28 Issues to See and Do in San Francisco

The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA at sunset

Up to date: 03/24/20 | March 24th, 2020

I liked visiting San Francisco from the beginning. It’s a metropolis house to hippies, techies, artists, immigrants, college students, and everybody in between. There’s unimaginable music, wold-class meals for all budgets, a number of the BEST Asian meals within the nation, parks galore, and wonderful bohemian vibe to it.

With so many numerous influences, it’s no shock that San Francisco has advanced right into a world-class metropolis that has a ton of wonderful issues to see and do.

Personally, I like visiting San Francisco for the meals. It’s house to a number of the greatest Asian and Mexican meals within the nation (in addition to some unimaginable cafes).

However there may be additionally rather more to see right here too. And simply because it’s an costly place to dwell doesn’t imply a go to has to interrupt the financial institution both.

That can assist you plan your journey, listed here are the very best 28 issues to see and do in San Francisco

1. Take a Free Strolling Tour

The very first thing I do at any time when I arrive in a brand new vacation spot is to take a strolling tour. It’s one of the best ways to get the lay of the land, see the highlights, and ask your inquiries to an skilled native information. Free Excursions By Foot has a number of completely different FREE choices obtainable masking completely different areas of town. (Simply make sure that to tip your information)

If you would like one thing extra in-depth, there are additionally loads of paid excursions you possibly can take. Take Walks is my go-to strolling tour firm they usually provide some fascinating excursions across the metropolis. If you wish to actually be taught rather a lot (whereas having enjoyable), ebook a tour with them!

2. Stroll the Golden Gate Bridge

The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA in the summer

There isn’t any query that the enduring Golden Gate Bridge is one in all San Francisco’s most well-known landmarks. Opened in 1937, it’s arguably the most-photographed bridge on this planet. At its inception, it was each the longest and the tallest suspension bridge on this planet, spanning 4,200 ft (1,280m) lengthy and standing 746 ft (227m) tall.

You may stroll throughout the bridge (which I advisable) or simply stare at it from each angle and snap your personal iconic photographs. In case you have time, make your solution to the Golden Gate Nationwide Recreation Space. It has a waterfront promenade, sweeping views of the bridge, and some simple mountain climbing trails.

3. Go to Crissy Subject

This park is situated close to the bridge and makes for a pleasant follow-up. It has a seaside, some eating places, piers the place you possibly can see locals fishing, and loads of inexperienced house to calm down. It presents some sweeping views of the harbor, making it a laid-back place to return in the summertime to have a picnic, lounge within the solar, and watch life go by.

4. See The Palace of High-quality Arts

The Palace of High-quality Arts is a Roman-style remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Worldwide Exposition (a world’s truthful held in San Francisco). The outside rotunda and its lagoon are one other one of many metropolis’s most photographed sights. It’s additionally a enjoyable social vacation spot the place you possibly can deliver mates to play big Jenga, cornhole, ping pong, and different video games. The town typically has occasions right here.

601 Lyon Avenue, +1 415-608-2220, palaceoffinearts.com. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is free (some occasions cost admission).

5. Wander Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39

The wharf was initially dominated by Italian immigrants who helped popularize town’s fish market. To today, you possibly can watch fishermen at work in Fish Alley (the principle road the place the fishermen work). If you wish to attempt a number of the mouthwatering seafood that San Francisco is legendary for, I sugged Waterbar and the Anchor Oyster Bar.

Pier 39 is touristy however it’s additionally a enjoyable solution to spend an hour or so. There are buskers, cheesy memento retailers, arcades, an aquarium, and tons of overpriced eating places (so keep away from consuming right here).

6. Discover Alcatraz

The infamous Alcatraz prison on an island off of San Francisco, USA

Alcatraz might be essentially the most well-known (or notorious) jail in America. From 1934-1963, it housed the nation’s most infamous criminals (criminals like Al Capone). In its 29 yr historical past, not a single prisoner efficiently escaped (or so they are saying). After its closure, it grew to become a nationwide landmark. Guests can discover the island, be taught concerning the jail and what life was like as an inmate, and tour the inside. It will get very busy in the summertime so make sure you ebook forward.

+1 415-981-7625, alcatrazcruises.com. Excursions run day by day year-round and value $39.90 USD which incorporates an audio tour.

