How to spend 72 hours in San Francisco

After finishing Contiki’s tour of Canada & the Rockies, we had two chilled out days in Vancouver. To read about our time on the tour, click here.

In order for us to be able to travel back to the United States, we required a negative COVID-test. It cost us $65 p/p to get a rapid antigen test and thankfully, we were in the clear.

Day One – Sunset Cruise

The next day, we flew from Vancouver to San Francisco around midday, which was only around a one hour 40 minute flight.

Not wanting to waste any time, we checked in at our hotel – a short walking distance away from Fisherman’s Wharf and went to explore.

As it was a sunny evening, we decided it would be a good idea to go on the Red and White Fleet Sunset Cruise costing $50 p/p.

This departed from Pier 33 on Fisherman’s Wharf at 19:00PM and took us to Alcatraz Island, Sausalito & Tiburon as well as under the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge with the sun setting behind a beautiful backdrop was perfect. This, in my opinion is the best way to see San Francisco. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Day Two – Alcatraz Island Tour

Did you know Alcatraz is just 2km offshore from the mainland and was once a lighthouse, military fortification and military prison before it was eventually turned into a federal prison? The rest is history…

On our second day, we visited Alcatraz Island. The day ticket cost $49.00 p/p and includes transport via ferry departing from Pier 33 at regular 30-minute intervals.

I recommend pre-booking this a couple of days before you intend on visiting in order to get the best available departure time slots. *NOTE* – There is no set time to catch the ferry back.

You can purchase an extremely helpful tour guide for $1 as soon as you step foot onto the island.

We spent two and a half hours here, which is enough time to do the audio tour and see everything else on the island.

Later on in the afternoon, we took a stroll down Pier 39 and guiltily got some doughnuts for tea. This is a popular tourist hotspot with shops and restaurants, rides, street performers, an Aquarium as well as noisy California sea lions hauled out on the marina docks.

We had the luxury of an extra day in San Francisco but in all honesty, two nights should be enough to see the most popular attractions. That is, unless you have a particular interest in computer science.

If this is the case, check out the CHM museum and Silicon Valley which serves as the global centre for high technology and innovation – around 40 minutes drive away.

Day Three – Cable Car

When in San Francisco, I also strongly recommend taking a ride on one of San Francisco’s iconic cable car routes as well as watching the cart do a unique, manual turn at its first stop.

We caught the cable car from Bay & Taylor to Powell & Market Street via Union Square, but there are a couple of other popular lines.

This cost just $8 p/p and is an experience that is definitely worth doing. *NOTE* – Be sure to definitely do this at some point if you only have 48 hours – it only takes around 20 minutes one way.

Once in the City Centre, we had a look around the shops and then got an ice-cream at Ghirardelli’s. I had a Strawberry Hot Fudge Sundae and Em had a Cookie Crumble Hot Fudge Sundae.

Next, we begin the first couple of weeks of our American Road Trip Adventure – driving from San Francisco to San Diego via Los Angeles.

We’ll be stopping off in Yosemite National Park for two nights, as well as in Monterey, San Luis Obispa and Santa Barbara along the way. As part of the journey, we’ll also be driving 90-miles along the scenic ‘Big Sur’ coastal path.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date with our travels, then you can enter your email to receive notifications of blog updates at the bottom of this article; follow my blog by clicking the link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @alatw95.

Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.

Thanks for stopping by, until the next time…


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