12 Hours in San Francisco
With its friendly locals, iconic tourist attractions, cutting-edge cuisine and relaxed, coastal setting, it’s easy to see why San Francisco is a regular on the top 10 list of most visited US cities by overseas tourists. Thousands of cruise ship travellers from across the world dock each week, keen to explore the unique atmosphere and culture of ‘San Fran’. Even if your time is limited, there’s a lot you can get done during your stopover. From Little Italy to Alcatraz - and all sights in between – this is 12 hours in San Francisco.
When you’ve only got a day to explore a city as large and culturally diverse as San Fran, you may not want to indulge in a lengthy sit-down breakfast. For fast and friendly service, hearty meals and delicious coffee, you can’t go past Cafe Puccini, in the heart of Little Italy. With an authentic local vibe and close proximity to Washington Square Park, Cafe Puccini is an ideal starting point for your North Beach travels. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from our mid-morning destination: Telegraph Hill.
9:30am – Coit Tower, Telegraph Hill
Enjoy marvellous 360 degree views of the city (including the Golden Gate Bridge) from Coit Tower’s observation deck. Discover the history of this beloved landmark on a small group tour. The splendid murals inside the tower’s base are worth the price of admission alone. Get that camera ready - you’ll be needing it.
No visit to San Frans is complete without a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf. Feast on local seafood before embarking on a ferry ride to the iconic Alcatraz prison. There are a number of tours on offer here, but it’s worth booking one in advance that incorporates both a prison visit and a Craft Beer pub crawl.
San Francisco is one of the west coast’s leading craft beer regions. You’ll definitely be thirsty after an afternoon of sightseeing, so why not sample a few of the Bay Area’s finest ales before dinner?
Take a tram over to Chinatown and tuck into a giant feast of authentic soup dumplings and classic Hunan cuisine at the Hunan Home restaurant. The décor may be no-frills but the food, service and lively atmosphere more than compensate for the basic interior. Get in early to beat the crowds and if you can, allow room for dessert.
7:30am – Dessert and a stroll
Your day might be coming to an end, but there’s still time to head down to Union Square. Grab an ice-cream and immerse yourself in the bustling hive of activity. With the Dewey Monument at its centre, Union Square is widely considered the heart of San Francisco, and makes for an impressive sight during the evenings. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling to the city in late November, you might even witness the lighting of Macy’s giant Christmas tree.
While you may not want to leave, don’t get left behind! Once on board, it’s time to relax and regale fellow passengers with tales of your marvellous day.
There’s a tonne of things to see and do in San Francisco. Although it might not be possible to tick them all off your list, you can still have an amazing time in just 12 hours. Call our experienced consultants on 1300 954 661 if you’d like to add San Francisco to your next overseas holiday.
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