Planning a last minute Bay Area getaway? As 100% locals, Dylan’s Tours wants to help you discover what to do in San Francisco in 3 days!
Believe us when we say that last minute getaways to San Francisco are fun.
This city is only 7×7 square miles (that’s 121 square kilometers). Roughly ⅔ the size of Brooklyn in NYC! Such a small city means you can fit in a ton of unique San Francisco activities into a short trip.
As 100% locals, we want to help you plan three perfect days in San Francisco.
Grab your San Francisco 3 Day Pass from SFMTA for convenient access to the iconic San Francisco cable cars and historic streetcars from the 30s and 40s, and use this guide to help plan your ultimate San Francisco itinerary!
WHAT TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 3 DAYS
Day 1: WHAT TO DO ON YOUR FIRST DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO
First things first, if you’re flying into San Francisco, you’ll still need to get to San Francisco from the airport.
That’s right, the San Francisco International Airport is not actually IN San Francisco.
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered with how to get to San Francisco from SFO and how to get to San Francisco from Oakland International.
Booking a tour through TripAdvisor isn't as easy as it used to be.Read more about the recent TripAdvisor changes here: http://bit.ly/tripadvisorchanges
Posted by Dylan's Tours on Monday, May 7, 2018
Once you’re in San Francisco you’ll need to check into your hotel.
Best area to stay in San Francisco?
We’ve done the research for you and featured the Best Hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco on our San Francisco travel blog! This is one of the best central areas to stay in the city if you only have 3 days in San Francisco.
We are big fans of the industrial-chic San Francisco themed aesthetic of Pier 2620 Hotel. In fact, the rooms at Pier 2620 might make you think you’re actually staying in a cute local Airbnb!
This welcoming Fisherman’s Wharf hotel boasts free wifi, is walking distance to some of the best San Francisco tours and is home to a self-serve wine bar.
SAN FRANCISCO VACATION PLANNER TIP: If you’re flying in early, most hotels will try to accomodate an early check-in. But, sometimes they just don’t have any rooms available until the current occupants check out. To ensure an early check-in, make your room reservation for the day before you arrive.
What to do in San Francisco after you check in at your hotel?
Most travelers to San Francisco usually arrive after most of the San Francisco day tours have departed, so plan to take it easy on your first day in San Francisco.
A fun way of getting to know San Francisco is with a leisurely bike ride along the waterfront on a San Francisco e-bike rental.
Biking through Fisherman’s Wharf on your way to the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most quintessential activities to do in San Francisco.
Lucky for you, Dylan’s Tours sends out intrepid travelers on meticulously Pedego e-bikes which make pedaling, optional.
Effortlessly cruise up the notorious steep hills of San Francisco with a power boost from a discreet electric battery on the back of the bike.
You can enjoy 10% off San Francisco bike rentals at Dylan’s Tours with promo code 3PERFECTDAYS when reserving on the Dylan’s Tours website (offer not redeemable with third party resellers like TripAdvisor, Viator, Groupon or GetYourGuide).
Where to have dinner in San Francisco?
After you’ve worked up an appetite from your San Francisco bike ride, you’ll need a 100% local restaurant for dinner.
Sotto Mare, Italian for “under the sea”, is pretty much the ONLY Italian seafood restaurant in San Francisco.
You won’t find chicken, beef or even an oven or deep fryer at the North Beach Italian restaurant. Everything at Sotto Mare is seafood. Everything at Sotto Mare is cooked to order, on the stove top.
The can’t miss menu item at Sotto Mare is their cioppino.
Cioppino is a uniquely San Francisco dish, kind of like a seafood soup, that was created by Italian fishermen during the Gold Rush.
One of the owners, Richie, uses his grandmother’s recipe, both for the cioppino and the Italian bread that is made daily by Boudin Bakery in Fisherman’s Wharf.
If you only have one nice meal to spare on your San Francisco itinerary, Sotto Mare is where you should go!
What to do after dinner in San Francisco
Just down the road from Sotto Mare, where Green Street turns into Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard, you’ll find the longest running musical revue in the world — Beach Blanket Babylon.
This tongue-in-cheek comedy musical act is difficult to describe, but let’s just say they’re known for their hats.
Hats that require performer’s to wear special digging underneath their costumes.
Still, some hats are so massive they require assistance from cables hanging from the rafters.
Beach Blanket Babylon is bit like a drag show-inspired-SNL. It’s very topical. Often “featuring” guest appearances from current pop culture figures and references to events currently happening in the real world.
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We're celebrating something (well, someONE) very special this summer! Tammy Nelson, also known as the gal in the San Francisco Skyline hat, is celebrating her silver anniversary with Beach Blanket Babylon! In addition to wearing the San Francisco skyline on her head, over the past 25 years Tammy has played NUMEROUS pop and political culture characters including Queen Elizabeth II, Adele, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Marie Osmond and Paula Dean as well as show classics like Miss Italy, Country Western Gal and the French Streetwalker. Happy 25th anniversary, Tammy! Cheers to you ♥️
This has got to be one of the most unique things to do in San Francisco. The city even renamed a section of Green Street as Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard!
