How To Make The Most Of Your Work Trip Down Time In San Francisco

So, you’ve got a job that allows you to travel? Congratulations! You’ve basically won the lottery when it comes to #careergoals. However, any savvy business traveler with a case of wanderlust will tell you there’s just one big problem with work trips: Most of them actually require you to, you know, work.

Since we know you’d rather be spending your time experiencing the sights and sounds of a new city than being shut inside a boardroom all day, we've partnered with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to help you strategically make the most of your off hours during your next work trip to San Francisco. The best thing you can do is plan your home base accommodations carefully, and Hilton San Francisco Union Square allows for the maximum amount of sightseeing done on the company dime — without compromising your work productivity!

Here are our best recommendations for making the most of your work trip downtime in San Francisco, whether you have a whole day or just a couple hours to spare.

Image provided by Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Short on time? You don’t need to stray far from your hotel to experience some of the coolest attractions the city has to offer. Located in the Theater District, Hilton San Francisco Union Square is just a short walk to Maiden Lane, one of the most iconic shopping streets in San Francisco. If high end retail isn’t your thing, you can immerse yourself in a swimming pool of colorful sprinkles at the nearby Museum of Ice Cream. Feeling exhausted just thinking about sightseeing? Get panoramic views of San Francisco without leaving your hotel. Hilton San Francisco Union Square Cityscape Bar and Lounge allows you to unwind while taking in views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower and other classic sights.

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The hills of San Francisco are tough, so we suggest hitching a ride on a historic cable car over to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s just a five minute walk from your hotel to the intersection of Powell Street and Market Street (where the Powell/Hyde line departs). Worth the typically 20-to-30-minute wait, once on board you’ll get a one-of-a-kind experience coasting up and down San Francisco’s steepest and scariest hills. Be sure to take in the Bay views and catch a glimpse of Lombard Street —aka the crookedest street in the world — as you pass by. When you reach the end of the line, walk 15 minutes to Fisherman’s Wharf. Visit the sea lions that typically hang out in hoards at the K-DOCK, grab a cup of clam chowder at a waterfront restaurant and take in iconic views of the bridge and bay.

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If you want to see as much as possible, feast your eyes on 30-mile views up and down the California coast with a casual hike on Lands End Trail. This roughly 3-mile urban trek takes you past monuments, museums, historic buildings and even historic ruins while offering sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and (at low tide) shipwreck remains. Get a ride to the Lands End Visitor Center, where you can grab a coffee and a map, and spend the day exploring unique landmarks including a rock labyrinth, Mile Rock Lighthouse, and the Sutro Baths. Pack a lunch and find a quiet cove to enjoy a picnic along your route. Whatever you do, just remember you’ll be exploring the windswept coast of San Francisco — so pack an extra layer and hold onto your hat!

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Walking over the bridge probably seems like THE thing to do when in San Francisco, but you can actually see so much more on two wheels. Rent a bike (there are plenty of bike rental options near the hotel in Union Square) and pedal along the waterfront to the base of the bridge, cruising by the Ferry Building, Aquatic Park, the Marina, and Presidio National Park. You’ll get stunning views of the city and bay while rolling over the most-photographed bridge in the world. From there, it's just a 10-minute downhill ride to the charming bayside town of Sausalito. Find a spot to eat, relax and rest your legs before exploring the town’s many shops. Catch the ferry back into the city from Sausalito, or if you’re down to keep exploring, continue on through Mill Valley and catch a glimpse of California’s famous Redwood Trees before ending in Tiburon (which also has ferry access back to San Francisco). If you’re up for an active adventure, you really can’t go wrong!

For more content on making the most out of your business trip, visit our "Doing The Most" hub.

This post is sponsored by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.