7. Take a Day Journey to Berkeley

Situated simply 20 minutes throughout the bay by automobile, Berkeley is house to music, hippies, college students, and the College of California – Berkeley (30% of town’s inhabitants go to high school right here). You may take a tour of the campus (self-guided or guided), hike up the Berkeley Hills, or store on Fourth Avenue (the principle thoroughfare). You’ll additionally discover plenty of vegan and vegetarian eating places, road performers, and eclectic retailers to browse.

8. Hand around in the Mission

For an incredible view of town, head to Dolores Park within the Mission District. In the event you’re a historical past buff, don’t miss the Misión San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores). Based in 1776, it’s the oldest surviving construction within the metropolis and residential to the one cemetery inside metropolis limits. It’s the construction that offers this a part of city its identify.

The Mission District can be a enjoyable place to spend an evening out. The district has tons of nice Mexican eating places in addition to full of life bars and golf equipment. Seize a burrito at Taqueria Cancún or Papolete, or go to one of many cocktail bars on 16th (Dalva is nice).

9. See Lombard Avenue

That is the world’s windiest road. Surrounded by gardens and flowers, it’s made up of eight hairpin turns as a result of, through the 1920s, individuals in San Francisco have been starting to drive round in cars. Nonetheless, lots of the metropolis’s well-known hills have been too steep to navigate. The thought of utilizing a curved road to assist autos transfer downhill was embraced and the hill’s slope went from 27% to 16%. Now you possibly can watch the vehicles and bikers navigate the sharp turns as vacationers gawk at them.

10. Go to Coit Tower

Perched atop Telegraph Hill, this artwork deco tower was inbuilt 1933. Standing 180-feet tall (55m), it’s house to over 25 murals and presents a panoramic view of town. The murals right here have been painted in 1934 by native artists and depict life in San Francisco through the Despair. The tower grew to become a San Francisco Designated Landmark in 1984 and was added to the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 2008.

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, +1 315-249-0995,sfrecpark.org/vacation spot/telegraph-hill-pioneer-park/coit-tower. Open day by day from 10am-5pm (6pm in the summertime). Admission is $6 USD for metropolis residents and $9 USD for guests.

11. Eat in Chinatown

That is the largest Chinatown in the US (and it’s the second most well-known, after New York Metropolis. Chinese language immigrants first got here to the West Coast within the 1850s and arrange store in San Francisco. As a consequence of racial segregation, this neighborhood grew to become predominantly Chinese language and remained so even after segregation ended.

It’s top-of-the-line locations within the metropolis to eat and you could find some unimaginable dim sum right here. There are additionally plenty of nice teahouses, bars, memento stalls, and fortune cookie makers.

To essentially be taught concerning the space, its historical past, and its individuals, take a strolling tour with Take Walks. They’re my go-to strolling tour firm as a result of they use skilled native guides and their excursions are at all times enjoyable and academic.

12. Journey the Cable Automobiles

The famous streetcars of San Francisco, USA

No go to to San Francisco is full with out using on a cable automobile. The cable automobile system in San Francisco is the final manually-operated system in all the world. Of the 22 strains that have been initially created within the 19th century, solely three are nonetheless in operation. Since there may be restricted seating (and since they’re one of many greatest vacationer points of interest within the metropolis) waits may be lengthy. Ensure you plan forward (attempt to go throughout a weekday when there are fewer guests). Tickets are $7 USD.

13. Go on a Harbor Tour

For a totally completely different have a look at town, take a day cruise of San Francisco Bay. You’ll get to see some wildlife, snap some nice photographs, and be taught concerning the bay and its place in San Francisco’s historical past. Round 40% of California, drains into the bay and the world is house to all types of snakes, rays, otters, sharks, whales, sea lions, and extra. A budget-friendly solution to see the bay is to take the general public ferries for $7.30 USD.

You could find costs and routes at sanfranciscobayferry.com.

14. Hand around in the Castro

San Fransico has been the de facto homosexual capital of the US for the reason that 60s and 70s. The homosexual hub within the metropolis is the Castro, San Francisco’s well-known homosexual neighborhood (Harvey Milk, the primary brazenly homosexual elected official in California, had his workplace right here). The neighborhood has various ethnic and fashionable eating places in addition to a bunch that serve locally-sourced natural meals. On high of that, there are a plethora of untamed and enjoyable golf equipment that cater to each homosexual and straight crowds. In the event you’re searching for a enjoyable nightlife, that is the neighborhood for you.

