View of Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer Lookout Point.
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Babymoon in San Francisco – A Pregnancy-Friendly Travel Guide

View of Golden Gate Bridge from the Battery Spencer Lookout

San Francisco, often nicknamed as the “City by the Bay,” is a bucket list destination for travelers with its unique blend of natural beauty and iconic landmarks. This world-famous metropolitan area can be found nestled along the picturesque shores of Northern California. From the fog-draped Golden Gate Bridge and the charming cable cars traversing its hilly terrain to the thriving culinary scene and rows of Victorian houses, there’s never a dull moment in this city.

We Are San Francico Locals

I grew up in Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town outside of the city. My husband went to college in San Francisco. After we’d been dating for a while, we got an apartment in downtown San Francisco on the corner of O’Farrell Street and Hyde Street. We lived right in the middle of all the action and we could walk to popular spots and activities such as the cable cars, the Embarcadero, Market Street and even Ghirardelli square. This guide is filled with photos from our real-life experiences in the city.

Whether you’re seeking the thrill of exploration, the serenity of coastal vistas, or the excitement of urban exploration, San Francisco is a city that has it all.

What is a Babymoon?

A “babymoon” is a relatively recent term used to describe a vacation or time of relaxation taken by expectant parents, usually during the second trimester of pregnancy. The idea behind a babymoon is to give couples an opportunity to enjoy some quality time together before the arrival of their baby, an event which will inevitably bring about significant changes to their routine and lifestyle. It’s a chance to celebrate the pending addition to the family, strengthen the bond between partners, and rest up before the demands of parenthood begin. Whether it’s a weekend getaway close to home or an extended vacation, a babymoon offers parents-to-be a moment of calm and connection before they embark on the next exciting chapter of their lives.

What trimester should you be traveling in for a Babymoon?

When considering a babymoon, the second trimester is often recommended as the ideal time for traveling. During the first trimester, many women experience morning sickness, fatigue, and other discomforts, which can make travel less enjoyable.

By the third trimester, the advanced stages of pregnancy can bring about increased physical discomfort, and there may also be travel restrictions or medical advisories against flying or undertaking long journeys.

The second trimester, on the other hand, is often referred to as the “honeymoon” phase of pregnancy. Most women find they have more energy, fewer nauseous symptoms, and are still relatively mobile and comfortable. However, as always, it’s crucial for expecting mothers to consult with their healthcare providers before planning any travel to ensure that both mother and baby are safe and healthy.

Why is San Francisco a Good Place for a Babymoon?

San Francisco, with its iconic landmarks and picturesque landscapes, is a delightful choice for a babymoon. Its mild climate makes for comfortable sightseeing, while its world-renowned culinary scene offers a myriad of dining options catering to a variety of tastes and cravings.

San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods, like the historic North Beach or vibrant Castro, offer a blend of cultural experiences. For those seeking relaxation, several upscale spas and retreats provide prenatal treatments specially designed for expecting mothers.

Furthermore, San Francisco’s compact size ensures that most attractions are easily accessible, reducing the need for extensive travel. The city’s blend of relaxation and adventure makes San Francisco a perfect babymoon destination.

San Francisco Weather is Perfect for Pregnant Women

San Francisco’s weather, characterized by its mild temperatures and foggy marine layer, is especially accommodating for pregnant women. Unlike extreme hot or cold climates that can be uncomfortable or even hazardous for expectant mothers, San Francisco’s moderate climate offers a refreshing balance.

The city rarely experiences the sweltering heatwaves common in many other regions, which is beneficial as excessive heat can exacerbate pregnancy symptoms like swelling or dehydration. The gentle breezes from the Pacific Ocean often bring about cool mornings and evenings, making it comfortable for outdoor activities without the risk of overheating.

Furthermore, the relatively stable temperatures reduce the need for heavy layering, allowing pregnant women to move about more freely and comfortably. This temperate climate, coupled with the city’s scenic beauty, creates an ideal environment for pregnant women to explore, relax, and enjoy their babymoon.

Booking Your Hotel in San Francisco

San Francisco is a very expensive city, which can possibly make you want to seek out a deal on a hotel stay. Take it from me when I say that you really need to know which areas of the city are safe and clean, and which ones to avoid. If you see a hotel at a very low price, make sure to do your research on the neighborhood and hotel itself.

When you’re looking San Francisco hotels, think about your planned itinerary and the sights that are at the top of your list to see. You may want to book a stay nearby so that you can save money on Uber and Lyft rides.

My Recommended San Francisco Hotels

I have either stayed at or visited the below hotels in person myself, and I had a great experience. Not to mention that they have style and welcoming accomodations.

Safest Neighborhoods in San Francisco to Book Your Stay

San Francisco has a bunch of neighborhoods that stand out for their safety and welcoming ambiance. Pacific Heights, with its grand historic mansions, affords breathtaking views of the Bay and is renowned for its low crime rate and well-maintained streets.

