The special thing about this city is that it’s situated in a bay. Which makes it different from other big cities in the United States. When you arrive here, you instantly feel comfortable because of its relaxed atmosphere. Also, the weather is nice all year round. So, there are always exciting things to do in San Francisco.
I’ve put together a list of the top places you should visit in San Francisco to help you plan your trip. But before you go exploring by yourself, I suggest booking a free tour. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s history and get to know San Francisco better.
If you’re interested in visiting some paid attractions while you’re in San Francisco, I suggest getting the San Francisco Explorer Pass. With this pass, you can choose 3, 4, or 5 attractions from a list of the city’s top 25 attractions, and you won’t have to pay for them. Just remember to use the pass within 30 days after activating it. Another good option is the San Francisco Go Card. It allows you to access 29 different attractions over a specific number of days.
In the next part, I’ll share the top things to do in San Francisco.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTRACTION TO VISIT IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Golden Gate Bridge is a famous and important place to visit in San Francisco. It’s a well-known suspension bridge that’s considered an icon of the city and is loved by people from all over the world.
The Golden Gate Bridge is the top place you must visit in San Francisco. It’s the most important attraction in the city.
The Golden Gate Bridge is long, measuring 1.7 miles in total. The part that hangs in the air is 0.8 miles long. Also, the bridge hangs high at 220 feet above the ground. Because of these measurements, it’s considered one of the longest and tallest suspension bridges in the whole world.
Here’s an interesting fact: The Golden Gate Bridge needs regular maintenance because it’s so long. When the painters finish painting it, they must start all over again at the other end because of its great length.
If you want to see and take nice pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, I suggest checking out these five lookout points: Battery Spencer, Vista Point, Baker Beach, Fort Point, and Crissy Field. They offer great views and photo opportunities.
VISIT ALCATRAZ PRISON, THE BEST THING TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO
The well-known Alcatraz prison is a must-visit place in San Francisco. It used to be a functioning prison, but now it’s open to the public for tours and exploration.
Visit Alcatraz Prison, one of the best things to do in San Francisco!
Alcatraz was a secure prison where they kept very dangerous criminals like Al Capone, George Kelly, and Robert Stroud. Some prisoners, like Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers, managed to swim away from the prison, but it’s thought that they didn’t survive because of the cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
FISHERMAN’S WHARF, THE MOST POPULAR NEIGHBORHOOD THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO
Fisherman’s Wharf, which was constructed in 1853, was the first port in San Francisco. During its early years, it was one of the most important ports in all of California.
As time went on, the fishing industry stopped using this port and started looking for other locations. But with the increase in tourism, Fisherman’s Wharf was revitalized and became one of the top attractions to visit in San Francisco, California.
Fisherman’s Wharf is the most well-liked neighborhood things to do in San Francisco. It’s the place that most people enjoy visiting.
At Pier 45, you can find the famous World War II submarine called USS Pampa Nito. It sank six enemy ships and saved the lives of 73 men. Many people like to visit and learn about its history.
In this neighborhood, there’s a special place called the Maritime National Historical Park. You can go there to see old boats from history, and they also have a museum, a library, and a research center about maritime thing. It’s a great spot for learning and exploring.
GOLDEN GATE PARK, ONE OF THE GREATEST TREASURES TO VISIT IN SF
Golden Gate Park is even bigger than Central Park in New York, so it can be hard to walk through the whole thing. If you want to visit, I suggest taking one of the small buses that will drive you around the entire park. It’s a convenient way to see everything without getting tired from walking.
Golden Gate Park is one of my favorite places to go in San Francisco because it has a little bit of everything. You can see a Dutch mill, lots of trees, a beautiful Japanese garden, Shakespeare’s garden, and even a group of American bison. They brought the bison here in 1891 to help them increase in numbers since they were in danger of disappearing.
Additionally, there are some important museums in the park that you should check out. Two of them are the California Academy of Sciences and the Young Museum. They have lots of interesting things to see and learn about.
UNION SQUARE, AN IMPORTANT PLACE TO VISIT IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Union Square is the most significant square in San Francisco and the most famous shopping area to visit. It’s like the heart of the city and a perfect place for shopping because many big stores are all in one area. You can also find excellent restaurants here, known for being the best in the city, and there are art galleries to explore as well. It’s a great spot for dining and appreciating artwork.
You can visit Union Square at any time, but it’s especially lovely during Christmas. They set up a big Christmas tree and an ice-skating rink, making it even more beautiful. Going to Union Square during Christmas is one of the best things to do in San Francisco.
PIER 39, THE BEST PLACE TO SEE WILD SEA LIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO
Pier 39 is a place with lots of restaurants and shops. It’s not just a popular spot for locals to gather, but also one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco.
