City Guide San Francisco

What to do in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Travel Nurse

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most beloved locations in the world, with plenty to eat, drink, do and Instagram while you’re on a travel nurse assignment with Cross Country Nurses. With its year-round mild weather, close proximity to the beach, and vibrant arts and culture scene, nearly eight million people from around the world choose to call the Bay Area home. Numerous technology companies are headquartered here, and it is also the location of one of nation’s premier not-for-profit hospital systems. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island and world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf, it would take several weeks to see and do all the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer, which makes it the perfect location for a travel nursing assignment. Here’s our guide to help you get acquainted with this charming city.

Eat This!

Swan Oyster Depot

This no-frills fresh seafood restaurant and raw bar is a San Francisco Bay Area landmark and has been a local favorite for more than 100 years. In fact, the late, great Anthony Bourdain called it his favorite in the city, and he was drawn as much to the delicious seafood as he was to the wisecracking employees who give the restaurant its warm and fuzzy charm. Counter-style seating is first come, first served, and there is often a line waiting to get in to feast on their clam chowder, seafood salad, crabs, scallops, oysters and so much more. Make sure you bring cash, as the establishment does not accept credit cards.

La Taqueria

No trip to the San Francisco Bay Area would be complete without authentic Mexican food, and if you can only pick one spot, make it La Taqueria. This Mission District staple is a favorite of both tourists and locals alike, and you will often hear patrons on their way out exclaim, “That was the best taco (or burrito) I’ve ever eaten in my life!” The lines are long, but a server will usually take your order while you wait and the service is fast and friendly. Try the Dorado-style burrito and don’t miss the homemade salsa! This is another establishment that accepts cash only, but there is an ATM located inside should you forget.

Drink This!


This independent coffee shop in the outer Mission District is known for its locally roasted, organic coffees from the most renowned coffee growing regions in the world, including Columbia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ethiopia and Brazil. Locals adore their famous two-day aged, cold-process iced coffee and espresso. Are you a Bulletproof coffee junkie? They have their own version, called the Sherpa, blended until smooth with butter and coconut oil. If you prefer your coffee on ice, you’ll be happy to know they make their cubes with coffee, so the flavor is never watered down. Be sure to try their breakfast and homemade baked goods, as well.

Comstock Saloon

This historic saloon in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood is more than a hundred years old and the previous home of the city’s second oldest bar. Comstock Saloon offers old-timey charm and cocktails, including perfectly mixed old fashioneds, Manhattans, cherry bounces, and other forgotten classics. Not sure what you’re in the mood for? Order the Barkeep’s Whimsy and they’ll select something for you based on your mood or flavor preferences. The ambiance is delightful, with a jazzy vibe and live music nightly. Come for the drinks but don’t miss the tasty food menu, including their famous “brunch cocktails” on the weekends.

Do This!

Alcatraz Island

By far one of the most popular tourist attractions, Alcatraz Island offers the perfect combination of history, mystery and spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay Area skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. The former federal penitentiary is now a National Historic Landmark managed by the National Park Service. A ferry whisks you off to the island, where you can spend a few hours or the entire day exploring the old prison and its grounds. The free audio tour, narrated by both former guards and prisoners, offers an insightful peek into its history and most notorious inmates, including a variety of notorious gangsters such as Al Capone.

Day Trip to Napa/Sonoma Valley

A visit to Northern California’s famous Wine Country is a must-do for a travel nurse on assignment in the San Francisco Bay Area. The drive is about 90 minutes from the city, but if you are not familiar with the area, you may want to opt for one of the many bus or limousine tour operators that will chauffer you to select wineries in the area and other points of interest along the way. Soak in the expansive views, the rich history of winemaking, and of course, the wonderful wines! Numerous dining options are available, whether you’re in the mood for a wine picnic or a world-class restaurant.

Instagram This!

The Golden Gate Bridge

Let’s face it, if there’s one image that comes to mind before any others in the San Francisco Bay Area, it has to be the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only has it been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, it is also simply the most striking and photographed bridge in the world. That said, there are a number of ways to go about getting a great picture of this iconic engineering masterpiece. The bridge is accessible by foot or bike for an up-close photograph, but it is also visible from various points throughout the Bay Area for limitless creative composition opportunities.

Fisherman’s Wharf

If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck when it comes to photo ops in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can’t go wrong at the world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf. Iconic crab sign recognized worldwide? Check. Playful sea lions bathing in the sun? Check. A gorgeous sunset with your friends in the foreground or Alcatraz Island or the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance? Check, check and check! If you’re into photographing food, take your pick from the delectable displays of fresh seafood piled high at numerous outdoor stands. Fascinating street performers, breathtaking water views and a variety of tourist attractions will help round out your newsfeed in no time!

Apply to Be a Travel Nurse in San Francisco

Check out travel nurse jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area and apply to be part of Cross Country Nurses today. Learn why travel nurses choose CCTC as their travel nurse agency.

Start your travel nursing career today    

Real Talk
"CCN has changed the way I look for and find jobs. It's as easy as looking and clicking on my phone. It’s a snap!" - Bob RN Columbus