Things To Do Alone in San Francisco
With no shortage of things to do alone in San Francisco we’ve narrowed down our 10 favorite ways to explore the city while traveling solo.
We might be a little biased because we’re from here. But, we think one of the best places to travel alone in the US is San Francisco. This is a city of singles. Dogs outnumber children. So, in a way, San Francisco is perfectly set up for solo travelers.
Green Tortoise Hostel is a popular hostel in San Francisco’s Little Italy. Because a lot of solo travelers find themselves at hostels, we get a lot of solo travelers at our Dylan’s Tours Bike Shop. Our shop in North Beach is super convenient location for San Francisco bike rentals. Since our bike shop is so close to waterfront, you can easily reach the Golden Gate Bridge in about an hour!
Many solo guests on Dylan’s Famous Tour have squeezed in a tour while they’re in town for a San Francisco convention. All of these travelers have something in common.
They all need ideas on things to do in alone in San Francisco.
So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite unique San Francisco bars and fun places to explore for anyone traveling alone in SF!
10 Things To Do Alone in San Francisco
- Explore off-the-beaten-path on an E-Bike tour of San Francisco.
- Go to a roller disco at the Church of 8 Wheels.
- Try to find the hidden Labyrinth with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Try pizza from the only American to ever win the World Pizza Cup.
- Sneak into a speakeasy disguised as The Library with the password “books”.
- Tour Alcatraz, America’s most infamous island prison.
- Ride one of the only moving historical monuments in the country — a San Francisco cable car.
- Discover the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Enjoy dinner outdoors with a movie screening at Foreign Cinema.
- Taste a drink created in San Francisco — the Mai Tai.
Hunting for the best San Francisco tour to take when traveling alone in the city?
#1 Explore off-the-beaten-path on an E-bike tour of San Francisco.
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One of the best ways to explore San Francisco is by bike. Rent one of our bikes, and enjoy the day riding through the streets of the city. Our staff will make sure each rider receives a helmet, lock, detailed map, and directions, before you take off on your adventure. Click the link in our bio to find more information on our bike rentals.
One of our favorite things to do alone in San Francisco is to join a bike tour. When you’re on a San Francisco bike tour, you’ll be zipping through the city on a Pedego electric bike. Bikes often have dedicated paths and roadways that offer a secure way of exploring the city.
Dylan’s Original City Loop Tour rides along the San Francisco waterfront. You’ll bike through Fisherman’s Wharf and past Ghirardelli Square. We’ll take you on the best paths leading to the Golden Gate Bridge.
We stop for photos at the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll even have free time to walk some of the bridge on your own! Afterwards, take the scenic route past mansions looking out onto the Pacific Ocean. Ride through all four miles of Golden Gate Park and enjoy lunch in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. For lunch, choose from Mexican taquerias, burger joints, gourmet pizza slices and Vietnamese banh-mi sandwiches. There’s even an amazing local grocery store with fresh deli sandwiches and sushi.
We’ll stop at the iconic house from “Full House” with the downtown skyline in the background. Wind through Chinatown where red paper lanterns decorate the street poles and end your San Francisco bike tour in Little Italy.
Alternatively, if you’re more interested in things to do in San Francisco by yourself you can also rent an e-bike out for the day and explore on your own!
Our Original City Loop tour has been voted the most fun way to explore the city. Come discover San Francisco with us!
#2 Go to a roller disco at the Church of 8 Wheels.
One of the most unusual things to do in San Francisco has got to be roller skating in an old church! Just down the road from the iconic house from “Full House” at Alamo Square is an old church with a giant disco ball.
The Church of 8 Wheels is in a fairly quiet residential neighborhood, so solo female travelers in San Francisco should feel comfortable spending a night out here.
Cruise by after 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays when the event becomes an adults only event — no one under 18 allowed. The age restrictions in the evening make this one of the fun things to do in San Francisco at night!
#3 Try to find the hidden Labyrinth with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Take a scenic hike through Lands End at the western end of the city to discover a stoned labyrinth on a rocky overhang facing the Golden Gate Bridge. Use our guide to hiking in San Francisco to help navigate your way to the Lands End Labyrinth.
Be sure to bring a jacket. No matter how warm it may seem, the western side of San Francisco is notoriously windy when you’re on the waterfront facing the Pacific Ocean. Don’t worry, the view is definitely worth it!
#4 Try pizza from the only American to ever win the World Pizza Cup.
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Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is one best places to eat in Washington Square Park in San Francisco’s Little Italy. Pizza is the perfect way to refuel after your San Francisco bike tour. However, if you’re on a solo trip to San Francisco you can skip the line at Tony’s Pizza and instead head next door to Slice House by Tony Gemgnani which serves up slices to go.
Tony Gemignani, the man behind the pizza, is internationally recognized as the only American pizza maker to win World Pizza Cup Champion in Naples, Italy. A feat Tony has repeated a few times over!
Slice House in North Beach sits on the corner of Washington Square Park, a park long considered the backyard of Little Italy. If the weather is nice, take your slice to the parklette outside.
Parklettes are miniparks that fit in 1-3 parking spaces on the street — a unique San Francisco solution to creating public spaces in cramped areas.
#5 Sneak into a speakeasy disguised as The Library with the password “books”.
Buzz the bell for Bourbon & Branch — a speakeasy with a front as the Anti-Saloon League of San Francisco. Tell the person at the door “books” and they will shuffle you inside and lead to a speakeasy, hidden within a speakeasy. This has got to be one of the most unique things to do in San Francisco!
San Francisco played a huge role in smuggling illicit booze from Canada during the American Prohibition on Alcohol.
