San Francisco is a city in Northern California, located along the Pacific Ocean. It has the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and rolling hills. It features great neighborhoods, parks, beaches, museums, and much more. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.
Tourists love to visit Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf, but there are plenty of other things to do in the city. Chinatown is the largest in North America, and tourists should definitely stop by. The cable cars are also a very popular option for tourists.
San Francisco is known for its tourist attractions, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Lombard Street. Check out our list of these top attractions.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a spectacular California landmark. It is the most photographed site in San Francisco, with its orange structure silhouetted against the blue water, or peaking through the low lying cloud cover. At night, it is equally striking, with its flood-lit structure.
The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco with Marin County and other areas north. Once, it was considered the greatest man-made sight in the United States. Built in 1937, this bridge took four years to build and at the time of its completion, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, measuring approximately two miles.
To get to the Golden Gate Bridge, you can take the shuttle from the Presidio. When you get on the bridge, you’ll find two walkways. One side of the bridge is in San Francisco, and the other is in Marin County. Once you get on the bridge, you’ll see that it has two sides, one in San Francisco and one in Marin County.
On the eastern side of the bridge, you will see that there are two sidewalks. One is for pedestrians, and the other is for bicycles. The bridge opens to pedestrians and cyclists only during daylight hours.
A great view of the bridge is available from the San Francisco side, an area known for its high-end mansions. The views are particularly spectacular from Nob Hill, where gorgeous homes mean that you’ll have ideal vantage points.
If you’re thinking about visiting San Francisco, you can look into visiting Alcatraz. It’s a great spot to take a boat tour. Just across the bridge is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It’s filled with amazing sights and hiking trails.
2. Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is a small island located in the San Francisco Bay off the coast of California. It is home to one of America’s most infamous prisons, which operated from 1934 to 1963. The notorious prison closed in 1963 and was abandoned until it was turned into a tourist attraction in 1973.
Many of America’s most infamous criminals were once prisoners here. For example, Al Capone was one of the most famous and well-known criminals of the early 20th century. He served his time in Alcatraz and then went on to become a famous gangster. The prison also held Robert Stroud, who was nicknamed “The Birdman.” He grew birds and became famous for his work with them. In fact, he would later serve as the inspiration for a movie called The Birdman
You can take a ferry to the island and explore the prison while listening to an audio recording about life in Alcatraz. The recording is voiced by former inmates and guards, giving a unique insight into the jail’s history.
The prison was opened in 1985 and closed in 2015. It had a total of 1,576 prisoners in the entire history of the prison. There were never more than 250 prisoners at any time in the prison, even though there were 450 small cells for them. Sometimes there were more guards and staff than convicts.
While it’s true that Alcatraz no longer houses inmates, it is now an important nesting ground for birds.
Taking a combined Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour is a great way to see some of the city’s most popular attractions. You can save time and money, see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and get a good idea of Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf all in one day.
If you are in San Francisco, don’t miss Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz tours are popular and often sell out. If you want to visit Alcatraz, booking in advance is essential.
3. Fisherman’s Wharf
If you are in San Francisco for the first time, you must see Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city and is home to several excellent restaurants and souvenir shops.
This little section of San Francisco, once known as the Little Italy of the city, is now a tourist hotspot. It’s home to shops, restaurants, and beautiful views. The views from Pier 39 are especially stunning.
Pier 39 is a place where you can stroll around and get a real feel for the city. It’s also a great place to go on a sightseeing cruise to get spectacular views of the city. If you’re looking for a fun activity, consider going fishing on a charter. One of the best spots to see sea lions is by pier 39.
In Fisherman’s Wharf, visitors can explore a museum with models of famous people in wax, a collection of old arcade games, and the unbelievable oddities of a man named Ripley. The waterfront is lined with ships from the past. A few of them have been restored and are now a national park.
At the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, visitors can enjoy a host of unique attractions. One of these is the USS Pampanito, a WWII submarine and national historic landmark. It is also home to Pier 39 which has unique stores and restaurants.
4. Ride the Cable Cars
Cable cars were introduced in the 19th century to help people cope with all of San Francisco’s hills. These unique vehicles are now popular with tourists, who love their charming, old-fashioned feel. Cable cars are unique in that they are the only public transport system to be declared a historic monument.
The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable cars are the most scenic routes, taking you to major tourist attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, the Ferry Building, Nob Hill, and Lombard Street. You can buy tickets onboard or buy a pass if you will be riding multiple times or sightseeing for several days.
5. Golden Gate Park
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is a lush area of gardens and museums. It is often called the “lungs” of the city, as it is a large green space in the center of the city. Before the park was developed, it was an arid, sandy area.
