A San Francisco Honeymoon for a Fun and Scenic Getaway

Soak up culture in California's picturesque City by the Bay.
San Francisco, California
Photo: Luciano Mortula | Shutterstock
Dina Cheney - The Knot Contributor.
Dina Cheney
Dina Cheney - The Knot Contributor.
Dina Cheney
The Knot Contributor
  • Dina writes for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in food, travel and relationships.
  • With more than 20 years of experience in service journalism, she also pens articles and recipes for publications, such as Good Housekeeping, Parents, SELF, Health, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Prevention, Fine Cooking, Weight Watchers and Diabetic Living.
  • Dina graduated from Columbia College, Columbia University and The Institute of Cul...
Updated Apr 24, 2024
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Are you thinking about going on a San Francisco honeymoon? Situated on a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, this hilly, honeymoon destination in the US couldn't be more photogenic. With its charming Victorian houses, cable cars and iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a San Francisco honeymoon blends vibrant, award-winning dining and culture with stunning views.

This vibrant city is filled with cultural landmarks, gourmet dining and charming neighborhoods, making it an ideal Californian destination for couples who want to explore and relax. From leisurely strolls in Golden Gate Park to sunset cruises around the bay, San Francisco provides a unique backdrop to celebrate your new life together.

Keep reading for everything you need to know to plan your honeymoon in San Francisco.

San Francisco Honeymoon Tips in this Article:

    Coastline Big Sur, Bixby Bridge
    Photo: 145Patma | Shutterstock

    Best Time to Honeymoon in San Francisco

    The City by the Bay is a year-round destination. Late summer offers the best weather, but also crowds and higher prices. For a fun dose of local culture, try to schedule your trip around The Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival in September or the Pride Parade in June.

    Best weather: August to October.
    Festival highlights: The North Beach Festival in June celebrates the city's Italian heritage with food, music and art. Meanwhile, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, also in June, fills the streets with smooth sounds and vibrant energy. For film enthusiasts, the San Francisco International Film Festival in April offers screenings of groundbreaking films in various venues around the city.

    San Francisco Honeymoon Planning Tips

    San Francisco is an ideal destination for cosmopolitan newlyweds who relish art, shopping, fine dining, city life and spectacular scenery. For a balance of nature and culture, couples can hike and explore national parks, plus visit cutting-edge restaurants, modern art galleries and museums. After several days in the metropolis, they can head north for relaxation and indulgence in wine country or south to luxuriate in Carmel or Big Sur.

    Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the US, San Francisco is a great backdrop for a romantic California vacation. With so much to offer in the way of culture and nature, it provides endless sightseeing opportunities and activities. Plus, a San Francisco honeymoon allows couples to indulge and explore without the hassle of traveling internationally, say Kara Bebell and Harlan deBell, co-owners of The Travel Siblings. Convenient to access, the city is well-connected to major hubs nationwide, with nonstop flights easy to find.

    Since San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US, honeymooning there can be pricey, say Bebell and deBell. "The most central and luxurious hotels are worth the splurge, but the nightly rates can run high in peak tourist seasons," they say.

    Before buying plane tickets or renting a car, remember that this city is famous for its hills—like the oft-photographed Lombard Street—'Frisco is also not ideal for couples who don't like walking, say Bebell and deBell. While you can rent a car, remember to factor in overnight parking fees, gas and the hassle of driving.

    Entry requirements: Since San Francisco is in the US, you won't need your passport—but don't forget to bring some form of ID.
    English, but thanks to its multicultural nature, many other languages (including Spanish, Chinese and Tagalog) are commonly heard.
    Location: San Francisco is located in Northern California.
    Currency: USD.
    Flight time to Destination: From Miami or New York, direct flights are usually around 6 hours.
    Getting around: San Francisco offers a variety of transportation options. The city's public transit system, including buses, trolleys, and the famous cable cars, provides comprehensive coverage. Renting a car is another option, though parking can be scarce and expensive. Biking and walking are also popular, especially in scenic areas like the Embarcadero and Golden Gate Park.

    Pro tip: A honeymoon planning expert can help you curate the perfect San Francisco honeymoon itinerary. You can find travel agents near you on The Knot Marketplace for tips and more.

    Places to Visit on a San Francisco Honeymoon

    Chinatown street decorated with traditional Chinese lanterns, San Francisco, USA
    Photo: Alexander Spatari | Getty

    Golden Gate Park

    Plan on spending two or even three days exploring this more than 1,000-acre urban park. See art at the de Young Museum and plants at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Conservatory of Flowers. Fans of Shakespeare should explore the Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers, with its colorful blossoms, paths and plaques with quotes by the famed poet.

    For a Zen experience, newlyweds should stroll through the Japanese Tea Garden, which features manicured trees, koi fish, pagodas and fountains. While there, stop by the cafe for matcha tea and red-bean buns. For even more romance, you can rent a rowboat, pedal boat or motorboat at the historic boathouse at Stow Lake.

    Yerba Buena Gardens

    This cultural hub in the SOMA district includes museums (like SFMOMA), restaurants, public art and gardens. From May through October, the site hosts free theater, dance and music performances. For a serene lunch or snack, visit Samovar Tea Lounge for international tea services spanning Japan, China, Russia and Morocco.

    Fisherman's Wharf

    Head to the city's historic waterfront on Pier 39 to watch sea lions lounging and swimming. In the winter, the population swells to 900 (it's much smaller in the summer). Also, consider taking a bay cruise, renting bikes or touring Alcatraz Island (buy your tickets a few weeks in advance). Afterward, sample the city's famed Dungeness crab, bay shrimp and sourdough bread at one of the many dining spots.

