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Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

The Ultimate Travel Guide for Visiting San Francisco This Summer

Looking forward to a summer getaway, but not sure where you want to go? Look no further than The “Golden City” — San Francisco!

Known for its bustling nightlife, scenic parks, and primetime foodie culture, it’s packed with the perfect experiences for a solo adventure or a gal’s trip. Whether you’re into one-of-a-kind cocktails or walking through Japanese tea gardens, San Francisco is the perfect destination for summer.

Here’s your guide to the best iconic restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities you can only find in San Francisco.

Best Places to Eat in San Francisco

A foodie’s reason to rejoice! You can’t visit San Francisco without tasting the most drool-worthy dishes the city has to offer.

Italian

  • If you’re craving Italian, stop by Sotto Mare and try their cioppino — a unique take on the famous Italian-American seafood stew.
  • Fun fact, this dish has ties to Ligurian roots in North Beach.

 Sushi

  • If you’re in the mood for sushi, try Akiko’s Restaurant for a traditional yet contemporary take on Japanese sushi.
  • Enjoy a one-of-a-kind delectable omakasedining experience -- a tasting menu, handpicked by the chef himself.
  • Family-run for over 30 years, their hard work and passion is evident in their sushi.

 Thai

  • Looking for a refreshing meal with a bit of a kick? Check out Nari, one of San Francisco’s finest Thai restaurants.
  • Experience upscale and intimate dining with authentically bold flavors.
  • Try the whole Branzino seasoned with lemongrass, ginger, peanuts, and chilis, or the locally sourced Monterey Bay Squid tossed with caramelized, sticky pork.

 Comfort Food

  • If you’re on the hunt for a more casual dining experience, you can’t go wrong with Brenda’s Meat and Three.
  • Skip the white tablecloths and opt for a soulful experience of comforting New Orleans-inspired food.
  • This restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - making it a must for your weekend getaway!
  • Craving a piping hot bowl of creamy clam chowder? Stop by Chowders in Fisherman's Wharf for an authentic taste of what San Fran is all about.

 Best Places to Drink in San Francisco

San Francisco is popular for its vibrant nightlife, so it’s no surprise the city is packed with incredible bars and lounges.

Whether you’re looking to start or end a night out, you can depend on- Trick Dog for a fun time. They serve some of the best cocktails in San Francisco. The drinks are often themed and change every now and then to keep things fresh. And if you get hungry, you can grab a bite upstairs!

Looking for something laid back? Check out Li Po Cocktail Lounge. Anthony Bourdain praised this come-as-you-are bar and loved the Chinese Mai Tais. The decor is refined yet quirky, and there’s a space for everyone at this special little bar.

Fun Outdoor Activities in San Francisco

One of the best parts of visiting sunny California is the year-round outdoor activities.

Start your trip with a stop at the world-renowned Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It’s the oldest tea garden in the country, and offers plenty of gorgeous, Insta-worthy views. Snap pics of the massive entrance gate, High Arching Drum Bridge, and relaxing Zen garden.

If you’re looking for another nature getaway, you’ll love the San Francisco Botanical Garden. You won’t regret this pit-stop: The Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.

Spanning over 55 acres within Golden Gate State Park, you’ll get the chance to see over 8,000 plant species! Take a tour, visit the on-site library, and soak in the fresh air.

Excited to get out on the water? If you’re in the mood for a brief adventure on the water, hop on a bay cruise and visit famous historical locations like Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Ready to skip the city? Rent a car and escape to the Muir Woods National Monument for a day of exploration in the Redwoods. Spend the day relishing in the magic of the old growth coastal redwood ranging from 600-800 years old. Choose from 6 trails, pack a picnic for a lunch with view.

Best Places to Shop in San Francisco

San Francisco is the perfect place to shop ‘til you drop. From eclectic specialty shops to luxury high-end boutiques, you’ll find something for every budget and taste.

Fisherman’s Wharf is an absolute must on your trip to San Fran. It’s located on the northern waterfront and hosts a variety of vibrant, colorful shops and restaurants. Try some fresh clam chowder served in a sourdough bowl, or buy some souvenirs for your friends back home. Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most family-friendly areas in San Francisco, too, so if you have kids it’s perfect for a day of fun in the sun!

Take a mid-day stroll through Ghirardelli Square and visit unique shops and restaurants. The Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop is known for having a line, but their delectable treats are more than worth the wait.

Spend the afternoon in Union Square, an urban hotspot in San Francisco. Often called the city’s shopping haven, it’s home to many upscale shops like Mephisto, Oak & Fort, Ray Ban, and Athleta. Union Square also hosts many outdoor events and concerts throughout the year.

Finally, no trip to San Fran is complete without visiting our retail partner Therapy Stores for a wide variety of unique and beautifully crafted items — from home goods to jewelry.

This spot is a must for finding the perfect souvenir for your gal pals back home — or for adding another Sherpani travel bag to your collection. They even have gifts for pets and kids, so you can pick up a souvenir for every member of the family!

Located at 545 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA, 94110. Get a sneak peek of all the gorgeous goods Therapy Stores has to offer >

Explore Another Iconic City Close to Home

It’s hard to find another summer vacation spot as lively, eclectic, and vibrant as The Golden City! If you want to make the most out of your summer trip, you can’t go wrong with a sunny San Fran adventure.

Looking for a getaway closer to home? Check out Fort Collins! If you’re craving a more accessible summer get-away, here’s your guide to where to eat, play, and shop in Fort Collins this summer.

The ultimate guide to visiting Fort Collins >

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