A hipster guide to San Francisco

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Discovering all the craft things in the City by the Bay

You’re no stranger to monocles and suspenders. In fact, we suspect the irony has faded and you actually like them by now. Don’t worry, though, we’ll never tell. Just put them away in your exposed brick closet at the end of the day, next to your skinny jeans and mustache wax on a distressed wood shelf, and keep telling yourself you wear them to buck the establishment.

One of these days you should tear yourself away from your local vintage shops and succulent vendors and see a bit of the world. We say you start with San Francisco, hipster. Beyond Alcatraz tours and congested Fisherman’s Wharf crowds is a world fit for someone who wants to leave the beaten path. Someone as counter-culture as you. Grab your mason jar filled with kombucha and join us as we guide you through the hippest parts of SF. From street art tours in the Mission to Kerouac shrines, this hip San Francisco visitors guide is the only direction you need.

Stay true to your cold brew loving heart—see SF like a hipster

San Francisco doesn’t just steal your heart; it can take all your cash if you let it. It’s one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., and the fine dining and upscale shopping in trendy areas in San Francisco can be budget busting even for visitors. But not for you. With Local Expert in your corner and your hipster intuition, you’ll avoid tourism traps and find plenty of free or inexpensive ways to pass the time. You’ll nail this hipster travel thing, we can tell.

Your day begins at Trouble Coffee Company in Outer Sunset, where the specialties include coconut water lattes and cinnamon toast. It’s small, the menu is simple, and you’ll be fueled up to take on the city.

Travel 8 miles northeast

Continue your exploration of San Francisco with a trip to Jack Kerouac Alley. No, your favorite poet never lived in SF, but the city has named a street for him nonetheless. As one of the most hipster cities is wont to do. Near the Embarcadero, the alley connects North Beach and Chinatown. Take a picture near his plaque and stop in City Lights Bookstore, where beat poetry has always been celebrated.


Via Flicker/Mobilus In Mobili

Travel 4 miles south

Uber about 4 miles south of the alley down S Van Ness Ave, and you’re smack dab in the center of the Mission District. It’s not just one of the most hip neighborhoods in San Francisco–Forbes called The Mission the second-most hipster district in the country. In other words: welcome home. Take a street art tour through the district, forgoing museums to check out the funky cartoons and innovative graffiti painted on the sides of buildings.

Time for lunch, so stop by Zeitgeist SF. This place is arguably the city’s favorite beer garden and home to lots of outdoor picnic tables, where you can nibble on a grilled cheese sandwich while you stare at the pink elephants painted on the wall. If you want to keep the buzz going, sign up for a Drunk History pub crawl in The Mission.

Viewfinder Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for pop-up restaurants. They’re like flash mobs, except chefs take over local kitchens instead of dancing through mall parking lots.

Travel 2 miles southwest

You could pay admission to Six Flags, north of the city… but that wouldn’t be your style. Head to the Seward Mini Park a few miles from the Mission District where a handful of the city’s “secret” slides exist. Though, maybe “random” is a better descriptor. In any case, bargain for a piece of cardboard along the way. The slides are cement, and built into a tree-covered hill, and cardboard makes for an excellent sled.

Travel 4 miles northeast

Time to quench your thirst with a chug of craft goodness. Rogue Ales Public House grows its hops at the foot of Mount Hood and handcrafts its brews. You can order something called “Beard Beer,” so you know you’re in the right place. Rogue Brewery also has artisan spirits on hand (distilled in copper pots, of course), and small batch craft sodas.

Travel 4 miles south

A quick Uber later and you’re in Dogpatch, a creative neighborhood where 1960s architecture, urban wineries, and artisan food shops coexist. Take a tour of Dogpatch, and you’ll be rubbing elbows with designers and change-makers.

Travel 2.5 miles west

End your day at the Elbo Room, a 2-story venue where live bands take the stage almost every night, and DJs spin 80s new wave. Come as you are and stay all night long (or until 2 a.m. when they kick you out).

What is your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?

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Expedia Local Expert

Our articles are designed to make sure you spend more time having fun, exploring, and living like a local and less time trying to figure out the logistics on the go. We share our pointers for maximizing your time and stretching your dollar, offering ideas and advice for attractions, things to do, and itineraries. Our writers are lovers of travel and are eager to share their know-how with you. Read on, and travel better!

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