Many couples dream of escaping to an exotic overseas locale for their honeymoon, but planning such a trip can sometimes be as stressful as planning the wedding. Instead, venture to the magical city of San Francisco (no passport required) and spend your first vacay as a married duo exploring all that the Bay Area's crown jewel has to offer. With its wealth of scenic locations, top-notch restaurants, and numerous places to explore, a San Francisco honeymoon is brimming with potential. Here, we round up the best ways to spend your romantic vacation in the endlessly charming City by the Bay.
Where to Stay
For a rustic romantic retreat with a worlds-away feeling (that's still within driving distance of the heart of the city), look to Cavallo Point. Here, you and your partner in crime can take in sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge, unwind at the spa, take a cooking class together, and toast your newlywed status with a candle-lit bubble bath, rose petals on the bed, and a big bottle of Champagne. For a posh hotel experience, stay at The Ritz-Carlton in the Nob Hill neighborhood. San Francisco's historic cable cars conveniently stop right outside the doors of the hotel and are ready to whisk you away to explore the city's main attractions.
What to Do
The best way to explore San Francisco is on foot, so be sure to pack your walking shoes (and be prepared for lots of hills). Start by roaming around Golden Gate Park's lush gardens and marvel over the exotic blooms at the Conservatory of Flowers. Then, check out the touristy sea lion-filled Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf or hop on a ferry to Alcatraz Island for a haunting tour of the former prison. Follow that adventure with a stroll under the picturesque lanterns in San Francisco's vibrant Chinatown and browse the shops for souvenirs. But, if you're craving some serious retail therapy, shop 'til you drop at Union Square. And when you need a little downtime, chill out alongside your love with a picnic in front of the iconic Painted Ladies Victorian homes.
What to See
It goes without saying that the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is the one San Francisco attraction you can't miss. Check biking or walking across the big beautiful bridge off your bucket list and don't forget to take tons of pictures in the process. Next up, explore the city's impressive collection of museums. For art-loving couples, there's the architecturally stunning de Young museum and the Legion of Honor filled with beautiful ancient art. If you and your partner are science nerds, then a visit to the interactive Exploratorium is a must. Or, tour an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and four-story rainforest inside the wondrous California Academy of Sciences.
Where to Eat
San Francisco is arguably one of the best food cities. Some must-visit spots include the bustling Ferry Building—a true food lover's paradise. Arrive hungry and dig into clam chowder and oysters at Hog Island. For a romantic newlywed dinner, head to the Paris-style bistro Cafe Jacqueline, and share one of its signature soufflés with your new partner. Or, enjoy a decadent dinner and a classic movie at Foreign Cinema. Whatever you do, don't end your honeymoon in San Francisco without a stop at the cult-favorite Mr. Holmes Bakehouse to indulge guilt-free in a mouthwatering cruffin—a deliciously fluffy muffin-meets-croissant pastry.