San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
This city is filled with abundant creative energy, awesome culture, great food, and just a whole new level of awesomeness.
Traveling in San Francisco is fairly easy, and you can easily get to point A to point B with ease; thanks to the city’s reliable transportation system, you can get around San Francisco with convenience.
Also, San Francisco is home to various attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Visitors can also enjoy the city’s diverse food scene, world-class museums, and scenic views.
It can be difficult to know where to start with so much to see and do. So what are the best things to do in San Francisco? Here are a few ideas:
1. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
One of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge.
The bridge spans 4,200 feet and connects the city to Marin County. It is one of the most photographed bridges in the world and a must-see for any visitor to San Francisco.
You can walk or bike across the bridge or take a tour on a vintage streetcar. Here’s a detailed list of what you can do in and around the Golden Gate Bridge:
–Walk and bike across the bridge: This is a must-do activity when visiting the Golden Gate Bridge. You can walk or bike across the bridge, taking in the stunning views along the way. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even run across the bridge.
–Visit Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, just a short boat ride from the Golden Gate Bridge. The island is home to the infamous former prison, which operated from 1934 to 1963. Today, Alcatraz is a popular tourist destination, and you can take a tour of the prison grounds and learn about its history.
–Explore the Presidio: The Presidio is a park that surrounds the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a great place to go for a walk or hike, and there are plenty of things to see and do within the park. The Presidio is also home to several museums, including the Walt Disney Family Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.
–Visit Muir Woods: Muir Woods is a redwood forest located just north of San Francisco. It’s a beautiful place to explore, and you can hike among the towering redwoods. Muir Woods is also home to several interesting attractions, including the Muir Woods National Monument and the Muir Beach overlook.
Fun Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the one-mile-wide (1.6 kilometers), three-mile-long (4.8 kilometers) channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, California—the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula—to Marin County, carrying U.S. Highway 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait.
And the bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States.
It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Frommer’s travel guide describes the Golden Gate Bridge as “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world”.
It opened in 1937 and was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 feet (1,300 meters).
The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
When water levels are low, you can see the remains of a former coastline through the clear waters. The Golden Gate Bridge was built during the Great Depression and World War II to connect two growing cities on either side of San Francisco Bay.
Today, Golden Gate Bridge is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations.
2. Catch a Ferry to Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay and is best known for its former prison.
The island was used as a fort during the Civil War and later became a federal prison.
Some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly, were incarcerated here.
Today, the island is home to a museum and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
In addition to the prison, there are several other attractions on Alcatraz Island.
There is a museum that chronicles the history of the island and several different hiking trails.
Visitors can also take boat tours around the island and get a closer look at the wildlife that inhabits it.
Fun Facts of Alcatraz
Alcatraz Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco.
The island was home to a notorious federal prison from 1934 to 1963, and today it is a National Historic Landmark and a popular attraction for tourists from around the world.
Many people don’t know that Alcatraz was a military fort before it was a prison. The United States government first began using the island as a military outpost in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush.
In 1861, construction began on a new fortification called Fort Alcatraz. The fort was intended to help protect San Francisco from a possible attack by Confederate forces during the Civil War. However, the war ended before the fort was completed.
In 1867, Alcatraz was designated as a military prison. During the 1870s and 1880s, the prison became known for its harsh treatment of inmates.
In 1876, a group of Native American prisoners staged a revolt and took control of the island for several hours before being subdued by the guards.
In 1933, the federal government closed Alcatraz due to its high cost of operation.
The following year, it reopened as a maximum-security prison. During its 29 years in operation, the prison housed some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and Robert Stroud, the so-called “Birdman of Alcatraz.”
In 1963, Alcatraz was shut down again due to declining prisoner numbers and increasing maintenance costs. The island was then turned over to the National Park Service.
Today, Alcatraz is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year. Visitors can take tours of the prison, visit the Alcatraz Island Lighthouse, and enjoy stunning views of the San Francisco Bay.
3. Tour Around Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is a historic district in San Francisco that is known for its seafood restaurants and souvenir shops.
The area is also home to Pier 39, where visitors can find street performers, an aquarium, and views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Fisherman’s Wharf is home to many tourist attractions. Aquarium of the Bay, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Museum, Madame Tussauds San Francisco, and the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf are all popular spots.
Some other popular things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf include taking a tour of Alcatraz Island, exploring Ghirardelli Square, and riding the cable cars.
If you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, check out the Musee Mecanique – a must-see for any antique lover or history buff.
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the best places in the city to enjoy fresh seafood.
Fun Facts About Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf has been a center of maritime activity in San Francisco since the city’s early days.
The first European settlers to arrive in the area were the Spanish, who founded the nearby Mission Dolores in 1776. The nearby Presidio was established soon afterward, and it wasn’t long before the area became an important fishing port.
