How To Spend One Day In San Francisco

Planning to stop in San Francisco for one day? This guide will show you the best way to spend 24 hours in San Francisco.

When you’re on a road trip that is time-sensitive, it’s hard to see everything you want to see. San Francisco has become one of my all-time favourite cities in the world! One or two days don’t seem enough to soak in the city properly, but if you only have limited time, you shouldn’t miss these places!

one day in san francisco

City Lights Bookstore

City Lights Bookstore was on top of my list after hearing about it first. It’s one of the best independent bookstores in the US and home of City Lights Publishing where my favourite poetry collection “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.

The atmosphere in this bookshop was amazing, with three floors filled with books you can literally spend hours there! City Lights Bookstore is open from 10 AM till midnight every day.
(4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133)

Fisherman’s Wharf

Another must see when you’re in San Francisco is Fisherman’s Wharf. The epicenter of tourism, but 100% worth your time. The old buildings plus the cute little shops make it perfect for a stroll around.

Pier 39 is located on Fisherman’s Wharf but deserves a special mention. From Pier 39 you can see the many sea lions that come there to rest. You can also see Alcatraz Island from the Pier, and even book a tour if you have some little extra time.

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

After we went to City Lights Bookstore and Fisherman’s Wharf, we drove down to Mr. Holmes Bakery for a quick snack. You can’t really sit down for lunch there, but the pastries are absolutely amazing! If you’re in a bit of a hurry – like we were – it’s definitely a good place to quickly pick up something tasty and continue your explorations.
(1042 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109)

The Famous Lombard Street

The famous little part of Lombard Street with the eight hairpin turns is a perfect point for pictures. From there you can enjoy more of the beautiful houses that are located in San Francisco’s North Beach.

(Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94133)

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s most iconic landmark has to be the Golden Gate Bridge, a landmark that has been on my list for a long time! And oh man, it was gorgeous to see in real life. If you have some extra time, you can rent a bike to cycle across the bridge. But if you’re on a tight schedule, you can simply drive across the bridge with your car. I would definitely recommend driving (or cycling) to see the amazing view from the other side! It’s totally worth it while you’re there.

Dinner at YakiniQ BBQ in Japantown

After seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s time for dinner. For dinner, we drove to Japan town. You can park your car for very cheap rates at the parking garage there and have a little walk around Japan town before or after dinner.

We decided to go to YakiniQ Korean BBQ, which is located just outside the bigger shopping mall. If you’re a fan of Korean BBQ, you will love this place! Reasonably priced for an unlimited menu, great atmosphere, and even better food.

(Parking: 1670 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115)
(YakiniQ: 1640 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115)

San Francisco has rightfully claimed its place in my heart. I cannot wait to return to this city in the future and explore it more – one day simply wasn’t enough to see everything I wanted to see!

72 thoughts on “How To Spend One Day In San Francisco”

    • I’m very similar tbh! Never really heard much about it until I started planning this US roadtrip, but man I’m glad I discovered it! It’s one of my all-time favourite cities now πŸ™‚

  1. I have never been to San Francisco but heard of the city so much! and seen so many gorgeous picture! It is definitely somewhere I want to go! those photos, that sun! and the food! gosh, i need to plan a trip!

  2. Awesome post! You had me with City Lights Bookstore. I could probably get lost in there. Definitely putting it on my list for whenever I get the chance to visit San Francisco.

  3. What great pictures! I went to San Francisco a couple of years ago but only stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge. Can’t wait to go again soon

  4. I would love to visit America someday and San Francisco is definitely on the list. The Golden Gate Bridge is breathtaking! I love the sound of the City Lights Bookstore, I could probably spend hours in there! Thank you for sharing your trip! <3 xx

    Bexa |

  5. I was in San Francisco last summer and visited almost all the exact same spots you were at! Mr. Holmes Bakeshop was so cool; although when I had gone, they didn’t have any pastries left and were about to close!

    ☼ cabin twenty-four

  6. I went to San Francisco for summer two years ago and absolutely fell in love with the city; loved Lombard as well as Fisherman’s Wharf and I strolled around the Haigh-Ashbury district and got an impromptu tattoo. It’s such a great city!

    Lovely post! x


  7. Such a great review of the city. I have been to the states a few times but never to San Francisco, am very tempted to pay a visit next time!

  8. America never sits very high up our list of places to visit simply because, culturally, it’s not massively different from where we are but if we were to prioritise cities to take a look at during a visit then I think San Francisco would rate quite highly and this post does help in showing some of the features we’d love to see. Nice photos.

    • That makes sense! Coming from Europe myself, the culture is very different in the US which makes it a great place for a holiday like this. But definitely try to visit SF if you have the chance, I felt like it stood out from the rest of California!

  9. Your photos are beautiful! I’ve always wanted to go to SF, but since I live in England I need a lot of money for flights – nevertheless, one day I’ll get there!! Lovely post xxx

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚ Flights are indeed kinda expensive, we got very lucky with our flight prices! Definitely keep an eye out for them and book a good few months in advance to get the best deals ^_^

  10. Such a great post! I love all of the photos that you’ve included. I’ve spent about a week in san francisco and it is definitely one of my favourite places! You have captured it perfectly!

  11. I went to San Francisco back in July, but only saw two of the things you’ve listed here! There really is so much to do in the city. I love the book shop and will definitely check it out if I ever go back there – which I plan on doing. I did catch a small glimce of Lombard street from the cable car ride I went on. Great post. πŸ™‚

  12. I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco, I’m definitely going to have to book this for my next holiday now after reading your blog post!

  13. San Fransisco has been my favorite US city for so long. It looks so beautiful. I’d love to visit it someday.
    Loved your post and pictures! You’ve got a good eye for great photos.

  14. I hear so many great things about San Fransisco that I know I should really get out there. I especially want to visit Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Your photos are stunning. What camera di you have? I found your post really informative. It has inspired me even more to visit Northern California.

  15. San Francisco is very high up on my list of places I want to visit someday! The book store and the Korean bbq place are two places you’d probably miss if you didn’t know they were there, so I’ll try to remember those πŸ™‚

  16. Awesome guide you’ve put together Nele! It’s got me thinking about how long does it take to get across the whole Golden Gate Bridge? Because it is very gigantic and long itself. Lombard Street looks like one of those cute roads I wanna race a go-kart around hehe πŸ˜‚

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures


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