How to Visit San Francisco Like a Local

When visiting any city, whether, for business or leisure, there are many options beyond the typical tourist sights and sounds. When visiting San Francisco in particular, there are dozens of ways to experience “The City by the Bay” like a local. Below are just a few highlights of how you too can experience life as a native San Francisco resident.

Lands End

No, this isn’t the store, rather, Lands End is the northwestern corner of San Francisco that is peppered with a number of different beautiful and winding trails that provide a variety of sweeping views and experiences. So slap on a pair of good sneakers or hiking shoes and check out some special views such as the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, the WWII memorial to the USS San Francisco, Cliff House, the Labyrinth, the Sutro Baths ruins, and more.

Golden Gate Bridge

Known for its iconic architectural structure, there is far more to enjoy when you bike across the 1.7-mile span vs riding a tour bus. Enjoy a days-worth of biking on the car-free national park bike path as you take in views of Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Historic Old Mill Park (home to the famous Redwood trees), Fort Mason, and so much more. Visit the quaint dining and shopping seaside towns of Sausalito and Tiburon, and hop a ferry (with your bike) for the return back home.

Twin Peaks

Where is the best place to achieve a 360-degree view of the City by the Bay? Twin Peaks of course! To achieve this spectacular view, slap on a pair of good ole’ hiking shoes or sneakers (and dress warm since it can get chilly) and climb the 922-feet to the peak. Enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, Berkeley, Oakland, the Transamerica Building, and now the Salesforce Tower, the tallest building in San Francisco (at 1,070 feet).

Treasure Island

Originally a sand bar until the 1939 World’s Fair Golden Gate Exposition, then re-purposed as Pan Am’s transoceanic airport hub, followed by an army base – Treasure Island is an eclectic community of sorts for sipping, shopping, dining, and exploring. For those history hunters, take a stroll through the abandoned army base huts or the Art Deco building (originally the Expo’s palace) for a walk back in time. Or enjoy some wine at one of the eight tasting rooms while enjoying views across the Bay. And if interested in a little shopping for something unique and special, check out the TreasureFest flea market.

These suggested venues are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to San Francisco. There are many other interesting experiences as well. Such as Japan Town for cultural immersion, a visit to the Yoda Statue and Foundation in Presidio National Park, the concrete Seward Street Slides, the Mechanics Institute Library – and the list goes on! So, the next time you are in San Francisco – get up, get out, and get going – and explore like no other!