San Francisco – a family guide
When in San Francisco the best way to get around is by public transport. We used google maps which told us the different bus routes we could take to our destination. The bus were frequent and reliable. We purchased a Muni pass each for 3 days which allowed us on the cable cars too. When we needed just one extra day we purchased a Muni pass for $5 with no cable car access. This is a new pass (Sept 18) and can only be purchased online. I used my phone and had each persons pass on the Muni App to show the drivers. This was such an economical way to get around the city. The cable car trip is $7 a ride but if you have a cable car access pass you can ride as many times as you wish.
When riding the cable cars avoid boarding at the main stops – beginning and end stops – as the wait can be very long.
We also used Ubers for trips to the airport which was so much cheaper and easier than a taxi or the BART system.
Must Do’s in San Francisco
- Coit Tower – We walked from a bus stop at North Beach up some very steep hills, with a rewarding very at the top. We did catch the bus back down. No need to book your tickets but wait for a nice clear day to make the most of the amazing view of the city.
- Ferry Building – the freshest food markets and rustic shops all under the roof of the Ferry Building down by the wharves
- Mission Dolores – head to the missions for political street art at the Mission Murals, Mexican food, Op Shops and a huge green open space park where San Francisco locals gather to picnic and play.
- The Warming Hut – the post war look of the Warming Hut near the Golden Gate Bridge had such an appeal and pull that we visited here for a coffee more than once. The location at the end of Chrissy Fields gave the best vantage point to view the bridge in all its glory.
- Golden Gate Park- so much to see and do inside Golden Gate Park that you could easily spend days visiting the museums and gardens.
The Golden Gate Bridge
This iconic centre piece of this amazing city is the bridge. The talk of the locals was whether the bridge was covered in fog (which they call Karl) or if it was a clear day. We were lucky to see the fog and the no fog.
I suggest you have a car to head over to Marin Headland to see the GG bridge from the other side. We drove all over the headland and stopped at various vantage points. IT was simply breathtaking and a trip highlight. Make sure you are aware that there is a toll to head back across the bridge towards the city. Our hire car company added this to our bill.
Another way to see the GG bridge up close is to walk across it or bike across it. We caught a bus which got us to the visitor centre which we then walked down to the Warming Hut. This walk gives you excellent access to the views. It is an easy walk that all the family would enjoy.
For all baseball and non-baseball fans. Add heading to a game to your list. We are fans of the Giants but the atmosphere at the game makes it entertainment for everyone. We pre-purchased tickets for one game but we also attended a game by arriving at the gates and buying from a random guy out the front. We were hesitant but we only paid once we were through the gates – he walked in with us – and made sure our tickets scanned.
Food is expensive as is beer in the stadium. Garlic fries, nachos in a baseball hat and hot dogs are crowd favourites. The food is fun and it was great to try some at the stadium. It is also ok to bring your own food and also drinks that are sealed. Drink bottles can be filled at the bubbles inside the grounds. The stadium is right on the water which means excellent views but it becomes very cold. Most people arrive with blankets and lots of layers.
If you have a car, exploring Napa Valley and the wineries. We drove through the hills which was an easy drive from SF and through the wine region. We stopped at the Boon Fly Cafe for lunch which was a great barn style cafe with fresh salads and large serves. After exploring Napa Valley we headed to the Marin Headland to see the Golden Gate Bridge and all the views of the city.