If you’re new in San Francisco, you may be feeling a bit lost in a city as expansive and vibrant as this one. After you’ve settled in, where should you go? What should you eat? Where can you make friends?
Read on to discover some of our best roundups for newcomers, with everything from cocktail bars to day trips.
1. Learn to walk and talk like a San Franciscan
We’ve asked our followers a few questions about what makes San Franciscans tick. Visit the link in each question for more responses!
“What’s one thing you wish you had known before moving to San Francisco?”
- “Listen to Too $hort”
- “Summer doesn’t start til September”
- “Beware of all of the offenses that can land you a parking ticket. For instance, not turning your wheels when parked on a hill, parking even an inch too close to the curb in front of a garage, etc.”
- “You can get a gnarly sunburn in the fog”
- “North Beach is not a beach”
- “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you identify as, or what your personal and professional interests are, there is a community and niche waiting for you!”
“How do you spot a San Franciscan in 10 seconds?”
- “Wears shorts and a coat at the same time.”
- “When they say ‘hella’, ‘the city’, ‘Yay Area’, ‘the Mission’, ‘Snob Hill’, and ‘the TL'”
- “Take full responsibility when the car is broken into 😂”
- “All Birds with a massive backpack”
- “Layers on layers. Dressed for every weather possibility.”
“What’s a red flag for you when someone’s talking about SF?”
- “When they call it Cali.”
- “When they call it ‘the’ 101.”
- “When they don’t ride Muni.”
- “When they call it San Fran.”
“Finish this sentence: I’m so grateful to San Francisco for…
- “…its ambience, culture, charm, beautiful weather, art, architecture, landscape, and diversity!”
- “…its great Opera House!”
- “…acceptance, wouldn’t dare to move my transgender ass anywhere else”
- “…allowing me to live my dream!”
2. Don’t be afraid to spend some time alone with these fun solo activities in the city
When in doubt, go it alone! Here are the best ways to be a party of one in San Francisco. Take this as your friendly reminder to get out of the house and try something new. You may just find an awesome new hobby or escape!
- Discover a new thrift shop
- Find your next plant children at an SF nursery
- Pick up a great read at a local bookstore
- Enjoy a brisk walk through SF’s most iconic neighborhoods
3. Discover the world-famous Ferry Building
San Francisco’s Ferry Building is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, serving as a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. It’s a center for events, pop-ups, a farmers’ market, and countless excellent merchants who sell their wares daily in the building’s many stalls. Read on to learn more about the Ferry Building’s history, plus some essential stops you should make on your next trip.
4. Find a new perspective on a city tour
- Fort Point Candlelight Tour: A unique night tour of Fort Point National Historic Site.
- Self-guided light art tour: 11 of the best light art installations in the city, reaching from the Bay Bridge to the Castro.
- SF Ghost Hunt: You’ll see the haunted trees of abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, learn about the Chambers Mansion poltergeists, and more
- Outdoor spots for history lovers: Our roundup of outdoor spots for history lovers isn’t technically a tour, but save the map so you can check these places out when you’re in the neighborhood.
5. Step out of your comfort zone with a fun day trip
We love San Francisco for its countless activities to enjoy everywhere you go. But anytime there’s a long weekend or a free day, we’re quite well-located to check out some neighboring California gems. Be sure to put these day trips on your to-do list for the next time you want to get out of the City and into nature.
6. Enjoy a romantic date in the city
San Francisco is full of lovely romantic places to have a date, from fine dining to intimate outdoor adventures. Are you looking to meet someone new in the city? Read on to get inspired.
- Have a nice meal on an outdoor patio
- Check out NightLife at the Academy of Sciences
- Explore a fascinating local tide pool
7. Get moving outdoors and make some friends
When it comes to working out, San Francisco has something for everyone. Whether you already have a consistent workout routine, or you’re trying to get started, take a look at our list to get some inspiration!
- Find a new bike riding route
- Join an outdoor gym or bootcamp
- Register for seasonal programming from SF Rec & Parks
8. Explore SF’s eclectic public art scene
- Staircases: Favorites include the Hidden Garden Steps, Lyon Street Steps, and the Lincoln Park Steps.
- Mural collections:: Favorites include Balmy Alley and Umbrella Alley.
- Lesser known public art: Favorites include the Yoda fountain, the Venus statue, Drawn Stone, and the Harry Potter Door.
9. Explore these essential spots for food and drink
- 10 excellent late-night food spots recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans
- 10 superb bakeries recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans
- 38 excellent Bay Area coffee shops recommended by locals
- 10 awesome SF brunch spots with outdoor seating
- Here’s the scoop: 10 must-try ice cream shops in SF
- 10 bountiful farmers’ markets to visit this weekend
- 11 superb wine bars to visit in San Franciscan
- 10 awesome cocktail bars recommended by San Franciscans
- 10 epic arcade bars to check out in the Bay Area
- 9 lively beer gardens where you can find your next pint
- 10 unbeatable craft breweries to try now in SF
- 10 marvelous rooftop bars to check out in San Francisco