15. Discover Haight-Ashbury

The birthplace of America’s counterculture, the Haight was floor zero through the summer time of 1967, a.okay.a. The Summer season of Love. Hippies used to dwell right here however, finally, all of the colourful Victorian properties have been purchased up by more comfortable residents as the world gentrified. It’s now house to high-end boutiques, hip cages, and stylish eating places. That mentioned, you possibly can nonetheless discover some report shops, dive bars, and classic clothes shops right here.

In the event you actually wish to be taught extra concerning the space’s hippy previous, take the Flower Energy Strolling Tour. It’s simply $20 USD and can stroll you thru the neighborhood’s vibrant and eclectic previous.

16. Rollerskate in Church

The Church of Eight Wheels is a former church that has been transformed to an old-fashioned rollerskating area. They’ve DJs and dwell music so it’s basically a celebration on wheels. Admission is $10 USD and you may hire skates for $5 USD. It’s an affordable (and distinctive) solution to have enjoyable and meet individuals. There are occasions for each youngsters and adults too they usually even manage classes for individuals who have by no means roller-skated earlier than.

554 Fillmore St., +1 415-752-1967, churchof8wheels.com. Open Friday-Sunday. Verify the web site for occasions as there are each all-ages and adult-only occasions.

17. See Muir Woods

The massive trees in the serene Muir Woods in San Francisco, USA

Named after famed naturalist John Muir, it’s situated simply 16 miles from downtown so its a simple place to go to. The place is house to over 240 acres of towering old-growth redwood timber. Whereas the timber right here are usually not as huge because the sequoia timber in close by Sequoia Nationwide Park, it’s nonetheless a soothing place to go to. There are many strolling trails and it’s household/kid-friendly too.

18. Go to the Beat Museum

Devoted to the Beat Era (the 1950s counter-culture), right here you’ll discover unique manuscripts, uncommon books, letters, and extra from authors like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Based in 2003, the museums has over 1,000 items of memorabilia together with Ginsber’s typewriter and a primary version copy of Kerouac’s novel The City and the Metropolis. In addition they maintain common occasions so verify the web site to see if something is occurring throughout your go to.

540 Broadway, +1 800-537-6822, kerouac.com. Open day by day from 10am-7pm. Admission is $Eight USD.

19. Be taught on the Exploratorium

This interactive science museum has all types of exhibitions masking biology, gravity, gentle, animation, and rather more. It’s very hands-on so it’s the right cease for anybody touring with youngsters (although there are additionally adult-specific exhibitions too).

Pier 15, +1 415-528-4444, exploratorium.edu. Open Tuesday–Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is $29.95 USD.

20. Hold Out in Golden Gate Park

This huge park covers over 1,000 acres, making it 20% greater than Central Park in NYC. Inside, you’ll discover a Japanese backyard, an arboretum, a museum, and many mountain climbing and strolling trails. Strolling from finish to finish takes the higher half a day. In the summertime, it’s a well-liked spot to picnic, go for a stroll, and take in the solar. Though it sees over 24 million guests annually, it’s by no means too arduous to discover a secluded spot for your self.

21. Catch a Recreation

Oracle Arena in San Francisco at night full of fans

San Francisco locals love their sports activities groups, particularly the Giants (their baseball staff). In the event you’re on the town throughout a recreation, make sure you head to Oracle Enviornment and take within the spectacle — it doesn’t get extra American than this! The staff is likely one of the longest-established and most profitable within the league and you may get tickets for beneath $10 USD.

22. Go to the Cable Automotive Museum

When the cable vehicles launched in 1873, they have been massively fashionable they usually modified the face of town. To be taught extra and see all types of photographs and relics from a bygone period, together with a number of the unique vehicles, head to this museum. It’s not big however it’s enjoyable and insightful.

1201 Mason Avenue, +1 415-474-1887, cablecarmuseum.org. Open day by day from 10am-5pm (6pm in the summertime). Admission is free.

23. Tour Wine Nation

A glass of wine being poured on a table outside in Napa Valley, USA

In the event you love wine and have time to depart town, go to the world-famous Napa and Sonoma wine areas. Napa is likely one of the world’s main wine-producing space and yearly over Three million individuals come to style their means across the area. Situated simply over an hour from town by automobile, there are many firms that manage day journeys to Napa Valley (normally for between $99-150 USD per particular person). Nonetheless, day excursions are normally a bit rushed. In case you have the time, hire a automobile and keep in a single day.

24. Benefit from the View from Twin Peaks

For an additional panoramic view of town, drive or hike as much as the highest of Twin Peaks. Standing 925 ft excessive, you’ll get a sweeping 360-degree view of town. Come for sundown and benefit from the view. There are additionally plenty of trails weaving across the mountains so you possibly can hike for a few hours right here in case you wished.

