San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco

California

San Francisco is a beautiful city that is so full of life! Home to the famous former prison Alcatraz; it is also known for the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Fisherman’s Wharf.  From unique city landmarks to secret prohibition bars there  are endless exciting things to do while backpacking San Francisco.
For information on currency, vaccinations, best time to travel, budget tips, and more visit our page on Traveling America

Fishermans Wharf, backpacking San Francisco, USA

Activities

Walk Along Fisherman`s Wharf

Fisherman`s Wharf is one of the busiest tourist areas you will experience while backpacking San Francisco. Shops, restaurants, and seafood stalls line the entire length of the Wharf. Enjoy great views of Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge and the local colony of sea lions living in the bay.

Shop at Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a public food market. It features a variety of food stalls that act as small restaurants, snack stops, and grocery stores. Find a wide variety of food including seafood, burgers, Mexican food, a nut shop, and a cheese & dairy bar. Check out the website for hours and more information.

Get a Great View of Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco! You will likely drive over it to get in and out of downtown and there are many great viewpoints throughout San Francisco. We highly recommend walking or biking over the bridge on a nice day.

Golden Gate Bridge, backpacking San Francisco, USA

Watch a Baseball Game at AT&T Park

Home to the San Francisco Giants, this ballpark offers a stunning view of the bay and an exciting atmosphere. With plenty of games throughout the summer; you can buy tickets starting at around $10 USD per person.

Explore Alcatraz 

Visiting Alcatraz while backpacking San Francisco is an absolute must! This notorious former prison has housed some of Americas most famous criminals. Choose from a day tour ($44 USD per person) or a night tour ( $51 USD per person) which include round trip ferry rides and the Cell House Audio Tour. Book your tickets here a few months in advance; especially if you want to do the night tour.

See San Francisco on a Bike

San Francisco is home to numerous bike rental shops averaging $30 USD per day.  This is a really fun way to explore Fisherman’s Wharf, the City of San Francisco, and even bike across the Golden Gate Bridge!

Visit the Twin Peaks

A pair of 922-foot-high summits in the middle of San Francisco! Drive up the winding road for access to a beautiful hilltop park. Here you will find hiking trails leading up to a stunning 360 degree view of the city and the bay.

Learn About Local Aquatic Life at The Aquarium at the Bay

A public aquarium located at the edge of Pier 39 along Fisherman`s Wharf. We loved the focus on local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and area. There is plenty of interesting information and the aquarium is just as entertaining for adults as it is for children. The price is $26.94 per person, click here for more information.

Mix It Up at The Church of 8 Wheels

A former Catholic church that has been converted into a roller disco. If you want to do something out of the ordinary while backpacking San Francisco; look no further! They are open most Friday and Saturday evenings and you can check the website for events and theme nights. Admission is $10 USD plus $5 USD for skate rental.

Admire The Mission DistrictMission District, backpacing San Diego

Home to more than 200 colorful murals reflecting the Hispanic heritage of the area. Artists from Precita Eyes Mural Arts & Visitor Center offer multiple guided mural walks on weekends for $20 USD per person.

Visit Presidio Park

A 1,500 acre park on a former military post offering forested areas, 24 miles of trails and 14 miles of paved roads for cyclists. Enjoy the golf course, bowling alley, tennis courts and scenic overlooks. Other highlights include Sandy Baker Beach, The Walt Disney Family Museum, restaurants, and picnic areas.

Enjoy a Photo Op at Baker Beach 

This mile long beach offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and a great place to set up for a picnic lunch.  Baker Beach is part of Presidio Park and free to visit. Please note that swimming in the water is very dangerous due to the strong current and rip tides.


Food

  • Bourbon and Branch: This bar was around during the prohibition and has kept the tradition alive in its own way. You arrive to an unmarked door and provided the password you received after reserving online. Inside you will find a great atmosphere with unique cocktails.
  • Ghiardelli Chocolate Factory: The most wonderful chocolate factory I`ve ever seen in real life! They have walls of different types of chocolates upstairs and an amazing sundae bar on the lower level.
  •  Boudin Bakery: The best sourdough in San Francisco! Located on Fisherman’s Wharf, you can watch them make the homemade bread from a mother dough first cultivated in 1849. Try a sourdough bread bowl with some soup or buy a loaf to take home.
  • Tony`s Pizza Napoletana: Owned by the first American to win the World Champion Pizza Maker title; this place is a must visit. They don`t take reservations so get there early and put your name on the list!

Accommodation

Kirby Cove Campground: Hands down the best place to stay while backpacking San Francisco! This campground is located across the river from downtown very close to the Golden Gate Bridge. You will get some phenomenal views of the bridge and the city from the campground beach. Kirby Cove Campground is hike in only; however it is a very short walk and they provide wheelbarrows to transport your things.

  • Check in: 1 pm Check out: 12 pm
  • Hike in, tents only
  • Outhouses, no showers
  • Reserve online here

We hope you enjoy your trip to San Francisco! Don`t hesitate to contact us with any questions or to let us know your favorite stops!
Travel Guide: The Best Things to do in San Francisco
Travel Guide: San Francisco