It’s true, San Francisco has a little bit of everything packed into its seven-by-seven square miles, it’s a true melting pot of culture and community. I know, NYC is known as the city that never sleeps, but I feel like San Francisco isn’t far behind. There is always something to see or do from free concerts and cultural activities to beautiful beaches, iconic attractions, shopping, and a world class food scene – what more could you ask for? But what if you only have just one day and you’re a vegan, should you skip it? Heck no, this incredibly vegan friendly city should be fully embraced no matter how many hours you have to spend there. This *one-day vegan San Francisco itinerary will help you have a perfectly tasty and fun day in the city!
*Some of us travel faster than others, this might be too much to fit in your day, while others will zip through it. Travel at your own pace and enjoy it.
One Day Vegan Itinerary in San Francisco
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but since you only have one day in this beautiful city, there won’t be any sleeping in. There is a lot to pack in!
Start the day just outside of Union Square at the delightful, Nourish Café, located at 1030 Hyde Street (there are two Nourish Café locations in San Francisco, make sure you put the address into Google). This is the place for a full vegan breakfast – they have everything! From bowls filled with warm coconut milk, roasted nuts, berries, and quinoa to a huge selection of toasts that will make your taste buds dance. This is an excellent place to fuel your body for the day ahead. Oh, and there are many gluten free options as well.
Next stop, Ferry Market. To get to the Ferry Market from Nourish Café, you can take bus #1 at Clay & Hyde Street to Clay St. & Drumm St. then it’s just a short walk to the market or grab an Uber. I would also say walk, but time isn’t on our side, so I would get moving!
The Ferry Market is operated by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and it is their mission, “to cultivate a sustainable food system, giving preference to local farmers that use sustainable methods, and prepared food vendors who source ingredients from those farmers.” On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, The Ferry Market is open and full of so many tasty and beautiful things. The best time to go is Saturday when the outdoor farmers market is open. The outdoor plaza is full of fresh produce, flowers, artisan food products and so much more! There are multiple small vendors who sell vegan treats like Delightful Foods, who sells vegan cookies and pies, or The Donut Farm with their homemade vegan donuts! You will then need to stop at one of the many cafes where you will find many nondairy milk options for a latte or chai.
After wandering and fully experiencing the tastes, smells and sights of the market it’s time to head to our next stop, touristy Pier 39. I know, you’re probably wondering, if I only have one day, why in the world stop here. Well, it’s not to wander the whole Pier, there is one thing that I truly loved seeing and I think you might too – seals in all their happy seal glory! To get to Pier 39 from Ferry Market, the quickest way is with an Uber. It’s only 1.5 miles, but the bus doesn’t have a direct route.
Once you get to Pier 39, you can skip past all the touristy stuff and head to Dock K. In 1990, a small group of “Sea Lebrities” started to call the marina their home but over the years that small group has grown to more than 300. They hang out year-round and it’s just fun to watch them hanging out, doing their sea lion thing.
Once you have had your fill of the silly sea lions, the next stop is Crissy Field to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I mean, you can’t leave San Francisco without seeing this icon, right?! To get there, you can take bus #49 at Powell St. & Beach St. then at Van Ness Ave. & Chestnut St. switch to bus #30 to the Crissy Field stop, this will take you just over 30 minutes. The other option of course, is Uber.
Crissy Field was a former US Army airfield and today is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is a beautiful place to take in the gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay, there are also great beaches, easy hiking paths and it’s a popular place to bird watch. From here, take a nice stroll through the park to admire the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. It is also interesting to note that according to the Park’s website, the bridge is recognized as one the seven modern wonders of the world and more than 10 million people come to see it annually.