25. Take a Meals Tour

This metropolis is understood for its meals. If you wish to forged a large culinary internet and take a look at quite a lot of completely different meals, think about taking a meals tour. Listed below are a number of firms value trying out in case you’re contemplating:

  • Wild SF Excursions – A tasty meals crawl of Chinatown and Little Italy the place you possibly can attempt dim sum, pizza, craft cocktail-inspired boba milk tea, and cannoli. Tickets from $69.
  • Secret Meals Excursions – Pattern the very best of the Mission District, together with burritos, oysters, ice cream, and extra! Tickets from $79 USD.
  • TasteBud Excursions – A culinary exploration of Little Italy that stops off at 7 completely different native eating places. Tickets from $68.50.


26. Day Journey to Oakland

Simply throughout the Bay Bridge from San Francisco is Oakland. It’s thought-about the “Brooklyn” to San Francisco’s “Manhattan.” In recent times, Oakland has developed a distinct segment for and craft beer and specialty eating places. There are tons of bars and breweries, they usually even have their very own “Ale Path” if you wish to wander town and pattern its greatest drinks.

You may also go to Oakland Redwood Regional Park, Lake Merritt, or catch a baseball recreation at Oakland Coliseum. There’s rather a lot you are able to do in Oakland and you may simply spend a day or extra right here!

27. Go to the Asian Artwork Museum

This is likely one of the most complete collections of Asian artwork on this planet. The museum homes nearly 20,000 objects in its assortment and you may get a free guided tour to stroll you thru all of the highlights and particular reveals that the museum has to supply. There are each fashionable artwork exhibitions in addition to historic artifacts and art work. Verify the web site to see what momentary exhibitions can be found throughout your go to.

200 Larkin St., +1 415-581-3500, asianart.org. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm (9pm on Thursdays). Admission is $15 USD.

28. Take a Quirky Tour or Go to a Bizarre Museum

San Francisco is an eclectic metropolis to say the least so it ought to come as no shock that there are quite a lot of distinctive excursions and museums right here. A few of the extra enjoyable and fascinating excursions choices are:

  • San Francisco Love Excursions – Discover town in a hand painted VW bus and study San Francisco’s counter-culture icons whereas listening to hippie music from the Summer season of Love. Excursions from $45 USD.
  • GoCar Excursions – Whip across the metropolis in a go kart and see the sights as you bomb down hills (together with the winding Lombard Avenue). Excursions from $120 USD.

And, for bizarre / offbeat museums, go to:

  • The Vintage Vibrator Museum – See what intercourse toys from the 1800s appears to be like like!
  • The Gregangelo Museum – This “museum” is bursting with all types of bizarre decorations, themed rooms, secret passageways, hidden rooms, and all types of bizarre artwork and inside design.
  • The Peephole Cinema – Watch brief silent movies by means of a tiny public peephole within the Mission District.
  • Musée Mécanique – A set of over 300 outdated arcade video games from the 20th century.


Whereas San Francisco could also be identified for its excessive price of residing, there are tons of enjoyable issues to see and do within the metropolis that gained’t break the financial institution. With a bit of planning and creativity, you possibly can get pleasure from your time in San Francisco with out going over funds.

And whether or not you’re searching for museums, nature, meals, or nightlife, this metropolis won’t disappoint.

Ebook Your Journey to San Francisco: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

Ebook Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

Ebook Your Lodging
You may ebook your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost motels. I take advantage of them on a regular basis. My recommended place is the The Inexperienced Tortoise. It’s the very best hostel within the metropolis. It has free breakfast, pub crawls, and dinners thrice per week.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that provide the very best service and worth are:

Searching for the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of while you journey! I record all those I take advantage of to economize once I journey – and I believe will make it easier to too!

Want a Information?
San Francisco has some actually nice excursions on provide. For an in-depth strolling tour, take a look at Take Walks. They use skilled native guides and have a brilliant insightful (and enjoyable) tour by means of Chinatown.

For one thing extra hands-on like a segway tour, use Fats Tire Excursions. They’ve a number of completely different excursions across the metropolis and are an awesome various to a regular strolling tour.

Searching for Extra Info on Visiting San Francisco?
Take a look at my in-depth vacation spot information to San Francisco with extra recommendations on what to see and do, prices, methods to save lots of, and far, rather more!

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