When Luxury Retreats asked me to write a post about California, I knew it would be a great opportunity to talk to my dad about his recent trip to San Francisco. I remember him telling me what a great city it is, so I dug a little deeper and asked him what his 5 favourite things to do in San Francisco were. 

A day trip to Napa Valley

Napa Valley is around 100 kilometres from San Francisco, making it a perfect day trip option. Napa Valley would also be a great place to look into California vacation rentals – it might be a nice alternative to staying in the city (depending on your travel style). The scenery looks pretty amazing, so even if you’re not planning on visiting vineyards and sampling lots of wine (AKA getting drunk) it could still be worth a visit. There’s also Castello di Amoroso, which was built recently but looks exactly like a 13th century Tuscan castle.

Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s most iconic structure is well-known to people around the world, whether they have visited San Francisco or not. It’s one of the world’s most famous bridges, and walking across it is something most people do when they visit the city. Dad told me how he walked across it on a foggy day and a massive aircraft carrier suddenly appeared from the mist. The views of the San Francisco skyline are also a highlight of a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. For a slightly more depressing tale about the Golden Gate Bridge check out the song Golden Gate Jumpers by Cold War Kids.

Visit Alcatraz

Alcatraz is another must-see sight in San Francisco. If you’re a movie buff you’re probably already familiar with this fortress of a prison, as it featured heavily in films such as Escape from Alcatraz, The Birdman of Alcatraz and The Rock (starring the always entertaining Nicolas Cage). A visit to Alcatraz involves a boat ride across to this small prison island in the San Francisco Bay. You can see how the prisoners would have lived and there’s also an entertaining audio guide. Dad must have enjoyed it – he even bought the t-shirt!

Fisherman’s Wharf

The best way to access Fisherman’s Wharf is to take the cable car, which travels over the interestingly named Nob Hill. Once at the wharf there are options for boat trips, several museums to visit and plenty of places to eat and drink. Or, you can just relax by the bay and watch the sea lions. Boats to Alcatraz also leave from Fisherman’s Wharf.

See the Painted Ladies

San Francisco is home to lots of historic architecture, including the Painted Ladies (which will be familiar to anyone who has watched Full House, although I can forgive you for wiping those memories).  This group of colourful Victorian houses is best viewed from Alamo Square Park. They were built between 1892 and 1896 and have appeared in over 70 ads, TV shows and movies.

Thanks to my dad for supplying the photos and inspiration for this post. San Francisco looks like fun city and I’m looking forward to visiting one day soon. (This was written by Jon by the way – I don’t write for this blog often so I don’t have my own little author bio at the bottom yet).

Disclaimer: I worked with Luxury Retreats to bring you this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the author

Gia Kristel De Guia

Gia, who currently lives in New Zealand, grew up in Manila, lived in Singapore for three years and travelled the world for nearly 2 years. From watching sunsets to hiking mountains, she loves the outdoors. She enjoys living in big cities but takes pleasure staying in quaint, small towns. An aspiring photographer and budding writer, she is the voice behind Mismatched Passports, a travel blog dedicated to the journey around the world with her New Zealander partner, Jon.

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