We decided the best way to get from Seattle to San Francisco would be to take the Amtrak Coastal Starlight train 23 hr journey. We’d had our fair share of Greyhound buses now and thought we could save a little money on transport and accommodation and see some beautiful views along the way. We saw some great views out of the panoramic viewer cart and it was definitely a unique experience trying to sleep on the coach seats… would we do it again...not sure! We were very happy to arrive into the mist and fog of San Francisco.


Coit Tower

A steep short walk made slightly easier by the steps, but definitely worth it for the amazing panoramic views over San Francisco. 

Lombard Street

The famous winding road full of bright colourful flowers. A tourist hot spot but well worth exploring. Tip: take the tram to the TOP of the road instead of the bottom like we did! It’s a steep climb!

Pier 39

A vibrant busy area full of tourist shops and places to grab food. Go find the noisy sea-lions where you’ll find the best view of Alcatraz you’ll find on land. 

California Street

The famous traditional tram line street of San Francisco. Take the tram or walk down the road exploring Chinatown and the Financial district as you go. 

Cable Car Ride

$7 per ride but no visit to San Francisco is complete without experiencing the traditional cable cars! Do it for one fun ride but we’d recommend not using it for your daily transport – buses and metro are much cheaper!

Palace of Fine Arts

Step into the palace grounds and you’ll completely forget that you’re in San Francisco. Take a walk around the grounds and head over to East Bay while you’re there for a great view over the sea to The Golden Gate Bridge. 

Golden Gate Bridge

The must see of San Francisco. Take a bike and ride the whole way over the bridge where you’ll find a winding road up to the left for some fantastic views back over the city and the bridge. While you’re there make sure you go relax on Baker Beach looking back over golden gate bridge. 

Golden Gate Park

Take a scenic bike ride through the park down to the hippie Haight-Ashbury area


The Historical Streets

We loved the historical streets with the old-fashioned cable cars over cobbled streets. The city also had much more of a Mediterranean feel to it than others we’ve visited in America. 


The Hills!

 The hills! You get some spectacular views over the city and it’s great to see the ‘wave like’ effect they have over the city. It also proves great for photography opportunities. 


The Costs

 The cost of the city in general. San Francisco is a very expensive city in terms of accommodation, food and transport. Be aware and budget accordingly allowing a little more than in other American cities! 

The Hills

The hills! A love hate relationship as they aren’t fun to walk or bike up, but worth it once at the top. 

Tips & Tricks

Don't Worry About Living Further Out

We actually spent one week over the water in Oakland and one week in the city outskirts near Golden Gate Park. Oakland was slightly cheaper and both took around 1 hour on the bus/metro to get into the city centre. 




If you’ve got a little more cash to spend, splash out and hire and e-bike for your time here. You’ll get around the city a lot quicker and the hills will be a breeze.