The Marina District, characterized by its scenic beauty along the water, offers a vibrant nightlife and is particularly favored by young professionals and families. Noe Valley, a sunny and serene enclave, is celebrated for its community-oriented atmosphere, making it a top pick for families and those seeking a quieter stay.

Meanwhile, Sea Cliff, boasting luxury residences and close proximity to the ocean, is another pocket of tranquility in the city. When planning a stay in San Francisco, these neighborhoods promise both safe and a easy going experience while still enjoy the city’s unique character.

If you are booking a hotel in San Francisco’s downtown area, be sure to stick to one of the hotels I listed above. These hotels are known for going above and beyond to take safety precautions and will not allow homeless people to hinder your stay.

Areas of San Francisco to Avoid

San Francisco, like any major city, has areas that may be less advisable for tourists due to safety concerns, especially during late hours. The Tenderloin has challenges related to homelessness, drug use, and street crime. It’s advisable for unfamiliar visitors to be cautious and aware of their surroundings when traversing this neighborhood, especially after dark.

Similarly, parts of the Mission District, although culturally vibrant and home to some of the city’s best eateries, can have pockets of higher crime. The Bayview-Hunters Point area, despite its ongoing redevelopment and community engagement efforts, still grapples with higher crime rates compared to other districts.

While every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own charm and positive attributes, it’s always a good idea for visitors to stay informed, be vigilant, and prioritize their safety.

Should You Rent a Car While Visiting San Francisco?

When considering whether to rent a car while visiting San Francisco, there are several factors to weigh. San Francisco is known for its notoriously steep hills, limited parking, and expensive parking fees, which can make driving and parking in the city quite challenging. However, if you plan to explore the broader Bay Area, venture to wine country, or visit other regional attractions, a rental car might be beneficial. Basically, if your activities are primarily centered within San Francisco itself, you might be better off skipping the rental and using ride share alternatives. If you do plan on renting a car, I highly suggest booking a hotel with a secure parking garage. Unfortunately car break-ins, damage and theft are commonplace in San Francisco.

Public Transportation in San Francisco

As a local who lived in San Francisco, I can tell you that the public transportation in the city is terrible. I spent over a year living in New York City and I had no problems figuring out the subway system, but I was never able to reliably find a way to take SF public transit without pain points.

The city’s Municipal Railway, or Muni, which includes buses, trolleys, cable cars, and light rail, has been known to experience delays, service interruptions, and overcrowded vehicles, particularly during peak travel times. Many of us have expressed frustrations with unpredictable wait times, occasionally attributed to aging infrastructure or limited resources for timely maintenance and repairs.

The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which serves both the city and its surrounding regions, is not exempt from similar complaints, especially concerning delays and the cleanliness of stations and trains. When I lived in Half Moon Bay and commuted to SF everyday on BART, it was a hectic experience to say the least.

San Francisco is a Very Walkable City

San Francisco has a very compact layout, making it an exceptionally walkable city. Spread across just 47 square miles, its diverse neighborhoods are connected by a grid-like pattern of streets, interspersed with picturesque alleyways. Pedestrians can easily wander from the historic piers of Fisherman’s Wharf to the bustling stalls of Chinatown, or from the commercial heart of Union Square to the artsy vibes of the Mission District, all within a few hours.

The city’s natural topography, with its iconic steep hills, provides both a bit of a workout for the adventurous walker and panoramic vistas that reward the effort. So bring good walking shoes! The weather is usually cool and crisp, making a stroll enjoyable (as long as you’re wearing layers!).

Top 50 Pregnancy-Safe Things to Do in San Francisco

I have spent a lot of time as a pregnant woman myself in San Francisco, so I speak from experience. No matter what your pregnancy style and vibe is, there’s plenty of itinerary ideas for every expectant mother. There’s many relaxing spots with scenic views, recommended places to eat, safe and welcoming neighborhoods, and even some more adventurous places if you’re up for that.

Take Touristy Photos in Umbrella Alley

Umbrella Alley is a purely touristy spot in Fisherman’s Wharf, but it’s a fun photo opportunity for souvenir type pics you can easily take on your phone. This colorful lane, adorned with a rainbow canopy of suspended umbrellas, offers whimsical mural backdrops including the popular Greetings From San Francisco mural.

Have Soup in a Boudin Sourdough Bread Bowl in Fisherman’s Wharf

One of San Francisco’s most iconic culinary experiences can be found amidst the bustling activity of Fisherman’s Wharf: savoring a hot soup served in a Boudin sourdough bread bowl. It’s a must-try for anyone looking to taste the authentic flavors of San Francisco.

