#1 Urban Hike
When I saw that you can book Urban Hike Tours in San Francisco, I first thought that you would probably walk up and down the many hills of the city and admire the beautiful Victorian houses.
That’s also part of the tour, no question about it. But actually it’s the smaller part. The tour I was on with Urban Hiker San Francisco started at the Castro Theatre and led up to the Twin Peaks and back again on the other side. Doesn’t sound so exciting? Then wait and see!
I’ll start with the obvious: the Victorian houses and magnificent buildings line part of the way up to the hills. They shine in many colours and look – each one in its own way – like you’ve been built into a movie. Our knowledgeable guide Kevin knows how to entertain us. With the right sense of humor he is telling anekdotes about the city.
Did you know that each of these houses with more than three colours is called Painted Lady. Until then we all thought that this would only apply to the well-known houses from films and series like Charmed and Full House.
This might not sound like something too special. But by the decorations you can understand a fair bit of the people’s traditions. Since it was shortly before Halloween, many houses had Halloween decorations – some of them bizarre, some of them funny.
The higher you go, the better the view, of course. After a short time you will see the skyline towering above the rooftops. A majestic sight! And it got better with every meter. The first hill we reached was called Kite Hill. From there we already had a perfect view of the skyline but also of the surrounding hills so that Kevin could tell us their names and backgrounds. Some of the hills could not be built on, while others were deliberately left natural to have wooded areas over the entire city area.
I just said it: wooded areas. Maybe you just shook your head in disbelief. In a metropolis like San Francisco, there’s no forest!
But if this is what you thought you’re wrong. San Francisco has a lot of woodland, even if most of it is not endemic.
Directly after Kite Hill follows the first short forest section – with an old villa stands right in the beginning. Again, I got the impression that things were out of place. This spooky villa kind of appreared out of nowhere. In the middle of a city. That’s a bit crazy!
Geographic Center of the City
On the way to the Twin Peaks you will also pass what I think is a pretty cool place. Quite unobtrusive and small, usually people just walk over it. But there is a mark on the sidewalk. That’s the geographic center of San Francisco. Pretty cool, isn’t it? But you have to know where it is. Otherwise, you’ll probably just walk over it, too…
#2 E-Scooter Tour
If you want to see the city in a completely different way, just take an e-scooter tour!
The tour that I did with Electric Tour Co. started very close to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 – one of the classics of San Francisco that you should definitely not miss. You can actually connect those two things very well. Also, one of the Cable Car’s routes ends here, so you can take a ride with this symbol of San Francisco to get here.
Before the tour you will get a helmet and a kind of warning vest from your guide. You will also get some safety instructions about riding the e-scooter. The tours take place with a maximum of ten people per guide.
From there we went along the sea, San Francisco Bay always to the right and the city skyline to the left, direction Golden Gate Bridge. It is really impressive how the bridge gets closer and bigger.
On the way back you will pass Lucas Arts where you will be greeted by a statue of Master Yoda. You’ll also take a detour past the Museum of Fine Arts, which really looks great.
Pro Tip: Depending on what time of the year you are here, I recommend you pack a thick jacket, scarf and even gloves. At 15 km/h it can get quite chilly. And that’s not even top speed: Compared to Germany, where you can’t go faster than 20 km/h, you can really speed up in the USA! 40 km/h are completely legal here.
#3 Sunset Cruise
For a romantic experience, I recommend the Sunset Cruise to the Golden Bridge. I did this with Adventure Cat Sailing.
It also starts at Fisherman’s Wharf and directly at Pier 39. In a two-hour tour, the cruise takes you directly in front of Baker Beach and thus you cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge. So you have a completely different perspective and you will be able to take some very special photos.
If the weather allows it, don’t miss the opportunity to sit on the front of the catamaran or at its net. Like this, you have the ideal view.
Snacks as well as hot and cold drinks are provided. Two drinks and the small buffet are included in the ticket.
#4 Food Tour
I’m not really a foodie, but in San Francisco, food has a very special place. This is reflected, for example, in the fact that there are the most restaurants per inhabitant than in any other American city.
You can either go on a tour alone and explore the best bakeries, cafés and restaurants in San Francisco. Or you can go on a guided food tour. Since I’m always full too quickly, I usually choose variant 1, so here are a few tips I’ve tried myself:
I had by far the best breakfast at Le Marais Bakery in the Castro. Super yummy!
I also had great breakfast at Rose’s Café. They serve breakfast pizza. Yes, you read that correctly: BreakfastPIZZA! You can order them either with fried eggs and bacon or with salmon and scrambled eggs.
If you want to enjoy lunch with seafood and fish at the Fisherman’s Wharf I would recommend to choose Eagle Café.
For traditional, american sandwichs for lunch, go to Presidio Social Club.
For dinner, check out Herlen Place in Downtown. They mainly have finger food and mini burger, which gives you the chance to basically try everything on the menu specially if you’re going with a group.
Want a taste of China Town? For great Asian cuisine I would suggest the newly opened China Live Restaurant.
Photo credits: Laura Schneider von Herz an Hirn
#5 Salesforce Park
Salesforce Park is the newest public park in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Opened in August 2018, this walkway is surrounded by lawns and fountains and lined with benches that invite you to sit down and enjoy the beautiful Californian day. The park is home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants in 13 different botanical areas. There is a children’s playground and a theatre for free events such as Yoga, Zumba® and Co.
Just over 20 meters above the Great Hall, the park extends over the entire length of the Transit Center’s almost four-blocks long route.
Photo credits: San Francisco Travel Association
The park offers not only cool photo spots for your Instagram account, but is also a nice alternative if you just want to relax.
Hotel San Francisco
For these five cool activities in San Francisco, you need a strategically located starting point. At my last visit, I stayed at the Hotel Triton. The location right where China Town, Union Square and the Financial District converge is ideal. Whether you are a tourist or a business traveller!
I wrote an own post about this hotel in San Francisco:
These five cool activities in San Francisco show you the famous city of the Bay Area from completely different perspectives. Whether by foot, on two wheels, by boat, through the local cuisine, or by visiting a park where the locals come to relax… This way you can get to know the many facets of San Francisco in different ways.
Which of the five activities is your favorite?