28 Matters 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 unbelievable music, wold-class meals for all budgets, a few of the BEST Asian meals within the nation, parks galore, and superb bohemian vibe to it.

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

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

However there may be additionally way more to see right here too. And simply because it’s an costly place to reside 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 matters to see and do in San Francisco

1. Take a Free Strolling Tour

The primary matter I do each time 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 professional native information. Free Excursions By Foot has a number of totally different FREE choices obtainable protecting totally different areas of town. (Simply be sure that to tip your information)

If you need one thing extra in-depth, there are additionally loads of paid excursions you’ll be able to take. Take Walks is my go-to strolling tour firm and so they provide some fascinating excursions across the metropolis. If you wish to actually be taught rather a lot (whereas having enjoyable), e book 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 a query that the enduring Golden Gate Bridge is one among San Francisco’s most well-known landmarks. Opened in 1937, it’s arguably the most-photographed bridge on the earth. At its inception, it was each the longest and the tallest suspension bridge on the earth, spanning 4,200 ft (1,280m) lengthy and standing 746 ft (227m) tall.

You may stroll throughout the bridge (which I really useful) or simply stare at it from each angle and snap your personal iconic images. When you’ve got time, make your method to the Golden Gate Nationwide Recreation Space. It has a waterfront promenade, sweeping views of the bridge, and some straightforward climbing trails.

3. Go to Crissy Subject

This park is positioned close to the bridge and makes for a pleasant follow-up. It has a seashore, some eating places, piers the place you’ll be able to see locals fishing, and loads of inexperienced house to loosen up. It provides some sweeping views of the harbor, making it a laid-back place to come back in the summertime to have a picnic, lounge within the solar, and watch life go by.

4. See The Palace of Superb Arts

The Palace of Superb Arts is a Roman-style remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Worldwide Exposition (a world’s honest held in San Francisco). The out of doors 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’ll be able to convey pals to play big Jenga, cornhole, ping pong, and different video games. The town usually 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 at the present time, you’ll be able to watch fishermen at work in Fish Alley (the primary avenue the place the fishermen work). If you wish to attempt a few 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 method 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 probably 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 12 months 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 in regards to the jail and what life was like as an inmate, and tour the inside. It will get very busy in the summertime so remember to e book forward.

+1 415-981-7625, alcatrazcruises.com. Excursions run every 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 automotive, 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 primary thoroughfare). You’ll additionally discover a number of vegan and vegetarian eating places, avenue 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. When 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 also be a enjoyable place to spend an evening out. The district has tons of nice Mexican eating places in addition to vigorous 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 avenue. Surrounded by gardens and flowers, it’s made up of eight hairpin turns as a result of, throughout the 1920s, individuals in San Francisco have been starting to drive round in vehicles. Nevertheless, most of the metropolis’s well-known hills have been too steep to navigate. The thought of utilizing a curved avenue to assist automobiles transfer downhill was embraced and the hill’s slope went from 27% to 16%. Now you’ll be able to 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 in-built 1933. Standing 180-feet tall (55m), it’s house to over 25 murals and provides a panoramic view of town. The murals right here have been painted in 1934 by native artists and depict life in San Francisco throughout the Melancholy. 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 every 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 within the United States (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. Because of racial segregation, this neighborhood grew to become predominantly Chinese language and remained so even after segregation ended.

It’s among the finest locations within the metropolis to eat and you could find some unbelievable dim sum right here. There are additionally a number of nice teahouses, bars, memento stalls, and fortune cookie makers.

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

12. Trip the Cable Automobiles

The famous streetcars of San Francisco, USA
No go to to San Francisco is full with out using on a cable automotive. The cable automotive 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 sights within the metropolis) waits may be lengthy. Be sure to 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 totally different have a look at town, take a day cruise of San Francisco Bay. You’ll get to see some wildlife, snap some nice images, and be taught in regards to the bay and its place in San Francisco’s historical past. Round 40% of California, drains into the bay and the realm is house to every kind of snakes, rays, otters, sharks, whales, sea lions, and extra. A budget-friendly method to see the bay is to take the general public ferries for $7.30 USD.

You will discover 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 quite a few ethnic and trendy 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. When you’re on the lookout 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 throughout the summer time of 1967, a.ok.a. The Summer time of Love. Hippies used to reside right here however, ultimately, all of the colourful Victorian houses have been purchased up by more comfortable residents as the realm gentrified. It’s now house to high-end boutiques, hip cages, and stylish eating places. That stated, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover some report shops, dive bars, and classic clothes shops right here.