Boudin Bakery, with its rich history dating back to the California Gold Rush, has perfected the art of sourdough bread-making over the decades. The tangy, chewy goodness of the bread complements the warm soup inside. You can pick from the classic clam chowder, butternut squash, rustic tomato, beef chili or broccoli cheddar.

Have a Picnic at Crissy Field

Crissy Field is known for its expansive grassy fields and panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Making it the perfect picnic spot! Once a military airfield, this revitalized gem is now open to residents and visitors looking for a chill place to hangout within the city. Bring some takeout food and lay out a blanket on the grass. The area is always frequented by joggers, kite flyers, and families, making it a lively yet still calming place.

*Note – Sometimes on very foggy day you can’t see the Golden Gate Bridge, even though it is literally right there. Don’t underestimate how thick Karl the Fog gets (that’s our local nickname for the ever present fog in San Francisco).

Cross Over the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point in Sausalito offers one of the most breathtaking vantage points to view the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Located just across the bridge from San Francisco, this viewing area provides an unparalleled panoramic perspective and is an ideal spot to take photos. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can walk all the way across the bridge to the lookout. Or you can drive or Uber across to the parking lot area. On the weekends this parking lot can get very full, so I recommend going early if you can. Also we aware that there’s a virtual toll fee when driving back into San Francisco from Sausalito, and you may get a bill for $9 in the mail.

Golden Gate Views from Battery Spencer

Battery Spencer, perched on the Marin Headlands’ hills, offers one of the most iconic and stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. To reach this historical military fortification and enjoy its unparalleled vistas, you’d start by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, taking the first exit after the bridge, which is the “Vista Point” exit.

Follow the signs for the Marin Headlands, which will lead you through a tunnel. After exiting the tunnel, you’ll take the first left, which will direct you up a steep, winding road. As you ascend, various lookout points will become accessible, but for the grandeur of Battery Spencer, continue until you see a parking lot on your left. From there, a short walking path will guide you to the site. This may seem complicated, but there’s always many people heading to this spot and you can easily follow the flow of traffic.

Lunch at Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito

After you’ve crossed over the bridge, escape the hustle and bustle of city life in San Francisco and spend an afternoon in the very tranquil coast side town of Sausalito. Barrel House Tavern offers a high-end culinary experience complemented by mesmerizing views of the San Francisco skyline and bay.

Housed in a historic building that once served as the ferry terminal, this establishment effortlessly combines its rich past with contemporary design. The menu at Barrel House Tavern has a modern take on classic American dishes, incorporating fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that highlight favorite Californian flavors. Whether you opt for seafood or their artisanal flatbreads, there’s plenty on the menu for all tastes. For friends or partners who are not pregnant, enjoy a drink from their extensive wine list or a crafted cocktails.

the Waterfront walking path with views of the Richardson Bay in Sausalito

There’s nothing quite like a scenic stroll after a good meal, and the Sausalito Waterfront is the perfect spot for it! Boasting panoramic vistas of Richardson Bay, this location is particularly memorableduring sunset. As you meander along, the marina’s boats and the distant San Francisco Skyline will catch your eye. The silhouettes of Angel and Alcatraz Islands can be seen off in the distance. Keep an eye out, and you might spot seals swimming in the waters or pelicans soaring above. If you’re not up for walking, find a bench and unwind as you soak in the view.

Have a Picnic at Alamo Square Park with the Painted Ladies View

Alamo Square Park has the best view of the “Painted Ladies,” a row of famously detailed Victorian and Edwardian houses in colorful shades of pastel. This juxtaposition of the historic charm and modern urban city skyline behind it has made the spot one of the most photographed in the city. The park’s gently sloping grassy hill makes it a popular picnic spot. This is also where the famous opening credits to the TV show Full House was filmed, but the “red door” house seen up close is actually in another neighborhood.

Get a Prenatal Massage and Facial at In-Symmetry Spa in The Mission District

I went to In-Symmetry Spa in The Mission for a prenatal massage and facial when I was over 7 months pregnant (you can’t tell in the photo but I have a huge baby bump!). I had just come back from a conference for work and my neck and shoulders were so tight.

Tailored specifically for pregnant women, prenatal massages take into consideration the unique needs and sensitivities that come with being pregnant. You will not laying on your back or on your stomach, but rather propped up on your side with special pillows which is safe for mama and baby. Through gentle massage and targeted pressure, a prenatal massage can alleviate common pregnancy discomforts such as backaches, swollen joints, and muscle tension. Moreover, it can enhance blood circulation, which benefits both mother and baby by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.

During pregnancy my skin is especially sensitive, so my esthetician used products that were not harsh or irritating. I went with a friend who also got a massage and facial (she wasn’t pregnant so it was just a regular massage for her), and the whole experience was very relaxing. Afterwards we grabbed lunch at Tartine Manufactory right around the corner.