San Francisco has an incredible park. The Golden Gate Park is a network of walking and biking trails, with more than 5,000 different species of plants and dozens of species of trees, lakes, bridle paths, and a buffalo paddock. The main attractions include the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences Museum with Steinhart Aquarium, and the Japanese Tea Garden.
Whether you’re visiting San Francisco for a day or a week, it’s difficult to do everything by foot. Renting bikes is an excellent way to explore Golden Gate Park, but you can also go on the two-and-a-half hour Segway Tour with a local guide. This will allow you to see all the major highlights.
The Chinatown in San Francisco is a bustling tourist destination, a world of its own. It is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and one of the oldest in North America. It was completely destroyed in the 1906 earthquake but was rebuilt with an even more Chinese flair.
San Francisco is a famous city in the US. One of its must-see attractions is Chinatown. This neighborhood is filled with famous temples, theaters, workshops, small businesses, stores, antique and souvenir shops, teahouses, and traditional pharmacies.
If you are traveling in SF during a Chinese holiday or event, you can expect to see an elaborate celebration. Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco are the best in North America. The main street for tourists is Grant Avenue, with the Chinatown Gateway at Grant Avenue and Bush Street.
If you want to see some more of San Francisco, you can follow our walking tour of Chinatown. It’s a great way to see the city if you’re not into riding public transport.
7. Legion of Honor
The Legion of Honor is a museum with an impressive neoclassical Beaux-Arts building. The museum, the gift of the philanthropist Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, is located in an amazing setting. It was built in honor of the veterans of the US armed forces.
Because of her love for Paris, the museum was designed to look like the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris.
The Legion of Honor museum has a wonderful collection of European decorative arts, sculpture, and paintings. It also contains antiquities from the Mediterranean and Near East. Additionally, admission to this museum gets you same-day admission to the de Young Museum.
The museum is in Lincoln Park, a wonderful outdoor space with a golf course and coastal woodlands. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk, and you can even follow Lincoln Highway, which offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Looking for a hike with a view? The Land’s End Trail is an incredible trail along rugged coastlines and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. It is also the perfect place to view the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
8. Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is an architectural masterpiece. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places because its classical design and placement on a lagoon make for a beautiful harmony of nature and man-made art.
The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful place for art and performances. The structure has been restored and can be used to exhibit art. Today, many people come to the theater to see performances. It has 1,000 seats.
9. California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind building that has an incredible history. The museum is green, with a green roof that is covered with native plants and rolling hills. It’s an architectural marvel that showcases the environment in all its glory.
The roof has solar panels that generate electricity. The house is made of glass, which lets in sunlight. The soil acts as insulation to keep the house warm.
Inside the Steinhart Aquarium are thousands of different species that are alive. It is an aquarium, rainforest, natural history museum, and planetarium. The Osher Rainforest has many different amphibian and animal species inside. The trees are made of glass so you can see all the animals in their natural habitat.
The Kimball Natural History Museum is located in Nebraska and contains the largest collection of mounted North American animals in the world. It is open to the public and houses a T-Rex skeleton, a blue whale skeleton, and many interesting exhibits. It is open to the public.
10. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Seventy-nine years old, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has become one of the city’s most important museums. With 170,000 square feet of space, it is spread across 10 floors. The museum primarily focuses on 20th-century art, in all forms. It is constantly changing and exhibits are innovative and interesting.
The permanent collection contains 33,000 pieces. One of the most interesting collections is the Fisher Collection.
The museum is located in a modern, architecturally stunning building. It was extensively renovated and expanded in 2016. The light and airy building is designed to be wandered about.
If you eat at Café 5, try the tomato soup. Or maybe the tuna sandwich. The restaurant is in the sculpture garden, and it’s delicious. If you’re looking for a more gourmet experience, try to get a table at In Situ. It has a Michelin star and is well known for its food and service.
11. de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
San Francisco has a ton of art museums. The de Young Museum is one of the most famous, the largest in all of San Francisco, and probably the biggest art museum in all of California. The museum is filled with works from all over the world, but it’s especially known for its collection of North American art. The museum covers a variety of time periods and even has some Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Near Eastern art.
The de Young Museum in San Francisco, one of the most important museums in the world, also has a collection of art from Africa, America, and the Pacific Islands. It includes art from Britain as well. If you go to the de Young Museum, you can also go to the Legion of Honor for free on the same day.
12. Twin Peaks
If you want to see the city and the bay, get to one of these two hills. It’s easy to get there. You can drive to the north peak parking area, park your car, and soak up the amazing view.
San Francisco has many hills, but few provide the beautiful scenery of Twin Peaks. Hikers who make their way to the top will find incredible views of the Bay Area. As they admire the vistas, they may feel like they’re on the highest hill in San Francisco. They’re not: that honor goes to Mount Davidson, which is 33 feet higher than Twin Peaks.