When you actually wish to be taught extra in regards to 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 style rollerskating enviornment. They’ve DJs and reside music so it’s primarily a celebration on wheels. Admission is $10 USD and you’ll hire skates for $5 USD. It’s an affordable (and distinctive) method to have enjoyable and meet individuals. There are occasions for each children and adults too and so they even set up classes for individuals who have by no means roller-skated earlier than.

554 Fillmore St., +1 415-752-1967, churchof8wheels.com. Open Friday-Sunday. Examine 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 positioned simply 16 miles from downtown so its a straightforward place to go to. The place is house to over 240 acres of towering old-growth redwood bushes. Whereas the bushes right here are usually not as large because the sequoia bushes 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 Technology (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 test the web site to see if something is occurring throughout your go to.

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

19. Study on the Exploratorium

This interactive science museum has every kind of exhibitions protecting biology, gravity, gentle, animation, and way more. It’s very hands-on so it’s the right cease for anybody touring with children (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. Cling Out in Golden Gate Park

This large 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 plenty of climbing and strolling trails. Strolling from finish to finish takes the higher half a day. In the summertime, it’s a preferred spot to picnic, go for a stroll, and absorb the solar. Although it sees over 24 million guests every year, it’s by no means too exhausting 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 workforce). When you’re on the town throughout a sport, remember to head to Oracle Area and take within the spectacle — it doesn’t get extra American than this! The workforce is likely one of the longest-established and most profitable within the league and you may get tickets for underneath $10 USD.

22. Go to the Cable Automotive Museum

When the cable vehicles launched in 1873, they have been massively well-liked and so they modified the face of town. To be taught extra and see every kind of images and relics from a bygone period, together with a few of the unique vehicles, head to this museum. It’s not large however it’s enjoyable and insightful.

1201 Mason Avenue, +1 415-474-1887, cablecarmuseum.org. Open every 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
When 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 automotive, there are many corporations that set up day journeys to Napa Valley (often for between $99-150 USD per individual). Nevertheless, day excursions are often a bit rushed. When you’ve got the time, hire a automotive 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 a number of trails weaving across the mountains so you’ll be able to hike for a few hours right here if you happen to needed.

25. Take a Meals Tour

This metropolis is understood for its meals. If you wish to solid a large culinary web and take a look at plenty of totally different meals, contemplate taking a meals tour. Listed here are a number of corporations value testing if you happen to’re contemplating:

  • Wild SF Excursions – A tasty meals crawl of Chinatown and Little Italy the place you’ll be able to 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 totally 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 of 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, and so they even have their very own “Ale Path” if you wish to wander town and pattern its finest drinks.

It’s also possible to go to Oakland Redwood Regional Park, Lake Merritt, or catch a baseball sport at Oakland Coliseum. There’s rather a lot you are able to do in Oakland and you’ll 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 the earth. 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 trendy artwork exhibitions in addition to historic artifacts and art work. Examine the web site to see what short-term 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 plenty of distinctive excursions and museums right here. Among 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 time 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 every kind of bizarre decorations, themed rooms, secret passageways, hidden rooms, and all types of bizarre artwork and inside design.
  • The Peephole Cinema – Watch quick silent movies by means of a tiny public peephole within the Mission District.
  • Musée Mécanique – A group of over 300 previous arcade video games from the 20th century.


Whereas San Francisco could also be recognized for its excessive value of dwelling, there are tons of enjoyable matters to see and do within the metropolis that received’t break the financial institution. With a little bit planning and creativity, you’ll be able to take pleasure in your time in San Francisco with out going over price range.

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

Guide Your Journey to San Francisco: Logistical Ideas and Methods

Guide Your Flight
Discover a low-cost flight by utilizing 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.

Guide Your Lodging
You may e book 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 urged 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 defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes improper. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that supply the very best service and worth are:

Searching for the Greatest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Try my useful resource web page for the very best corporations to make use of once you journey! I record all those I take advantage of to economize once I journey – and I feel will enable you to too!

Want a Information?
San Francisco has some actually nice excursions on provide. For an in-depth strolling tour, take a look at <a href="Take Walks. They use professional native guides and have an excellent 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 totally different excursions across the metropolis and are an incredible different to a typical strolling tour.

Searching for Extra Info on Visiting San Francisco?
Try my in-depth vacation spot information to San Francisco with extra recommendations on what to see and do, prices, methods to avoid wasting, and far, way more!

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