Why San Francisco is A Great Place to Travel Alone
San Francisco's scenic beauty, out-of-this-world dining, and welcoming spirit can make the city feel especially romantic—but we're not just a city for lovebirds. San Francisco is a terrific destination if you're traveling solo, coming with a group of friends, or if you're looking for things to do alone. Here are some of the experiences that we think best exemplify why San Francisco is a great place to visit whether you're single or just want to explore the city alone.
Tour the City
If you only have a short time in the Bay Area or you want to get acclimated to the city early in your trip, the iconic hop-on/hop-off Big Bus Tours San Francisco is a great solution. The tour starts in Fisherman's Wharf and takes you to 20 of San Francisco’s most-frequented attractions. It even travels across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Want to see the city on foot, and maybe meet some new friends along the way? Book a journey with Wild SF Walking Tours. These anything-but-ordinary explorations of San Francisco promise music, laughs, and some insights to the parts of city history other tours might not tell you about.
If you want a little thrill in your guided tour, sign up with the San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour. You'll explore some of the city's most storied neighborhoods and learn about the strange and spooky things that have happened in the past.
Want to try something a little out of your comfort zone? Take a full-day or multi-day tour of the Bay Area by motorcycle with Native Moto Adventures. They offer authentic, customizable tours that'll take you through San Francisco and beyond on two wheels. Along the way, you'll be able to meet other riders, connect with the outdoors, and see the Bay Area like never before.
On a free afternoon, you can’t go wrong with a picnic at Golden Gate Park. Before you eat, work up an appetite with a bike ride or go back to basics with traditional roller skates. Golden Gate Park Bike & Skate (3038 Fulton St.) rents bicycles, roller skates, and in-line skates, along with all of the safety equipment you need. You can also rent bike locks, and there are lockers to store your valuables while you explore.
If you didn’t have a chance to pack your lunch, take a ride to Cliff House (1090 Point Lobos Ave.) and enjoy magnificent panoramic ocean views with your meal.
Later, you can live like a local and get your Golden Gate selfie at Baker Beach. Though the surf is too rough for swimming, it’s a gorgeous spot for an oceanside walk. You're likely to come across nude sunbathers while you're there. Feel free to join them; it's completely legal.
Visit Our Museums
As a child, Maryellis Bunn wondered what it would be like to jump into a pool of sprinkles. The creations she oversees at the Museum of Ice Cream (1 Grant Ave.) turned that dream into reality. Explore animal cracker carousels and the rainbow unicorn room before tasting some of the museum’s creative ice cream-themed treats.
The Walt Disney Family Museum (104 Montgomery St.) celebrates Walt's creativity and innovation with a variety of interactive exhibits. Get a closer look at original drawings and cartoons that formed the foundation of Disney’s animated empire. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the museum is an in-depth look at Walt Disney himself. You will learn about the life experiences and events that inspired this creative genius.
The California Academy of Sciences (55 Music Concourse Drive) is your opportunity to indulge in an array of scientific topics. Inside, you will discover a natural history museum, a rainforest, an aquarium, and a planetarium. Visit with the free-flying birds in the 90-foot rainforest dome, or watch penguins eating, sleeping, and playing. The planetarium offers unique views of the night sky, and you can look forward to a selection of special exhibits that explore secrets of the universe.
Places to Dine for the Ambiance
If you are traveling alone and want an energetic atmosphere, you will fit right in at Loló (974 Valencia St.). The Mexican dishes have an authentic base, but the chefs add creative twists that are pure California. The décor is what really makes this spot stand out; brightly colored wall hangings and a variety of unusual knick-knacks keep the conversation flowing and the mood spirited.
You could also visit Ghirardelli Square to hang out at San Francisco Brewing Company. This innovative craft brewery offers a one-of-a-kind beers, a full menu, live music, and games. It's steps from the waterfront and a great starting point for a night out in the Marina.
For a more sophisticated ambiance, check out the Bubble Lounge (714 Montgomery St.), which offers a champagne and sparkling wine list that touches every corner of the globe. The historical building is one of the oldest in the city.
More Places to Dine For the Solo Traveler
Plenty of San Francisco’s best eateries are frequented by single diners, so there is no need to wait for an invitation if you want to enjoy the city’s foodie scene.
Any local will tell you that a visit to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (1042 Larkin St.) is a must. This could be the only place in the world that serves a Jalapeno Bacon Danish. If you aren’t ready for a culinary adventure of that magnitude, try a Churro Croissant or a Vegan Fudge Cookie.
Yuzuki Japanese Eatery (598 Guerrero St.) is another can’t-miss. Take a seat at the bar, where you can order a succession of ever-more-beautifully-presented dishes that combine traditional flavors in innovative ways.
Of course, it's not just your fellow diners you can strike up a friendship with. Why not get to know the talented chefs preparing your meal? You can do that at Lazy Bear (3416 19th St.). With its intimate, supper club style, Lazy Bear lets you learn about everything that comes out of the kitchen. It's a popular place, though; seatings sometimes sell out months in advance!
Have A Night Out
San Francisco music venues have been a launching point for dozens of renowned entertainers, so no visit to the city is complete without taking in a show. The Saloon (1232 Grant Ave.) is a local favorite with a true dive-bar feel. Make sure to hit the ATM first, though; it’s cash-only.
If you are in the mood for a more elegant setting, enjoy a performance at the Great American Music Hall (859 O'Farrell St.). The packed event calendar offers something for everyone, from reggae beats to EDM. Whoever you are there to see, the biggest attraction might be your surroundings: marble columns, detailed frescoes, and classic Victorian décor.
And if you just want to cut loose on the dance floor, there are plenty of places to do that, too. For full, body-bumping sound, go to Audio Discotech (316 11th St.) and experience its Funktion One 3D sound system, the only set-up of its kind. For everything from live performances to drag shows to top DJs, visit Oasis (298 11th St.). This gay club welcomes everyone and there's no telling how many different performers you might hear in a given night.