San Francisco is famous for its hills, but there are two that remain untouched. They are called the Twin Peaks, which are named after their shape. The Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza called them the Breasts of the Indian Maiden. Even on warm days, a cool breeze blows in from the Pacific Ocean.
13. Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is the most important museum in the city. It was founded by art collector Avery Brundage in 1966. The basis of its collection consists of artworks collected by Brundage.
There was once a man named Mr. Brundage. He had a collection of art. But he didn’t want to keep it for himself. He wanted to give it to the people of San Francisco, to show them the beauty in all kinds of art around the world. He built a museum to house his collection, and when he died in 1975, his legacy included the rest of his collection.
The museum has been busy collecting works from various cultures. The collection is now huge and contains thousands of sculptures, paintings, bronzes, ceramics, jade carvings, and architectural fragments from Japan, Korea, China, India, Iran, and other Asiatic cultures. The pieces span more than 6,000 years. The museum is planning a large expansion.
The Exploratorium is one of the top family attractions in San Francisco. With exhibits for both children and adults, it gives visitors a chance to learn science. The museum has many exhibits, which are all designed to educate and entertain.
This museum is a favorite of children and parents alike. Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll enjoy this museum’s many hands-on exhibits and demonstrations.
15. High Tea at a Historic Hotel
Tourists can experience the city’s history and glamour at a historic hotel. The Fairmont San Francisco is a grand hotel on Nob Hill, opened in 1907. It’s known for its opulent decor and elegant ambience. The Fairmont offers high tea on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ritz-Carlton is a hotel company that operates luxury hotels and resorts around the world. The company is headquartered in Maryland and was founded by C.J. and Ella Pulitzer in 1907. Ritz-Carlton has a portfolio of brands that includes JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels Resorts Suites, Autograph Collection Hotels, Tribute Portfolio Hotels, Design Hotels™ and Protea Hotels.
The Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is one of the oldest hotels in the city. It’s located near Market Street in downtown San Francisco. Visitors are greeted by its enormous Garden Court area, where traditional afternoon tea is served with fine china, sterling silver, and classic specialties like finger sandwiches and handmade scones.
16. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is not to be confused with Golden Gate Park. This 600-square-mile natural area is located across the bridge from San Francisco. This park is a Biosphere Reserve and home to many attractions. It also offers visitors the chance to enjoy nature and relax.
The park has many beautiful spots for leisure and relaxation. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a wonderful location for camping, picnics, and beach walks. The park is also filled with history and has some historic locations such as the Fort Baker, a former US Army post from the early 20th century.
17. Oracle Park
If you want to play ball at Oracle Park, home to the San Francisco Giants, don’t buy tickets along the left or right court lines. Seeing the beautiful sea view while watching the game, buy a ticket along the first base line or third base line or behind home plate.
If you can’t watch the game, consider taking a 90-minute tour of the baseball field. You’ll learn about the history of the place and see areas that are off limits to most fans. Tours are available for most games, so check the online calendar first.
18. Day Trip to Napa Valley
Napa Valley is less than 1.5 hours from San Francisco. It has a beautiful landscape and is visited by tourists from all over the world. One of the best things to do in Napa Valley is to take a tour of the vineyards.
Napa Valley is located at the southern end of Napa County, about 52 miles north of San Francisco. It’s one of the largest communities in Northern California. The climate is typically dry, but the scenery is amazing.
The Napa Valley was formed in 1848. It was named after a long extinct Native American tribe called the Napa Indians. The valley’s western border is formed by the Napa Mountains and its eastern border is formed by the Howell Mountains. These two mountain ranges protect the valley from storms.
19. Hike and Picnic on Angel Island State Park
If you can’t bear the thought of visiting another tourist trap in San Francisco, take a 25-minute ferry ride from Pier 41 to Angel Island State Park for an escape into nature. The largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island has spectacular views of the surrounding bay.
On the island, you can hike next to beautiful scenery. The island has 11 campsites, five picnic areas, and scenic beaches for sunbathing. You can even hike to the top of Mount Caroline Livermore, which has sensational views.
The island is open all year long, except during winter. It has two restaurants that are very popular. The café is open all week during most of the year. The restaurant is open on weekends during the summer and features live music performances.
20. Ghirardelli Square
A historic square in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf area, it is bordered by galleries and restaurants in renovated warehouses. It was inaugurated in 1964, and was followed by a number of similar projects throughout the city.
Ghirardelli Square is a center for the community. It’s a place for lovers of chocolate, art, and entertainment. It has a great restaurant and serves as a place to rest and relax. If you love chocolate, you’ll want to come taste some treats at the Ghirardelli factory. The original building was built in 1916 to look like a castle in France. Later additions include rose gardens and beautiful views.