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37 Best Places to Visit in San Francisco

37 Best Places to Visit in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. With its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, charming neighborhoods, and steep hills, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Here are the best places to visit in San Francisco.

This article will cover a list of the best places to visit in San Francisco, California. These destinations are popular among tourists and offer something for everyone. Some of the implications that the best places to visit in San Francisco could have on travelers include incredible views, charming neighborhoods, and steep hills.

As one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, San Francisco gets a lot of visitors every year.

There are the usual attractions that everyone tends to see in this city: the zoo, the Full House park, and of course the world’s curviest street, Lombard Street.

Best Places to Visit in San Francisco

There’s nothing wrong with taking in these sights and tourist attractions. If you really want to get the traveling perspective of this fantastic city, however, we have some travel tips for you.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States and is a must-see for any visitor to San Francisco.

This iconic landmark is one of the most recognizable in the United States and offers incredible views of the city and the San Francisco Bay. Whether you’re driving across it, biking, or walking, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Golden Gate Park is one of the largest and most popular parks in San Francisco. With over 1,000 acres of land, there’s plenty to explore in this beautiful park.

From botanical gardens to lakes to a large playground, there’s something for everyone in Golden Gate Park. Be sure to check out the California Academy of Sciences while you’re there, which is one of the top science museums in the world.

San Francisco’s Chinatown

San Francisco's Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the largest and oldest Chinatowns in North America, situated in San Francisco, California. As a visitor to San Francisco, you simply must visit this fascinating part of the city if you want to explore Asian culture and heritage.

With its bustling streets teeming with vendors and locals going about their daily lives, Chinatown offers an immersive experience unlike any other.

Be sure to take plenty of photographs as you wander through this constantly evolving neighborhood – sample some authentic Chinese food from street-side stalls, snap some shots of jade jewelry and ornate masks, and marvel at the colorful architecture that characterizes this historically significant cultural hub.

Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for something new to do on your next trip to San Francisco, Chinatown is not to be missed!

Pier 39

Pier 39 is a popular tourist destination due to its close proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge and its many shops and restaurants.

Sea Lions at San Francisco Pier 39

Over on Pier 39, make sure you stop to see the world-famous sea lions that have called this area home for years. You can even see them right now with their dedicated webcam!

After the earthquake hit the city in 1989, famously interrupting the World Series, a few sea lions “holdouts,” as they’re called, decided that they didn’t want to leave the area. The next year, dozens of sea lions began to migrate to the Pier 39 area and they’ve called it home ever since!

If you head over to Pier 39 between 11 and 4, there’s a naturalist on duty who will answer literally any question as long as it is sea lion-related.

I asked about the likelihood of a sea lion hitting a home run for the Giants in town and the naturalist looked at me, quirked an eyebrow, and said, “Assuming you could get one to hold onto a baseball bat, I’d say you’d be more likely to see a sea lion bludgeon its dinner with the bat for easier eating than play baseball with it.”

Well played. There’s an entire center dedicated to sea lions. You can touch a pelt, find out why they love San Francisco Bay so much, and even discuss migration patterns if you wish.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is a small island located in the San Francisco Bay. The island is best known for Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, which operated from 1934 to 1963. Alcatraz Island is a popular tourist destination because of its history and views of the bay. 

You can reach Alcatraz Island by taking a ferry from Pier 33. There are a variety of tours available, including night tours and behind-the-scenes tours that give visitors an up-close look at some of the former prison cells and other areas not accessible to general visitors.

Alcatraz Island is definitely worth visiting if you’re interested in learning more about American history or just want to enjoy a beautiful view of the Bay Area.

Best Thing to do in San Francisco: The Cable Cars

The Cable Cars

San Francisco is well-known for its iconic Cable Cars, which have served as a tourist attraction for generations. Whether you’re exploring the city for the first time or planning your next trip, taking a ride on one of these historic cars is an absolute must. With its winding streets and breathtaking views of the city skyline, downtown San Francisco truly can’t be experienced in any other way.

