We’re going to San Francisco! So grab your favorite muggles and let’s start planning an amazing road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
A special thank you to Toyota for sponsoring this post! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Route: If you have the time, I highly recommend taking PCH, highway 1, all the way up the coast. It’s a beautiful scenic drive and you can stop in Pismo Beach for a delicious slice of pizza at Giuseppe’s Express (800 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449).
If you want the most direct route, you should opt for the 5 freeway and head out early in the morning (5-6am) to avoid traffic.
Transportation: Not just any car will do for a road trip that’s 6+ hours. TRUST ME on this, I can barely make it to Las Vegas in the wrong car. For a trip to San Francisco you need plenty of leg room, comfy seats, and great mileage (a nice sound system also adds to the fun).
We were lucky enough to travel in a 2019 Toyota RAV4 and it was such a game changer! My legs weren’t cramped and my bum wasn’t begging for a break. I didn’t realize that I could be so comfortable sitting in one place for such a long time. Aside from apparating like a wizard, this is the best way to travel.
The bluetooth audio in the RAV4 also made it easy to switch DJ’s during the trip without having to keep swapping the phone plug. Everyone in the car had a chance to share their favorite playlist! Road trip karaoke will be inevitable.
The RAV4 was also big enough for all of our luggage but small enough to not require a massive parking spot. Parking is tough when you visit a city as popular as San Francisco so this was a major plus!
WHERE TO STAY
Intercontinental Mark Hopkins: Centrally located, exceptional guest services, and an exquisite interior! This historic hotel will elevate your stay San Francisco without making your wallet cry.
WHAT TO EAT: BRUNCH, DINNER AND DRINKS
Brunch: Do you have a soft spot for Mexican food? You’ll want to head to El Techo for a savory rooftop brunch. I recommend ordering their huarache plate and an order of corn pancakes for the table.
Dinner: A sophisticated Italian dinner at Cotogna can turn any evening into a foodie’s dream! From custom-crafted cocktails to fresh pasta and pizza, you’ll need extra time to savor each bite of your delectable meal. I recommend ordering the Raviolo with farm egg and brown butter + the pizza with lamb sausage, gypsy peppers, and oregano!
Drinks: After dinner head over to the Alchemist Bar & Lounge for a night cap. The steampunk decor gives this spot a unique vibe! I recommend ordering their Fashion Victim cocktail.
WHAT TO DO: FUN ACTIVITIES
Catch a Baseball Game: (3+ hours) San Francisco has an amazing baseball stadium! AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, sits right along the bay and is a great spot to catch your favorite team! Confession time, I wish Dodger Stadium had a similar open layout because it makes your experience so much more enjoyable!
Visit the Golden Gate Bridge: (15-20mins) This is sort of a must for anyone visiting the city. Here are a few photo vista sites you can stop at to get your Instagram worthy shot.
Stop by the Palace of Fine Arts:(15mins+) A stunning site for photos and a refreshing stroll. There isn’t much to do after walking the premises, but you can head inside the adjacent building and sign up for a fun escape room!
Get curious at the Exploratorium: (2+ hours) Their website truly says it best, “The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception—a vast collection of online experiences that feed your curiosity.” There are so many wonderful things to cover that I wrote a dedicated post HERE! Be sure to add this spot to your travel itinerary!
Go for a Hike in the Muir Woods: (1-2 hours) After all of that driving you’re going to need a chance to stretch your legs! Head to the Muir Woods for a calming walk among the giant Sequoia trees. Don’t forget to purchase your parking reservation in advance, otherwise you’ll likely be turned away due to limited space.
Visit the Princess Diaries House: (30 mins) Have your own royal moment outside the house of Mia Thermopolis, the future queen of Genovia! Just a short drive from the center of town will land you on the doorstep of the Princess Diaries firehouse. Only the exterior was used in the actual film but the interior inspired the set design!
Address: 724 Brazil Ave
Fortune Cookies Fun: (10 mins)Do you know how a fortune cookie is made? Have you ever tried a strawberry or green tea flavored fortune cookie? Head to Golden Gate Fortune Cookies to see how these tasty treats are folded into their classic shape, plus pick up a jumbo sized cookie as a fun souvenir!
(On the way home) Get Spooked at the Winchester Mystery House: (1.5 – 3+ hours) Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you’ll enjoy learning the TRUE story of Sarah Winchester and the very unique house she built. There is so much I want to share with you about this eerie stop so I dedicated an entire post to it HERE!
I hope this helps you get the most out of your trip to San Francisco!
In the comments, let me know if you have questions about any of the activities or recommendations. I’d be happy to share more tips with you if you need them!
Thank you again Toyota for making this post and adventure possible! The RAV4 was a perfect road trip car!