    Ferry Building Marketplace

    Located about a 30-minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf along the city's Embarcadero, the Ferry Building Marketplace is a foodie's dream destination. The Ferry Building, with its landmark clocktower, hosts a wealth of artisanal food vendors, plus farmers markets. Don't miss Hog Island Oyster Company, Humphry Slocombe (for ice cream flavors like Drunken Stone Fruit and Secret Breakfast) and The Slanted Door (for Vietnamese cuisine).


    This bustling neighborhood around Grant Avenue and Stockton Street is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, plus it's the oldest in North America. Feel transported as you walk by dim sum parlors, temples and herbal shops, and have dinner at hip and stylish China Live with its bar, market and multiple restaurants.

    Golden Gate Bridge

    Head to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning for a great photo op. If you plan to embark on the 30-minute walk across the bridge, keep in mind that the East Sidewalk is only open from 5 a.m. to 6:30–9 p.m., depending on the time of year.

    Best San Francisco Honeymoon Hotels and Resorts

    San Francisco offers a range of accommodations, from luxury honeymoon suites with panoramic bay views to quaint B&Bs in quieter neighborhoods. Many hotels offer honeymoon packages that include special amenities like champagne on arrival, romantic dinners or spa treatments for two.

    Hotel Fairmont San Francisco
    Photo: Kit Leong | Shutterstock

    Fairmont San Francisco

    Located atop Nob Hill, this Fairmont hotel boasts more than 600 guest rooms and a variety of bars and restaurants. For the ultimate splurge, honeymooners should book a balcony suite for the best views.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square

    These one-, two- and three-bedroom suites at Fairmont Heritage Place are contemporary in design and offer city and bay views. Like apartments, they're equipped with kitchens, as well as washers and dryers.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

    Check in to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton San Francisco hotel located just a stone's throw away from Chinatown. If you upgrade to a club-level room, the concierge can arrange local food experiences, from an evening caviar cart to a Napa Valley wine tasting.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Cavallo Point

    Situated right under the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, Cavallo Point is a fort-turned-luxury-hotel that is within easy access to the city, as well as Muir Woods National Park. Rooms include free Wi-Fi, and most offer gas-burning fireplaces.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Inn at the Presidio

    Located near Golden Gate Park, the Inn at the Presidio is an historic US Army housing site that was renovated into a boutique hotel. It includes 17 suites, each equipped with fireplaces.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Pro tip: For even more honeymoon accommodations in San Francisco, be sure to check out a few properties on Airbnb or VRBO.

    San Francisco Honeymoon Itinerary Ideas

    For couples, a honeymoon in San Francisco is packed with romantic activities. Enjoy a romantic ferry ride to Sausalito for lunch with a view, explore the colorful murals in the Mission District or have a picnic in Alamo Square.

    Don't miss a drive down Lombard Street, a walk through the historic Fisherman's Wharf or an evening at a jazz club in the Fillmore District. For a special night out, book a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant or catch a live performance in the Theater District.

    Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
    Photo: Ventdusud | Shutterstock

    Go on a Seaplane Tour

    The best way to view the Golden Gate Bridge is from the air, say Bebell and deBell. Choose from seaplane tours, including SF City Sites, Sunset Champagne and Golden Gate.

    Get Tropical Cocktails

    At The Fairmont Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, order an umbrella drink and take in the over-the-top tiki bar decor, including floating tiki huts and retro rock formations.


    The Golden Gate National Recreation Area spans San Francisco and Marin County, which is north of the city. Of the many routes to take, the Lands End Trail in the northwestern corner of the city is one of the most dramatic. It offers views of the majestic bridge, rocky cliffs, cypress and eucalyptus trees, and the Pacific Ocean. Nearby, visit the concrete ruins of the once-grand Sutro Baths. Afterward, dine at the historic oceanfront Cliff House.

    Just north of the city in Marin County, couples can take the Ocean View Trail, which winds its way through the Muir Woods National Monument. On the mile-long trail, lovers will be wowed by the majestic redwood trees, many of which are several hundred years old.


    San Francisco is renowned for having some of the best restaurants in the US. The city proper is home to more than 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, including three with three stars (Benu, Quince and Atelier Crenn). In addition to these award-winning, mostly pricier spots, don't miss out on similarly acclaimed but more casual places like Cafe Zuni (try the famous Caesar salad, chicken with warm bread salad, and espresso granita with whipped cream), La Taqueria (tacos) and Yank Sing (dim sum).


    Visit the bustling Union Square neighborhood for department stores and high-end boutiques. For more one-of-a-kind shopping, explore Hayes Valley, Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, Haight-Ashbury and The Mission.

    Relax in Wine Country

    Drive 90 minutes north of the city through scenic Marin County to wine country. Stay at a luxe resort in Napa or Sonoma County, such as Sonoma Mission Inn or Bardessono. Spend your days visiting wineries and your nights eating at top-notch restaurants like The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood.

    Pro tip: Add San Francisco honeymoon experiences to your gift registry so that loved ones can give you one of these memorable couples activities. Make sure to post a few photos to your wedding website—this way your guests can stay up to date with your travels.

    What to Pack for a San Francisco Honeymoon

    Street in San Francisco with historic cable car, California, USA
    Photo: Alexander Spatari | Getty

    Leave your high heels at home, Bebell and deBell recommend. With steep streets and hills, honeymooners need comfortable and sturdy footwear in their honeymoon luggage to pound the pavement. As far as fashion goes, the siblings suggest a relaxed chic look, with jeans, quality T-shirts, leather accents and stylish sneakers.

    Don't forget to include a jacket for weather that's likely cooler and windier than you'd expect on your packing checklist. If vacationing in November through March, pack a raincoat and umbrella.

    Brittany Barber contributed to this article.

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