Grab a Healthy Lunch and Tea at Tartine Manufactory

Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco’s Mission District, is more than just a bakery—it’s a culinary hot spot for foodies. The building is a sunlit space with high ceilings and a modern factory setting. For those seeking a healthy lunch, Tartine Manufactory presents a menu infused with seasonal produce, offering vibrant salads, grain bowls, and light sandwiches. Complementing the meal is their curated selection of teas, making it a great place for a prego lady. In a city known for its culinary diversity, Tartine Manufactory stands out for it’s commitment to the art of good eating.

Skyline Views from a Picnic in Mission Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park is one of San Francisco’s most beloved green spaces. Spread across its sprawling lawns, picnickers from all walks of life come here to hang (this is code for you’ll find some interesting people watching). What especially sets Dolores Park apart, however, is its vantage point with a panorama of the city’s skyline. As you stand in the park, you can see so many of the iconic buildings in the city. Grab some tacos to go from Tacolicious and eat yummy food with a view at Dolores Park.

Take a Leisurely Stroll Through the Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is a very large and grand monument with its Greco-Roman columns, rotunda, and serene lagoons. Taking a leisurely stroll through its grounds instantly transports you to ancient Greece, which is a bit mystifying because you’re right in the middle of the city. It was originally conceived for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, an event celebrating both the completion of the Panama Canal and the city’s remarkable recovery after the devastating 1906 earthquake. Designed by architect Bernard Maybeck, the Palace was intended to evoke a sense of classical European ruins.

Grab a Meal on Chestnut Street in The Marina District

Chestnut Street is the main drag of the popular Marina District. This bustling hub is filled with chic boutiques, popular fashion brands, cafes, foodie-approved restaurants and trendy bars. You will find this area filled with people both day and night. The surrounding neighborhood is filled with picturesque rows of pastel-hued houses, a very historical and old-school San Francisco vibe.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream in Hayes Valley

Salt and Straw Ice Cream, with a bustling location in Hayes Valley, has carved a unique niche in San Francisco’s culinary scene. Known for its unconventional flavors and artisanal approach, this ice cream brand goes beyond the ordinary. While seasonal rotations ensure that there’s always something new to discover, some of the quirky ice cream flavors include Honey lavender, Arbequina Olive Oil, Strawberry Honey Balsamic w/ Black Pepper and Pear & Blue Cheese. Of course if you are like my husband and prefer the old classics, you can find not so crazy flavors too.

Barney’s Gourmet Burgers in Noe Valley

Noe Valley is known for its charming and family-friendly atmosphere. This neighborhood has a blend of historic Victorian homes, modern condos, and tree-lined streets, creating a picturesque backdrop. 24th Street, Noe Valley’s main hub, is bustling with activity, lined with cozy cafes, independent bookstores, artisanal bakeries, and boutique shops.

Barney’s Gourmet Burgers on 24th Street in Noe Valley is known for their high-quality ingredients and inventive burger flavor combinations. They’ve elevated the classic American burger eating experience for sure. They also have fish, vegetarian and vegan options too.

Filbert Street Steps to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill

Okay, here’s the deal. I had to put Coit Tower on this list because it is so iconic in San Francisco. My favorite way to get to Coit Tower has always been by taking the Filbert Street Steps. These iconic steps, weaving their way up the city’s eastern slope of Telegraph Hill, present a uniquely San Franciscan experience. This is literally an extremely long staircase (around 600 steps) that is called a “street.” As you climb up, you pass cute cottages and gardens that are perched along the big hill. At times to enter into extremely lush green gardens with wild parrots (yes you read that correctly, wild parrots in San Francisco!). Upon reaching the summit you’ll be standing at the base of Coit Tower. The tower itself, with its panoramic views of the city and bay, is a rewarding finale to the climb.

While this is one of my favorite San Francisco experiences, this will definitely not be ideal for all pregnant women. You have to be in really good shape to climb all those stairs. A quicker and possibly more reasonable option is to drive up to the Coit Tower Observation Deck.

Date Night in North Beach with a Romantic Italian Dinner

Over the years my husband has taken me on many romantic date nights in North Beach. He loves the old school Italian scenery and authentic cuisine. North Beach, known as San Francisco’s Little Italy, has a nightlife scene that is always busy and lively. Columbus Street is filled with dimly lit trattorias where a couple can get cozy.

View Lombard Street from a Great Vantage Point

Lombard Street, often dubbed “the crookedest street in the world,” is one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks, with its eight sharp switchbacks weaving down a steep hill, adorned with vibrant flowers and elegant homes.

To truly appreciate this San Francisco oddity, knowing the right vantage points is key. One of the most popular spots is at the top of the street, where visitors can get a birds-eye view of the winding road as it zigzags its way down. Another favored location is at the base, looking upward, offering a perspective of cars carefully navigating the sharp turns, framed by the historic houses and cascading gardens.

