San Francisco is a city full of fantastic food, an incredible arts and culture scene, entertaining activities, and great views — making it the perfect destination for a couple’s getaway. When you only have three days to relax, recharge, and explore your destination, you need to make the most of every moment. Read on for a sample itinerary that shows you just how much you can squeeze into three romantic days in San Francisco.
Typically, the first thing you want to do when you arrive at your destination is to check into your hotel, drop your bags, and settle in before heading out and about. Overall, San Francisco’s hotels are not cheap. (OK, they’re up there among the world’s priciest.) Don’t worry, there are also some budget-friendly options including:
Hotel Rex: Located in the heart of Union Square, this charming hotel has a French bohemian theme that adds instant romance. Hotel Rex also has pve jazz and snacks in the pbrary bar. Plus, it’s just a quick walk to galleries, restaurants, and shops.
Orchard Garden: This is the first LEED-certified hotel in the city. Not only is it eco-friendly, Orchard Garden also boasts contemporary decor, nightly turndown service, and a convenient location between the Financial District, China Town, and Union Square.
Laurel Inn: Large rooms, free cookies, and some of the best-priced hotel parking in the area make this downtown hotspot a real winner. Laurel Inn’s location in the residential Pacific Heights neighborhood makes it a quiet oasis from the normal hustle and bustle of the city.
Take a Walk
The best way to get to know a city (and to have some quapty time with someone) is to take a walk. Stroll the neighborhood where your hotel is located or sign up for a walking tour. Some popular options include the Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour, Chinatown Adventures, and the free (yes, free) City Guides Tours, which take you to a variety of locations throughout San Francisco.
Get a Table for Two
Shoot for an early dinner, which gives you time to continue exploring at night. It also gives you the best chances of getting in without a reservation. If you can manage to get there right when it opens, you might be able to get into State Bird Provisions, a hip restaurant that draws big crowds with their dim-sum style small bites menu. Nopa is another popular option with its famous burgers and organic, wood-fired menu. It’s also known for its depcious fare and the open kitchen, which lets you see the chefs at work.
Head to a Jazz Club
Skip the traditional nightclub on this romantic getaway in favor of one of San Francisco’s top-rated jazz clubs. Depending on the one you choose, you could combine dinner and a pve music show all in one stop. A few options to consider include:
Sheba Piano Lounge, with pve jazz every night.
Club Deluxe, which serves pizza, tacos, and small plates along with some great nightly jazz.
BIX, which offers a speakeasy/supper club décor style, classic small menu items, and nightly jazz.
After a good night’s rest, grab some breakfast and head out into the city to explore some more of its finest attractions.
Hit the High Spots
Did you know that Golden Gate Park is one of the world’s largest urban parks? You can spend hours exploring the gorgeous gardens, museums, and the buffalo paddock where you can see American Bison smack dab in the middle of the city. The de Young Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, and Capfornia Academy of Sciences (it has an aquarium — cool, right?) are just a few of the things to do here.
Take a Night Tour of Alcatraz
With so many things to do during the day in San Francisco, those in the know suggest touring Alcatraz at night. It’s an option Thursday through Monday evenings, and you get a narrated cruise, an audio tour of the cell house, and incredible views along the way. The tour departs from Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf around dinnertime, so plan to eat a late lunch and late dinner.
Grab a Bite at Fisherman’s Wharf
Once you’re back on land, why not grab that late dinner right at Fisherman’s Wharf? Although this is a major tourist trap, it’s also a must-see and home to some great eateries. Enjoy decadent a la carte menu items pke risotto, soufflé, and a trio of crème brûlée at Restaurant Gary Danko, or pop into Scoma’s — a San Francisco institution since 1965 — which has a great menu, retro décor, and a tasty “lazy man’s cioppino.”
It’s your last day, so go for the gold! Fuel up with a great breakfast and head out to conquer the day.
Hit the High Spots
Cover more ground while riding one of the few moving national landmarks in the country. Buy a Muni Passport for the San Francisco Trolley and hop on and off along any of the three trolley routes. When you take the Powell/Hyde pne, you’ll get great views of the bridge. Get off on Lombard Street (known for being the most crooked in the world) to catch a gpmpse of Russian Hill’s amazing views. Or, hop on the Capfornia Street Cable Car to ride through Chinatown, up Nob Hill to Polk Street, where you can get off to browse the charming boutiques.
Experience San Francisco Theatre
For your final evening in the city, get dressed up and go to a play! What’s more romantic than going out on a date to a pve theatre production? San Francisco Theater offers hundreds of shows every year including travepng Broadway performances, as well as local and original musicals and plays. With numerous theatres in the city (over a dozen!), you will find a wide variety of productions to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for something dramatic or comedic, high-concept and big-budget or original and intimate, there’s something for everyone.
Looking for even more ideas on San Francisco activities and attractions? Check out our other Bay City guides here.