At the heart of the Cable Car Museum is a collection of this fascinating mode of transportation. Boasting detailed explanations about their history and mechanics, as well as historical photos and videos showcasing their development over time, this museum provides an engaging and informative glimpse into San Francisco‘s unique urban culture.

Plus, admission is completely free, making it easy to add to your itinerary no matter what your budget may be.

If you’re looking to explore San Francisco in a fun and unique way, then look no further than its Cable Cars. Whether you’re planning a day trip or simply passing through, don’t miss out on this city institution – it’s bound to make any visit unforgettable!

Haight-Ashbury

Haight-Ashbury

Haight-Ashbury is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in San Francisco. It’s known for its bohemian vibe, trendy cafes, and vintage shops. If you’re looking for the best things to do in San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury should definitely be on your list. There’s something for everyone in this vibrant neighborhood.

Stroll through Golden Gate Park, browse the unique shops on Haight Street or people-watch at one of the many cafes.

Haight-Ashbury is host to a number of historical sights, including the Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Wall and the arrest of anti-war protestors in People’s Park by the San Francisco Police Department. Haight-Ashbury has something to offer for everyone, from history to culture to just a good cup of coffee.

Mission District

Mission District

The Mission District is one of San Francisco’s most vibrant and culturally rich neighborhoods. Located just south of the city center, this area is home to a number of Latinx-owned businesses and murals, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking to take in some local art or simply enjoy delicious food from one of the many cafes and restaurants, there are plenty of fun things to do in the Mission District.

Some highlights include browsing through Mission Cliffs, an outdoor rock climbing gym; sampling churros at Plaza Reyes Mejicanos; or admiring the colorful street murals along Mission Street. Whatever your interests may be, there is something for everyone in this diverse and dynamic neighborhood.

Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths

The ruins of the Sutro Baths, a 19th-century public bathhouse that was destroyed by a fire in 1966, may still be seen at San Francisco‘s Cliff House. The baths provide stunning views of the city and the sea. Sutro & Company built the Sutro Baths in 1894.

The purpose of the baths was to provide the public with an indoor swimming area in order to combat San Francisco’s cold and foggy climate.

Today, the ruins of Sutro Baths offer a unique glimpse into San Francisco’s history and culture. Whether you’re an avid historian or simply looking for a fun day trip, be sure to check out this fascinating California Historical Landmark which is open to the public for sightseeing.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of San Francisco and its surroundings. The two peaks, Twin Peaks West and Twin Peaks East, sit at an elevation of 922 feet (281 meters) and offer stunning views of the San Francisco skyline. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the San Francisco Bay and even across to Marin County.

Twin Peaks is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, so be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds. And if you’re feeling energetic, you can always hike up one of the peaks for an even better view.

Best Thing to do with Kids: Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum
Image by Joyofmuseums used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

The Walt Disney Family Museum is a must-visit for families and one of the best San Francisco attractions. Located in the Presidio, this museum celebrates the life and work of Walt Disney, one of the most iconic animators and filmmakers of all time.

The museum is packed with interactive exhibits that are perfect for kids. They can explore Walt Disney’s early career, learn about the creation of some of their favorite Disney films, and even tinker with various animation techniques themselves.

Altogether, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a fun and engaging way to introduce kids to San Francisco’s rich history in art and culture. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just visiting for the first time, it’s sure to be a memorable experience for the whole family.

San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo

Located in San Francisco’s southwestern corner, the San Francisco Zoo is a sprawling 100-acre (40 ha) zoo that houses an impressive range of animals from around the globe. Whether you are traveling with young children or are an avid animal enthusiast, this destination is sure to delight and amaze.

Boasting more than 250 different species across its vast grounds, the San Francisco Zoo prides itself on its dedication to conservation, research, and education initiatives.