Nearby, Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill also provide panoramic views, capturing Lombard Street in the broader cityscape. Whether you’re a photographer hunting for the perfect shot or a visitor soaking in the sights, these vantage points offer a multifaceted view of Lombard Street.

Want to walk down Lombard Street? Pedestrians have designated staircase pathways on both sides of the street, allowing them to safely descend or ascend while enjoying views of the twists and turns where the cars drive. As a general rule, walking down the famous zigzagging section of Lombard Street is both permissible and a popular activity for tourists.

Tacos at Tacolicious is the Best Casual Lunch

Tacolicious is a local San Francisco chain with modern twist on traditional taco stand foods. They always use high quality meats and ingredients which is a must for me, and they’ve mastered modern Mexican interior design inside their restaurants. My usual order is 3 tacos, each one a different flavor. My drink is always the horchata.

The Walt Disney Museum in The Presidio

The Walt Disney Family Museum offers a deep and personal dive into the life and legacy of the man behind the Disney magic. More than just a tribute to his cinematic and theme park achievements, this museum paints a vivid portrait of Walt Disney as a visionary, innovator, and storyteller. Through a collection of exhibits, including early drawings, animations, movies, and personal memorabilia, visitors are taken on a journey from his humble beginnings to the Disney empire.

The Disney museum is located in the heart of the Presidio. The museum’s design is both intimate and expansive, allowing for moments of personal reflection as well as grand revelations about the scope of Disney’s impact on entertainment and popular culture. One of its most striking features is a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, providing a picturesque backdrop.

Walk Through Balmy Alley to See the Mural in The Mission

If you’re a fan of off-beat and quirky art, then maybe a walk through Balmy Alley in The Mission is worth your while. Walking through this narrow passageway, visitors see the vivid murals that cover nearly every inch of the available wall space. Each piece of art tells a story, ranging from socio-political commentaries, tributes to cultural heritage, to expressions of hope, resilience, and activism. These murals, ever-evolving and often painted over by newer ones. The alley stands as a living canvas, urging visitors to reflect, question, and engage with the stories painted on its walls.

Shopping in Union Square

Union Square in San Francisco is synonymous with world-class shopping. A veritable haven for fashion aficionados and casual shoppers alike, this iconic square is filled luxury brands and global flagship stores. Beyond just retail, Union Square has a large center square which often hosts big events and classic holiday moments. During the Christmas season Union Square has a huge Christmas tree surrounded by an ice skating rink where you can rent skates.

Spend the Afternoon in Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a sprawling urban oasis in the midst of San Francisco that measures over 3.5 miles long. Spending an afternoon in Golden Gate Park could easily turn into a half a day because there’s so much to see. Begin with a leisurely stroll among the colorful blooms of the Conservatory of Flowers, or perhaps venture to the Japanese Tea Garden, a tranquil space of koi-filled ponds and traditional pagodas. The De Young Museum beckons art enthusiasts with its eclectic collection, while the nearby California Academy of Sciences enthralls with its planetarium, aquarium, and natural history exhibits. Families with children might also enjoy the playgrounds or the historic carousel inside Golden Gate Park.

Walk the Inside of the Ferry Building

The Ferry Building can be found at the end of San Francisco’s Market Street. This enormous historical building has an impressive clock tower and was built it 1989. Still to this day the Ferry Building is a busy economic center filled with shops, restaurants and event spaces. Inside the building you’ll find a bustling marketplace filled with a curated selection of gourmet food stalls, artisan cafes, and specialty shops.

Outside, the Embarcadero promenade provides breathtaking views of the bay. There’s a farmer’s market every week, bringing together the region’s best farmers and food artisans.

Walk Along The Embarcadero and See Bay Bridge Views

As you meander the waterfront promenade, the towering Bay Bridge comes into view. Sounds of waves lapping against the piers and the distant hum of boats create a serene backdrop. Outdoor cafes and restaurants dot the route, offering culinary pit stops where one can eat fresh seafood while enjoy the bridge views. As the sun goes down, the “The Bay Lights” show begins with the LED light installation show which you can see clearly while walking on The Embarcadero.

Visit Alcatraz Island

Visiting Alcatraz Island is a haunting yet fascinating journey. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the prison has been preserved to create an immersive experience for visitors. Just like in the operational days, the only way to get to Alcatraz Island is by ferry boat. If you’re pregnant and boats may make you sea sick, this may not be the excursion for you.

Take a Cute Photo at Cupid’s Span

Cupid’s Span is a large scale sculpture located on the San Francisco waterfront along the Embarcadero. The sculpture depicts Cupid’s bow and arrow, a rather romantic gesture. Cupid’s Span is a popular place for sweet couple photos, and since this is a babymoon guide I had to include it.

