If a trip to San Francisco to catch an NFL game is something you’ve been thinking about, read on. This guide will help you make the most on exploring the area. So grab a brew, sit back, relax and enjoy reading the best things to do.
Before I get started, just a reminder that the 49ers play in Santa Clara. This is around a 45 minute drive away, or an hour and a half on the train.
So… back to exploring the city. It is walkable, as it’s quite a compact city. I’d recommend hiring a bike though, as there are plenty of things to do in San Francisco. You’ll get around quicker, and have fun too!
Exploring San Francisco
Take a walk through Chinatown and North Beach
Chinatown (America’s second largest) and North Beach (aka Little Italy) are two of San Francisco’s most charming areas.
Chinatown will truly transport you to another era, it is bustling and is so full of energy. Street markets and vendors line the streets, and alleyways lead you to hidden restaurant fronts. Two places to stop and visit for a truly authentic experience include the Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge for cheap beers and karaoke, and Fortune Cookie Factory where you can learn about the famous cookie and enjoy a sample. Another great restaurant to check out is the House of Nanking.
North Beach is packed with legendary pizzerias, cafes and gelato shops, and street lights painted with the Italian flag. Visiting the Liguira Bakery is a must, but be sure to arrive early (like, noon maybe?) because once the bread is sold out, that’s it, the bakers lock up and head home! In fact, if you grab some goodies from here you could take it to Washington Square, one of the oldest parks in the city, and have yourselves a picnic. Or even take a stroll down the lively Columbus Avenue to get the feel of Little Italy.
Embrace your inner tourist and head to Fisherman’s Wharf
This is second largest tourist destination in the city and used to be the primary port and dockyard for local fishermen. Nowadays, the popularity of the area is due to Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and the sun bathing sea lions.
Pier 39 has small amusement park rides and attractions, along with fun and quirky restaurants. Ghirardelli Square hosts a number of restaurants, wine-tasting outlets, shops, and even a miniature golf.
You absolutely must visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company for a chocolate ice cream sundae, it is absolutely mouth-watering.
Alcatraz, the infamous prison island
Located one-and-a-half miles from Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz is one of the city’s most popular attractions. A visit to the island includes a tour of the cell house where visitors can see where the prisoners lived.
Although the last inmates were transferred off the island in 1963, the main prison block with its steel bars, claustrophobic (9 x 5-foot) cells, mess hall, library and “dark holes,” where recalcitrant languished in inky blackness, is still structurally intact.
Check out South of Market (SoMa)
Now, this is a warehouse-filled district and encompasses Mission Bay and South Beach, where the Giants play baseball at waterfront AT&T Park. Surrounding Yerba Buena Gardens is an arts center, sleek convention complex Moscone Center and several museums, including the acclaimed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
The area is dotted with upscale dining options and high-energy nightclubs. Head to Red Door Coffee, grab a take out and explore!
Grab a Burrito in the Mission
The Mission District in San Francisco is another area that, like China Town, gives you the flavour of a different world. Influenced by Mexico since the 1700s, the culture is cemented and the area is unlike any other.
Here you’ll find some of the most delicious burritos you’ll ever taste in California. Head to Taqueria El Castillito for yours, and enjoy a stroll around the many elaborate murals that line the walls, fences, and sidewalks.
Visit the iconic Golden Gate Bridge
This is the spot I’d be saving for either sunrise or sunset, and give yourself a good hour to explore it properly.
The Golden Gate Bridge was named one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
It is acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful bridges and was given its name because it is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
Plus other ‘must-see’ spots!
There are plenty of other places to visit that you’ll want to look in to. These include Union Square, Lombardi Street, Muir Woods National Monument, and the Golden Gate Park.
To back up some of the stuff I’ve shared above, check out this video by Bloomberg. It gives a 4 minute overview of the best of San Fran.
Thinking of taking a trip stateside? Check out the Travel section to discover more about your team, it’s stadium and the incredible city they call home.