With engaging educational displays and exhibits, informative guided tours and talks by experienced zookeepers, and close-up opportunities with some of its most beloved residents, there is truly something for everyone at San Francisco Zoo.

So if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind wildlife experience in California, look no further than the San Francisco Zoo – it’s simply unmissable!

The zoo’s primary entrance, which faces the Pacific Ocean to the west, is on the ocean side.

The Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor is one of the finest art museums in San Francisco, and it is a must-visit destination for art lovers and travelers alike. Located in a beautiful Neo-Classical Beaux-Arts building situated on stunning grounds, this museum truly has it all.

The Legion of Honor was originally conceived as a gift to the people of San Francisco from philanthropist Alma Brettville Spreckels, who was a huge fan of Europe and its many artistic treasures.

The museum houses an outstanding collection of rare European decorative art and sculpture, covering everything from medieval masterpieces to modern masterpieces crafted in the early 20th century.

Whether you are new to the world of art or a seasoned expert, there is something here to delight and inspire you right in the heart of Lincoln Park.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is another popular tourist spot in San Francisco that offers great food and shopping opportunities. It is located on the northern waterfront of the city and has been a hub for commercial fishermen since the mid-19th century.

Fisherman’s Wharf was originally known as Long Wharf, and it was a central hub for small fishing boats that brought in fresh seafood and produce to the city. Today, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in San Francisco, with many restaurants, shops, and attractions lining its bustling streets.

Founded in 1935 as a corner stand, Fisherman’s Grotto is the first sit-down restaurant that was opened on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Its founder was a Sicilian fisherman himself and the whole goal of opening this restaurant was to bring fresh seafood, the “catch of the day” if you will, to the city. His name was Mike Geraldi and he had a saying about the restaurant business that still rings true today.

Good service, supercilious quality foods, spotless cleanliness, and a sincere appreciation of customers patronage are the golden formula for success.

Today you’ll get a fantastic meal with a fantastic view right on Fisherman’s Wharf. The Golden Gate Bridge sits in the foreground and you’ve got a peek-a-book look at Alcatraz.

Make reservations online if you’re planning on going – you’ll need them! Make sure to try the crab-stuffed avocado and don’t forget about the catch of the day right from Fisherman’s Wharf.

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful building that was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It is now a popular place for locals and tourists to enjoy the outdoors with its beautiful gardens and fountains.

The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco. It is a beautiful building that was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. The Palace of Fine Arts is located in the Marina District of San Francisco.

The building was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and is an excellent example of his work. The Palace of Fine Arts is surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains, making it a great place for visitors to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Alamo Square Park

Alamo Square Park

Alamo Square Park is one of San Francisco’s most iconic and popular destinations. The park offers stunning views of the city’s skyline, as well as the famous Painted Ladies, a row of Victorian houses located on Steiner Street.

The Painted Ladies are a popular tourist attraction in the city, and their appearance at the beginning of the television series “Full House” made them even more famous. Thousands of visitors come to Alamo Square every day to admire its beauty.

The paintings in Alamo Square were originally called the Sisters and represent six identical Victorian houses. The seven painting ladies sit on the north side of the building which, although they may be different, is often integrated into a single image. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Alamo Square is definitely worth a visit.

The Presidio

The Presidio

The Presidio is a sprawling national park and a national historic landmark in San Francisco. With expansive views of the Golden Gate Bridge, miles of hiking trails to explore, and numerous cultural attractions, this former military base has something for everyone.

The stunning scenery alone is enough to draw visitors from all over the world, but The Presidio also boasts a rich cultural legacy that includes old forts and homes, outdoor artwork and sculptures, and beautifully preserved landscapes.

This unique blend of natural beauty and urban culture makes The Presidio one of the most beloved parks in the country, and its many accolades attest to its widespread popularity among both locals and travelers alike.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Coit Tower is a 1930s Art Deco tower located on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. The 210-foot tower offers spectacular 360-degree views of the city and bay. It is best known for its beautiful murals painted on the interior walls, which were created by some of the leading artists of the time, including Diego Rivera.