In the 19th century, immigrants from Italy and other parts of Europe arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf, looking for work in the city’s booming fishing industry.
Today, Fisherman’s Wharf is still an important part of San Francisco’s seafood scene.
The wharf is home to several seafood restaurants and many businesses that sell fresh fish and shellfish. Visitors can also tour the historic ships that are moored at the wharf or take a ride on a replica of a 19th-century cable car.
Top Things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf
There are plenty of things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf, whether you’re interested in seafood, history, or just want to enjoy some time outdoors. Here are some of the best things to do in the area:
Eat fresh seafood: One of the best things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf is to enjoy some of the freshest seafood in town. There are numerous seafood restaurants located along the wharf, serving up everything from Dungeness crab to fish and chips.
Take a tour of historic ships: The wharf is home to several historic ships, including the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine. Visitors can take a tour of the ship or just enjoy the views from the deck.
Ride a cable car: One of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks is the cable car, and there’s no better place to ride one than at Fisherman’s Wharf. You can catch a ride on a replica of a 19th-century cable car or take a ride on one of the city’s modern streetcars.
Explore unique shops and galleries: The wharf is also home to many unique shops and galleries, selling everything from handcrafted jewelry to local art.
Watch street performers: Street performers are a common sight at Fisherman’s Wharf, and there’s always something interesting to see. From magicians to musicians, you’re sure to be entertained by the wide range of performers in the area.
Enjoy live music: Live bands often play at Fisherman’s Wharf, making it a great place to enjoy some music while you’re in town.
Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood or just want to explore a unique part of San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf is worth visiting.
With its historic ships, variety of shops and restaurants, and lively atmosphere, the wharf is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
4. Explore Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
The neighborhood is home to a variety of Chinese restaurants, temples, and shops. You can also take tours of the area to learn more about the history and culture of Chinatown.
There are many things to do in Chinatown. You can explore the neighborhood’s history at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, visit historic sites like the Tin How Temple, or enjoy a meal at one of the area’s many restaurants.
There are also plenty of shops selling everything from souvenirs to traditional Chinese herbal medicines.
Here’s a few of the many things you can do while in Chinatown:
Explore Chinatown’s History and Culture:
Chinatown is one of the most historic neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Visitors can learn about its rich history and culture at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, located in the heart of Chinatown.
The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell the story of Chinese immigration to the United States and the development of Chinatown.
Visit Historic Sites:
Chinatown is home to many historic sites, including the old City Hall building (now the Museum of Chinese in America), which was the center of government for San Francisco’s Chinese community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other historic sites include temples, such as the Tin How Temple and Kong Chow Temple, and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, which was founded in 1884 to provide social services and advocacy for Chinatown’s residents.
Shop for Souvenirs:
Chinatown is a great place to find unique souvenirs. Visitors can find everything from traditional Chinese medicines and herbs to teapots and curios. For those looking for something truly special, Chinatown is also home to a number of high-end stores selling jade jewelry, calligraphy scrolls, and other luxury items.
Enjoy Authentic Chinese Cuisine:
Chinatown is one of the best places in San Francisco to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine.
Over 200 restaurants in Chinatown, ranging from street food vendors to upscale dining establishments.
Visitors can find everything from dim sum and dumplings to noodles and rice dishes.
And of course, no visit to Chinatown would be complete without trying a cup of tea or a bowl of soup at one of the many teahouses.
San Francisco is a city rich in history and culture, and there is no better place to start your exploration than in Chinatown.
The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum is the oldest and largest Chinatown museum in the United States, and it provides a great introduction to the area.
And be sure to stop by the Fortune Cookie Factory to see how these sweet treats are made.
Grant Avenue is the main drag of Chinatown, and it is lined with many shops and restaurants. This is the perfect place to try a dim sum meal, as many options are available.
Fun Facts About Chinatown
Chinatown is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, with a long and rich history.
Chinatown in San Francisco is one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the United States.
It is also one of the few remaining enclaves of Chinese culture in North America. The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in San Francisco during the 1849 Gold Rush.
In the 1860s, Chinatown was established as a destination for immigrants from Guangdong Province in China.
Since then, Chinatown has been a home away from home for generations of Chinese immigrants and their descendants.
Today, Chinatown is a vibrant community with a rich history and culture. Visitors to Chinatown can enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine, visit historic sites, and shop for souvenirs.
5. Drive or walk down Lombard Street
Lombard Street is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, known for its winding road that twists and turns down the steep hillside.
Whether you’re looking to admire the beautiful scenery or enjoy a thrilling ride as you descend, there are plenty of things to do at Lombard Street.
