San Francisco in 3 Days – Older Woman Solo

San Francisco in 3 Days – Older Woman Solo

What are some things to do in San Francisco when you only have 3 days to take it all in?
San Francisco is in-your-face with its sights, sounds, and smells.  This city still has hints of the Summer of Love in its loins.  The dawning of the age of Aquarius mixed with the heavy vibe of  Flower Power. The city is “a wild child, runnin’ wild” with its eclectic and numerous diversified neighborhoods.
Read about my stay at a San Francisco Hostel


Here’s how to spend 3 days in San Francisco

 San Francisco – Day 1

Purchase a Go San Francisco Card.  I recommend the Explorer Pass for $69 (allows 3 attractions to choose from).  Be sure to download the app onto your smartphone for easy access to your Go Card.   Here are my recommendations for 3 attractions:
  • Cruise the San Francisco Bay while gazing at the urban skyline of San Francisco, passing under both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge.  You’ll get a chance to see spectacular views of Alcatraz Island, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building and much more, all while learning about the history of the city.

  • Choose from a variety of self-guided tours and check out San Francisco via bike. Your bike rental comes with a helmet, a bike lock and a custom map of suggested routes.

  • The Muni Day Pass includes one full day of unlimited rides on Muni, Muni-Metro, historic street cars, cable cars, underground trains, and buses.  Make the most of the pass by hopping on San Francisco’s historic cable cars.  Did you know that passengers board through both doors of their buses and street cars?  Fascinating!

    Street Car San Francisco

San Francisco – Day 2

Spend the day exploring San Francisco via BigBus Double Decker Bus.  I recommend purchasing the Premium 2-Day ticket for 68.00 which includes a night tour of San Francisco OR a 2-hour tour of Sausalito.  (I recommend Sausalito).
The first bus departs Fisherman’s Wharf at 9:00 AM and runs at 10-20 minute intervals. The last bus leaves the wharf at 5 pm.
Big Bus Tour San Francisco
Hop on/hop off at your leisure (download their app to have access to their map or don’t forget to ask for a map at Fisherman’s Wharf).  Call me crazy but I like to do the full tour without hopping off then do the hop on/hop off once I’ve done a full loop. This is the perfect way to get a feel for the city of San Francisco, as a whole.

Here are 6 must-sees on the Big Bus Tour:

  • Fisherman’s Wharf: stop #1 – Stop off for ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s and be sure to eat some crab legs. The first bus departs Fisherman’s Wharf at 9:00 AM and runs at 10-20 minute intervals. The last bus leaves the wharf at 5 pm.

Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

2.  Coit Tower: stop # 3 – Walk to the top of the hill where Coit Tower sits, then if you ain’t tired, take the elevator to the top of Coit (the line will be long but it’s worth it).

View from Telegraph Hill San Francisco

3.  Ferry Building: stop #5 – great views of Oakland Bay Bridge, sit outside and gaze at the sun or if it’s raining try finding a seat somewhere and feast on everything from chocolate, cheese, wine, check out a tea shop, buy a side of beef or live lobster….the list goes on. Oh and check out the Embarcadero.

Farmer's Market Ferry Building San Francisco

4.  Alamo Square: stop #10 – Check out the Painted Ladies – Victorian-style houses are everywhere in San Francisco but these particular houses are famous from the TV show “Full House”.

Painted Ladies Alamo Square San Francisco

5.  Chinatown Gate: stop #18 – Shop for souvenirs, eat some amazing Asian fare. Crowded as hell so if you’re claustrophobic just look at the Gate from the corner of Grant and Bush Street.

Chinatown Gate - San Francisco

6.  Portsmouth Square – stop #19 – Check out the Cable Car Museum and Beat Museum.
Portsmouth Square San Francisco

 San Francisco – Day 3

Spend day 3 exploring more of San Francisco via BigBus.  Do one of the BigBus complimentary walking tours:

1.  Chinatown Walk (stop 6)- 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM

2.  North Beach Walk (stop 3) – 4:00 PM

3.  Barbary Coast Walk (stop 4) – 12:00 PM

4.  Fisherman’s Wharf Walk (stop 1) – 2:00 PM

  • Haight-Ashbury (#11) – mentally and spiritually take in San Francisco’s hippie vibe.
  • Golden Gate Park (#12) – beautiful and huge! I remember going here as a kid on Sundays to watch my brother play soccer.
  • Golden Gate Bridge North (#13) – get out here, take some photos and enjoy the view – breathtaking!

San Francisco Bridge

San Francisco, that city by the bay, is chock-full of and brimming with plenty of things to see and do. My advice:  don’t try to see it all in one visit because you will end up with the bends from sensory overload or sore thighs from walking those damn hills.
See you again soon, San Francisco!

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