Tips for a Perfect San Francisco Trip from United Airlines
Explore the City
The Mission District is known for its multicultural enclaves and host of delicious restaurants, including Taquería Cancún, a popular place to grab a burrito (or three), and Foreign Cinema, a restaurant that features both foreign and independent films in its gorgeous outdoor courtyard. The district is most well known for housing Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco. Many travelers visit the gardens and cemeteries of the site and stand in awe of the centuries-old structure. For gorgeous views of the downtown area, head down the street to Dolores Park.
As the main commercial area of San Francisco, Union Square offers a variety of shopping opportunities, as well as plenty of theaters, hotels, galleries, and restaurants. Union Square is also known for the iconic Cable Car Turnaround at Market and Powell streets. Taking a cable car is a great — and popular — way to experience San Francisco and to catch some incredible views of the city as well. Plus, seeing the cable car turnaround is an experience in itself.
San Francisco is home to North America's oldest Chinatown, which has welcomed generations of Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans over the decades. Wander through the neighborhood and you'll stumble across a host of markets, traditional restaurants, and intriguing shops. You'll likely traverse the main thoroughfares of Stockton St. and Grant Ave.—but if you duck into side streets and alleyways along your route, you'll discover hidden treasures, such as Tin How Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in the United States. If you get hungry from all of the walking, take a break and enjoy egg tarts and other traditional sweets at Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Ave. To learn more about the Chinese immigrant experience in the U.S., visit the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum. If you're lucky enough to visit during Chinese New Year or the Autumn Moon Festival, you'll have the chance to experience lively celebrations with plenty of parades, dances, food, and entertainment.
Admire Stunning Views
California Street is a beloved locale that doubles as a photographer's playground. As one of the longest streets in San Francisco, this famous thoroughfare encourages visitors to traverse the Financial District, Chinatown, Lincoln Park, and even Nob Hill. To fully experience the street, take the California cable car route.
You've undoubtedly seen photos of this famous street before, because it's known as one of the steepest and curviest in the United States. Lombard Street's most famous section is in the Russian Hill neighborhood, which features eight sharp turns that make for interesting photo opportunities. There is an abundance of beautiful mansions scattered across the area, and in the spring, you'll also be able to spot a plethora of flowers blooming.
Twin Peaks is a must-visit location for photographers and hikers alike. These peaks provide stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the downtown area, nearby Angel Island, and more. Many travel to the north peak parking lot for views of the city. While you'll find plenty of photo opportunities here, be sure to take some time to explore. Hike the trails across the peaks and enjoy the wildlife that roam the area.
Wander the Waterfront
To experience San Francisco's most beloved tourist attraction, head to Fisherman's Wharf. With historic ships, seafood restaurants, boutique shops, and entertainment venues, this area has something for everyone. Learn about sea lions at the Sea Lion Center, experience maritime history at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, and enjoy theater, music, and comedy performances at nearby venues. You can arrive at the wharf by ferry or take to the water and explore the bay via boat. You can also take a boat from Fisherman's Wharf to visit both Alcatraz and Angel Island.
Walk (or bike) along the Embarcadero waterfront, and you'll spot a variety of piers, parks, and restaurants. Check out the iconic Ferry Building, which houses shops, restaurants, and an abundance of food stalls. For more shopping, dining, and live entertainment, head to PIER 39. And, if you've got a hankering for sustainable seafood, pay a visit to Fog Harbor Fish House while you're there. It also offers great views of the water. Dessert lovers should walk to the end of the Embarcadero to visit Ghirardelli Square, which features various shops, restaurants, and free chocolate samples.
Crissy Field was transformed from a former military airfield into a beautiful environmental area where visitors can stroll on windswept beaches and enjoy a picnic lunch with a view. Perfect for walking, biking, or just relaxing, the promenade offers stunning views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge at any time of day.
For more travel tips and insights on San Francisco, and on destinations around the globe, from United Airlines, visit the United Hub online.