With its picturesque neighborhoods, outdoor activities, and great food, San Francisco makes it easy to be a lone traveler. Read on to find out my favorite places to see while visiting San Francisco solo!
For those new to traveling alone, eating by yourself can feel a little strange. These San Francisco favorites make it easy and shouldn’t be missed by any solo traveler.
Cafe St. Jorge
While it’s a little out of the way, Cafe St. Jorge is worth the trip. Their cute little shop seems to always be packed with locals sitting down for a bite or stopping by for coffee. The avocado toast makes a perfect breakfast for me, but there were about ten other items on the menu I could’ve easily ordered. The food is healthy-ish in a way that seems to accommodate nearly everyone, whatever your dietary preference. Next visit, I’m planning on the coconut vanilla chia pudding.
If you find yourself in Dogpatch, Serpentine makes a great spot to grab a bite. I did brunch in the airy, warehouse space. The restaurant collaborates with local farms and other purveyors to provide a fresh, thoughtful menu.
Cafe Zitouna doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the friendly owner and amazing food makes this stop one of my favorites. In need of a big meal, the hummus, mint tea, and falafel wrap were easy choices.
I couldn’t finish my sandwich – but only because this thing was massive. Cafe Zitouna is perfect for diners on a budget, vegetarian friendly, and a lovely surprise.
Obviously, I had to pay Wayfare Tavern a visit! Great name, guys. This upscale restaurant in the Financial District delivers British Pub-style food and drinks. Skip it if you’re on a budget, but if you feel like indulging in some delicious comfort food amongst men in suits, look no further.
Oh. My. This was probably my favorite meal of the entire trip. I sat at the bar and talked to the incredibly helpful staff, and was rewarded with excellent recommendations. Live music (bring $ for a tip!) and a great margarita was the cure for a long day. The surrounding neighborhood felt a little dicey during my visit (after 9 pm), but I’d gladly risk bodily harm for the plant-based Mexican food.
As one of the most popular bakeries in Pacific Heights, b. patisserie was buzzing even on a Wednesday afternoon. I selected the first pastry I spotted (banana chocolate almond croissant – quite a lot going on here) and nabbed a table out of sheer luck. There were plenty of solo diners and groups settling in or grabbing something to go.
I was told two things about Tartine, and both were true:
- The line is always insane
- The line is worth it
I waited for about 15 minutes to get in the door and grab a croissant, but I swear the pastry here rivals my favorite spots in Paris. Everything looked amazing, and I would love to return and snag a table for a full lunch.
Cheers to you, you independent jetsetter.
Fig & Thistle
Fig & Thistle is a cozy wine bar in Hayes Valley, one that I wandered into entirely by chance and a bit of good (great?) luck. The wine and beer selection is small but perfectly curated, and solo travelers should feel incredibly comfortable at the small bar and in the warm atmosphere.
While Absinthe‘s food is much-celebrated, solo travelers can skip the race for reservations and grab a seat at the bar. The bar menu itself is pretty incredible, with French-Mediterranean food and creative cocktails. The upscale environment is within walking distance of Civic Center and the performing arts centers, so it’s as convenient as it is classy.
San Francisco offers a wealth of craft breweries and distilleries, but I made sure to stop by Triple VooDoo Brewery while I was in the Dogpatch area. With 16 rotating craft beer taps and accessible seven days a week, you’re sure to find your perfect brew.
It would be a shame to visit San Francisco solo and miss out on all the outdoorsy fun. Get some fresh air, clear your head, or just take some pretty pictures.
This gorgeous coastal trail has amazing views of the water and the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll experience some inclines (especially if you take the side trails to get the really great views), but there’s nothing too rugged. I did my hiking in ankle booties and lived to tell you about it.
Situated below the rugged cliffs of the Presidio, I visited Baker Beach to take in more great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. With an expansive beach area, nearby parking, and sandy trails to explore, Baker Beach is a perfect spot for sunbathing, picnicking, or watching really happy dogs run around.
*Disclaimer: The northern part of Baker Beach is clothing-optional. There were also plenty of families, but you’ll likely spot more than one scantily clad sunbather.
The Sutro Baths seem to be a polarizing topic. Depending on whom you ask, they’re either
A) Anticlimactic and look like a water treatment facility
B) Historically significant and beautiful
I fell into the latter group. While I didn’t have high expectations for the bath ruins, I was pleasantly surprised. The area was relaxed and relatively uncrowded, with plenty of areas and little caves to explore. Pictures don’t do it justice.
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is, perhaps deceptively, not adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s MUCH more to do in the park than I have listed here, so be sure to explore all the amazing options. This expansive park could easily take up an entire day of your trip, so plan accordingly!
Conservatory of Flowers
The surrounding grounds are beautiful on their own, but for anyone in need of a dose of natural beauty, the $8 ticket is definitely worth it to step inside the cozy conservatory.
Japanese Tea Garden and Shakespeare’s Garden
Stop by either of these places for more flora in unique settings. The Japanese Tea Garden does require a ticket, but Shakespeare’s Garden is entirely free!
I feel like I’ve barely touched on all the amazing places in San Francisco. What’s one of your favorites?