SAN FRANCISCO, OCTOBER 12, 2011 - In the San Francisco Bay area there are literally thousands of things you can do on any given day. If you are a San Francisco local, or a tourist visiting for only a few short days, check out these “must do” items on the San Francisco bucket list.
If you are a local, chances are you have done a few of these. If you are visiting the Bay Area, this list can help you use your time wisely. This list only scratches the surface and is not in any particular order.
- Walk/bike over the Golden Gate Bridge then drive up to the Marin Headlands to Golden Gate Bridge overlook
- Visit one of the many wine regions around SF
- Hike Mount Tam, and have lunch in Stinson Beach
- Spend a day hiking, playing and picnicking Mt. Diablo or Angel Island
- Pub crawl local brew pubs and dive bars while drinking local craft beers (Toronado, Magnolia, Alembic, Thirsty Bear, City Beer Store, La Trappe, Zeitgeist, 21st Amendment & Lucky 13 are faves)
- Walk/bike from Ft. Mason to Ft. Point through Crissy Field
- Drive Highway 1 north to Mendocino and The Avenue of the Giants and/or Highway 1 south through Half Moon Bay to Carmel and Big Sur
- Check out a concert at one of SF’s famous, intimate concert venues (Boom Boom Room, Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, Bottom of the Hill, Biscuits & Blues, Yoshi’s, Café du Nord, Elbo Room, The Independent and of course Fillmore West…just to name a few)
- Spend a day exploring and hiking through Golden Gate Park or the Presidio.
- Walk from Union Square to the top of Nob Hill (you can take the cable car if you aren’t able or willing to hike up the STEEP hills). Reward yourself with a drink at the Top of the Mark (in the Mark Hopkins hotel).
- Hike the lesser known trails and parks in San Fran (Sutro Heights Park, Mt. Davidson, Dolores Park, China Beach, Fort Funston).
12. Attend a tasting event. Wine, beer, whiskey, scotch. You name it. A few great events to plan your weekend around are WhiskyFest, Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza, San Francisco Ski & Snowboard Wine & Beer Expo, Hopland Wine Passport Weekend, PinotFest in Monterery or Pinot Days SF, Bodega Bay Seafood Art & Wine Festival, ZinFest, Livermore Wine Country Festival and Heart of Sonoma Valley Open House Thanksgiving Weekend
14. Sit outside and enjoy brunch in the warm sun (seasonal). Zazie, Plow, Baker Street Bistro, Magic Flute, Foreign Cinema, Reverie, Mama’s & Ella’s (no outdoor seating at these last two, but AWESOME food).
16. Some of the best sushi in the world is here… it’s a “must try!”
18. Bend an ear at one of the many outdoor concerts (many of which are free) such as Stern Grove, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Outside Lands, Yerba Buena Gardens Fest, Treasure Island Music Fest or Free Shakespeare in the Park
20. Express your artistic side by visiting one of SF’s many museums
22. Drive up to Twin Peaks for the city’s most breath-taking views
23. Tour Alcatraz, especially at night. Be sure to take the audio tour as well as experience the individual docent tours
25. Catch a San Francisco Giants game at gorgeous AT&T Park
Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be writing feature articles about each of these items on my bucket list. A few of them I’ve already covered (see the main column section for Out and About San Francisco). The rest will come with incredible detail and suggestions based on personal experience. Follow me along on this journey. Locals, let me know if you think something is missing from this list that my readers should hear about!
Weather: Be sure to check the weather here. Best times of year to come are March-May and September-November. The summer is great for those activities outside the San Francisco city limits. SF gets a fair amount of rain December-February. So plan accordingly. Always bring layers of clothing. And don’t forget your summer scarves!
For brunch, to avoid a wait, get there before 10am. I know this might be tough on a weekend, especially if you just went wine tasting or beer guzzling. But it’s worth it to get up and out before the crowds.
For anything requiring tickets, be sure to book in advance.
Read up on the history of San Francisco.
For many of these activities you can take public transportation, such as MUNI buses and streetcars. If you are coming from the East Bay, you can take BART and transfer to MUNI. If you are coming from the South Bay, you can take CalTrain and transfer to MUNI. From Marin, take Golden Gate Transit buses. To plan your trip with all available public transportation, click here.
For activities outside San Francisco, it is best to rent a car and drive.
Quick links to feature articles for items on The Bucket List:
Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between.
Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all. If it’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherrie is in on it. Follow her column, for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco treats.
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