Planning a weekend in San Francisco, but unsure what to do to maximize your time?
We’ve put together a fun itinerary for 2 days in San Francisco that will show you the best of this beautiful area in just one weekend!
From sightseeing tours and museums to historical buildings and beyond, the City by the Bay has so much to offer that we know you’ll love your trip.
This weekend itinerary includes:
- Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sightseeing Tour
- Chinatown (free!)
- California Academy of Sciences
- Golden Gate Park (free!)
- San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
- GoCar Tour
Save on Attraction Admission
Pick up a 2-Day Go San Francisco Card and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Remember, this 2 days in San Francisco itinerary is just one of many ways to experience The City by the Bay.
The Go San Francisco® Card gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.
Stop #1: Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Sightseeing Tour
A ride aboard a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is the perfect way to start off your weekend in San Francisco.
With 20+ different stops to choose from and tons of sightseeing options along the way, this is an ideal way to see all the major sights.
Some tour highlights include Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, the Financial District, and many more.
It might also be tempting to use this bus to navigate the city — which can work — but keep in mind that the traffic might be bad and could hold you up more than using public transit, for example.
Getting In: Hop On Hop Off Big Bus San Francisco Bus Tour tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.
Stop #2: SFMOMA
The renovated San Francisco Museum of Art (or ‘SFMOMA’) is a must-see attraction in the Bay Area. It’s undergone a multi-year expansion project recently and has been hailed as one of the premier art museums on the west coast.
Dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary art – with a special focus on living Bay Area artists – SFMOMA is a wonderful destination for art lovers from around the globe.
They have pieces from all the greats, and unique favorites from artists like Klee, Calder, and Stieglitz. You’ll also want to check out their stellar rotating exhibitions, which feature a wide variety of topics from big-name artists to local up-and-comers.
Getting In: SFMOMA tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.
Stop #3: Chinatown
The Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia! Modern San Francisco has been particularly influenced by their Asian heritage and a visit to this area will really shed some light on their cultural history.
Head to the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue to get a photo under the Chinatown Gate. Explore the streets, sights, and shops, and be sure to venture off Grant Avenue (the main street) a bit to discover some hidden gems. There’s also some really beautiful authentic Chinese architecture in the neighborhood, so be sure to have your camera ready.
Leave yourself about 30 minutes to an hour to explore this neighborhood.
Getting In: As a neighborhood, Chinatown is totally free to explore, but you’ll probably find yourself picking up a souvenir or two.
Stop #1: California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is one of San Francisco’s premier attractions and is well worth a few hours of your time.
It’s the only museum that’s actually comprised of four different areas: a natural history museum, the world’s largest all-digital planetarium, an aquarium, and a four-story rainforest!
The possibilities for learning are endless at this popular institution, and it’s a must-see for any San Francisco visitor.
You’ll have many chances to interact with some of the animal inhabitants, engage with fascinating, state-of-the-art exhibits, and even to see their famous green roof!
Since there is so much to see and do at this attraction, we recommend reserving at least 2 hours for this attraction, perhaps more if you have scientifically-inclined members in your party.
Getting In: California Academy of Sciences tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.
Stop #2: Golden Gate Park
Because you’ll already be in the park visiting the California Academy of Sciences, why not take some more time to explore its beautiful expanses?
There are tons of other attractions to see and do there, a few of which are also free to explore. Be sure to bring your camera!
Getting In: There’s no fee to enter the park itself, although any additional attractions you want to visit may incur admission costs. We recommend leaving at least an hour to explore this beautiful urban park.
Stop #3: San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
Since you’re already in Golden Gate Park, why not take an hour or so to explore the charming San Francisco Zoo?
With a wide variety of exhibits that showcase animals from all across the globe, this zoo is the perfect place to meet your favorite critters and learn all about their history, habits, and more.
Featured exhibits include “African Savanna,” “Australian WalkAbout,” “Bear Country,” and others. Kids and adults alike will get a lot out of a visit here.
Be sure to save some time and funds for the gift shop!
Getting In: San Francisco Zoo and Gardens tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.
Stop #4 – GoCar Tour
This half-hour self-guided tour aboard a super smart GoCar is a fun alternative to trekking up and down the San Francisco hills on foot.
The vehicle is GPS-directed, making it incredibly easy to navigate your way around an otherwise complex city.
As you drive along, you’ll be treated to fascinating storytelling narration by the GoCar, making for a truly fun experience.
Your GoCar rental is good for 1 hour, so feel free to pause and explore a neighborhood as you go along with the tour – the narration will resume where it left off when you get back in.
Getting In: San Francisco GoCar 30-Minute Tour tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.
So there’s your perfect weekend in San Francisco – tours, museums, and much more.
This itinerary for 2 days in San Francisco will introduce you to the best of city and give you a taste of what it’s like to experience the City by the Bay as a local.
Purchase a 2-Day Go San Francisco Card and save on combined admission prices when you hop aboard an interactive GoCar Tour, use the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, explore the California Academy of Sciences, pal around with the animals at the San Diego Zoo, and visit the amazing SFMOMA.