Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco's famous summer fog in background
24 hours in San Francisco isn't an easy task. If you ask most visitors to San Francisco, they'll probably tell you that you could spend a long weekend and still not see everything there is to see. However, even a day trip can provide the opportunity to experience many of San Francisco's best things to do.
Begin your day at Union Square. If you're staying in downtown San Francisco, you're probably nearby, since many hotels and inns are within a few blocks of it. One of the most iconic squares in America, it offers a great photo-taking opportunity. Grab a bite of breakfast to take to Union Square and find a bench or a step and enjoy watching all the passersby.
Start making your way to the waterfront, to Fisherman's Wharf, but first take the route through Chinatown, which is the largest Chinatown in the world, outside of Asia. Browse through some of the open markets, before finishing your walk down to Fisherman's Wharf. You'll find many restaurants along the main street through Chinatown, which offer opportunities to try fresh Chinese food.
As you're walking to Fisherman's Wharf you'll notice Coit Tower on the hilltop. While it's a bit of an uphill walk, head to the tower to get the best view of the city. If the walk is too much, you can find a taxi that will take you to there. Pay just a couple dollars to go to the top, which provides a 360-degree view of San Francisco.
The next stop is Fisherman's Wharf. You could easily spend 24 hours in Fisherman's Wharf alone. One of the biggest attractions in San Francisco, it has one of the highest concentrations of things to do for travelers. If you're lucky and it's a nice day, you might get a little outdoor show while at the pier.
As you walk to the end, you'll find that it offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as Alcatraz. What Pier 39 has really become known for are the seals, who have made the pier docks their home. Seafood lovers can choose from many different seafood restaurants for an early dinner in the area.
The perfect cap to your day is an evening tour of Alcatraz. While there are day tours available, the night tour offers a special viewing to travelers and shows San Francisco all lit up at night. Visitors can enjoy a view of the sunset behind the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as other special activities that the day tour doesn't provide.