• Drive the bumpy roads of San Francisco \u2013 Image by Flickr user GPS

    Drive the bumpy roads of San Francisco – Image by Flickr user GPS

  • Grab a hearty burger at Naked Lunch \u2013 Image by Flickr user chuck b.

    Grab a hearty burger at Naked Lunch – Image by Flickr user chuck b.

  • Don\u2019t miss the hairpin turns at Lombard Street \u2013 Image by Flickr user traveljunction

    Don’t miss the hairpin turns at Lombard Street – Image by Flickr user traveljunction

  • Free refills at Original Joe\u2019s \u2013 Image by Flickr user Steffane lui

    Free refills at Original Joe’s – Image by Flickr user Steffane lui

  • Views of the famous San Francisco fog from Grizzly Peak \u2013 Image by Flickr user Alex Burke

    Views of the famous San Francisco fog from Grizzly Peak – Image by Flickr user Alex Burke

There are literally thousands of restaurants, hundreds of museums and countless activities throughout San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. It’s a great idea to rent a car, as you’ll be able to explore the city with ease, while also having the freedom to travel around Northern California. So, if you’re planning on exploring The City by the Bay, or looking for some travel inspiration, check out our guide to 48 hours in San Francisco.

Day 1

Breakfast at Dottie’s

For a legendary breakfast that’s known throughout the city, Dottie’s True Blue Café serves up a mean plate of food. Feast on homemade cornbread, huge frittatas, French toast, hash browns, chilli, plus whatever’s on the specials board that day. It’s no secret, though, and you’ll need to be prepared to queue around the block if you want a table, but early birds get the worm at this classic breakfast joint.

Walk around Union Square

Just 12 minutes up the road on foot and you’ll be at the historic Union Square. Named after it was used to support the Union Army during the American Civil War, the square has long been a site for political rallies and gatherings. Today it’s lined with high-end retailers, restaurants, cafés and galleries, so you could easily while away an afternoon exploring it all.

Discover China Town

Just over 10 minutes north of Union Square, China Town is a bustling part of San Francisco. It’s a major tourist attraction, but the neighbourhood still retains its authenticity through restaurants, museums, cultural shops and community-led events. Don’t miss some of its most impressive buildings – the Bank of Canton, Sing Chong Building and Old St. Mary’s, which was California’s first cathedral.

Grab a Naked Lunch

If you’re after a hearty sandwich, Naked Lunch is your best bet. Sandwiches served here include seared Hawaiian Tombo (Albacore) tuna, foie gras with smoked duck breast, fried chicken with buttermilk coleslaw and an interesting veggie option of caramelised Brussel sprouts with goat’s cheese and golden raisins. Top off your breaded creation with a side of crispy French fries and you’re good to go.

Grab a cup of joe at Saint Frank

Saint Frank takes coffee pretty seriously, using only the best ethically-sourced beans from Honduras and Guatemala. Named after their beloved city, the folks at Saint Frank always welcome with a smile and the shop is incredibly light and airy – the perfect setting for a relaxing coffee. If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, then you must pop by, even if it’s only to try their espresso.

Lombard Street

Perhaps San Fran’s most famous street, Lombard Street is a twisty hillside thrill ride. The city is known for having some of the steepest streets in the USA, but Lombard Street is renowned for being especially narrow and crooked. The block between Hyde and Jones is the part of Lombard Street that’s most famous, so you can test your driving skills by travelling up or down its twists and turns.

Dinner at Leo’s Oyster Bar

From the top of Lombard Street you can catch the cable car, along the Powell-Mason line, towards the Financial District. Once there, head to Leo’s Oyster Bar for a fantastic dinner. Choose from a menu including hot oysters, seafood bisques, lobster rolls and mussels, you can also enjoy well-made cocktails along the stylish wooden bar, or simply soak up the evening atmosphere with your meal.

Where to stay: Hotel G San Fran

Stylish, comfortable and chic, Hotel G San Fran is in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from Union Square. Furnished throughout with a minimalist décor and home to a gym and hidden oyster bar, the hotel is the perfect hub for a sophisticated city stay.

Day 2

Brunch at Red Café

Ahead of a long day exploring, you’ll want a big breakfast. Some of the best breakfast quesadillas and tacos can be found in the south of San Francisco, at Red Café. Deliciously savoury, this Mexican diner knows how to deliver full-bodied food, so come here on an empty stomach and feast on oatmeal pancakes, chilaquiles and burritos, with endless refills of coffee.

Take the Alcatraz Tour

A city break to San Fran wouldn’t be complete without a tour to Alcatraz. Take the short 20-minute drive to the tip of the city and enjoy an Alcatraz Cruise, which not only takes you around the island but gives you fantastic views of the city.

Explore North Beach

One of San Francisco’s most beautiful neighbourhoods, North Beach has been nicknamed “Little Italy” for its thriving café culture. Streets are lined with authentic Italian restaurants, and cafés fill the air with the smell of roasted coffee. Stretch your legs down the famed Columbus Avenue, which cuts through the middle of North Beach, for a look at some of the best shops, bars and restaurants in the area.

Dine at Original Joe’s

With around 4,500 restaurants in the city limits alone, it’s a given that much of your time in San Francisco will be spent eating. While in North Beach, a visit to Original Joe’s is a must. Enjoy stunning Italian-American food, sit in lush red leather booths and enjoy the classic old-school style of this timeless classic restaurant.

Watch the sun set from Grizzly Peak

North-east of the city you can find the Berkeley Hills, and it’s possible to take your car up to the summit of Grizzly Peak. The drive takes you through picturesque Berkeley, and once there, you’ll enjoy incredible sweeping views over San Francisco and the Bay Area. Get to the top in time for sunset and let it all sink in.

Travelling to San Francisco? You can find Alamo Rent A Car pickup points at places such as Union Square, Bush Street and the Convention Centre.