There are so many reasons that San Francisco is consistently voted the #1 travel destination in the U.S. – the scenery, the dining, and the diversity are among the reasons people visit. In this post, we’re going to highlight the best things for women travelers to do on their own when visiting the city by the bay. This is not your usual “Top Tourist Attractions” list, since women travelers are uncompromising, have high standards and are seeking deep, rich and meaningful travel experiences.
With that in mind, here are our top 3 things to do in San Francisco for the solo female traveler:
Wander the back alleys of Chinatown. Yes, San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the top tourist attractions, but 99% of visitors don’t veer off of Grant Street, which is tourist central. To truly get the cultural experience, you need to do three things:
1. Go to Portsmouth Square. We call this Chinatown’s living room, and it is in fact the former center of San Francisco as you will see by the numerous monuments dotted around the square. Currently it is where residents of Chinatown gather to gamble, gossip and pass time. Sit amongst the locals and soak it all in.
2. Visit Tien How Temple on Waverly. Up three flights of stairs, visiting this 100 year old temple is a magical experience. Wander on to the balcony for some of the best views in the city.
3. Spend an hour at the Chinese Historical Society. Not only will you get a deep understanding of the Chinese community in San Francisco, you’ll likely meet a couple of long-time Chinatown residents who are staff members.
Enjoy dinner at a community table. There’s no reason to pass up San Francisco’s famous dining, just because you’re on your own. Community tables are everywhere in San Francisco, so not only will you get a great meal at a top restaurant, you’ll also make friends. Our three favorite community tables are:
1. OTD on Bush Street for Vietnamese food from Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame.
2. NOPA for classic California food in a buzzing atmosphere.
3. Flour + Water for some of the best pizza, pasta and pig you will ever eat.
Learn a new skill. Connecting with the creative community is a great way to truly experience San Francisco. Here are a couple of ways to do that:
1. Take a class at Workshop. Workshop offers affordable, one-off DIY classes at a super cute space in the NOPA neighborhood. Bookbinding, screen printing, Bloody Mary making and heavy metal aerobics are a few options. The proprietor of Workshop, Kelly Malone, brings together some of the best creative talent in the city to teach the classes, and most are small so there’s lots of opportunity to meet and chat with fellow creatives.
2. Craft Bar with Etsy Labs. The Museum of Craft and Folk Art hosts a craft night with Etsy the first Thursday of every month. Making and socializing come together at this fun event.
Of course sometimes when you’re traveling, you don’t want to do it all on your own. In that case, consider a walking tour with anyroad or pick a mosey to explore. Ranging from a few hours to an entire day, a customized experience will connect visitors with the places and people that give San Francisco its unique flavor. The intent of each outing is to let you truly experience the city, versus watching it roll by from the window of a bus.
Plus, savvy travelers appreciate the intimate knowledge of the hidden nooks and crannies of San Francisco, a city that can sometimes be difficult to navigate on your own.