form unevenly spaced steps. Unless you’re in serious fighting shape, expect to be thoroughly winded at the top. It’s a great spot for training, and if you’re putting in more than one ascent, you just might get help counting your climbs from the contingent of naked sunbathers on Baker Beach below.

  1. Camp with an unbeatable view of the bay.

It’s an experience that sure to appeal to both city slickers and outdoor lovers: Camping on San Francisco Bay, with a twinkling backdrop of the SF and Oakland skylines and the Golden Gate and Bay bridges. Two campsites offer such an experience: those on Angel Island , which is smack in the middle of the Bay, and Kirby Cove , just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

  1. Catch a Giants Game from a kayak.

Forget the pricey cost of admission to see the World Champion Giants and enjoy the game from the water at McCovey Cove amongst a flotilla of kayakers. Bring a radio, a cooler, and a net just in case you get lucky enough to snag a “Splash Hit.”

  1. Ride the Wiggle.

Then roll right over to the Wiggle, a stretch of established bikeways from Duboce Triangle to the Panhandle that avoids some of the city’s most wretched climbs.

  1. Hike to the top of the highest peak in the Bay Area.

That’s  Mount Diablo , at 3,849 feet, and it’s a formidable summit to reach—13.2 miles roundtrip. 

  1. Sip and cycle through wine country.

There’s no better way to truly soak up the essence of this glorious countryside than on two wheels. Feel the fresh air rushing past, get the blood flowing and calories burning between tastings, and truly earn your sips.

  1. Swoon over hordes of hunky holy men.

Head to Golden Gate Park for the Hunky Jesus contest. And lest the ladies not be left out, a Foxy Mary category was recently added to the lineup.

  1. Appreciate art in the outdoor playground of the Presidio. Easily one of the most spectacular urban green spaces in the country, the Presidio offers not only stunning views of the Bay, Alcatraz, the city, and Golden Gate Bridge, it’s also home to some unique and noteworthy artworks along the way: Spire and Wood Line by Andy Goldsworthy, both worthy of mid-run (or hike or ride) photos.
  1. Soak up the history of West Coast surfing in Santa Cruz.

Even if you’re not a surfer, Santa Cruz is a must-do. Stop by the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum for a well-curated look at the history of the sport in this surfing mecca.

  1. Backpack the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail.

It’s challenging enough to make you feel like you really accomplished something, but doable enough to knock out over a long weekend: the 30-mile route that winds through old-growth forests and waterfalls to the Pacific. The best part of the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail ? It gets easier, and the views just get sweeter, the farther you go.

  1. Join the best rolling party in San Francisco.

San Francisco Bike Party, also known as Bike Party, is a guaranteed two-wheeled good time on the first Friday of every month. Each ride is carefully mapped out through various SF ‘hoods, with several stops, music, and themed costumes.

  1. Soar above the city on a rope swing.

Like the Seward slides, the rope swing on Billy Goat Hill in the Glen Park neighborhood of the city also has its own Yelp review. You’ll have to climb some 230-odd stairs up Harry Street to reach the park where the swing calls home, but the chance to soar into the sky, with the city stretching out in all directions below, is more than worth the effort. That is, if the swing is there: Neighbors are reported to cut it down, wanting their peace and quiet. But that makes the experience all the more special when it is there (and you can even call yourself a swinger in San Francisco, to boot).

  1. Kayak (or do anything, really) at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Point Reyes National Seashore is an outdoor lovers’ paradise, complete with endless kayaking, hiking, and biking options. Camping at Point Reyes is sublime.

  1. Climb to the South San Francisco sign.

The iconic “South San Francisco” sign, which was put in place in the 1920s to attract industry to town, can be reached within about a 2-mile hike on Sign Hill, on the aptly named Letters Trail. The homes and nearby hillsides stretch out below, but the real views are the up-close ones of those massive letters.

  1. Climb the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

The 16th avenue steps are a neighborhood project to create beautiful mosaic artwork on a set of 163 stairs.

  1. See the Balmy Alley Murals

Balmy Alley is located in the Mission district of San Francisco and has the most concentrated selection of murals in the city. The artwork on this block long alley began in the mid-80’s to voice outrage over political injustices and human rights issues in Central America. Today, it is a colorful collection of murals that depicts the artists’ interpretation of world issues.

  1. Explore Alcatraz at Night

Alcatraz is a former military prison located on an island one and a half miles from the mainland.

  1. Visit a Fortune Cookie Factory

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is a tiny hidden treasure located in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

  1. Eat an Egg Custard Tart

An egg custard tart features a silky egg yolk custard in a crunchy pastry shell that is traditionally found in various Asian countries. The Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown

Other Places to Visit

  • Half Moon Bay
  • Sacramento – Old Town, Capitol Building
  • Big Sur – McWay Falls, Pfieffer Beach, Point Sur Lighthouse, Pebble Beach, Bixby Bridge, Point Lobos Park,
  • Monterrey & Carmel by the Sea (Cannery Row, Hiking, Alvarado St, Sunset in Carmel Beach)
  • Santa Cruz – boardwalk
  • Berkeley – Buddhist Temple Brunch, Hiking at Grizzly Peak
  • Oakland – Fox Theatre, Lake Merritt
  • Petaluma – Lagunitas Brewery


  • Elbo Room
  • Trader Sams
  • Tempest
  • Q Bar
  • Cider Mill
  • Tope
  • Tupelo
  • Tempest
  • El Rio
  • Bissap Baobab (Senegalese Dance Club)


  • Assab (Eritrean)
  • Farolito (Burritos)
  • La Taqueria
  • La Buen Sabor

If you asked me what you should do in SF, here’s what I would say…

  • Mission Burrito
  • Dolores Park
  • Valencia St Bars (chapel, elbo room, blondies, etc.)
  • Union Square
  • Polk St (Bob’s Donuts)
  • Lombard St
  • Golden Gate BRidge
  • Dim Sum in China Town
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Ocean Beach
  • Lands End
  • Painted Ladies
  • Haight Ashbury
  • Toronado
  • Twin Peaks
  • Corona Heights
  • Coit Tower
  • Ferry Building
  • Embarcadero
  • Palace of Fine Arts
  • Japantown – Ramen
  • Presidio – Batteries to Bluffs Trail
  • Marin Headlands
  • North Beach (Little Italy)

Things I Still Need to Do:

  • Ruby Skye Night Club
  • Butter
  • Russian River Tubing