We tend to do a lot of walking when we visit new cities. So this post is an itinerary for those who would like to spend their time in San Francisco like we did–accumulating lots and lots of miles! We used mapmyrun to retrace our steps and make the count as accurate as possible. (The mile markers at the end of each segment are cumulative, totaling 18.19 miles over both days.)
3:00: Park your car in the cheapest—aka sketchiest—lot you can find. Don your most comfortable shoes because the walking tour officially begins when you hand your keys to the attendant.
3:15: You’ll make your way to Market St. after a homeless man tries to bite you. Don’t worry, he’s not really a threat. Wander around for a while until finally deciding to obtain a map from the tourist office below Union Square. (.4 mi)
3:45: After finally getting your bearings, you will want to head toward Chinatown. On the way, admire the famous San Francisco Trolley Cars. (.98 mi)
4:15: Arrive in one of the largest Chinatowns in the US. Take time to browse the stores full of various trinkets, but make sure to leave time for the Vital Tea Leaf. Here you’ll be able to sit at the bar and enjoy various free tea samples while the attendant bashes the unhealthy habits of overweight Americans. (1.14 mi)
4:45: Make your way to the waterfront of Fisherman’s Wharf where you can enjoy all the touristy shops you could ever need, as well as the famous Pier 39 sea lions. (2.94 mi)
5:45: Realize that you only have about an hour to find where you parked your car on the other side of the city before the attendant with your keys goes home for the night and you are stranded in San Fran with no way to make your way back to your CouchSurfing home in Oakland. (4.92 mi)
6:35: You power walked to the car and easily found it using your incredible sense of direction you’ve mastered after four weeks on the road, with a whole 25 minutes to spare. (This really only applies to Dan; Casey is still always hopelessly lost)
6:40: Move your car back to Fisherman’s Wharf—where you just came from—and hope to find a metered spot. Re-walk the waterfront looking for decently priced food or anything reminiscent of happy hour. You’ll end up back where you parked the car at Pier 23, where you can split fish and chips without being charged the split plate fee. They’ll even through in an extra piece of fish to make sharing easy. (5.92 mi)
9:00: The rush hour traffic is officially over so you are free to head to Oakland. Get a good night’s sleep; you completed 5.92 miles today but tomorrow will be a doozie.
11:30: Enjoy a huge brunch, compliments of your fabulous hosts and wonderful cooks, to fuel up for the big day.
1:00: Take the BART into 16th and Mission. After the pain of parking yesterday, you definitely don’t want to worry about having a car in the city.
1:45: Explore the Mission District, known for its murals, Mexican food and vintage shops. Walk by Dolores Park and take in all the people strewn across the lawn, listening to music and enjoying their Saturday afternoon. Walk around the Mission District a little more, making sure to spend some time on Valencia Street. (2.02 mi)
2:45: Realize your camera battery is dead and you haven’t even seen the Golden Gate Bridge yet. Call your CouchSurfers and ask them to bring it with them when they come to the city. You now have another hour to kill in the Mission District before they get here. Take the time to grab some cheap frozen yogurt. (2.99 mi)
3:45: Your charger has arrived. Walk back to Dolores Park to pick it up. You can now officially make your way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Surprise!! You’ll be walking because the bus is going to take an hour anyway. (3.15 mi)
4:00: You begin the trek. Fill up your water bottles while refusing the drug offers you receive.
4:30: Stumble across the Fillmore Street Festival and listen to the awesome live jazz music! Be really glad you walked or else you would have missed out on the ragtime rhythms! (4.65 mi)
5:15: Drop into Good Will to buy a $5 sweater because in packing for your summer road trip you forgot that the last time you went to Yellowstone it SNOWED, and you have only packed summery t-shirts and shorts this time around. (4.91 mi)
5:25: Stop into a coffee shop to charge your camera for the 35 pictures you’re bound to take of the Golden Gate Bridge. Like always, you need to have a picture of the monument from every angle possible. (5.4 mi)
5:45: Leave the coffee shop. You are almost there!!! Just a little bit of your hike left until you make it to the waterfront. (6.66 mi)
6:15: You arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge, and it really is just as beautiful as you imagined it would be! Take time from frantically snapping photographs to really take in the massive scale of the architectural feat. (8.67 mi)
7:00: Your next mission is to get to Tommy’s, a Mexican restaurant that has repeatedly been voted as having the best margaritas on Earth. Since you have been on a Mexican food craze since the start of your road trip, this isn’t an opportunity you can pass up. Make your way into the Presidio, a must-see park with many scenic vistas, and climb the Fort Point trail. (9.01 mi)
7:15: Keep following the scenic trail. Don’t forget to turn around and watch the sunset behind the Golden Gate Bridge. There are also plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy, so try to catch a glimpse of Baker Beach before all the light disappears. (9.89 mi)
8:15: Put some pep in that step! You’re getting closer, and after all this walking you will be able to thoroughly enjoy the heap of calories from the margaritas and tortilla chips. (10.89 mi)
9:00: You finally find your way to Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, where you collapse in a chair. A few sips later you discover that they really do have the best margaritas you have ever tasted, with fresh lime squeezed into every GOLDEN pitcher. If you stick around long enough you can even obtain your PhD in tequila! Make friends with the owner as he walks by so you can have a slice of his brother-in-law’s white tequila birthday cake. (12.27 mi)
11:00: You are now fed and well rested after your walking tour of San Francisco. Reward yourself by boarding a bus back to Market Street where you catch the last BART back to Oakland.
And that is how you see San Francisco like us :-)
18.19 miles in 32 hours