Our trip to San Francisco was quite challenging not only because we were first timers, but, also because we didn’t have a car. Renting a car was out of question because it’s quite expensive and the parking. We’ve heard that the parking fee could cost a fortune. Good thing, San Francisco is very accessible and tourist attractions are easy to reach.
When we made our itinerary, we made sure to be well aware of public transportation. San Francisco streets are pretty much like Hong Kong streets, so, we didn’t have a hard time figuring out the way.
We’ve stayed at Music City Hotel (formerly Encore) along Bush St and near some of the places we wanted to see. The following itinerary is complete with direction assistance to and fro one destination to another and was quite helpful especially if no wi-fi was available outside.
We are sharing this sample itinerary with you to tell you that you do not need a car to experience what San Francisco has to offer. Just a little bit of planning and everything would be fine.
For a much shorter version of San Francisco itinerary, you may check this one out: Three-Day San Francisco Tour Itinerary.
ETA 16:30 in Richmond, CA. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza Station – $4.65/person.
From Civic Center Station walk to the hotel – 1353 Bush Street
Civic Center – northeast on United Nations Plaza – left toward Leavenworth St – turn right – turn left onto McAllister St. – right onto Larkin St. – left onto Bush St. (20 minutes)
Hotel Check-in: Music City Hotel formerly Encore Hotel
After a short rest, head out to buy MUNI 3-day Pass for $32 per person. MUNI pass is valid for unlimited MUNI bus rides, MUNI Metro, historic streetcars and cable cars.
Nearest MUNI pass seller: Sutter Fine Foods, 988 Sutter Street
Sutter Fine Foods – Sutter Street – passing Jones St, Taylor, and Mason – Powell Street – turn right to Union Square.
Take a two-way ride of cable car from Union Square. Take the Powell/Hyde Line and enjoy San Francisco at night. Stay at the turnaround at Beach and Hyde and head back to Powell/California St and take the cable car California/Van Ness line. Get off at Polk Street.
Explore the nightlife. Cap the night early for an early morning biking the following day.
Back to Hotel
Polk Street – passing by Pine St and Austin St – Bush Street turn left
08:00 Departure from Hotel
Music City Hotel to 425 Jefferson St. (San Francisco Bike Rental)
San Francisco Bike Rental Operating Hours: 09:00-19:30
→ Walk to Van Ness Ave and Sutter St → take the Muni Bus 47 (Van Ness) to Fisherman’s Wharf, 10 stops → get off at North Point St and Hyde St → and walk to 425 Jefferson St passing Beach St and turn left (total 25 minutes)
09:00 Start biking the Golden Gate to Sausalito
Note: Get a map, padlocks, and helmet.
Check the map whether you can make a quick stop-over at Palace of Fine Arts, Yoda Fountain, and Crissy Fields
Bike the Golden Gate to Sausalito and grab a lunch there.
Ferry from Sausalito to Fisherman’s Wharf
Note: Check the schedule always.
14:55 Ferry from Sausalito to Fisherman’s Wharf (book online and make bike reservations)
16:20 Arrive at Pier 39
Explore Pier 39: Sea Lions, Entertainment shows.
The Ferry Building
→ Bike from Pier 39 to The Ferry Building via San Francisco Bay Trail for 6 minutes
Stop at The Exploratorium at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero
18:00 Head back to 425 Jefferson St to return the bicycle via The Embarcadero
Fisherman’s Wharf to Hotel
→ Walk to North Point St and Hyde St → Take Muni 47 (Van Ness) to Caltrain Depot, 9 stops → get off at Van Ness Ave and Sutter St → Walk to hotel
Return the bike from Pier 39 to San Francisco Bike Rental via Jefferson St
Explore Pier 39 and head (walk) to the Exploratorium for 15 minutes and then go to the Ferry Building (walk 10 minutes)
Ferry Building to Hotel
→ Walk to California St and Davis St → Take Cable Car (California) Van Ness + California, 15 stops → get off at California St. and Larkin St. → Walk to the hotel
09:00 Hotel Check-out. Luggage Storage
Music City Hotel to Alamo Square (Painted Ladies) (25 minutes)
Walk to Geary Blvd and Larkin St and take Muni Bus 38 (Geary) to Balboa +33rd Avenue, 6 stops. Get off at Fillmore St and Geary Blvd. Walk to Alamo Square Park (around 15 minutes) Alamo Square is in Steiner St
If Palace of Fine Arts is done on Day 2, proceed directly to Golden Gate Park
Alamo Square to Golden Gate Park (35 minutes)
Walk to Mc Allister St and Fillmore St, take Muni Bus 5 (Fulton) to Ocean Beach, 21 stops. Get off at Fulton St and 40th Ave and walk to Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Japanese Tea Garden – USD8/pax
Buffalo in Golden Gate Park
The de Young Museum – USD10/pax
If Palace of Fine Arts isn’t done yet, proceed here from Alamo Square
Alamo Square to Palace of Fine Arts
Walk to Fillmore St and Grove St. Take Muni 22 (Fillmore) to Bay Street, 17 stops. Get off at Fillmore St and Chestnut St. Walk to Chestnut St and Fillmore St. Take Muni 30 (Stockton) to Jefferson Loop, 4 stops. Get off at Broderick St and Bay St. Walk to Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts to Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park to Hotel (Collect the luggage) (45 minutes)
Take Muni 5 (Fulton) to Transbay Terminal, 25 stops and get off at McAllister St and Van Ness Ave. Walk to Van Ness Ave and McAllister St and take Muni 49 (Van Ness-Mission) to North Point + Van Ness, 3 stops. Get off at Van Ness Ave and Sutter St. Walk to the hotel (Head north on Van Ness Ave toward Fern St and then turn right onto Bush St)
Hotel to San Francisco Airport (1 hour)
Walk to Polk St and Sutter St and take Muni 19 (Polk) to Shipyard, 6 stops. Get off at Hyde St and Grove St and walk to Civic Center/UN Plaza Station. Take BART (Pittsburg/Bay Point – SFIA/Millbrae) to San Francisco Airport, 9 stops (USD8.95/pax)
18:40 San Francisco to Los Angeles via Alaska Airlines
Visit Lombard either on 1st or 2nd day
You may choose a different hotel or add some other places of interests, but, one thing I can assure you, you’ll love San Francisco.