Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

A Non-Tourist Guide to San Francisco

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

If you live in the Bay Area, you have probably visited San Francisco many times and seen all of the tourist attractions there.

Every time a family member from out of state visits my family, we take them to the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, Alcatraz Island, Lombard Street, etc.

If you haven’t yet, go to those first. I recently visited Alcatraz island, and the tour was really interesting.

Here are some non-tourist attractions to check out in San Francisco that are not necessarily among the top things to do in the city but are still really fun:

1. Umbrella Alley is located in Fisherman’s Wharf, and it’s the perfect photo spot! You’ll know when you see it because it is so colorful. There are ten interactive murals painted by local artists and they are all very Instagram-friendly. Check out their own Instagram account here to see the community. This attraction is only open until sunset, so be sure to check it out during the day.

2VnaQRQEM qQceUoMv uwsJ0D6Jr80DE1sIP1uourjHCHEna0fCYX8G1Ob8IFf 3ekPlaxqhvpPPxzjDZASJ DJSbqvHn2IQgLNILJaQiwz3K8wQV4gWeNpvVpQJl2Sf6sfnkIAx6QXB3 pgK96Fzk27XCfGYiAOCPwxz mYvKjFUW6DUNKiozXp9Q

Picture was taken by Sachi Tolani of the “Greetings from San Francisco” mural at Umbrella Alley.

2. Urban Putt is a unique indoor mini gold place with 14 fun holes, all themed differently. Play all 14 holes for just $14.00. This is a fun activity to check out in San Francisco! There’s also a bar inside with signature cocktails and more.

YjqDX 93H 23DxHyfrj42MLTejymLvjksZDyCujGauGR3iLnR zTgIs9wSXmdDvqCUfyk8DgA6PPAijdOHF9GXmYmkjwTsr8UDw67qS2GQc4wUevSMIArsZEmLxZbhirbvjaJTLXWpV5zE

Photo was taken by Sachi Tolani of the Ski Ball hole at Urban Putt

3. The Pawn Shop is a speakeasy on Mission Street in San Francisco. When you walk in, it looks like a regular pawn shop, but there’s a mysterious door leading to a bar and lounge area. This place is reservation only, and they fill up quickly, so make sure you book it. Also, this is an activity for people over 21. 

4. Blazing Saddles is a bike rental place that I’ve rented bikes from before. This was one of my favorite activities to do in the city. We rented a bike at Fisherman’s Wharf and rode it to the Golden Gate Bridge and across it. There are also options to ride the bike to Sausalito (across the bridge) and take a boat back to Fisherman’s Wharf. I rented their deluxe comfort bike because it’s best for biking the bridge.


Photo was taken by Sachi Tolani biking on the Golden Gate Bridge

5. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a farmer’s market operated by Foodwise. It is one of the most popular farmers’ markets in San Francisco and it occurs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The hours can be found on the website. You’ll find San Francisco’s best chefs and farmers at this market, and it’s a must-see at least once!

6. 16 Avenue Tiled Steps are beautiful steps created by artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher. There are 163 mosaic panels on these steps, and it’s a great photo opportunity. There’s also a good view of the city at the top of the steps, so it’s worth checking out! 

What is your favorite spot to visit in San Francisco? Share your post with us @HerCampusSJSU

My name is Sachi and I'm a Marketing Major at SJSU and I love photography, going on new adventures, and doing anything creative!