Coit Tower is free to visit and can be accessed via a short hike from nearby Telegraph Hill. The hike to the tower is fairly easy and takes about 15-20 minutes. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of San Francisco and the Bay Area.

This is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the history and culture of San Francisco.

Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco. The garden is located in Golden Gate Park and offers visitors a peaceful and relaxing environment to enjoy.

The garden was originally built as part of the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition and was later reopened as a public park in 1958. It features a collection of ponds, streams, and waterfalls as well as countless plant species from all over the world.

Visitors to the Japanese Tea Garden can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or simply relax and take in the peaceful atmosphere. The garden also hosts many cultural events throughout the year, including art shows and martial arts demonstrations. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Japanese Tea Garden is definitely worth a visit.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

If you’re looking for a cultural experience while visiting San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is the perfect place to visit.

This highly praised museum features over 30,000 pieces that span a wide variety of mediums, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and more. Among the many famous artists whose work you can expect to find here are Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Diego Rivera. In addition, there are also works by prominent modern artists like Alexander Calder, Clyfford Still, and John Baldessari.

So whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking for some unique entertainment during your time in the bay area, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is sure to impress. And best of all, this fantastic museum can be found in San Francisco’s bustling SOMA district, making it easily accessible to anyone traveling through the city.

The museum has several wonderful pieces on display which you will be able to see without paying any admission.

USS San Francisco Memorial & Lands End Lookout

USS San Francisco Memorial & Lands End Lookout
Image by Gregory Varnum used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

The USS San Francisco Memorial is a war memorial located in Lands End. The monument honors the approximately 100 sailors and seven Marines who perished on board the cruiser USS San Francisco, which was destroyed during the battle.

The monument is notable for being constructed from part of the ship’s bridge, revealing some of the severe damage it had endured during the battle. Nearby, the Lands End Lookout provides visitors with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Marin County.

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall is the seat of government for the City and County of San Francisco. The building houses the mayor’s office, Board of Supervisors chambers, and city government offices.

The Beaux-Arts style building was completed in 1915 and is a popular tourist destination, with its grandiose rotunda and stairs often used as a backdrop for weddings and other events. This is one of the lesser-known San Francisco attractions but is a fun visit if you love history and architecture.

The Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a historic terminal building that was built in 1898 to serve as the main port of entry for ferry traffic coming into San Francisco.

Today, the Ferry Building Marketplace is a popular tourist destination, with its shops, restaurants, and farmers’ market. The building also houses a number of offices, including the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

The Ferry Building is located on The Embarcadero and is easily accessible by public transportation or by foot.

Starfleet Headquarters

Starfleet Headquarters

Ok Star Trek folks. J.J. Abrams might have moved part of Starfleet’s headquarters over to London for Star Trek Into Darkness, but any Trekkie knows that the heart of Starfleet Command and even Starfleet Academy is in San Francisco.

It is, in fact, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that you’re going to be visiting. It’s got 80,000 acres of protected space and is one of the largest urban parks in the entire world.

The Presidio of San Francisco is a great destination for Star Trek fans. The park runs along the beaches both north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge, providing you with lots of options to discover. Certain areas in the park are open to camping as well.

Because it was originally utilized by the US Army, there are several historically significant locations within the tucked away in the Presidio is also Starfleet’s headquarters. The familiar building has been used for both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as various spin-off films.

Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay is a public aquarium located at The Embarcadero and Beach Street, at the edge of Pier 39 in San Francisco, California. The aquarium is focused on local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring rivers and watersheds as far as the Sierra Mountains. Since 2005 the Aquarium has focused its mission on enabling ocean conservation and climate action both locally and globally.