Some of our favorites include biking along the historic street, taking a scenic walking tour with a local guide, or simply exploring on your own and enjoying all the colorful gardens and architecture along the way.
Fun Facts of Lombard Street
The street is world-renowned for its sharply curving section, which is often referred to as “the most crooked street in the world.”
Lombard Street is a popular tourist destination and has been featured in numerous movies and television shows.
The street was originally built in 1846 as a winding dirt road that connected the city’s fledgling Financial District with the burgeoning residential neighborhoods to the south.
The street was named after an early San Francisco settler, Jacob Lombardi, who owned a vineyard in the area.
In 1849, gold was discovered in the nearby Sierra Nevada, sparking a massive influx of people and development in San Francisco.
As the city grew, Lombard Street soon became a busy thoroughfare and became known for its steep slopes and sharp turns.
In 1921, residents petitioned the city government to have the street paved, but their efforts were initially unsuccessful.
Following a devastating earthquake in 1906, however, officials began prioritizing improvements to San Francisco’s infrastructure, and by 1920 they finally agreed to pave the popular road.
Today, Lombard Street remains one of the most beloved landmarks in San Francisco.
Visitors flock from around the world to experience its unique and picturesque landscape, making it one of the best things to do in this vibrant and exciting city.
Whether you want to drive down this iconic road or simply admire it from afar, Lombard Street is a must-see destination on any trip to San Francisco.
6. Admire the View from Twin Peaks
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Twins Peaks is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
With its stunning views of the city skyline, beautiful hiking trails, and rich history, there are plenty of things to do in Twins Peaks.
Whether you’re looking for an exhilarating adventure or a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, you’ll find it in this amazing natural wonderland.
Fun Facts About Twin Peaks
San Francisco’s Twin Peaks are two hills with an elevation of about 922 feet (281 meters) that overlook the city.
They are located at the city’s geographic center and were originally named after the California redwood trees that covered them.
The peaks were part of the Rancho San Miguel, a Mexican land grant given to Sebastian Rodriguez in 1833. In August 1846, during the Mexican-American War, they became a key vantage point for Commodore John D. Sloat’s fleet as he sailed into San Francisco Bay and claimed California for the United States.
During the 1860s, Twin Peaks was one of San Francisco’s most fashionable neighborhoods. It was home to wealthy residents who built mansions and estates overlooking the city.
The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed many of the mansions on Twin Peaks, but the neighborhood remained popular. In the 1920s, it was known as a bohemian enclave and attracted artists, writers, and musicians.
Today, Twin Peaks is a popular tourist destination for its stunning views of San Francisco and the Bay Area. It is also home to several restaurants, cafes, and shops.
7. Check Out Japan Town
Japan Town in San Francisco is a vibrant, eclectic neighborhood that is home to many unique cultural attractions and activities. Founded just after the end of World War II, Japan Town has become an important center for Japanese culture and heritage in the United States.
One of the most popular destinations in Japan Town is the Peace Pagoda, a towering Buddhist monument that was designed by famous Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi.
This peaceful structure serves as both a symbol of peace and reconciliation between Japan and America, as well as a focal point for locals who come to pray or simply enjoy its serene beauty.
In addition to the Peace Pagoda, there are also numerous other must-visit attractions in Japan Town.
The J-Pop Center is a great place to learn about and experience popular Japanese pop culture, while the National Japanese American Historical Society Museum offers a fascinating look at the history and culture of Japanese Americans.
For those looking to do some shopping, Japan Town is home to many unique shops and boutiques selling everything from traditional Japanese arts and crafts to modern fashion and accessories.
And of course, no visit to Japan Town would be complete without sampling some of the delicious food on offer at its many restaurants and cafes.
Whether you’re interested in learning about Japanese culture or simply want to enjoy some delicious food and shopping, Japan Town is definitely worth a visit.
8. Hop on a Cable Car
San Francisco is known for its vibrant and diverse culture, with many things to see and do.
Perhaps one of the best experiences in this city is taking a ride on one of its famous cable cars.
These unique vehicles have been transporting locals and visitors alike through the streets of San Francisco for over 130 years, providing a thrilling way to explore all that this iconic city has to offer.
Cable cars are an icon of San Francisco, representing the energy and excitement found throughout the city.
Riding these historic vehicles is truly an unforgettable experience as you wind your way through bustling downtown streets and up steep hillsides while taking in sweeping views of the bay.
Fun Facts of the Cable Car
Perhaps one of the best things to do in this iconic city is take a ride on its famous cable car system.
The cable car system was originally introduced to San Francisco in 1873 as a solution to the steep hills and unreliable transport options that plagued the city’s early growth.
At that time, horse-drawn streetcars were struggling to navigate the hilly terrain of San Francisco, leading many residents to rely on walking or using other forms of transportation like ferries or trains.
