Food Fondles

San Francisco Itinerary: Eat, Drink & Explore in 3 Days

I recently went on a Californian road trip, starting in San Francisco and ending in San Diego, seeing everything in between. We spent 3 days in San Francisco the first leg of our trip and here is the ultimate San Francisco 3 day Itinerary. This post will shed some light into what there is to do, see, eat and drink in the Bay Area. We went at the end of May and the weather was still grey and gloomy. It didn’t take away from everything we saw though!

San Francisco Itinerary Day 1 – Breakfast, Alcatraz and wet weather

Eat: Hollywood Cafe
Explore: Alcatraz

The first thing on our San Francisco itinerary was finding a perfect place for breakfast. I found a busy little cafe that had gluten free options for me, and pancakes for the boyfriend. It is called Hollywood Cafe in Fisherman’s Wharf. It was busy with locals and their menu was very extensive, so there is something for everyone. I had the breakfast salad which was lovely and fresh and he got his pancakes! We eagerly ate our breakfast in anticipation to get on to the boat to take us to Alcatraz.

I booked a tour prior to our visit to the States and were hoping and praying for good weather. We both were optimistic as it was mid-May, in California…alas, we were wrong. Not only did I not realise that there is a lot of fog in San Francisco, but there is also a lot of rain and it was bucketing down on this particular day.  On arrival, there was a hoard of people waiting outside the jetty with their umbrellas and ponchos standing in the rain. I didn’t let this get me down though as I was very excited about visiting such an infamous landmark.

At the entrance of the prison you are given an audio guide which is included in the price of the ticket. You then proceed through the prison entry and inside the halls of Alcatraz. The weather outside was fitting for what we were about to encounter in the interior. We wandered down the long, grey corridors listening to about the cells and the inmates that once passed through here. I was in awe of the place. 

San Francisco Itinerary

Inside of a cell

San Francisco Itinerary

The kitchen

San Francisco Itinerary

The bleak landings and halls

Once we returned to the mainland, we headed to Chinatown, cold, wet and hungry and stopped in a buzzy dumpling cafe and ordered some prawn dumplings. Chinatown is so vibrant and added a lot of colour to a grey setting. 


Chinatown San Francisco

Colourful Chinatown

San Francisco Itinerary Day 2 – the best bottomless brunch and meandering around North Beach

Eat: Don Pisto’s North Beach
Drink: Also Don Pisto’s North Beach
Explore: Sunset District and North Beach

We started off the second day of our San Francisco itinerary day strolling down to Ocean Beach. We stayed in the Sunset District during our stay in San Francisco which was a little bit out of the hustle and bustle, but on the second day we walked past shops and cafes we didn’t realise were there! The short walk to Ocean Beach is totally worth it to see the long, continuous beach and the cute little cafes leading up to it. Unfortunately, we didn’t stop in any due to our imminent day of eating and drinking.

The view at Ocean Beach

I had booked a bottomless brunch before our trip at a Mexican joint called Don Pisto’s in an area called North Beach. Let me tell you now that I was not disappointed! We arrived at an unassuming door against a brick wall, with hoards of people inside, music playing and a bustling atmosphere. We sat down and were given complimentary chips and salsa. Conscious of having a time limit, we quickly ordered the bottomless mimosas which were certainly that. To eat, I ordered roasted corn and fish tacos. The food was delicious, quick and fresh. They even let us stay way beyond our bottomless limit and let us order another drink from the menu for free! As well as leaving a whole jug of mimosa on our table…This place was certainly reasonably priced as bottomless drinks for 3 hours (it was only supposed to be 90 minutes), food and tip came to $100.Don Pisto's bottomless brunch

The food we ate at Don Pisto’s

We then walked (or stumbled) around the North Beach area, which is full of restaurants and bars, and was gleaming because the sun had come out. We sat at another bar outside and had some espresso martinis. 

San Francisco Itinerary Day 3 – San Francisco highlights 

Eat: La Corneta Taqueria
Explore: Twin Peaks, Mission District, Pier 39, Presidio of San Francisco, Baker Beach, Grandview Park

Feeling a little under the weather we had a slow morning. I decided we were going to tackle this day by seeing as much of San Francisco as we could. So off in the car, we went.

Twin Peaks

We started our third day of our San Francisco itinerary with self-guided tour by going to Twin Peaks which is two mounds on top of a hill with wonderful views of the city and the bay. It was full of people sprawling from tourist buses but it is worth it. We walked up to the top of the other hill on the left of the carpark as it was less busy and a little bit higher, which meant a more panoramic view. This is the view from the main carpark of Twin Peaks.

San Francisco Itinerary

The view from Twin Peaks

Mission District

After that, we were famished and drove down to the Mission area. We strolled past Balmy Alley and admired the street art and murals. The murals are a representation of the artist’s interpretations of human rights in Central America and are beautiful and very interesting. We then wandered down Mission Street which was filled with South American restaurants. We stopped in a busy Mexican place called La Corneta Taqueria, which resembled a canteen with a dining hall, and also was the only one that took card payment. I ordered a chicken salad with Mexican rice. It was the biggest, tastiest salad I could’ve asked for!

Mexican food

The best lunch in the Mission District

Pier 39 & Fisherman’s Wharf

The thing I was most excited about visiting here was seeing the seals at pier 39. There were so many seals sunbathing on barges next to the jetty. Other than the seals, Pier 39 is just an expensive tourist trap and quite frankly just another pier! 

The area of Fisherman’s Wharf itself has a lot of cafes and shops. We went to a cafe near the wharf called Hollywood cafe on our first day, which had an excellent breakfast selection and was hugely popular.

Seals at pier 39


Presidio of San Francisco

Presidio of San Francisco is a former US Military site with many concrete forts. We went up to Battery Crosby which had many concrete structures which used to be an artillery battery of which you can climb on top of and enjoy a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s free to park and roam around these batteries which is a massive bonus!

San Francisco Itinerary

View from Battery Crosby

Baker Beach

Also free, you can get to Baker Beach in a less than 5-minute drive from Battery Crosby. From Baker Beach, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from the ground. This is one of the best views of the bridge in all of San Francisco.

San Fransisco Itinerary

View from Baker Beach

Grandview Park – best Sunset in San Francisco! 

We drove up to Grandview Park about half an hour before the sun had set, and it was a beautiful view. It is a park set up a hill in the Sunset District. You can see the ocean and Golden Gate Park in the distance. It was lesser known than twin peaks and fewer people were up there enjoying the views. 

I hope this post helped you in planning your trip. Come find me on Instagram @foodfondles and let me know if you are travelling to San Francisco!

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