Day 2: FUN THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO ON YOUR SECOND DAY
If you’re not sure how many days to spend in San Francisco, you’ll want to stay long enough for a day tour of San Francisco.
Once you’re rested from your travels, your second full day in San Francisco will benefit from a San Francisco day tour.
This way, you can get your bearings around the city and spend the next day enjoying San Francisco neighborhoods that caught your eye from the tour.
You’ll find the most bang for your buck with a tour that has a comprehensive San Francisco one day itinerary. Dylan’s Famous Tour has been perfected over a decade of helping travelers explore San Francisco like a local.
Karl the Fog is no where to be seen — so we hopped onto one of our very own Famous Tours with tour guide Aaron to see just how amazing San Francisco looks when there's is no fog!Book your tour at www.DYLANSTOURS.com and save 10% off Dylan's Famous Tour at check out with discount code KARLISGONE 💰
Posted by Dylan's Tours on Wednesday, May 16, 2018
This San Francisco bus tour conveniently picks up from Fisherman’s Wharf and stops for photos at the murals of the Mission District, city skyline views from Twin Peaks, the infamous corner of Haight & Ashbury, and the sprawling mansions of Billionaires Row and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, along the scenic waterfront of Sausalito.
Dylan’s Tours 100% local tour guides will teach you everything you need to know before arriving to Muir Woods. That way you’ll be prepared to explore for over an hour exploring the most popular trails in the redwood forest of Muir Woods.
Fans of Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” will have to try the Marin Melt Grilled Cheese Sandwich at the Muir Woods Cafe.
Read all about the Muir Woods Cafe grilled cheese here.
Enjoy 10% off Dylan’s Famous Tour with promo code 3PERFECTDAYS when reserving on the Dylan’s Tours website (offer not redeemable with third party resellers like TripAdvisor, Viator, Groupon or GetYourGuide).
Where to eat in San Francisco after a tour?
Dylan’s Famous Tour ends near the former Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, known locally as Ghirardelli Square.
The chocolate factory (along with the old Del Monte Cannery down the road) shuttered their factory doors in the 60s.
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The restaurant is literally attached to this active San Francisco brewery.
Come for the brews, but please stay for the grub! You’ll spot pub favorites featuring popular San Francisco twists.
Traditional BBQ chicken pizza gets a SF twist with smoked gouda.
Classic BLTs are dressed up with chicken and avocado.
And the SF Brew Co Burger comes with housemade dijonaise.
Between the brews and grub, SF Brewing Co is the perfect addition to a weekend in San Francisco.
Day 3: How to Spend Your Last Day in San Francisco
Even with three perfect day in San Francisco, you eventually come to your last day.
Following our guide for this 3 day trip to San Francisco, you have already: eaten at the best North Beach Italian restaurant in San Francisco, explored all of the city highlights on a San Francisco city tour, and even shared a cheers at one of the best breweries in San Francisco.
Depending on how much time you have before a flight, there are a few ways you can spend your last day in the city.
If you only have time for breakfast
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Breakfast in San Francisco makes for the perfect last hurrah before you leave. We are a global food destination after all!
If you have the afternoon to check off the last of your San Francisco trip itinerary
Having a few hours to explore before you leave gives you the opportunity to see the last bits of San Francisco your city tour didn’t cover.
In most cases, this means the iconic eight hair pin turns that make up San Francisco’s Crooked Street.
This crooked part of Lombard Street has banned tour buses that seat over eight people since the 1980s!
In fact tour buses are banned within about five square blocks of The Crooked Street in any direction.
We get it. Tour buses are big and loud.
That’s why Dylan’s Tours runs two hour private San Francisco tours in the ONLY electric tuk tuks in the city!
The little electric vehicles seat 4-6 people and skirt past the San Francisco tour bus ban.
If you’ve traveled around Southeast Asia you might have seen the traditional gasoline powered tuk tuks around Thailand.
The original tuk tuks’ motor was so notoriously noisey it became known for the sputtering “tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk” sound it produced.
Dylan’s Tours electric tuk tuks are custom made in Denver by eTuk USA and are pretty much silent compared to the original tuk tuks. These eTuks also fit 4-6 people, which makes them a lot roomier than traditional two-seater tuk tuks!
Enjoy the perks of customizing your route on this San Francisco private tour so that you don’t miss out on anything that was on your San Francisco bucket list.
Tony’s isn’t just one of the best North Beach Italian restaurants in San Francisco — Tony’s is one of the best pizza places in America!
Need more help navigating what to do in San Francisco in 3 days?
Our San Francisco travel blog features 100% local recommendations for everything San Francisco.
From where to stay in San Francisco, to guides to beer tasting San Francisco, the most surprisingly family friendly restaurants in San Francisco and even a guide to San Francisco with toddlers!
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