The most amazing thing about this place is K-Dock, where you can see sea lions almost all year. But the best time to see them is from late summer to late spring because in June and July, most of them go south to have babies.
This place used to be a busy wharf where ships would dock, but the presence of the sea lions made it difficult for the boats to stay. Instead of removing the sea lions, they decided to move the boats to different docks.
At Pier 39, you can not only see the sea lions but also enjoy breathtaking views of Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s why it’s an important spot for tourists to visit in San Francisco.
LOMBARD STREET, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STREET TO VISIT IN SAN FRANCISCO
Visiting Lombard Street in San Francisco, California is a fantastic thing to do. It’s located between Leavenworth and Hyde Street. This street is famous because it’s very steep and has eight curves. The whole road is decorated with pretty flowers, making it one of the most beautiful streets in the city. It’s also known for being the steepest and most famous street in San Francisco.
When you see it, you’ll want to take some pictures of it. It’s one of the popular things to do in San Francisco.
TAKE THE CABLE CAR, GREAT STUFF TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO
Taking a ride on one of the SF cable cars is one of the interesting things to do in San Francisco. These cable cars have been operating since 1873, which is a long time ago!
In 1947, the cable car transportation was almost going to disappear, but the people in San Francisco didn’t want that to happen. They fought to keep the cable cars, and in 1964, it was officially recognized as a part of the National Historical Heritage. Now, it has become one of the main attractions in San Francisco that people love to see and ride.
The Powell-Hyde Cable Car is the favorite among tourists because it takes you through many different areas of San Francisco. It goes through places like Nob Hill, the Financial District, North Beach, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Russian Hill. If you want to see these areas from a unique viewpoint, riding the cable car is a must-do in San Francisco.
SILICON VALLEY, ONE OF THE BEST DAY TRIPS IN SF
There are many places to visit in and around San Francisco, but one place that I think is important is Silicon Valley. It’s where you can find the main offices of big technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple. It’s a must-visit if you’re interested in the tech world.
If you want to learn about Silicon Valley, the best thing to do is sign up for this tour in San Francisco. The tour lasts for about 90 minutes, and the guide will tell interesting stories about the famous people in the tech industry.
Even if you’re not a tech expert, I really suggest taking this tour because it’s packed with enjoyable facts and is a lot of fun.
EXPLORATORIUM, A SCIENCE MUSEUM YOU CAN’T MISS IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Exploratorium is one of the best things to do in San Francisco, especially if you have kids. It’s located on Pier 15. In this museum, you can have a hands-on experience and learn about science and art in a fun way.
If you choose to go to the Exploratorium, you can do some cool things! You can walk on a bridge covered in fog, feel what it’s like to be in a tornado, see yourself in a huge, curved mirror, and check out over 650 different exhibits. And if you get hungry, there’s a place to eat and some shops where you can buy stuff too.
PRESIDIO, A NATIONAL PARK YOU MUST VISIT IN SAN FRANCISCO
Presidio is a big park in San Francisco with lots of fun things to do in San Francisco. It’s like a huge outdoor playground! It has a whole bunch of paths where you can walk or ride your bike, and there are also places where you can eat, have picnics, and even do barbecues.
The park has its own free transportation system that takes you around the park. It runs every day of the week, so you can use it whenever you want. And guess what? It even takes you to and from downtown San Francisco, so you can easily get there too!
Presidio is an awesome national park that you should check out when you’re in San Francisco!
If you really like Star Wars, you must visit the Presidio in San Francisco! It’s a must-see place for fans like you. You’ll find the Yoda Fountain at the Letterman Digital Arts Center inside the park, and there’s even a big statue of Darth Vader that looks just like him in real life!
YOSEMITE, THE BEST-KNOWN NATIONAL PARK IN CALIFORNIA
San Francisco and its surrounding areas have many awesome places to visit, but if you can only pick one, go to Yosemite National Park. It’s a special place you don’t want to miss!
Honestly, we chose to finish our road trip in San Francisco because it has the airport that’s closest to Yosemite. Yosemite is one of the national parks we really wanted to visit during our trip.
Yosemite is a beautiful place located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s famous for its huge ancient redwood trees and impressive granite mountains. People from all over the world come here to go climbing because Yosemite is a very special and well-known spot for that. In 1984, UNESCO, an organization that protects important places, declared Yosemite as a World Heritage Site.
If you don’t want to drive or don’t have a car to rent, I suggest booking a trip from San Francisco to Yosemite. It’s the best way to explore the park and see the huge redwood trees without worrying about transportation.
HAIGHT-ASHBURY, THE BIRTHPLACE OF HIPPIE CULTURE
The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is an interesting place to visit in San Francisco and have lot of things to do in San Francisco. Back in the 1960s, it was where a lot of free-spirited people called bohemians and hippie idealists lived. It’s worth checking out because of its unique history and vibe.
