If You Were To Come To San Francisco…

Part of living in such an amazing city is giving tours every. single. time. one of my friends comes to visit. Or a friend of a friendโ€™s. Or even when a blogger comes to town. ๐Ÿ™‚

The funny thing is I never mind. I have seen everything more times than a mathematician could count, but it never gets old. Everything is as breathtaking as the first time I have seen it and that is the beauty of San Francisco.

Amelia of Chai, A Cup of Life is an Australian expat who is now living in India with her husband and child. We have been reading each otherโ€™s blogs for a while now, so I was delighted when she emailed me and asked to participate in a travel series she prepared for her blog. I had room to write whatever I wanted, as long as it had to do with the city.ย Freedom Australia provide tours and tailor-made holidays to the land down under.

To be completely honest, I have been wanting to write this post for a while now. It is my honor to give you a virtual tour, since you cannot quite make the flight to this little city by the bay.

PS: I have no idea how you web designers/illustrators do it, but I have a new found respect and bow down to you because tears of frustration might have almost happened at one point while drafting these lines.


I am starting the tour off on the red line, which is close to where I live. I like driving down Dolores St. because it is one of our few streets lined with palm trees and one of my favorite places to hang out is Dolores Park.

This unique park fits the vibe of San Francisco in every aspect: laid back, excellent to people watch and everyone is just in a damn good mood. The views are not too shabby either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If the lines are not too long, we will also stop and get two scoops of the best ice cream in the city at Bi-Rite Creamery.

We will then continue our journey and drive through Valencia (land of the hipsters) and up to the blue line. This section starts at Van Ness St., which is one of the biggest streets because the 101 detours through the city here and it is also where our civic center is (think city hall, opera, ballet and main public library).

After a right turn through the Broadway tunnel, we end up in Chinatown! Everyone loves walking through these streets because it is a bubble in such a dynamic city. The old ladies walk so slow they move backwards, pushing is the only way to get through, and the food is as authentic as booking a flight to China.

Also, where else would you get your I Heart SF sweater?

When you had your dose of walking up hills, we get back into the car and swiftly drive through downtown so you can see Union Square.

The green line picks up at the Embarcadero: home of the Bay Bridge, AT& T Park and what might be the most visited Farmerโ€™s Market in SF.

With breath taking views of the bay, we drive past North Beach (Little Italy), past Marina (Land of the Bros and future Marin-ers) and to Golden Gate Bridge.

PS: Notice we did not stop at Pier 39, the biggest tourist attraction in San Francisco. You can do that on your own time.

No matter what, I will always make time to take everyone to the Golden Gate Bridge. In any type of weather, sunshine or fog, it looks beautiful and pictures can never do it justice. After gazing for an indefinite amount of time, we start the purple line and go through the Presidio and stop at the Palace of Fine Arts.
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I have always wanted to get married here since a field trip in third grade. Two years ago, things changed and now my new location is in the Asian Art Museum or somewhere far, far away.

I always detour into Pacific Heights because nobody complains about this view.


Also because half of the people are into Haight (think hippies, vinyls and homeless) and the other half die to see the Painted Ladies (think women who grew up on Full House).

I prefer these Victorian stunners that are the epitome of San Francisco architecture.


(Photo Credit, I am impressed that this is the only picture I had to pull off the internet!)

We get off the grass, head on the brown line to drive down Castro (fab-u-lous gay district), grab a cookie at Hot Cookie and make our way up an extremely windy road to get the best view of the city at Twin Peaks.

Here you can get a view from one bridge to the other.

By this time, people start getting hungry, so I wrap up the tour and start the magenta line to drive through my favorite part of the city. Golden Gate Park.

Fact: It is bigger than Central Park.

Fact: We have resident Bison.

Fact: I grew up literally across the street, so there is a lot of nostalgia going on over on that part of the city.

If the weather is playing nice, we stop at our cold and pathetic beach and watch the waves roll by before heading back to the Mission to eat.

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And that is it! I hope you enjoyed your speed tour and enjoyed one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

Where would you take me if I went to visit your town?

Favorite part of San Francisco?ย 

21 thoughts on “If You Were To Come To San Francisco…

  1. Chinatown in San Fran was one of my fav spots! The moonpies were phenomenal!
    When my daughter and I visited, we walked from Pier 16 to the Golden Gate bridge, hopped on a ferry to Sausalito, and then took a lesiurely walk back – took us a whole day but we rewarded our walking with chocolate from Ghirardelli square!
    If you came to Atlanta – and I sure hope you come soon-we would have to go to the aquarium – its totally a tourist spot, but so worth it! And the World of Coke. Then we would have to hit Stone Mtn and stay for the laser show – so when are you coming? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This is fabulous. Actually, two of my best friends moved to San Francisco today. I shall direct them to this post and I FULLY intend on coming out there to visit them within the next few months. Because duh, #friends and #SF holy cow your pictures are gorgeous. I don’t even know what Pier 39 is so we can skip that when I’m there FOR SURE! ๐Ÿ™‚
    And always, always, stop for cookies and ice cream!

  3. North beach. Hands down. The food (duh!), the bustle, little markets with meats and cheese, bread and olive oil. Gelaterรญas, streets at crazy angles, sometimes-sun, the fact that you round a corner and you’re in a different country.. well, and ten thousand other reasons

  4. Wow, you’ve covered all the hotspots and scenic areas. I’ve always thought I need to do a food-related tour because people are always asking me for recommendations too. I think the only things I would add is some kind of food truck thing like Off The Grid or the SoMaStreat Park, and maybe checking out a neighborhood like Hayes Valley, which has a lot happening.

  5. I absolutely LOVE San Francisco and, although I’ve only traveled there once, I really hope to get back! I loved how laid-back the city appeared to be. We spent a lot of time on Valencia but I want to do some more ‘touristy’ things during our next visit ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope to come back sooner than later. If we come back soon – I’ll make sure to let you know!!

  6. This is an amazing post and clearly you put a lot of thought into it! I have never been to SF but I’m hoping to get there in the near future ๐Ÿ™‚ I will definitely come back to this post when I do, it’s so informative! Toronto is also an amazing city. I would definitely recommend visiting if you haven’t yet been!

  7. This is so cool! I love this idea! So fun!!! Well, I know you’ve already been to NYC so I’m not sure I could take you somewhere you haven’t been. A couple of nice spots though are Brooklyn Bridge Park, walking/riding over GW Bridge & the Boathouse in Central park!

  8. Haha, I love that you put to visit Pier 39 on your own time. Too funny.
    It’s amazing how much you know about San Francisco. I’ve been more than a handful of times but I still can’t figure it out. I need you with me next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Ohhh I love this–I wish I was able to get the full tour (though I’m STILL thrilled about the tour you gave me :)) If you’re ever going through a life crisis and lose your job you could totally be a tour guide on one of those red buses. JUSTTTTT saying.
    If you came to Pittsburgh I would take you shopping (lots of cute boutiques), and show you the different areas and you might be amazed to know that there are 5 universities within like 10 minutes of one another. AAAAAnd hm…..I’d really have to think about stuff for us to do haha but definitely a driving/walking tour!