Designed by the renowned artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, this towering bow and arrow sculpture seems to have playfully landed in Rincon Park, with its arrow half-buried in the ground, suggesting the moment Cupid’s arrow has struck the heart of the city.

Enjoy Coffee and Pastries at Le Marais Bakery

Le Marais is a local San Francisco chain of family-run bistros and bakeries. They offer traditional French cuisine and pastries crafted using top-quality organic and local ingredients. The interiors inside their cafes are always to bright and airy, filled with light and delicate French details. They have locations in the Mission/Castro, Mill Valley and Sutter Street.

Drive Up to the Top of Twin Peaks

Driving up to the top of Twin Peaks means that you’re reaching the second highest elevation in San Francisco. As the winding road ascends, the hustle and bustle of the city gradually fades and each bend in the route offers a fresh perspective of San Francisco. The panorama view becomes more visible as you approach the summit, and at the top you’ve got some one of the most iconic skyline views of San Francisco. You can drive all the way up to the top where there’s a parking lot. So even though you’re way up high, there’s no physical effort to get there. Bring a jacket because it can get cold and windy up there!

Shopping for Vintage and Quirky Finds in the Haight-Ashbury

Walking into the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will put you at the epicenter of counterculture and rebellion against society. Renowned for its vintage and offbeat offerings, strolling through the Haight-Ashbury quirky boutiques feels like a treasure hunt set against a backdrop of the 1960s’ bohemian spirit. Each store is a trove of unique finds, from retro clothing and vinyl records to rare collectibles and handcrafted trinkets. If you’re looking for good eats in the Haight, I like Cha Cha Cha and Hippie Thai Street Food.

Fancy Chinese Dinner with City Views in Chinatown

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in North America, stretching for over 30 blocks. As you wander through its compact streets, it immediately feels like you’ve been transported to another country. Everywhere you look, there’s authentic Chinese buildings, storefronts and restaurants. The echoing sounds of conversations in Cantonese and Mandarin really drive the foreign experience home.

Obviously you can find authentic Chinese food in Chinatown, but for an exceptionally elevated dining experience try The Empress of Boon. For many decades this restaurant was formerly known as The Empress of China and was an iconic establishment in San Francisco. I even went many times as a child with my family growing up. In more recent years it came under new ownership and is now The Empress of Boon.

Shopping and Lunch on Union Street in Cow Hollow

Union Street in Cow Hollow is a delightful blend of San Francisco’s historic charm and trendy urban scene. Straddling the space between the upscale elegance of Pacific Heights and the scenic neighborhood of the Marina District, the bustling main drag of Union Street is where young professionals like to hang. In this area, old Victorian-era homes have been converted into boutique stores, cafes and businesses. By night, it transforms into a lively scene where fashionable bars and intimate restaurants come alive with millennial patrons.

Trendy Brunch Scene in The Castro

The Castro is where locals and visitors love to go for a bubbly and vivacious brunch scene. Weekends in this lively neighborhood see a diverse crowd, each offering its own spin on the beloved mid-morning ritual. From gourmet avocado toasts drizzled with artisanal olive oils to hearty, traditional egg dishes infused with global flavors, the menu offerings are robust. In The Castro, brunch isn’t just a meal, it’s a social event and a celebration of community.

See a Giants Game at Oracle Park

Experiencing a Giants game at Oracle Park is a quintessential San Francisco experience, simply because of the unmatched views of the city’s iconic bay. The ballpark food offerings include all the classics, but there’s also some gourmet surprises. Try the popular Dungeness crab on sourdough sandwich, bacon wrapped hot dogs and Sheboygan Bratwursts, poke bowls or Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae. When you arrive at the ballpark, make sure to wear your orange and black to cheer on the Giants!

Breakfast at Neighbor Bakehouse in Dogpatch

The Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco is much newer and trendy area. Once characterized by shipyards and warehouses, this sun-soaked southeastern quarter has undergone a transformative renaissance. Today, its historic brick and timber buildings are home to a thriving community of artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs.

One of the most popular morning spots in Dogpatch is Neighbor Bakehouse. This cafe and bakery offers baked treats and light meals in a spacious, open-concept industrial setting filled with bright natural light.

Walk to Hopper’s Hands Under the Golden Gate Bridge in Fort Point

Walking to Hopper’s Hands at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in Fort Point is a rite of passage for both locals and visitors to San Francisco. The journey takes you along the scenic Bay Trail along the shoreline. Upon reaching the spot, you’ll see simple Hopper’s Hands plaque with a pair of hands. Many feel compelled to touch and give the hands a “high five” – a local ritual signifying the journey’s completion.