However, thanks to engineer Andrew Hallidie’s invention of the cable car system, people could now easily travel up and down these steep hills.
The cable cars worked by using a series of pulleys and cables to power the streetcars up the hills, and they quickly became a popular mode of transportation for both locals and tourists.
Today, the cable cars are still a popular way to get around San Francisco, and they offer visitors a unique glimpse into the city’s history and culture.
If you’re looking for something fun and interesting to do during your trip to San Francisco, be sure to take a ride on one of its iconic cable cars.
9. Muir Woods National Monument
One of the most popular attractions in San Francisco is Muir Woods National Monument, a lush forest filled with towering redwood trees that offer stunning views of the surrounding natural landscape.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then Muir Woods is the perfect destination. You can explore the peaceful trails winding through the forest on your own or opt for a guided tour to learn more about this unique ecosystem.
Other popular activities at Muir Woods include hiking and picnicking. Whether you’re looking for an invigorating hike or simply want to enjoy a peaceful picnic surrounded by the natural beauty of this majestic forest, there’s something for everyone at Muir Woods.
So if you’re looking for an adventure in San Francisco, make sure to add Muir Woods National Monument to your list of things to do.
Fun Facts of Muir Woods
Muir Woods National Monument is a protected area in San Francisco, California, known for its rich natural beauty and awe-inspiring sights.
Founded in 1908 by conservationist John Muir, the park is home to towering redwood trees that are centuries old and some of the tallest trees on the planet.
With miles of hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls, and stunning wildlife, there are many things to do in Muir Woods National Monument.
Some of the most popular activities at Muir Woods include hiking along its scenic trails and admiring its breathtaking scenery.
Whether you choose one of the shorter routes or venture out on a longer hike, you’ll be treated to incredible views of towering redwoods, rushing rivers, and cascading waterfalls.
If you’re visiting with kids, check out the Discovery Trail, a self-guided nature walk that is perfect for families. You can also participate in ranger-led programs and special events throughout the year, including guided hikes, bird-watching walks, campfires, and more.
To get the most out of your visit to Muir Woods National Monument, pack plenty of water and snacks and wear comfortable shoes that can handle rugged terrain.
With its natural beauty and wide array of activities, Muir Woods is truly one of the best things to do in San Francisco.
10. Admire the Beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful structure built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition to exhibit works of art brought back from abroad.
Today, it serves as a working artist studio, an event venue, and a popular tourist destination.
Some of the best things to do at the Palace of Fine Arts include exploring the grounds and marveling at the architecture, attending one of the many events held here, or simply relaxing and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
Fun Facts about Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition to exhibit works of art brought from around the world.
Designed by architect Bernard Maybeck, the palace complex consists of a rotunda surrounded by colonnades with an ornate colonnade at its center.
After the exposition ended, it was dismantled, and all but the central rotunda were rebuilt in their current locations. The palace is one of only a handful of buildings from the exposition that remain standing today.
The Palace of Fine Arts was designed to be an elegant setting for art exhibitions and other cultural events. Its central rotunda is topped with a skylight, and its colonnades are adorned with classical sculptures.
Over the years, it has been home to various cultural events, including art exhibits and performances by famous musicians and dancers.
The palace is also a popular attraction for visitors to San Francisco, who come to admire its grand architecture and soak up its rich history.
The Palace of Fine Arts continues to be an important part of San Francisco’s cultural landscape today, attracting thousands of art lovers every year.
Whether you want to explore the building’s beautiful interiors or simply enjoy the stunning views over the Marina District, there are many things to do at this iconic landmark in San Francisco.
10. Check out Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is a major cultural institution in the city, dedicated to showcasing the art and culture of Asia.
Founded in 1966, the museum has gone through several iterations over the years, evolving to reflect changing trends and interests within the Asian art world.
Today, it boasts an extensive collection of more than 18,000 works from countries across Asia, including China, Japan, India, Korea, and many others.
The Asian Art Museum is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center district, close to many other major cultural institutions as well as popular tourist destinations.
With its wide range of exhibitions and programs focused on topics like contemporary art and traditional craft techniques, it is a must-visit for anyone interested in Asian art and culture.
Here are some of the highlights of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco:
– The museum’s collection spans more than 5,000 years of history and includes everything from ancient pottery to modern paintings.
– Highlights from the collection include Japanese armor and swords, Chinese calligraphy scrolls, Indian sculptures, and much more.
– The museum offers a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, often featuring works from its own collection or loans from other institutions.
– The museum also has an extensive education program that offers classes, workshops, and tours for all ages.
10. Enjoy San Francisco Zoo
San Francisco is a city full of amazing attractions, including the San Francisco Zoo.
