Five Quests in San Francisco To Complete Before You Die


San Francisco might not be the City that Never Sleeps, but it's pretty close. With foggy-yet-perfect weather and gorgeous views, the City by the Bay is a year-round destination where everyone can find something to do, from riding a cable car to searching for the perfect burrito.

Whether you're just visiting or you've been a city dweller for some time, here are five quests that'll make your San Francisco experience complete.

Find the best Mission burrito
Ask a handful of San Francisco natives where to find the best burrito and nearly every single one will inevitably tell you to head to the Mission District. Press them for a more specific answer, however, and you'll find many different opinions. So why not try out a few and find your own favorite spot? Popular places to pick up a Mission burrito include El Farolito, Pancho Villa Taqueria, Papalote Mexican Grill and The Little Chihuahua. Given that burritos are pretty filling and Mission burritos are extra large, you should probably try all these places on different days, but hey, that's really up to you.

Walk across all of the Golden Gate Bridge
It's hard to image anyone visiting San Francisco and not at least getting a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Most people take a short stroll on the bridge to grab some iconic photos for social media. But rather than taking a few steps and turning back, trying walking all the way across the bridge's 1.7-mile span. In addition to putting your fitness tracker to good use and getting some bragging rights, crowds lessen the further you go, so you can revel in the views of the Marin Headlands and the city skyline in a quieter environment.

Hitch a ride on a cable car
Cable cars might not be as ubiquitous in the city as they once were, but there are still three routes to choose from. While it's true you won't even hit 10 miles per hour, the views from hilltops (that you don't have to climb yourself) can be breathtaking. Those who crave more adventure can claim a spot on the running board—where passengers in passing cable cars are so close you could high five.

Take a ferry to The Rock
Everyone from the biggest history buff to the photographer who just wants a good shot of San Francisco will enjoy touring Alcatraz Island. Visitors enjoy a Cellhouse Audio Tour, the Gardens of Alcatraz and the aforementioned city views. The island is clearly not as dangerous as it once was, since prisoners like Al Capone are no longer there, but trying to get tickets at the last minute is a scary proposition. This tour can get very popular, so book at least a few days in advance or even a few weeks beforehand in the summer months.

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown
As the oldest Chinatown in the United States, this area of San Francisco is always densely packed with locals and tourists perusing wares, searching for a good dumpling or chowing down on dim sum. Chinese New Year is an extra special time, with a multitude of activities in January and February leading up to the extravagant night parade with floats, acrobats, lion dancers and other entertainment. Be prepared, though, as the parade isn't for the fainthearted due to packed sidewalks and busy streets.

Author's bio: Elizabeth Xu is an Ohio-based freelance travel writer. She recently called the San Francisco Bay Area home and loved exploring the city to discover its secrets. Follow her travels @ElizabethMXu.