Aquarium of the Bay is a public aquarium located at The Embarcadero and Beach Street, at the edge of Pier 39 in San Francisco, California. As one of the top attractions in the city, the Aquarium of the Bay offers visitors an immersive and educational experience that explores local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring rivers and watersheds as far as the Sierra Mountains.

Since its founding in 2005, Aquarium of the Bay has focused on promoting ocean conservation and climate action both locally and globally.

In addition to housing thousands of aquatic species from all corners of Northern California in its beautiful state-of-the-art displays, Aquarium of the Bay also works with local citizens to teach them about ocean issues, empowering them to become a part of the solution by taking concrete steps to reduce their carbon footprint or participate in conservation efforts.

Whether you are traveling to San Francisco for business or pleasure, the Aquarium of the Bay is an experience not to be missed – it’s one that will both educate and inspire you toward making a real difference in preserving our oceans.

The Aquarium is also a Smithsonian Affiliate and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Plus, it’s certified as a Green Business by the city of San Francisco.

This world-class Aquarium contains over 750,000 gallons of saltwater that 24,000 animals from 200+ species call home. It’s also the only Smithsonian-affiliated aquarium in all of California. So when you visit the Aquarium of the Bay, you’re getting an educational and immersive experience that can’t be found anywhere else on the West Coast.

The Audium

The Audium in San Francisco

What’s the point of going to an art complex if you can’t see the art? At The Audium, you don’t see the art because you’re actually listening to the art itself.

It is the only theater in the world that “sculpts” space with sound, positioning over 170 different speakers around an auditorium that seats just 49 people. The first Audium concerts were held in 1960, and although the concept is over 50 years old, it is still going strong today.

The performances today are interactive and happen just twice per week: Friday and Saturday at 8:30 pm.

Tickets are $20 and only a small percentage are available in advance from the city box office.

California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences
Image by Buzzlovestravel used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

If you’re looking for an informative, sustainable, and fun day out, the California Academy of Sciences is the perfect place for you. As a Natural Heritage Museum, Planetarium, Aquarium, and research center all rolled into one, there’s something for everyone at this impressive attraction. And it’s not just the exhibits that are fascinating – the building itself is a work of art.

Designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano, the California Academy of Sciences is a model of sustainability, with features such as solar panel power, glass structures to maximize natural light output and green insulation.

Plus, the living roof is a stunning 2.5 hectares of hills and native plants, providing a natural habitat for local wildlife.

Whether you’re interested in learning about the latest scientific discoveries or just want to take in the spectacular views, a visit to the California Academy of Sciences is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

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Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena Gardens is the name for two blocks of public parks located between Third and Fourth, Mission and Folsom Streets in downtown San Francisco, California. The first block bordered by Mission and Howard Streets was opened on October 11, 1993. The second block, between Howard and Folsom Streets, was opened in 1998, with a dedication to Martin Luther King Jr. by Mayor Willie Brown.

A pedestrian bridge over Howard Street connects the two blocks, sitting on top of part of the Moscone Center convention center. Yerba Buena Gardens features several gardens, an art museum, a children’s museum, an ice skating rink, a bowling alley, and a carousel.

The name “Yerba Buena” comes from the Spanish for “good herb”, and was the original name of the area before it became part of downtown San Francisco. Yerba Buena Gardens is a great place to spend a day exploring all that it has to offer.

Unusual Thing to do in San Francisco: Loved to Death

Loved to Death in San Francisco

To be fair, you can get quite a few unusual items throughout the city. Most unusual, however, is the store Loved to Death. After all, who doesn’t want to wear jewelry that’s made from the eye of a raccoon? Or earrings that were made from the wings of a swallowtail butterfly?

If that’s not your style, you could spring for the necklace that was made from a seahorse that was dipped in 24k gold.

There are also taxidermy dioramas on display, set to specific scenes like a 3D painting. If you don’t want a full-sized piece of taxidermy art on your wall, there’s always the weevil beetle riding a bicycle!

My personal favorite here, however, is the shrunken heads. You can’t leave San Francisco without a shrunken head!