Explore Japantown and Eat Pregnancy-Friendly Japanese Food

San Francisco’s Japantown is one of the few remaining Japantowns in the United States. Spread over several city blocks, this neighborhood offers a delightful immersion into Japanese heritage and contemporary culture. Traditional architectural motifs blend seamlessly with modern elements, creating a landscape where ornate pagodas coexist with contemporary storefronts. The heart of the neighborhood, the Japan Center houses an array of specialty boutiques, eateries, and even a classic Japanese cinema. Throughout the year, Japantown comes alive with festivals celebrating everything from cherry blossoms to traditional Obon dances.

You may think that being pregnant means you can’t eat much in Japantown because of all the sushi. Well they actually have plenty of noodle bars with ramen, udon and soba. There’s also Japanses pastry shops and much more.

See Lands End Lookout and Sutro Baths

Venturing to the westernmost corner of San Francisco, you’ll find the rugged natural beauty of Lands End and the historic remnants of the Sutro Baths. Lands End, with its dramatic cliffs and twisted cypress trees, offers a panorama view of the Pacific Ocean. Well-marked trails meander along the coastline, guiding visitors through wildflowers and native plants, all the while affording breathtaking views of the coast. Just adjacent you’ll find the wistful ruins of the Sutro Baths. Once a grand public swimming complex, the baths are now reclaimed by nature, forming tide pools amidst the crumbling walls and staircases. It’s quite a dramatic sight amidst San Francisco’s wild coastal beauty.

Beach Day at Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach, stretching along the western edge of San Francisco, is a typical California sandy beach. This broad, sandy shoreline is both a spot for casual beach days and adventure seekers looking to brave the chilly waters. The horizon at Ocean Beach offers stunning sunsets casting a colorful glow on the nearby iconic Cliff House which has recently closed after 157 years. It’s important to note that hot and sunny days are a rare event in San Francisco, especially during the summer months of May, June and July. If you’re lucky you might get a beach day in August, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. I highly advice you wear layers and have a contingency plan in case it’s just too cold and foggy at the beach.

See an Art Exhibit at the Fort Mason Center

Fort Mason Center is more than just a venue spot, it’s an immersive experience with historic maritime ambiance. Situated along the city’s northern waterfront, this repurposed military base has transformed into a thriving hub for arts and culture. I have been there for large-scale creative conferences and I clearly remember the vast, airy spaces that contrast the industrial walls. The center plays host to a myriad of contemporary art exhibits, from large installations to intricate sculptures and vibrant paintings. As you navigate the exhibits, the panoramic views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance serve as a scenic backdrop.

Shopping and Dining at Maiden Lane

Maiden Lane is a pedestrian-only street in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square. It is defined by and known for its super luxury brands and fancy restaurants. This charming, tree-lined enclave, once the red light district of San Francisco, has transformed into a sophisticated haven for luxury boutiques and intimate dining venues. The cobblestone paving, European-style outdoor seating and twinkling lights further enhance Maiden Lane’s aesthetic vibe.

If you’re familiar with the luxury brand Goop founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, they once hosted an event inside the Frank Lloyd Wright Building at Maiden Lane… and I actually met Gwyneth in person! I also modeled here in a fashion show for San Francisco Fashion Week. Good times!

Ride the Powell and Hyde Cable Car

While there are multiple cable car routes to choose from in San Francisco, my favorite is the Powell and Hyde route. Beginning from the bustling Powell Street, this route offers passengers a ride over some of the city’s biggest rolling hills, which gives you some of the best vista views of the city. The descent towards Fisherman’s Wharf is equally as fun and convenient because you can start sightseeing on foot when it’s done. Riding the cable cars isn’t just about transportation, it’s about seeing the city views from a new perspective.

Vallejo Street Steps

The Vallejo Street Steps is another steep and long staircase that offers very scenic views at the top. Nestled between the posh Pacific Heights and the vibrant North Beach neighborhoods, these historic steps ascend steeply, weaving through charming gardens and past elegant San Francisco-style homes. Each landing spot along the way provides a unique vantage point, with panoramas that stretch across the cityscape to the bay waters. Reaching the top of the Vallejo Street Steps means you’ve gone up 150 individual steps, which may be too much for a pregnant woman. While I have done it many times myself, proceed with caution.

Hyde St. Pier Historic Ships

Hey, there’s a pirate ship in the bay! The Hyde St. Pier Historic Ships at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is an unexpected sight to see as you walk around the Ghirardelli Square grounds. Anchored at the pier you’ll see a fleet of meticulously preserved explorer ships from the 1800’s. If you already have young children, this is a fun place for imaginative minds.

Eat Chocolate at Ghirardelli Square

Indulging in chocolate at Ghirardelli Square is a rite of passage for anyone visiting San Francisco. Ghirardelli has been a fixture of the city’s culinary scene since the Gold Rush era. Nestled by the bay, this historic landmark isn’t just a destination, but a local sweet tradition.

Stepping into the famed Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop, you’re met with an array of chocolate varieties, from dark and intense to creamy milk concoctions, often paired with ingredients like sea salt, caramel, or raspberry. And it’s not just about the bars and squares, try a hot cup of cocoa or a decadent sundae at their ice cream parlor.

