12hrs in San Francisco

The City by the Bay is on its best behaviour in our 12hrs in San Francisco guide. Explore it with us!


The center of LGBT life in San Francisco

Time to move to yet another historically important neighborhood of San Francisco. To get there, walk down Haight Street towards Divisadero Street, then, take the bus line 24 and it will drop you off smack dab in the middle of Castro when you exit the bus at the Market/17th Street station. 

Castro is the pride of the city and the center of the LGBT community. This vibrant and colorful neighborhood feels very welcoming. While you explore it, make sure to grab a cookie from the Hot Cookie Bakery. Our favorite: the melting chocolate cookie. 

The famous Castro Theatre regularly hosts sing-along nights for old movies. If you happen to be in town while one of these events is scheduled: don't miss it.

Hot Cookie // 407 Castro St // Sun-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri/Sat 11am-1am // Facebook

Castro Theatre // 429 Castro St // website



The Mission

San Francisco's most popular neighborhood in a nutshell

The Mission, San Francisco's most popular neighborhood at the moment, is only a few blocks away from the Castro. It's the home of the hipster, and the location of some of the city's best shops and restaurants. Coffee roasters, innovative cuisines, chocolate factories and artisanal bakeries make it the culinary melting pot of the city. 

It's busiest here during the weekends, when it seems like the whole city is picnicking at Dolores Park. That means that it can get pretty crowded, with no room to even throw a Frisbee. If you plan on continuing your 12hrs in San Francisco, don't buy any cookies from anyone offering them in Dolores Park…



Bi-Rite Creamery

A short ice cream break
Bi-Rite Creamery
Bi-Rite Ice Creamery
Bi-Rite Ice Creamery
Bi-Rite Ice Creamery

Today it's OK to have a dessert before the dinner. On your way from Castro you'll pass Bi-Rite Ice Creamery. And if the line consists of less then 20 people, don't hesitate to get in the line and order a scoop of San Francisco's most lauded ice cream. It's really as good as everybody says! If you're unsure what to order, go for roasted banana and salted caramel, a sure bet. 

Take you ice cream to the top of Dolores Park. Here, you'll get one of the most amazing views of San Francisco's downtown glittering in the sunset. 

Bi-Rite Creamery // 3692 18th St // Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri/Sat 11am-11pm // website


Valencia Street

Exploring the Mission

You would probably need another 12hrs to see everything the Mission has to offer. So today, we only focus on the shops along Valencia Street. It's the 'flagship street' of the Mission, and you can find some amazing shops, restaurants, street art, galleries and thrift stores here between 15th and 23th street. 

Among them are Voyager, a collaborative art shop, Little Paper Planes that sells paper goods and home decor, Paxton Gate, an odd little shop for butterfly collectors, Mission Cheese, that sells lots of wonderfully smelly cheeses and Dandelion, San Francisco-made chocolate.

Voyager // 365 Valencia St // Mon-Sun 11am-7pm // website

Little Paper Planes // 855 Valencia St // Tue-Sat 12pm-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm // website

Paxton Gate // 824 Valencia St // Sun-Wed 11am-7pm, Thu-Sat 11am-8pm // website

Mission Cheese // 736 Valencia St // Tue-Thu & Sun 11am-9pm, Fri/Sat 11am-10pm // website

Dandelion Chocolate // 740 Valencia St // Sun-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri/Sat 10am-10pm // website





Four different restaurants for you to choose from
Gracias Madre



A shirt from Marine Layer.
Chocolate from Dandelion Chocolate.
Salt Water Taffy.


Karl the Fog has his own Instagram account (http://instagram.com/karlthefog).

Fortune Cookies were invented by a Japanese resident of San Francisco.

When Al Capone was held at Alcatraz, he gave regular Sunday concerts with the inmate band, the Rock Islanders. He played the banjo.



Narrowing down where to eat in the Mission is almost more challenging than walking all the hills in San Francisco. There are so many choices that picking one can almost get intimidating. For this guide, we have selected four restaurants for you to choose from. There's pizza, ramen, vegan Mexican food and South Indian cuisine on offer, just pick your favorite. 

Order a drink, kick back those sandals and relax. Congratulations! You just spent 12hrs in San Francisco.

Pizzeria Delfina // 3611 18th St // Mon 5pm-10pm, Tue-Thu 11.30am-10pm, Fri 11.30am-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-10pm // website

Ken Ken Ramen // 3378 18th St // Tue-Sat 6pm-10m, Sun 12pm-3.30pm & 6pm-9pm // website

Gracias Madre // 2211 Mission St // Mon-Sun 11am-11pm // website

Dosa // 995 Valencia St // Mon-Wed 5.30pm-10pm, Thu 5.30pm-11pm, Fri 5.30pm-12am, Sat 11.30am-3.45pm & 5.30pm-12am, Sun 11.30am-3.45pm & 5.30pm-10pm // website



Ana Kamin



This 12hrs guide was written and photographed by Ana Kamin. Her blog Fluxi On Tour launched in 2012, when she and her husband moved from Hamburg, Germany to San Francisco. On it, she collects all the new places, cities, beaches, shops and cafes she discovers.


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