The houses in this area are colorful and look cool. If you’re interested, you can even visit Jimi Hendrix’s house and explore the many fantastic restaurants in the neighborhood. There are also plenty of organic restaurants to choose from if you prefer to eat healthy and natural food.
Here’s another interesting thing about this neighborhood: there are lots of stores where you can find second-hand clothes. One of the popular stores is called Buffalo Exchange, and they buy and sell used clothes in all sizes. It’s a great place to check out if you’re looking for unique and affordable clothing options.
TWIN PEAKS, THE BEST LOOKOUT POINT IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Twin Peaks are two hills that look the same. They have peaks that are high, about 900 feet. If you want to see the amazing view from the top, you can take a bus, but I suggest walking up instead. It’s a bit of a climb, but totally worth it! From the top, you’ll see the whole city spread out below you, and that’s why it’s one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco.
Twin Peaks: The Greatest View in San Francisco
If you want to see the city from two different angles, it’s a good idea to visit the Twin Peaks lookout during the day and at night. That way, you’ll get to enjoy two unique views of the city.
SFMOMA, SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is the second biggest art museum in the United States, right after the MOMA in New York City. Inside, you can see amazing artworks by famous artists like Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ellsworth Kelly. It’s a great place to explore and appreciate modern art.
The building of the museum, designed by Mario Botta, is amazing and can be seen as a piece of art on its own. It’s truly impressive! Moreover, when you go to the garden, you’ll come across various sculptures that add even more beauty to the surroundings.
If you love art, this museum is a must-visit place in San Francisco. To make your visit smoother and avoid waiting in long lines, I suggest getting your tickets ahead of time. This way, you can plan your visit better and have a more enjoyable experience.
NOB HILL, THE MOST LUXURIOUS PLACE IN SAN FRANCISCO
Nob Hill is a neighborhood in San Francisco where wealthy families live. It’s a place you shouldn’t miss when visiting the city. It’s situated on one of the hills where San Francisco was first established and is located near Chinatown.
One of the things that stands out about this fancy and luxurious neighborhood is how steep its streets are. Because of this, you’ll find a lot of cable cars in the area, as they provide a comfortable way to travel around Nob Hill. It’s quite unique and adds to the charm of the neighborhood.
SOMA, A PLACE WITH A LOT OF THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO
The South of Market neighborhood, also called SOMA, has a lot of interesting things to see and do in San Francisco. It used to be an industrial area, but now it’s one of the top places to visit for residents. It has become a great residential area with plenty of attractions.
SOMA: A Vibrant Spot for Fun in San Francisco
In SOMA, there are lots of cool places to visit. You can find the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. But if you’re not a big fan of museums like me, you’ll be happy to know that AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants baseball team plays, is also located in this neighborhood.
CHINATOWN, THE OLDEST CHINESE COMMUNITY IN NORTH AMERICA
Chinatown in San Francisco is a neighborhood where lots of Chinese people live. It’s the second largest Chinese community in the United States and the oldest in North America. When you visit, you’ll see buildings with vibrant colors, temples, restaurants, and shops. It’s a place you shouldn’t miss when exploring San Francisco.
If you want to go to Chinatown, I suggest entering through the Dragon Gate on Grant Avenue. Once you’re inside, make sure to visit Portsmouth Square. It’s a special place because that’s where the United States flag was first raised in 1846. It’s an important part of the neighborhood’s history.
You also have the option to book a tour that will help you learn about the history, culture, and food of Chinatown. It’s a great way to explore and discover more about this unique neighborhood.
POINT BONITA LIGHTHOUSE, A PLACE OF INTEREST IN SAN FRANCISCO
Point Bonita Lighthouse is a lovely place to visit in San Francisco, California. It’s located right at the entrance of San Francisco Bay and is near the famous Golden Gate Bridge. The lighthouse offers stunning views and is worth a visit.
I suggest visiting the lighthouse because it’s situated in a fascinating spot between cliffs. However, please note that you can only visit the lighthouse on Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. On your way to the lighthouse, you can also check out the US Coast Guard Station Golden Gate. It adds to the overall experience and is worth exploring.
SEWARD MINI PARK, AN UNUSUAL AND AMUSING PLACE IN SF
If you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco with kids, I suggest visiting Seward Mini Park. It’s a park located between houses on Seward Street. What makes this park special is its concrete slides that both adults and kids can enjoy. It’s a fun and unique attraction that will bring joy to everyone.
Of course, if you want to slide down the concrete slides, you’ll need some cardboard. Sometimes there might be leftover cardboard around, but I suggest bringing your own just in case. It’s always better to be prepared for some sliding fun!These are my top recommendations for the best things to do in San Francisco. I hope this article has been helpful to you. Now, all that’s left for you to do is to enjoy the city of San Francisco to the max! Have a great time!