Byron Murray

24 Hours in San Francisco

Byron Murray
24 Hours in San Francisco

The City by the Bay offers endless possibilities for visitors. Where does one begin? Fight through all the fog and follow this hour-by-hour guide on how to spend one day in S.F.


This article originally appeared on Jeans & Ties on Feb. 1, 2016.

Visiting big cities like New York or San Francisco can be intimidating, with the myriad options available for how to spend your time. I recently visited the Bay Area for the first time since I was a teenager and was unsure how to maximize the free day I had. Using a combination of Internet research, the Wildsam Field Guide and the local knowledge of friends, I came up with the following itinerary.


8:00 a.m. – Breakfast at Tartine Bakery

Wildsam warns of a long line at this Mission district gem, but I got lucky on a weekday morning and waited less than 10 minutes. It gave me time to decide between their two signature breakfast items—the seasonal quiche or the morning bun. Of course I ordered both plus a coffee and enjoyed them while participating in stimulating conversation at a communal table; friendliness of locals was a theme throughout my three-day stay in San Francisco. The over-indulgence also was a bit calculated, providing proper fuel for the next leg of my day…

10:00 a.m. – Bike the Golden Gate Bridge

No better way to burn off tourist calories and get Instagrammable views of the city and bay. I brought my own bike with me, but the rental company linked above came highly recommended by others I saw on the path. The ride itself is a relatively easy eight miles with no inclines, save for a brief steep one to get up to the bridge. The dedicated bike/pedestrian lane is wide, with plenty of viewpoints to stop and soak in the view of both San Francisco and…


1:30 p.m. – Lunch at Fish. in Sausalito

Sausalito is the city on the other side of the bridge. It has a strollable, but very touristy main street. Skip the cheesy T-shirt shops and ride another mile to this indoor/outdoor fresh seafood spot in the middle of an industrial boating marina. The crab roll—mayonnaise-free!—is a must; a splurge sandwich at $25, but you’ll forgive the cost after one bite. Afterwards, head back downtown and take the ferry ($10) across the bay. More incredible views and it’ll drop you off at the Ferry Building, where you can return your bike or…

4 p.m. – A lap around AT&T Park

Keep your bike a little longer and ride one mile along the Embarcadero to the best ballpark in baseball not named Dodger Stadium. No need to stay and watch the Giants lose, either. Just take a stroll around the waterfront stadium, and take a peek through the gates in the outfield to see the diamond. There also are a number of places nearby to enjoy a quick beverage (the 21st Amendment brewery is around the corner) or swing into Jeremy’s up the block for big discounts on major labels like Billy Reid and Filson. Then return your bike, head back to your room (more on that later) and rest up before heading to…

8 p.m. — Dinner at Mason Pacific

The best burger I’ve ever eaten is at The Spotted Pig in New York. The second best is here, at this Nob Hill bistro along the trolley car line. The burger is a blend of three different cuts of beef and served on soft, salty pretzel bun that is brought in from a super-secret Oakland location. (Bartender: “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.”) Pro tip: Add the gorgonzola. Chef Sean McTiernan uses seasonal ingredients picked up at the farmer’s market and adds into dishes like tagliatelle, risotto and scallops. Enjoy a couple glasses of the Copain wine created specifically for Mason Pacific before heading back to…

Overnight — AirBNB apartment

Nothing gives you the flavor of a new city quite like staying in an actual residence. Skip the overpriced hotels and find a quaint neighborhood spot to lay your head. I stayed in the Mission Dolores area—central and popular—but do some research to find the spot that best suits your needs.

Don’t forget to bring…

  • I can’t say enough about the Wildsam Field Guide. It’s to-do recommendations are non-touristy and smart, and the local interviews and essays get your mind right for exploring San Francisco. Put it on your nightstand the week before you go, or save it for the plane ride there.

  • The above agenda covers a lot of ground, so make sure to bring sensible shoes. I spent my day in Brooks Vantages from its Heritage Collection. Comfortable, stylish and perfect for a city that is best seen on foot.

  • For all the sightseeing, it’s important to actually, uh, see. I broke in new Classic Specs—specifically, the Beaumont—while I was there. You can also shop the frames at its location inside Azalea, a cool men’s and women’s boutique in the Mission.