Tea Time at The Garden Court in The Palace Hotel

Tea time at The Garden Court in The Palace Hotel is an elegant experience, a tradition set in one of San Francisco’s most storied venues. From the moment you step into The Garden Court, you’re enveloped in old-world opulence. The stained-glass dome, ornate chandeliers, gold details and plush furnishings evoke an era of refined grandeur. As you settle into your seat, the tea ritual unfolds. Delicate china cups are filled with fragrant teas. An assortment of finger sandwiches, fresh scones with clotted cream and jam, and pastries are artfully served. Beyond the flavors and aesthetics, what truly sets tea time at The Garden Court apart is the sense of timelessness. And best yet, this is an ideal babymoon afternoon for pregnant ladies.

Day Trips from San Francisco

Taking day trips from San Francisco offers visitors an opportunity to experience the variety of landscapes and attractions that Northern California boasts, all within a short drive from the city. Firstly, the region’s geographical diversity means that in just a few hours, one can transition from the urban sophistication of San Francisco to the serene vineyards of Napa Valley, the rugged coastline of the Pacific Coast Highway, or the towering redwoods of Muir Woods. Additionally, day trips can provide a refreshing counterpoint to the bustling energy of city life, granting visitors a chance to recharge amidst nature or explore quieter, quaint towns.

Muir Woods National Park in Marin County

Only a short drive from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, Muir Woods is a natural sanctuary where the world seems to slow down. Dominated by towering coast redwoods, some of which have stood for over a thousand years, Muir Woods is a testament to nature’s grandeur and resilience. Well-maintained trails wind through the park for an easy hiking experience.

Parking at Muir Woods requires prior reservations, which can be secured at GoMuirWoods.com before your trip. Be aware that Muir Woods National Monument and its surroundings lack cell phone service and WiFi, so it’s crucial to download your parking reservation beforehand. Given the high demand, reservations often get fully booked, particularly during weekends and holidays. So early planning is advisable!

California Wine Country in Napa and Sonoma

A short drive north from the city’s iconic bridges brings you to the rolling hills and sun-drenched vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Visitors can tour esteemed wineries, ranging from historic estates to cutting-edge boutique producers pushing the boundaries of winemaking. But Wine Country isn’t just about the vineyards. Charming towns like Healdsburg, St. Helena, and Yountville boast gourmet restaurants, artisanal shops, and luxurious spas. The scenic landscape, marked by ancient oaks, rivers, and lavender fields, is perfect for hot air balloon rides, hiking, and picnics.

Visit Angel Island California State Park

Often dubbed the “Ellis Island of the West,” Angel Island sits in the heart of San Francisco Bay, offering panoramic vistas that encompass the city skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the distant, rolling hills of Marin County. When you’re a child who grows up in the Bay Area, your class takes a school field trip to Angel Island to learn about the history (which is partly very sad). It had served as an immigration station that processed countless hopeful souls seeking a new life in America, as well as a Japanese internment camp during WW2.

In modern times, Angel Island is an outdoor enthusiasts playground. Hikers and bikers will find a network of trails weaving through varied terrains, from serene beaches to shaded woodlands. Accessible by a short ferry ride, Angel Island promises an adventure just outside the city.

Areas of San Francisco Tourists Should Avoid

I will leave you with this parting note and cautionary advice. While San Francisco is a beautiful city that I’ve called home for years, there’s certainly areas that I highly recommend tourists avoid. When visiting any city, including San Francisco, it’s crucial for tourists to remain informed and cautious about areas that might be considered less safe or are not particularly tourist-friendly.

While San Francisco boasts iconic attractions, it also has pockets where crime rates may be higher or where visitors might feel less comfortable. Venturing into these areas, especially without familiarity or during nighttime, can increase the risk of unpleasant experiences or safety concerns.

Take my advice and stay in any of the areas listed above in this guide. This way you can focus on creating positive memories, being immersed in the unique ambiance of San Francisco, and ensuring a safe and enriching travel experience.

Tenderloin

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district has long been a challenging area for visitors. Although it’s in close proximity to many of the city’s popular attractions, the Tenderloin grapples with various social issues. High levels of homelessness, drug activity, and crime make it less appealing and potentially unsafe for those unfamiliar with the area. The stark contrast between the Tenderloin and its neighboring districts can be jarring for tourists expecting the typical San Francisco experience.

Hunter’s Point

Hunter’s Point have seen higher crime rates compared to other San Francisco neighborhoods, making safety a concern for unfamiliar visitors. In the past the Giants and 49ers stadium was in Hunter’s Point, but it has since been demolished and the teams moved to other areas of the bay. While redevelopment efforts are underway, visitors might find the current environment less conducive for typical tourist activities.


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