California Weekend Itinerary Guide

Day 1: Morning

If you’re heading to California for the weekend, San Francisco is the perfect destination. You can pack a whole lot into 2 days in this city but consider catching an early flight into San Francisco International Airport to really make the most of your time.

Transportation: For your first day in SF you can get around easily by public transportation, but we recommend having a rental car for your trip out of the city on day 2. Pick up your rental car at the airport, and you can feel good about saving big by bundling your flight, hotel and car rental through our California package deals.

Where to stay: San Francisco has an array of great places to stay, including the Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco, known for its artsy, ultra-modern décor and proximity to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Union Square. Alternatively, there’s the Agronaut Hotel, where the chic nautical theme goes nicely with the bay views.

  • Start at Pier 39, part of the Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Continue walking south, along The Embarcadero, for about 30 minutes to reach the Ferry Building. With its specialty grocery stores, restaurants and grab-and-go outlets. Try to come on a Saturday for the acclaimed Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Day 1: Afternoon

  • From the Ferry Building, walk north back along The Embarcadero to Pier 33 (20 minutes), from where you can catch a ferry out to the former prison island of Alcatraz.
  • Back at Pier 33, get a taxi or ride-share service to Lombard Street, famous for its steep incline and eight impressive switchbacks.
  • Explore Little Italy, known for its famous pizza spots and great hole-in-the-wall bars and coffee shops, many of which the beatniks themselves used to frequent

Day 1: Evening

  • After you’ve got your fill of Little Italy, explore Chinatown Hop on one of the iconic cable cars that travel along California Street, and get off at a stop near Portsmouth Square where you’ll be right in the heart of the oldest Chinatown in North America
  • Walk 20 minutes to the Theater District for a fun night at a lively comedy club

Day 2: Morning & Afternoon

The best thing about quick getaways in California is the chance to explore both city and nature. So today is the day to expand the scope of your California vacation and get out of bustling SF to explore some of the natural wonders not too far from the city.

  • Drive south for about 2 hours along the state’s stunning coastline to Point Lobos Natural Reserve
  • In Point Lobos, you’ll find miles of hiking trails, dramatic coastal cliffs, beautiful isolated coves and big colonies of barking sea lions
  • On the way back, stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small seaside town known for its quaint houses and a European ambiance. It’s just a 10-minute drive north of Point Lobos

Day 2: Evening

Before your flight home, consider stopping at the city of Half Moon Bay (93 miles north of Carmel). Have a drink or early dinner with views of the sunset at The Ritz-Carlton, set on a bluff overlooking the ocean. From here it’s just a 30-minute drive to the San Francisco International Airport. If you are getting an early morning flight home, stay overnight at The Ritz for a luxurious end to your weekend trip in California.

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