Secret underground tunnels were dug out beneath sections of the Old Barbary Coast, Little Italy and Chinatown to help smuggle booze from ships at the waterfront to speakeasies — bars masquerading as normal businesses that required passwords for entry to where alcohol was being served.
Bourbon & Branch has helped this revival of speakeasy themed bars serving up classic cocktails in beautifully decorated bars that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The Library is lined with floor to ceiling books, leather arm chairs and incredible craft cocktails.
We get that going to a bar alone can be intimidating. However, going to any bar run by the owners of Bourbon & Branch offers such a unique experience that it is much more than your typical bar experience. Once you’ve ordered a craft cocktail, pull a book off the shelf. Then you’ll be able to settle into one of the plush chairs for the full Library experience!
#6 Tour Alcatraz, America’s most infamous island prison.
Dylan's A Day in the Bay Tour ends a day of sightseeing around San Francisco & Muir Woods National Monument with official tickets to Alcatraz Island ⛴️Reserve your Alcatraz tour today: http://bit.ly/DayInTheBay
Posted by Dylan's Tours on Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Join a combo San Francisco bus tour, a Muir Woods tour and boat to Alcatraz with the 1-Day Alcatraz Experience. This all day tour is the ultimate way for anyone traveling to San Francisco alone to see as much as possible in a single day.
If you’re going to join a tour while visiting San Francisco as a solo traveler, we always suggest joining a tour that is packed with a lot of activities and photo stops to keep everyone in the group busy.
An action packed tour that offers time to go hiking in Muir Woods, a long lunch break in Sausalito and unlimited time on Alcatraz is the perfect option for solo travelers.
#7 Ride one of the only moving historical monuments in the country.
If you’ve been wondering what to do in San Francisco alone, be sure to add riding a cable car to your list!
San Francisco cable cars have been one of the best ways of getting up our notorious steep hills since the 1860s. Massive steel cables run underground and the cable car hitches a ride on them. Essentially, they kind of work like an underground ski lift.
There are two main cable car lines you’ll want to consider. The first is the Powell-Hyde line. This cable car runs from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. If you’re trying to see the famous Crooked Street on Lombard, you’ll want to take the Powell-Hyde Cable Car.
The second most popular line is the California Line. This line runs from the Financial District and through Chinatown to the top of Nob Hill. You’ll find some of the most stunning San Francisco hotels on the top of this hill as well as some amazing views since you’re so high up!
#8 Discover the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
San Francisco’s Ferry Building sits at the end of Market Street and overlooks the Bay. This ferry terminal is the main thoroughfare for those looking to take the scenic route to Oakland in the East Bay. In addition, you’ll find ferry service to Sausalito and Tiburon in the North Bay.
In the early 2000s the Ferry Building got a face lift and has become the epicenter for foodie culture in the city.
Head over with an empty stomach and use our guide to creating a Ferry Building picnic to help you navigate. Or you can always take a guided food tour of the Ferry Building!
#9 Enjoy dinner outdoors with a movie screening at Foreign Cinema.
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Now hear us out. We know that neither restaurants nor cinemas are typical hangouts for solo travelers. However, we think we the two are combined they create a unique welcoming internment for those looking for things to do alone in San Francisco. Dining alone is always easier with a movie!
Foreign Cinema is not your average restaurant since they screen movies off their wall in the backyard. We wouldn’t quite call it a movie theater either, unlike the much more casual Alamo Drafthouse which serves food and beer in movie theater setting.
Be sure to try to grab an seat outdoors for the best viewing of movies being projected on the wall of the back patio. Don’t let any inclimate weather intimidate you either! You’ll find both outdoor heaters and an overhang for protection from wind and rain.
Foreign Cinema has been around for almost 20 years now and has helped but the Mission District on the map as the culinary center of the city. If you’re looking for a unique dining experience as one of your things to do alone in San Francisco, this is it!
#10 Taste a drink created in San Francisco — the Mai Tai.
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Cheers to @smugglerscovesf on their 10 year anniversary! We wouldn’t be here without you, and we’re honored to have @halepele be part of this amazing bar family! #halepele #tropical #pdxnow #instapdx #spirits #pdxdrinks #imbibegram #tiki #tikidrinks #portlandbars #imbibe #tikibars #tikilife #craftcocktails #cocktails #pdxnow #travelpdx #pdxbars #pnwlife #pnwbars #libations #portlandbars #tikitime #drinklocal #drinkpdx #anniversary #10years #smugglerscovesf #martincate pict from @smugglerscovesf
Mai Tais might be synonymous with tiki bars and coconuts. Despite that, Mai Tais are a distinctly San Francisco creation. Well, an Oakland creation to be exact. Trader Vic’s, just across the Bay Bridge in the East Bay, created the infamous tiki drink back in the early 50s.
Nearly 70s years later tiki culture is still thriving in San Francisco. For example, the Tonga Room in the luxurious Fairmont Hotel is the kitchiest tiki bar in San Francisco.
The Tonga Room is dominated by a junior Olympic sized swimming pool that has been converted into a lagoon. Consequently, the band actually plays from a boat floating in the lagoon! “Thunderstorms” also take place within the bar and all drinks are served in novelty coconut shells.
One of the oldest dive bars in Chinatown is Li Po Cocktail Lounge, claims to have created the Chinese Mai Tai. To clarify, Li Po isn’t really a tiki bar. Nevertheless, their Chinese Mai Tais makes for a really fun addition to any DIY Chinatown tour!
Alternatively, you’ll find a lot of locals at Smuggler’s Cove arguably one of the coolest tiki bars in the city. Here, you’ll find impressive rum selection with an incredible authentic tiki and nautical interior. Rum lovers *must* include Smuggler’s Cove on their list of things to do alone in San Francisco because this is the premiere destination for rum and rum based cocktails.