This popular zoo is home to hundreds of different animal species, from big cats and primates to reptiles and birds. Whether you’re looking for an educational experience or just want to get up close with some of your favorite animals, there are plenty of things to do at the San Francisco Zoo.
Some of the top attractions at the zoo include exploring its various wildlife habitats.
The African Savanna is home to giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and many other fascinating creatures, while the Asian Forest lets visitors explore trees and waterfalls as they encounter sloths, tigers, monkeys, pandas, and more.
Fun Facts of San Francisco Zoo
Located in the heart of San Francisco, the San Francisco Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Founded in 1929, the zoo has a long and fascinating history, including several major milestones and significant developments over the years.
One of the main goals of early zookeepers was to create an ideal environment for their animals.
In 1933, they succeeded in building what would become one of the country’s first naturalistic enclosures at a zoo.
This innovative habitat featured lush plant life, rocky outcrops, and even a waterfall that allowed animals such as apes and lemurs to roam freely around their exhibit spaces.
In addition to pioneering new animal habitats, the San Francisco Zoo also played an important role in conserving endangered species.
In the 1950s, they became one of the first zoos in the country to breed California sea lions and harbor seals, both of which were facing extinction at the time.
They have also been active participants in numerous other conservation efforts throughout their history, including breeding programs for cheetahs, wild cats, elephants, flamingos, and many others.
Today, visitors flock to the San Francisco Zoo from all over the world to see its incredible array of animals and marvel at its innovative exhibits.
11. Stroll Around Golden Gate Park
Here are some of the many things that you can do around Golden Gate Park.
1. Visit the Conservatory of Flowers
The Conservatory of Flowers is one of the most iconic attractions in Golden Gate Park, and for a good reason.
This beautiful glass greenhouse is home to over 1,700 different species of plants, making it a veritable Eden in the heart of San Francisco.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a few hours, this is the place to do it.
2. Stroll Through the Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden is another must-see for anyone visiting Golden Gate Park.
The garden’s tranquil oasis features ponds, bridges, pagodas, and plenty of tea (both hot and cold).
It’s the perfect place to relax and take in the beauty of nature.
3. See the Bison at Buffalo Paddock
Yes, you read that correctly – there are bison in Golden Gate Park.
These massive animals can be found at the Buffalo Paddock, which also happens to be one of the oldest attractions in the park.
Make sure to stop by and say hello (from a safe distance) to these gentle giants.
4. Explore the California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is one of the world’s leading scientific institutions, and it just so happens to be located in Golden Gate Park.
This educational attraction houses an aquarium, a planetarium, a Natural History Museum, and more.
5. Visit the de Young Museum
The de Young Museum is one of San Francisco’s most popular museums, and it’s located right in Golden Gate Park.
This fine arts museum features a diverse collection of art from around the world, making it a must-see for any art lover.
6. Take a Hike Through Kennedy Grove
Looking to get away from the crowds for a while? Head to Kennedy Grove, a quiet forest located in the center of Golden Gate Park. This is the perfect spot for a peaceful hike or picnic lunch.
7. Play Some Disc Golf at Sharp Park
Disc golf is a popular sport in San Francisco, and Sharp Park is one of the best places to play.
This 18-hole course offers stunning views of the ocean, and it’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors.
8. Go for a Bike Ride
Golden Gate Park is huge – over 1,000 acres, to be exact. That means there’s plenty of room to explore on two wheels.
So hop on your bike and enjoy a leisurely ride through one of San Francisco’s most beloved parks.
9. Attend an Event at Sharon Meadow
Sharon Meadow is one of the most popular event venues in Golden Gate Park. This picturesque meadow has hosted everything from concerts to festivals, and it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
10. Relax at Stow Lake
After a long day of exploring Golden Gate Park, there’s no better place to relax than at Stow Lake.
The scenic lake is perfect for a leisurely paddleboat ride or a peaceful stroll. And don’t forget to visit the Japanese Garden on its shores!
Fun Facts about Golden Gate Park
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park is one of the city’s most cherished landmarks. With over 1,000 acres of beautiful green space and countless attractions, it offers something for everyone.
Golden Gate Park was first established in 1867 as a response to the rapid urbanization taking place in San Francisco at the time.
Designed by renowned landscape architect William Hammond Hall, Golden Gate Park became a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering an oasis of natural beauty in an otherwise hectic urban environment.
Today, Golden Gate Park is one of San Francisco’s top attractions, thanks to its abundance of wonderful sights and activities.
Some of the best things to do here include strolling along Stow Lake, hiking up Strawberry Hill, exploring the California Academy of Sciences, and attending a concert at the bandshell.
Additionally, Golden Gate Park is home to many museums and other cultural institutions, including the de Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the Conservatory of Flowers.
Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, there’s something for everyone in San Francisco’s beloved Golden Gate Park.
12. Walk around Union Square
Union Square is still one of the best places to be in San Francisco. Visitors can enjoy high-end shopping at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Tiffany & Co., or relax in one of the many parks and plazas.
Union Square is also home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and theaters. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a night in the town.
Looking to explore Union Square? Check out our list of the best things to do in San Francisco’s iconic landmark.
1. Shop till you Drop
Union Square is a shopper’s paradise with its central location and plethora of stores.
High-end stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Tiffany & Co. attract shoppers worldwide, while smaller stores offer more unique and local items.
No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in Union Square.
2. Dine in Style
Union Square is home to some of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a fine dining experience, you’ll find it here.
Check out favorites like Acme Chophouse, Redwood Room, and The Counter for some of the best food in town.
3. Catch a Show
Union Square is also home to many of San Francisco’s best theaters. If you’re looking for a night of entertainment, check out shows at the Curran Theater, Orpheum Theater, and Golden Gate Theater. You’re sure to find a show that you’ll enjoy in Union Square.
4. Relax in the Park
Looking to take a break from all the shopping and dining? Union Square is home to several parks and plazas where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful San Francisco weather. Check out United Nations Plaza, Powell Street Plaza, and Market Street Plaza for some peace in the middle of the city.
5. Take a tour
Take a tour if you want to learn more about Union Square and its history. Tours are available through many different companies and organizations, and they offer a great way to learn about this iconic landmark.
Fun Facts of Union Square
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Union Square is one of the city’s most iconic and vibrant landmarks.
Union Square has everything you need with its central location and plethora of shops, restaurants, bars, and theaters.
Union Square started in 1850 when Captain William Rich Hutton purchased a large piece of land in what was then considered a rural area outside the city limits.
The area quickly developed into a commercial hub as more businesses began to shop there.
Over time, Union Square became known as the go-to spot for shopping and dining in San Francisco.
14. Watch a San Francisco Giants Game
Watch a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park. The Giants are an iconic and beloved team in San Francisco, and a baseball game at their stadium is an unforgettable experience.
San Francisco is known for its lively culture and diverse population, but perhaps no aspect of the city is as iconic as the San Francisco Giants.
Founded in 1958, the Giants have become one of the most beloved teams in all of baseball, with loyal fans flocking to AT&T Park to cheer on this legendary team.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in San Francisco, then attending a Giants game at AT&T Park should definitely be near the top of your list.
Not only will you get to witness some incredible plays by some of baseball’s greatest athletes, but you’ll also get to experience the unique atmosphere that can only be found at a Giants game.
From the energetic crowd to the stunning views of San Francisco Bay, there’s truly nothing like it.
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in San Francisco, make sure to catch a Giants game at AT&T Park.
15. Travel to Presidio
The Presidio of San Francisco is a park and former U.S. Army post in San Francisco that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Presidio was established in 1776 by Spanish colonial authorities in New Spain and was originally a military fortification located near the Golden Gate, which it defended against pirate attacks and privateers.
In 1835, the Mexican government ceded control of the area to the United States, and the U.S. Army took over control of the Presidio soon afterward.
The army transformed the area into a coastal defense fortification and later into a major posting during World War II.
Today, the Presidio is a popular recreational area that is home to a wide variety of fun and interesting activities.
Some of the most popular include biking along Crissy Field, hiking through the forested areas, attending special events such as art exhibitions and film screenings, and exploring the many museums and cultural institutions housed onsite.
Whether you’re looking to explore nature or enjoy some of San Francisco’s finest cultural offerings, there are plenty of things to do in the Presidio that are sure to delight any visitor.
If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, be sure to put the Presidio on your list of must-visit attractions.
16. Travel to Angel Island
Angel Island is a state park in the San Francisco Bay, offering spectacular views, hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities, and a chance to learn about California’s history.
Visitors can take a ferry to the island from San Francisco or Tiburon.
Once on the island, there are several options for things to do. Hiking is a popular activity, with various trails leading to different parts of the island and offering different views.
There are also several beaches where visitors can sunbathe, swim, or go kayaking.
The island also has a rich history. It was once used as a military post and later as an immigration station.
Today, there are numerous historic buildings and exhibits to explore. Angel Island is a great destination for anyone looking for a fun and unique day trip from San Francisco.
Whether you’re looking to hike, swim, or learn about California’s history, Angel Island has something for everyone. So what are the best things to do in San Francisco?
The answer is simple: head to Angel Island and explore all this incredible island has to offer!
Fun Facts about Angel Island
The Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay operated from January 1, 1910, to November 5, 1940.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants were processed at the facility during that time.
Today, Angel Island is a state park and a popular tourist destination.