Oracle Park

Oracle Park

The San Francisco Giants play in Oracle Park, which is located in the city’s center and is home to the Golden Gate Bridge. Visitors will enjoy baseball as they tour around town at Oracle Park, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge. Purchase first baseline tickets for a stunning panoramic view from the ballpark.

When a game isn’t visible, schedule an 80-minute ballpark tour for a behind-the-scenes look at areas that are not accessible to the general public. You may discover the most fascinating historical moments while learning about architectural features during a tour.

The Wave Organ

The Wave Organ

The Wave Organ is a pretty rad sculpture located in The City by the Bay–San Francisco, California. The sweet views aren’t the only thing to enjoy when visiting The Golden Gate City; The Wave Organ is an interesting and interactive public sculpture that you won’t want to miss.

The Wave Organ was constructed on the shore of San Francisco Bay in May 1986 by The Exploratorium. Who’s The Exploratorium, you ask? The Exploratorium is a museum founded in 1969, dedicated to recent developments in the arts, sciences, and technology.

The Wave Organ was conceived and designed by Peter Richards, who was the installation artist and artist-in-residence at The Exploratorium at the time. Working with stonemason George Gonzales, Richards created this one-of-a-kind sculpture that uses the movement of waves to create sound. The organ is made up of two types of pipes: 25 PVC and 12 granite.

The PVC pipes are routed through a series of chambers that amplify the noise created by the waves crashing into them, while the granite pipes work similarly but produce a lower tone.

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum
Image by Joyofmuseums used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

The Asian Art Museum is one of the top attractions in San Francisco, and for good reason. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of Asian art in the world, with more than 18,000 pieces on display.

The Asian Art Museum is also constantly rotating its exhibits, so there’s always something new to see. Recent exhibitions have Francisco is a beautiful city with a lot to offer, and no trip to this incredible place would be complete without spending time at one of the many amazing museums or gardens.

The Asian Art Museum is located in the Civic Center area of San Francisco, close to City Hall and other important government buildings.

Public transportation is the best way to get there, as it’s within walking distance of several bus and streetcar stops. The closest BART station is Civic Center/UN Plaza.

San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Located in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is a must-visit destination for any traveler with an appreciation for nature and botany.

Boasting acres of gorgeous gardens showcasing nearly 9,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world, this unique attraction offers a unique opportunity to see some truly remarkable and diverse plant life.

If you’re looking for something fun and educational to do during your visit to San Francisco, look no further than the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Whether you’re an avid horticulturalists or simply looking for an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, this stunning botanical garden is sure to delight and educate in equal measure.

From the beautiful displays of magnolia trees and Central American cloud forest plants to the spectacular array of rare palms found anywhere in the US, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

So whether you’re exploring San Francisco on your own or with family and friends, be sure to include a trip to the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum on your itinerary.

de Young Museum

de Young Museum

The de Young Museum is an art museum located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The museum houses a diverse collection of art from various time periods and geographical locations. While the museum features prominent exhibitions of North American art and interiors, it also houses exhibits from Egypt, Greece, Rome, and elsewhere.

The de Young Museum also features British and folk arts from African America and Pacific Island cultures. Admission to the de Young Museum includes free same-day access to the Legion of Honour.

Visitors can also purchase tickets to special exhibitions, which are typically rotated on a quarterly basis. The de Young Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in art and culture while visiting San Francisco.

Hike and picnic in Angel Island State Park

Hike and picnic in Angel Island State Park

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get out of the city and enjoy some fresh air, Angel Island State Park is the perfect destination. Located just a 25-minute ferry ride from San Francisco, Angel Island is the largest natural island in the bay. The island offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is a popular spot for hiking and cycling.

There are well-paved trails throughout the park, and visitors can even climb to the top of Mount Caroline Livermore for an incredible panoramic view.

