San Francisco Like a Local (Part 2)

Twin Peaks
So what IS there to see and do in San Francisco besides the obvious Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz? There is so much to see and do that I can guarantee you will not see it all in just one visit! A follow up to Part 1, Welcome to San Francisco Like a Local Part 2. Read on to see some of the interesting things we did on our 5 night stay in The Mission District, and also some of the stuff we wanted to do but ran out of time. 

Mission Dolores Park

Located at the western edge of Mission District, we walked past this beauty on our way to see The Castro District. Originally we had planned to spend an afternoon here with a picnic and some booze but ran out of time. We walked past the top of the park at around lunch time and then on the way back we walked past the bottom of the hill. It was a Sunday afternoon so the streets were rowdy with locals drinking from red cups, carrying boxes of beer and wine and making their way to the park. It was an unusually clear day with no fog in the sky so there was no surprise that the park was super busy.

Dolores Park
Twin Peaks

We picked up our hire car on our second last day in San Francisco because we were soon to start our road trip down California and into Nevada. We had made a list of the things we had not seen yet and Twin Peaks was one of them! Highly suggest going up to this amazing view point. It over looks all of San Francisco Bay and if you are lucky enough to get a clear day like us, you will see The Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. On our drive up to the top we saw several people walking and jogging up too so this is also an option. Find Twin Peaks here.

Twin Peaks
Castro District

We walked to The Castro (one of the first gay neighbourhoods in The United States) from our place near 24th St Mission, it's quite a walk, especially when you're trying to manouver your way around all those steep hills, but it's worth it! You really notice the change in suburbs, the houses start to get really neat and tidy all with fresh paint and beautiful gardens. The main stretch of The Castro runs along Castro Street starting at 19th Street. If you can see rainbow flags and roads then you know you're in the right place. There are multiple cafes and bars, gay friendly of course, running along the main street.

Castro District
Castro District
Exploring and Shopping on Haight and Ashbury

How to get there: From our airbnb place in The Mission, we caught The BART and then a bus. It takes you all the way up Haight Street, hop off when you see the shops and cafes near Ashbury.

What to do when you get there: Shop! There are a bunch of vintage, antique and second hand stores on either side of the street. Some are cheaper than others so make sure you take your time here and you'll be sure to get a bargain. After a hard day thrifting you'll probably be pretty thirsty, we sure were. We decided to walk back down Haight rather than catch a bus. This is where we stumbled upon the BEST dive bar in the world! That's a pretty big call... but at this particular bar locals are welcome to bring their furry dog friends along. At one point there were more dogs than people roaming the bar, going from table to table for pats. It's dimly lit, there are holes in some of the booth seats, there is fur everywhere, water and food bowls on the ground, pinball machines and an old jukebox. The dogs really run the place. Don't come here if you don't like animals and be prepared to leave covered in slobber and fur. BEST BAR EVER! It's called Molotov's FYI. 

Houses Just Off Haight Street
Haight Street
Dive Bars

My friend's and family know that Aaron and myself are quite partial to the occasional alcoholic beverage.... And San Francisco has an endless supply of dive bars to satisfy our every need. There is of course Molotov's that I spoke about earlier, but here is a list of some others that we went to and loved! Fore more ideas look on Yelp for some bars near your accommodation or in the neighbourhood you're staying in.

  • Mission Bar
  • The Phone Booth
  • Make Out Room
  • Mr Bing's
  • Doc's Clock
  • Shotwell's.



Eat Great Mexican Food

As much as you can! Seriously! San Francisco has some of the BEST Mexican food in the world! It is also very cheap. At most you will pay around $3 per taco. And lord, the salsa bar and free tortilla chips are epic!

Mexican Food In The Mission District

For amazing dumplings look no further! The biggest Chinatown outside of Asia is located in San Francisco. Venture off the main street down one of the many side streets and you'll find some really sweet dumpling and yumcha restaurants. It's a good sign if there are locals eating in there too!


Financial District

We walked through The Financial District on our way to a dive bar in Chinatown. The suburb serves as the main central business district in San Francisco. If we had more time I would have liked to check out a dive bar or get some dinner in this district.

What did we miss? Not an awful lot! We really made use of our 5 nights in San Francisco and already knew everything we wanted to do (planning is key.) But sadly as what happens with most holidays, there is just way too much to see and do and you just have to come to the realisation that it's simply impossible to do it all when you're short of time. When I go back to this beautiful city (which I will go back very soon) this is what will be on the top of my list:

Ocean Beach, Chinatown by day, eat a Mission burrito, spend an afternoon at Mission Delores Park, view the Golden Gate Bridge from afar at Crissy Field, cross the bridge and spend some time in Oakland.

Got any local San Francisco secrets you're willing to share? Comment in the section below!

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