There are many things to do on Angel Island. Visitors can tour the immigration station, hike or bike around the island, picnic, and camping. There are also several restaurants on the island.
The best time to visit Angel Island is during the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the island is open year-round.
17. Japanese Garden
Located in the heart of San Francisco, the Japanese Garden is a stunning and peaceful park that is known for its beautifully landscaped gardens, traditional Japanese architecture, and culturally significant features.
This popular attraction was originally founded as part of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco, and it has since become one of the top destinations for tourists visiting this vibrant city.
The garden is comprised of several distinct sections that each have their own unique characteristics.
The Main Pond, which is situated at the center of the garden, features shimmering waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery and carefully sculpted rock formations.
Other highlights include winding walkways lined with tranquil koi ponds, colorful tea houses nestled among blossoming cherry trees, and a serene zen garden.
Whether you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or simply want to enjoy a moment of peace and beauty, the Japanese Garden is sure to delight.
Visitors can explore the park on their own or take part in one of the many guided tours that are offered.
14. Explore Yerba Buena Gardens
If you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco, look no further than Yerba Buena Gardens.
This beautiful park is filled with activities for all ages, making it the perfect place to spend a day.
One of the best things to do in Yerba Buena Gardens is to explore the various gardens and sculptures.
The gardens are beautifully maintained and provide a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
The sculptures are also quite fascinating, and there’s even a playground for kids to enjoy.
Another great activity in Yerba Buena Gardens is to take a ride on the carousel.
This iconic San Francisco attraction is sure to delight both young and old alike.
Of course, no visit to Yerba Buena Gardens would be complete without taking in the stunning views of the city.
The gardens offer some of the best vantage points for taking in the sights and sounds of San Francisco. You can even see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge from there.
So whether you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco for kids or adults, be sure to add Yerba Buena Gardens to your list.
Fun Facts of Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena has a long and storied history dating back to the early days of the Spanish colonization of California.
Founded in 1776, Yerba Buena was originally known as Mission San Francisco de Asis, after Saint Francis of Assisi.
This mission played an important role in the development of early San Francisco, serving as a staging ground for expeditions into the surrounding area.
Over time, Yerba Buena grew and prospered, becoming an important center of commerce and trade for the region.
It remained so until 1847 when it was officially renamed San Francisco upon its incorporation into the United States.
Since that time, San Francisco has continued to grow and flourish, becoming one of the most iconic and beloved cities in the world.
15. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco is a city with a rich history of art and culture. The city has been home to many famous artists, including painters, sculptors, and photographers.
San Francisco also has a long tradition of science and technology. The city is home to many world-renowned scientific institutions, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the California Academy of Sciences.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or SFMOMA, is a world-renowned museum of modern and contemporary art.
Originally founded in 1935 as the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the museum moved to its current location in golden Gate Park in 1995.
Today, SFMOMA is home to an extensive collection of works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock.
In addition to its permanent collection, SFMOMA also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Recent exhibitions have included “inkshed: Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting from the Yang Collection” and “Global Feminisms.”
Visitors to SFMOMA can also enjoy a range of educational programs, including gallery talks and artist-led activities.
For those looking to deepen their experience at the museum, there are also special tours available, such as the “Exploring Modern Art: What’s in a Name?” tour and the family-friendly “Explore Art Together” program.
Whether you are an art lover or just looking for something interesting to do in San Francisco, SFMOMA is sure to have something that appeals to you.
16. Explore Nob Hill
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Nob Hill is one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods.
Known for its breathtaking views and charming Victorian architecture, this neighborhood has a storied history dating back to the mid-19th century.
Founded by wealthy railroad tycoons in the 1860s, Nob Hill was once home to some of San Francisco’s wealthiest residents.
At that time, it became known as “One Hundred Steps”, due to the many steps that led up to the neighborhood from downtown.
As more transit options were developed over the years, however, Nob Hill began to lose its luster among elite residents.
Today, Nob Hill is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Some of its top attractions include the iconic cable car lines that traverse its steep hills, buzzing nightlife, and beautiful Victorian architecture.
Whether you’re looking to take in breathtaking views of the city skyline or explore some of San Francisco’s most vibrant neighborhoods, there are plenty of things to do in Nob Hill that will delight your senses and leave you wanting more.
17. Stroll through Haight and Ashbury
This bohemian area is packed with vintage clothing stores, hip cafes, and interesting people-watching opportunities. Here are some of the best things to do in Haight and Ashbury.
1. Shop at Unique Vintage Clothing Stores
Haight and Ashbury is home to some of the best vintage clothing stores in San Francisco. If you’re looking for something unique to wear, this is the place to find it. Some of our favorite stores include What Comes Around Goes Around, Buffalo Exchange, and Crossroads Trading Co.