In addition to its picturesque scenery, Angel Island also boasts a number of beaches and picnic areas, making it the perfect place to spend a day in nature. Whether you’re looking to hike, cycle, or just relax in the sun, Angel Island State Park is sure to please.

Day trip to Napa Valley

Day trip to Napa Valley

Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are two of the most recognized and largest wine-growing districts in California. Many travelers visit the region on day trips to enjoy the landscape and visit several attractions along the route.

Napa is located at the southern end of this valley about 52km north of San Francisco. It is one of the most important California towns north of San Fran. There are incredible scenery areas in the region that have cooler temperatures than the coast. It was established in 1848 and named after an extinct Napa Indian tribe.

The west boundary lies between the Napa Mountains. Established wineries, vineyards, charming small towns, and hot air ballooning make Napa Valley a favorite day trip from San Francisco.

Heading north from Napa, visitors will find the town of Yountville, home to Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury hotels, and world-renowned wineries.

Calistoga, at the northern end of the valley, is known for its therapeutic hot springs and mud baths. Travelers can also enjoy exploring the many hiking trails or take a scenic drive along Highway 29 or Silverado Trail for sweeping views of vineyards, mountains, and valleys. This makes for an easy trip from the San Francisco city limits.

There are several other tours that offer Napa, Big Sur, and Muir Woods as a day trip from San Francisco.

High Tea in a historic hotel

High Tea in a historic hotel

If you’re looking for an elegant, old-world experience while visiting San Francisco, a visit to one of the city’s famous historical hotels can’t be beaten. Whether you choose the Fairmont at Nob Hill, the Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, or the Palace Hotel downtown, you’ll enjoy a classic High Tea experience in a stunningly beautiful setting.

These opulent San Francisco hotels were built back during the Victorian era and continue to offer a glimpse into that glorious time period. With their refined decor and sumptuous surroundings, they provide a wonderful backdrop for your afternoon tea ritual as you sip on dainty treats and admire the elegance of days gone by.

So if you’re looking for a truly unique way to spend an afternoon in San Francisco, why not book yourself a table at one of these historic hotels and immerse yourself in the beauty and grandeur of another age?

Union Square

Union Square best places to visit in San Francisco

Union Square is the place for serious shoppers. Major department stores and the most exclusive designer boutiques line the streets. The Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre houses the largest Bloomingdale outside of New York and the second-largest Nordstrom in the U.S.

Union Square is a shopper’s paradise, with something to suit every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or classic wardrobe staples, you’ll find it all in Union Square. So grab your credit card and get ready to shop ’til you drop.

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Final Thoughts on Visiting the San Fran

These are the best things to see and do in San Francisco, California. This vibrant city has something for everyone, from its iconic landmarks to its culturally rich neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking to explore nature, learn about history, or just enjoy some great food and shopping, you’ll find it all in San Francisco.

So whether you’re exploring San Francisco on your own or with family and friends, be sure to include a trip to the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum on your itinerary. All of the places listed above have one thing in common: they offer an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Subscribe to our free travel newsletter for even more great ideas for your next trip to San Francisco! You’ll get recommendations for the best places to visit, plus tips and advice on how to make the most of your time in this wonderful city.

FAQ

What are the must-see attractions in San Francisco?

The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, and Fisherman’s Wharf are some of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco.

What are the best things to do in San Francisco?

There is no shortage of things to do in San Francisco, from exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods to visiting world-famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the many amazing museums.

What is the best time of year to visit San Francisco?

The best time of year to visit San Francisco is typically in the spring or fall when the weather is mild. However, there are no bad times to visit this beautiful city – it is wonderful year-round!

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Deborah Hodgson

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Tour operators and travel writers always forget San Francisco's Victorians, yet they are one of the most famous sights of San Francisco that are a favorite for locals. They deserve to get World Heritage listing. I wrote a book about the coded Victorians of Haight Ashbury with a real Holy Grail in America twist.

Deborah Hodgson Investigative Writer and Art Historian