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How To Spend 12 Hours In San Francisco
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How To Spend 12 Hours In San Francisco

Picture of Megan McDermott
Updated: 24 April 2017
When stuck in a city for only a few hours, there is no time to waste. Hop in a Lyft or an Uber, whichever you prefer, and get the day started. In a city like San Francisco, you have to get your hands dirty to experience the beauty of a continuously changing place. San Francisco is known for many things, and it seems any direction you walk is a landmark where tourists plunge into a sea of flashing iPhones. Let’s try to stay away from the obvious and discover a flourishing city that is uniquely its own.
christopher chan creative commons flickr
© Christopher Chan/Flickr

To begin any day in San Francisco, one must indulge in one’s favorite cup of coffee, and this city is scattered with great cafes brewing innovative coffee concoctions on a daily basis. Since you only have 12 hours, head to Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen located in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset District. Brewing local cups of pour over coffee and delicious food, this spot is perfect for a to-go cup of joe, as Ocean Beach is just a block away. If you happen to be hungry, the chicken and waffles are so good that you might end up dreaming about them on a daily basis. So grab something to go and take a seat on the sand, where the sound of waves clash with each steamy sip.

Beachside Coffee, 4300 Judah St., San Francisco, CA, USA + 1 415 682 4961

Fort Point by Tom Hilton from Flickr Creative Commons
Fort Point | © Tom Hilton/Flickr

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic landmark, and if you’re here, you’ve got to at least take a selfie with it. There are a lot of great spots to view this celebrated bridge, but one that never disappoints is Fort Point. A popular site for people that enjoy a good bike ride, Fort Point is a bit of a walk to get to but is accessible for anybody willing to do a little exercise. It’s worth it when you see the view, and if you follow a path down to Crissy Field, you will be again amazed at more breathtaking views.

Fort Point, Marine Dr., San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 556 1693

jerome Paz creative commons flickr
Dolores Park | © Jermone Paz/Flickr

Dolores Park is your next stop. A melting pot packed with people soaking up the San Francisco swelter, Dolores Park is the peak of this city’s abundant culture. You might find people playing instruments and a crowd gathered dancing to the beat, dogs running around, and the occasional naked guy confidently strutting his stuff. It’s one of the best places to people watch in the city while soaking up some sun.

Mission Dolores Park, 19th & Dolores St., San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 554 9521

If it’s about lunch time, head to Craftsman and Wolves located right near Dolores Park. This patisserie is the pivotal spot to grab something quick and hit the park. The Rebel Within, a soft-boiled egg surrounded by a cheese and sausage-flecked pastry is a must-try, while the chocolate croissant is uniquely constructed and tastes rich and flaky. But don’t worry, because whatever you order will be delicious.

Craftsman and Wolves, 746 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 913 7713

Once the people watching has taken a turn for the worse, and the naked guy is much closer than you want him to be, it’s time to climb some hills. San Francisco is well known for its hilly physique, and while some places seem to be too much for the average person to climb, Grace Cathedral is a must-visit place here in San Francisco. Located in Nob Hill, its picturesque views atop one of the city’s highest points is worth the hike.

Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 749 6300

KP Tripathi flickr creative commons
© KP Tripathi/Flickr

It’s time for a pick me up and there’s no better place than Buena Vista Café. Located at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf, this establishment has been serving Irish coffees since 1952. A mixture of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream, this Irish coffee is famous for its powerful taste that packs a punch. With great views of the bay, it’s easy to see why visitors near and far come to this delightful spot time and again.

Buena Vista Cafe, 2765 Hyde St., San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 474 5044

Dinner time is around the corner, and any which way you turn is a restaurant that looks and smells amazing and you’re probably right. There is no such thing as bad food in San Francisco, so it’s always a challenge to pick just one, especially on your time limit. Located in the heart of the Mission, El Techo serves Latin American street food and tasty cocktails from a rooftop that overlooks the city. This place is a great way to end your quick trip here in San Francisco. The vibe and view will have you calling the airport hoping to catch a later flight back home.

El Techo 2518 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 550 6970

By Megan McDermott

Originally from Boston, MA, Megan McDermott graduated from Plymouth State University with a journalism degree. She’s molded the minds of children as a creative writing teacher. Megan was the Assistant Editor of Scene Magazine, where she wrote travel editorials among other things. She loves traveling, eating great food, and skiing whenever possible.