2. Grab a Bite at Local Cafes
The cafes in Haight and Ashbury are some of the best in the city. If you’re looking for a delicious cup of coffee or a light meal, you’ll find plenty of great options here. Our favorites include Caffe Trieste, The Mill, and Ritual Coffee Roasters.
3. People Watching
One of the best things to do in Haight and Ashbury is simply to walk around and people watch. This is one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in San Francisco, and you’re sure to see some interesting characters. Be sure to check out Haight Street and Golden Gate Park while you’re here.
4. Visit Alamo Square Park
Alamo Square Park is one of the most popular parks in San Francisco. This beautiful green space is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sunshine, or to bring a picnic lunch. If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out the famous Painted Ladies houses that surround the park.
Whether you’re looking for great shopping, good food, or some fun people-watching opportunities, Haight and Ashbury is the place to be.
One of the most famous areas in San Francisco, Haight Ashbury is known for its rich history and thriving music scene.
Located near Golden Gate Park, this neighborhood has long been a hub for countercultural activities and has played host to events like the Summer of Love in 1967.
Today, it’s still a popular destination for tourists looking to soak up some of the city’s unique cultural heritage.
18. Dolores Park
Dolores Park is one of the most popular parks in San Francisco. The park is located in the Mission District and is known for its beautiful views of the city.
Dolores Park has a long history, dating back to the early days of San Francisco.
The park was originally part of a ranch owned by the De la Torre family. In 1847, the De la Torres sold the land to the City of San Francisco. The city then turned the land into a cemetery. In 1905, the city decided to convert the cemetery into a park.
Dolores Park is a great place to visit if you want to enjoy the outdoors and take in some incredible views of San Francisco.
The park is dotted with beautiful flower gardens and has plenty of open green space for visitors to explore.
It’s also a popular spot for picnics, with many people bringing food and relaxing on the grassy areas.
Additionally, the park is home to several different types of wildlife, including birds and squirrels that can often be seen scurrying around in the trees.
If you’re looking for something fun to do in San Francisco, then Dolores Park is definitely worth a visit.
Whether you’re coming to soak up some sun or just want to get out of the house for a while, this beautiful public space has something for everyone.
19. Coit Tower
Coit Tower is a popular tourist attraction offering stunning panoramic views over the city and bay.
It is often included on walking tours of San Francisco and is a popular spot for locals to visit on the weekends.
Whether you enjoy history, architecture, or just want to soak in the amazing views
Coit Tower is a 210-foot (64 m) concrete observation tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
It was built in 1933 using money left by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, an adventurous young woman who loved to fireman and played a major role in the city’s volunteer fire department.
The tower offers panoramic views over the city and the bay. It is now a California Historical Landmark and a popular tourist destination.
Lillie Hitchcock Coit was born in 1843 in New York City. She moved to San Francisco in 1852 with her family.
As a young woman, she worked as a nurse during the Vigilance movement of 1856.
She also volunteered with the city’s volunteer fire department, eventually becoming a member of the San Francisco Fire Department’s Board of Directors.
In 1929, Coit died and left much of her estate to the city for beautification projects.
Part of this was used to fund construction of Coit Tower in 1933, which was designed by architect Arthur Brown Jr. The tower is made from reinforced concrete, cast in place using wooden forms that were burned after use so that they could not be reused.
The exterior is covered with white ceramic tiles and features a relief sculpture at the top that depicts firefighters working on ladders.
20. Explore Baker Beach
Baker Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Francisco, known for its idyllic setting and stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
This scenic spot has a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century, when it was first developed by American settlers as a military fortification.
Since then, Baker Beach has evolved into a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike who are looking to take in some sunshine, enjoy a picnic on the sand, or explore the maritime trails along its surrounding coastline.
Today, Baker Beach continues to be one of San Francisco’s top attractions.
While there are plenty of things to do here, from picnicking and sunbathing to hiking and fishing, some of the best activities at Baker Beach include watching the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge, taking a dip in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and exploring the nearby tidepools.
If you’re looking for something to do in San Francisco that will give you a unique perspective on this amazing city, then be sure to add Baker Beach to your list.
19. Drive through the Bay Bridge
The Bay Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco and has been an important part of the city’s history for over 80 years.
Originally built as a replacement for the Golden Gate Bridge, which was still in its early stages of construction at the time, the Bay Bridge was designed to handle high levels of traffic from people traveling between San Francisco and Oakland.
Today, the Bay Bridge is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience some of the best things to do in San Francisco.
The Bay Bridge also plays host to several annual events, including the Bay Bridge Lights and the San Francisco Marathon, both of which are incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike.
Whether you’re a longtime resident or visiting San Francisco for the first time, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Bay Bridge.