Orange Sky Adventures San Francisco Skyline

Travel Tips

How to Spend Two Days in San Francisco

After Day 1, you probably realize how big San Francisco is. And in retrospect, most likely you realize 24 hours in San Francisco is not nearly enough time. You’ve also probably seen the good — Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower and Lombard Street — with the less-good: crowds, too much tourism and the homeless population. But either way, your Day 1 is over and it’s time for Day 2. Are you ready to begin?

To begin your day of sightseeing, you want a hearty breakfast. And the last place you should eat is Union Square. After all, the middle of the city is good, but San Francisco offers so much more. Why not go explore?

To find a fresh, healthy place to eat, look no further than Cole Valley. It’s a more local part of town and a breath of fresh air from the tourists.

Cafe Reverie Breakfast

Arriving by the N Train to the corner of Cole and Carl Streets, the heart of Cole Valley, you want to visit a restaurant called Café Reverie.

Others might suggest a place called Zazie, but it usually requires a longer wait in line, and it’s a bit more expensive.

Instead, Café Reverie is a quick, simple and easy choice. As a bonus, the friendly eatery features a nice back patio where you can enjoy your meal.

Once you’re done at Reverie, we recommend a stroll to the Haight-Ashbury, where you will find vintage clothing, head-shops and hippies.

Haight Shop

The bohemian-stereotype reigns supreme here, and whether you enjoy independent music stores such as Amoeba Records, or just standing on the corner and people-watching, the Haight (pronounced “hate”) is your spot to experience original, flower-in-your-hair San Francisco. Feel free to explore the neighborhood at your leisure.

At the end of Haight Street is Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s most famous open green space.

Conservatory of Flowers

Museums such as the California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum and the Conservatory of Flowers can occupy your time.

Or, if you need something that takes up fewer brain cells, you can choose to just nap in the grass.

You can also rent a bike and explore the Bison Paddock (yes, oddly enough, San Francisco has their own set of wild Bison), the Dutch Windmills and Ocean Beach.

And if you want a cheap bowl of soup to warm yourself up after your pedal, check out the Safeway near Ocean BeachThey have a good chili and clam chowder for under $7.

When you return your bike to the corner of Haight and Stanyan, we recommend you ride bus 5R (the “R” stands for rapid) home, or Uber. The bus is the fastest way to return to Union Square (besides Uber) and you can find it running along the northern edge of Golden Gate Park.

Bison Up Close

Nightlife on Day 2

For dinner and nightlife for Day 2, we recommend you head toward North Beach, a good neighborhood for poets, drinks and Italian food.

North Beach is a good spot to see after the sun sets. Don’t feel pressured to dress up, either. Most of the time, the neighborhood is down-to-earth, relaxed and genuine.

Vesuvio Café can be a good place to start your drink session, a bar made famous by the Beat Generation of the 1950’s. And iff you want, you can even sit on the bar stool Jack Kerouac used to ponder one of his many pieces of American literature, such as On The Road or Big Sur.

Vesuvio North Beach

Across the street, another Beat Generation bar — and less exploited bar — is Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe, nicknamed Specs.

A drink or two at any one of these establishments is a good way to start your night in North Beach.

Next, head to the main corner of Broadway and Columbus Streets, where you’ll notice several strip clubs.

Did you know…? The Condor Club, on the corner of Broadway and Columbus, was the world’s first topless and bottomless entertainment venue.

Vesuvio Nightlife North Beach

Instead of going inside the strip clubs (not yet, anyways — it’s better to work up a nice buzz first) walk to a back alley called Romolo Place. You’re looking for a bar called 15 Romolo, marked with a neon “basque hotel” sign.

At 15 Romolo you can treat yourself to a unique drink. The crowd is usually young professional, and it’s one of the better bars in San Francisco to sample a specialty cocktail. You can see this and more on a private San Francisco tour. 

Golden Boy Pizza Late Night Food

After your mini-pub crawl, it’s time to eat. If you want a more personal, date-type restaurant, check out Tommaso’s on Kearny Street.

A pizza, bottle of red and a tip will run you around $80. 

If you want a cheaper spot, look no further than Sam’s Pizza & Hamburgers. You can browse the menu at Sam’s, or to be quick, just order the Anthony Bourdon Special: a double cheeseburger, fries and an Anchor Steam (a local beer) for $14. For an expensive city like San Francisco, that’s a deal.

15 Romolo

Once you finish your meal, you can return home if you feel tired (via a cab, which should run you around $10 to Union Square), or if you’re feeling good, you can continue your buzz and bounce toward more bars on Grant Avenue near Green Street. 

You can booze at Maggie McGarry’s, Tupelo, Grant and Green (which is conveniently located on the corner of Grant and Green Avenue) or do our favorite spot, The Saloon, with live music 7 nights a week.

The Saloon is also San Francisco’s oldest dive bar. Why not stop in for a frosty PBR?

Other Tips for North Beach at Night

  • Do you want more restaurants choices? Walk down Columbus Avenue toward Washington Square. Ample Italian ristorantes line the street. Look at the menus before you sit, though — sometimes the meals are priced for tourism.
  • The bars on Grant Ave. are usually hopping on the weekends, but less crowded on the weekdays. The Saloon can always be fun, though. With inexpensive drinks, how could it not be?
  • If you want to dance in North Beach, check out Kells, an Irish bar by day and two-story dance venue by Friday and Saturday nights. Usually packed after midnight on the weekends, it can be a good spot for dancing, fireballs and meeting locals. If you arrive before 10:30 p.m., you can usually skip the $5 cover.
  • At the end of your night, take an Uber or cab home. It’ll make your life easy (unless it’s 2 a.m. and every other person in the city needs a ride too!).
  • REMEMBER! The bars close at 2 a.m. in California. Make sure to reach your proper “hydration” level before then.
  • Do you want some late-night food? Check out Golden Boy Pizza near the corner of Grant and Green. Try the clam & garlic pizza; you’ll thank us later.

S.F. Two Day Itinerary Map

Any more suggestions? Let us know!