After you have taken enough selfies with the bridge, it’s time to grab another Uber and head to the hippie haven, Haight Ashbury for lunch at VeganBurg. VeganBurg has a great selection of fun burgers like a Hawaiian teriyaki, avocado beetroot, or a creamy shrooms, but you can’t have just the burger, it needs a sidekick! Tag on an order of savory seaweed fries or kick it up a notch with loaded jalapeno or creamy garlic fries! After lunch, take a quick bus ride over to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. You can take bus #7 at Haight St. & Masonic Ave. to the Botanical Gardens at Lincoln Way & 9th Ave. The bus ride is only about 12 minutes.
The Botanical Gardens are made up of a staggering 9,000 different kinds of plants from around the globe and cover 55 acres. There are many interesting attractions within the park – The Golden Gate Park Windmills and Tulips, Conservatory of Flowers, Aquarium, resident buffalo, just to name a few but unfortunately, one day doesn’t afford you enough time to explore everything. I do however want to point out one special stop, The Japanese Tea Garden. It is the oldest public Japanese garden in the US. The gardens festively welcome visitors with their red hanging lanterns, sweet smells of wisteria, and a unique selections of plant life to view.
After your jaunt through the Botanical Gardens, I hope you can squeeze in one more stop before dinner to see the beauty of San Francisco from above at the Twin Peaks. To get there, you can take bus #44 from 9th Ave & Lincoln Way to Woodside Ave. & Portola Dr. but you will have a steep climb up to Twin Peaks. The bus and walk will take just over 30 mins., or as always, catch an Uber.
Twin Peaks is over 900 feet in elevation and is the best spot to capture amazing views of the city and the Bay. This isn’t a long stop, but it was one I really enjoyed, and I think I would be remiss in not mentioning it, plus it’s kinda on your way to dinner. After all that exploring and picture taking, a hearty dinner is in order and I can’t think of a better place to go than the Mission District.
To get to Mission District, you can take the #48 bus from Clipper St. & Portola Dr. to 24th St. & Folsom St., it will take you just over 30 min. or grab an Uber for a 15 min. car ride, depending on how hungry you are.
Once in Mission District, I suggest a bit of a progressive dinner because there are two places you just can’t miss! The first stop is at Venga Empanadas for a veggie empanada “starter.” They have multiple vegan options stuffed with homemade beans, sweet plantains, and creamy avocado. The empanada itself is also naturally gluten free, just in case that is important for you! I honestly have to say, I think this is one of the best things I have ever eaten. I liked it so much that I tried to recreate it and failed. It as if they use magic to make it!
Your next and final, dinner stop is to the famous Gracias Madre. Everything they make at Gracias Madre comes from their organic farm in Pleasant Valley and their tortillas and tamales are handmade with non-GMO heirloom corn. The menu is a creative mix of traditional and modern – a traditional quesadilla but tucked inside is butternut squash with a spicy cashew cheese or tacos filled with jackfruit carnitas and topped with crispy onions and a delightful crema. Just make sure you leave a tiny sliver of room for dessert.
I hope you have enjoyed this one day vegan itinerary in San Francisco, I just want to leave with one tip and one more place to see if you find more time in the city.
When you think of California, you probably think of sun and heat, and you’re right but that’s not the case in San Francisco. On average, temperatures range between the upper 50’s – 70’s throughout the year, even in July the average just barely hits 70. Mark Twain said it best, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” All that is to say, pack some extra layers, you probably won’t need shorts and a tank top, try my rolling method to pack it all in!
And if you just happen to have a little more time..
I wish I could easily add this into our one day vegan itinerary in San Francisco but there’s just not enough time! If you just happen to come across a little more time, I highly recommend a trip out of the city to Muir Woods National Monument. It is the closest stop to the city to see some of the giant, towering redwood trees California is known for. The trees range in age from 400 – 800 years and reach heights up to 250 feet. The trails within the park are flat and easy and provide for a relaxing afternoon to be one with nature.
About the author
Hello & thanks for reading! I am Rebecca the Creator of Veggies Abroad, a vegan travel blog. You can find me at www.veggiesabroad.com and on Instagram @veggiesabroad