24 Hours in San Francisco

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to play tourist in my own city. And when I say play tourist, I mean doing it up big. From staying at a hotel downtown to exploring the must-see attractions in San Francisco, I wanted to do some unexpected things that I normally wouldn’t otherwise.

So, it kind of got me thinking. A lot of people come to San Francisco are hungry (quite literally sometimes) on what to do, where to stay, what to eat, and what to drink. Whether you’re here on a layover or on a business trip or here to see a friend, the options feel kind of overwhelming, eh?

I wanted to share my recommendations if you had only one day in this beautiful little city I so fondly call home. So, without further ado, here we go:


In The Heart of the City:

Parc 55

When you’re searching for places to stay in SF, you’ll see the majority of hotels are located in our downtown area (Union Square). And if you’re new to the city, this is where you can experience a lot of things all at once – especially if you only have one day. It’s pretty central, allowing you to access all sorts of neighborhoods like Hayes Valley, The Mission, and North Beach!

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The Parc 55 is right in the middle of downtown and is situated right next to Market Street and a BART stop making it easier than ever to get any neighborhood in the city. The hotel prides themselves in highlighting Alcatraz with memorabilia and artifacts in the lobby and even frequent chats about “The Rock” bringing in old convicts who used to be at Alcatraz! Our room had a killer view and we even indulged in a delicious Alacatraz themed happy hour that was super fun with cocktails named after historic favorites. It was a perfect place to watch Karl (our fog personality come to life) roll in and cover the city.

Off The Beaten Path:

The Laurel Inn

If you’re looking for a little more calm place to experience San Francisco on your own terms, I’d say The Lauren Inn in Pacific Heights will be just that. Located on California Street, this place is cute, quaint and a few  blocks away from Fillmore Street that’s full of boutiques (Joie),  coffee shops (Jane), and restaurants (Delfina).

Hot and Hip:

Proper Hotel

This hotel opened a few months ago and has a been a popular new favorite on Market ever since. The rooms are artsy, modern and spacious – oh, and the toiletries are pretty bomb, too.



In The Heart of the City:

Alcatraz Tour

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE visiting Alcatraz. This was my fourth time visiting and every time I go, I fall in love with this city’s history and charm. Obviously Alcatraz has been closed for quite some time now, but since it’s a National Park, it’s been pretty preserved and welcome visitors to come experience the sight for itself.

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If you do go, allot 2-4 hours for the ferry ride to get there (my favorite), walking tour once inside, tons of pictures, and ferry ride back to SF. If you’re looking to book, Alcatraz Tours is the best.

Ferry Building

Along with Alcatraz, the Ferry Building is a pretty iconic fixture in SF. I’d recommend going for lunch and exploring all the delicious markets and booths servin’ up locals eats. My favorite go-to is Cowgirl Creamery and their indulgent grilled cheese. After, I love grabbing a pint at Fort Point and sipping outside.

Coit Tower

Want a good (high) view of the city? Go to Coit Tower. Pro tip: the wait may be a little long, so I suggest going in the morning to avoid the craziness. Annnnd, if we’re trying to get it all done in one day, I’d tack Coit Tower right before or after Alcatraz since they’re super close to one another.



In The Heart of the City:  

Urban Tavern

If you’re in the mood for a diverse menu and want a ton of options, check out Urban Tavern right next to the Hilton Union Square. With the menu reflecting much of SF’s diverse culture and personality, the food will speak to anyone no matter what taste. My favorites? The charred Spanish Octopus, Smokey Pimento Cheese, Shishito Peppers and the Salmon! Nom! 

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Off The Beaten Path:


While Delfina isn’t off the beaten path, it sure isn’t downtown if you’re staying there. Delfina has a Fillmore location and a Valencia location – both charming and great places to start your evening. Their pizza is legendary in San Francisco and their wait time is equally so, so if you’re looking to nom pro tip: call ahead. 

Hot & Hip:


You like tapas? Me too. And so does everyone else in San Francisco it seems. This restaurant also usually has a pretty long wait but if you feel like hanging for an hour at Barvale’s bar with a cocktail in hand, well, do it! Barvale offers Spanish tapas and has even been called the best Spanish tapas restaurant in SF, and personally, I can attest. It’s pretty damn good. Order the octopus, btw.


In The Heart of the City:

Cityscape Lounge in the Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Grab a cocktail at this beautiful 360 windowed bar that overlooks the entire city. While a little expensive, the views and cocktails are definitely worth it. My favorite is the Pineapple Express – a delightful combination of Fidencio Clasico Mezcal, pineapple, lime, and allspice dram.

Gibson in the Hotel Bijou

This art deco bar is located in the Hotel Bijou right downtown and mixes tasty drinks and small plates. When I went, I snagged some warm bread, butter,  and a old-fashioned inspired cocktail that was everything I wanted and hoped.


If you’re not keen on the cocktails, Mikeller is the best beer place in town. With over 42 types of beer on tap, it’s hard to not find something you like.

Off The Beaten Path:

The Page

If you’re wanting something a bit more mellow, head on over to The Page in Nopa. They have everything you could want besides fancy cocktails and food. Well, what do you expect for a bar that has carpet on their floor?

Hot & Hip:  


Located on the roof of Hotel Fallon, Charmaine’s is another place to catch a good view of San Francisco with…wait for it….fire pitssssss.