First, I'll say that there are SO many great things to do in San Francisco, and I'll be sharing the full itinerary and other activities from my recent trip to San Francisco in a later post, but this post is dedicated to the tourist who is looking for the best photo opps in SF! Photos aren't life, but I love having great photos of a trip to remember all of the fun I had! I hope you enjoy these adorable spots in San Fran- I sure did! I travelled to SF with Molly, blogger at Molly on the Move, and we had the best time- watch for another post about how to pick a great travel buddy coming soon to the blog.
Since there is so much to see and do in San Francisco, I recommend having a strategy that divides the city into areas that you will focus on each day, especially if you have a short timeframe to see it all- it's easy to get overwhelmed when you look at everything at once! I used Google Maps (not Apple maps) while I lived in Paris to help me visually map out the areas of the city that I wanted to focus on, and used the same strategy in SF and it turned out to be a lifesaver! Type in each of these locations one by one into Google Maps and then "save" them with a star or a heart; I used hearts for food and stars for other activities and landmarks to see. After you're done, you'll end up with something like the map below - a super helpful visual tool to map out your days in one specific area of the city, so you're not wasting time and money on unnecessary travel across the city each day. For now, here are the cutest and most photographable spots from my personal trip to San Francisco.
1. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
If you love donuts or breakfast pastries, and cute coffee cups, this one is for you! The iconic "I got baked in San Francisco" sign is at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse and you'll be surprised at how small the shop is! Besides being cute, it was DELICIOUS. Get there early- the shop opened at 8, and we got there at 7:45am with about 30 people in line in front of us. There are actually two lines- one on each side of the entrance; the left side line is for cruffins only; we wanted donuts, so we waited in the longer right side line. We even met some friends from Dallas while we waited in line outside- small world!
Duh. Chinatown is just so cute! All of the tourist souvenir shops are fun to browse, but the lanterns hanging across Grant Avenue are the real show stopper. Other travel sites will tell you to avoid Grant Street, but if you want the cute pic, that's exactly where you need to be! Tourist Heaven! If you're looking for an authentic Chinese restaurant recommendation, you'll have to look elsewhere, but for the best photo opps, keep reading!
3. Baked Bear Ice Cream Sandwiches
This spot may also make an appearance on my Foodie Guide to SF, but the ice cream sandwiches were cute enough to make it an Instagrammable spot too! Pick your warm gooey cookies, pick your ice cream, and pick your topping! Have a plan in place to take your photo fast because once these babies start to melt, you're in trouble!
4. Wrecking Ball Coffee
This cute coffee shop is in the Pacific Heights area and in addition to the clean white exterior, you'll find their recognizable pineapple wallpaper on the interior, prime real estate for a coffee pic of their adorable stamped logo cups! Don't miss the multiple florist shops nearby, with friendly shop owners and insta-worthy floral street displays!
My favorite breakfast in SF, also in Pacific Heights! That sausage egg biscuit was amazing. The black exterior and the chevron tables are just begging to be photographed, but the food is so good you won't want to wait to take a photo- don't say I didn't warn you! Note: if you're going to Wrecking Ball Coffee AND Jane, be sure to start at Jane or else you'll be hiking up a mountain to get there- Jane is UPhill from Wrecking Ball...definitely something we did not take into account when planning our route!
6. LTK Wall
If you're a fashion blogger with RewardStyle, you'll want to stop by the LTK wall in Pacific Heights, just around the corner from Jane! If you're not a blogger, but you like bright murals, you may want to give it a go anyway!
7. The Golden Gate Bridge
Of course the bridge is on the list, but where do you get that perfect view? There are a lot of great photo spots, but since we rode bikes across the bridge, here are the best places we found on the bike route. The Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point: after you cross the bridge, you'll want to turn left and follow the crowd down the path (downhill!) to Sausalito- DON'T do it! Instead, ride your bike north through the parking lot and turn left onto Conzelman Rd. UPHILL (I know, just take it slow); ride on the bike path uphill to the Vista point (the very next parking lot you come to) where you'll get this view of the bridge. From there, you can take a walking path down to Kirby Cove for a great view on the beach level- we didn't have time to hike down, but it definitely would be worth it! After that, you can ride back down to the first parking lot and take the bike path to Sausalito.
8. Media Noche
The cutest casual Caribbean spot in the Mission district. Brightly colored exterior, printed tile, colorful food and tables, and a flamingo mural on the side of the restaurant make it a must-visit for a photo (and a good meal!). In addition to being colorful, this spot was also one of my favorite meals in SF, but I had also just ridden a bike for 6 hours, so that could have swayed my opinion! Just a few houses down from the flamingo mural, there is a bright pink house- in case you're into that sort of thing ;)
9. Painted Ladies
Full House, anyone? These iconic homes in front of Alamo Square Park are a piece of my childhood, so definitely worth a stop to see them in person!
10. Cafe Reveille
Pink tables and a brightly tiled bar make this spot a must-visit, especially if you love Avocado toast! We went around 8am and there was no wait for a cute pink table outside or a booth inside!
11. Cable Car
There a three cable car lines in SF and you can take any of them to get a great photo, but to avoid the crowds, we opted to visit the California/Van Ness line that runs east to west. Definitely a classic SF photo opp, but beware- the ticket to ride is $14 (or $7 one way), even though most of the travel sites I visited had them listed as the regular bus fare of $2.95- wrong!
As if you need another sweet shop to visit, but this cross between a bakery and a candy shop can't be missed. Jars of candy and sweets line the interior, while the pink exterior give the perfect backdrop to photograph your favorite sweet treats!
13. Haight-Ashbury Area
If you're looking for brightly colored houses, check out these streets near the Mission District; just west of the Painted Ladies, this area has some of the cutest houses in SF that are definitely photo worthy! The teal beauty on the right was under construction but still looked like a dream!
14. Bi-Rite Creamery
Also in the Mission District, Bi-Rite was our last stop before heading to the airport and it was well worth it! May I recommend the Salted Caramel?! This may be more of a foodie recommendation, but who doesn't love a happy photo of an ice cream cone?
Like I said, tons of places to go in SF, and these are just a few of the ones we visited that I think we fun to photograph. Have fun exploring San Fran!