I wrote (and somehat adjusted) the following for some friends that were visiting San Francisco recently. I believe it would be of use to you if you are going to play the tourist, and perhaps even if you live in the area.
1.) Enjoy each other's company!
2.) Bring warm clothes--SF is not southern California. Also, wear comfortable walking shoes. You can pretty much walk and take the bus everywhere you need to go, 24 hours a day. Indeed, a car can be a pain to park. With comfortable shoes, warm clothes, a backpack, and a wallet, you are pretty much all set.
3.) Visit Bethel Baptist Church in El Sobrante on the Lord's Day in the morning, and stay for the evening service; get lots and lots of tracts and give them to everyone. Also, think about, as you walk by block after block of people in SF, that it is almost certain that no Baptist has ever knocked on their door in your entire lifetime, and then some, and ask if the Lord would have you be involved in church planting in SF (800,000), Oakland (400,000, zero IB churches), Berkeley (130,000, zero IB churches), Richmond (100,000+, 0 IB churches), etc. http://www.pillarandground.org/home/
Call the church if you need a ride from public transit. You can get on the BART subway downtown and ride to the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station, and they will be glad to pick you up there. Take a lot of tracts and go through the entire train preaching the gospel to everybody! The Lord will very likely give you both someone to talk to. Last time we were there someone came with us to church who we met on the train!
You can also easily take BART from the airport to wherever you are going to stay; On Sunday, there will be a place where you will switch trains on the way to Bethel Baptist from SF.
4.) Visit the crooked street (part of Lombard Street); search for "crooked street SF" in Google. You can walk from there through the Italian district; perhaps pick up a really good and not super expensive fried chicken at:
and then either walk through China Town to downtown or walk to Fisherman's Wharf and see the tourist things. (Don't do the http://www.aquariumofthebay.org/ ; I've been told it's a tourist trap.)
5.) For some beautiful views and a really nice trip, bike from Fisherman's Wharf across the Golden Gate Bridge, and take the ferry back. Rent a bike here:
coupon for discount on this:
You can either stop for lunch in Sausalito or bag a lunch and eat it somewhere there is a beautiful view.
By the way, you can take the MUNI (the bus) everywhere, and you can even put bikes on the bus.
When you get to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point (right under the bridge) is very interesting. Across the bay in Sausalito, you can bike to a redwood grove or even to Muir woods, but that is a bit more challenging, and probably would be a different day than you would use to bike to the ferry. SF is VERY bike friendly; you can bike anywhere. However, you would do well to shell out $10-15 and buy a bike light in case you end up out after dark.. Also, wear a helmet, at least if you have something in your head worth protecting.
6.) For great seafood, including fresh crab, go here:
7.) If you think Chinese food is what you get in Mukwonago, WI, you will be amazed at what you have been missing if you get the amazing food here:
The Salt and Pepper crab is amazing, and so are their other dishes. However, the place is a bit pricy. I don't consider take-out, fast-food style Chinese food to really be Chinese food, and if you go to R & G, perhaps you'll see why.
8.) For more cultural stuff instead of outdoors things, visit some of the SF museums; they are very nice. You can find them with a Google search. Golden Gate park also has museums, outdoor stuff, paddleboats, bison, a Japanese Tea Garden, and many other pleasant things. The Rose Garden is beautiful, but maybe less so in January.
9.) Go to Coit Tower:
You can walk from the Marina district to Coit Tower and all over the city, really.
10.) Visit Alcatraz:
11.) Explore downtown SF; stay on the North side of Market Street for a better area.
12.) Visit the Presidio:
(You can do this while also hittng some of the other things nearby.)
13.) Muir woods is really beautiful, and if you have never seen redwoods--the tallest trees in the world--it's worth it.
14.) Buy ice cream at Ghiradelli Square, and learn some history while at it:
15.) Take the cable car somewhere; tourists are supposed to. (People who live in SF just take the bus.) Try to avoid standing in line forever to do it, though. The downtown end of the line usually has a horrible line, which makes it a bad place to waste time, but a great place to street preach to a large captive audience.
16.) SF is known for its sodomites, but the only sodomite district is the Castro. There isn't much to see there, so there's no point going to that part.
I have never done one of the bus tours where you get on and get off wherever; it's worth thinking about, since you don't know your way around, although I can't personally recommend them one way or the other.
17.) We have a few pictures of SF and the area on our personal blog here:
There isn't that much information, though; perhaps just a whetted appetite from a few pictures.
18.) Don't take a one day trip to Yosemite and back. Yosemite is an amazing place, but it is too far away to go in one day and back. It would be better just to take a trip there for itself some other time.
19.) If you have a spirit of adventure, try sushi somewhere. You are by the ocean, not in the middle of the country, so there is great sea food everywhere. There are also plenty of amazing restaurants in the Italian section near China town.
20.) You don't need to go out to eat every meal; there is plenty at grocery stores around the area. Be prepared also in whatever you buy for the 10% sales tax, and for the fact that they won't give you a free bag in the grocery store. SF is an expensive place to live, and there isn't much that can be done about that, other than seeing a great revival and making the place a conservative Republical stronghold instead of a bastion of liberalism and high taxes.
By the way, I didn't put these things necessarily in order that I would recommend doing them in; I put down what I thought of. Do whatever appeals to you; probably with each other's company, anything will be wonderful, even staying inside with the power out because there was an earthquake. :-)