The Perfect 3 Days in San Francisco Itinerary (By a Bay Area Native)

San Francisco is a magical place, one I feel lucky to have grown up near.

From the Golden Gate Bridge to its hilly landscape folded with fog to its candy-colored Victorian architecture, San Francisco is entrancing and charming.

If you are visiting San Francisco for the first time, here is my ultimate San Francisco itinerary for first-timers!

San Francisco Itinerary: Day One

Start your day with breakfast from the Ferry Building.

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the iconic ferry building in san francisco on a sunny day in the city

Take a tour of Alcatraz.

the island of alcatraz on a cloudy day

Walk the Embarcadero to Pier 39 for some sea lion spying.

the sea lions of pier 39 relaxing on barges in the sun

Check out the nostalgic Fisherman’s Wharf.

Sign that reads Fishermans Wharf of San Francisco in the shape of a wheel of a ship

Check the views from the Municipal Pier.

the municipal pier of san francisco on a partly cloudy day exploring the city

Walk through Great Meadow Park.

Check out the Wave Organ.

the wave organ public art piece

Walk around the Palace of Fine Arts.

Fancy Roman-esque architecture on a lake at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Wander through Lover’s Lane in the Presidio.

lovers lane in the presidio

Head up to Crissy Beach for epic views.

view from crissy beach

Walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Pedestrian walking path on the Golden Gate Bridge, a red suspension bridge, on a foggy San Francisco date.

Take in the views from Battery Spencer.

view at battery spencer

San Francisco Itinerary: Day Two

Start the day with a pastry from Tartine.

Check out the views from Dolores Park.

the grass at dolores park on a sunny day

Walk though the Castro and see the iconic Castro Theater.

Take your classic photo with the Painted Ladies.

the painted ladies at alamo square

Check out Haight-Ashbury’s lesser-known Victorians.

colorful buldings of haight ashbury

Walk in Golden Gate Park to the Conservatory of Flowers.

the conservatory of flowers in sf

Marvel at the Japanese Tea Garden.

japanese garden in sf

Take an Uber back to downtown SF for dim sum at Yank Sing.

eating dim sum with chopsticks

Walk to Dragon’s Gate to explore SF’s Chinatown.

chinatown dragon gate in san francisco with green roof

Learn about Beatnik history at the City Lights Bookstore.

Photo: Caroline Culler (User:Wgreaves) on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA


Head to Coit Tower for gorgeous views (and parrots?)

Walk up the crookedest street in the world.

crooked street of lombard street

Take in the sunset in Ina Coolbrith Park.

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