things to do in San Francisco California

60 things to do in San Francisco, California

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There are many things to do in San Francisco and also many tourist attractions to visit in this city. We ended our US West Coast road trip here and, despite being tired after exploring for 10 days, I really enjoyed my stay in San Francisco.

The most unique thing about the city is that it is located in a bay. Unlike other large cities in the United States, its relaxed atmosphere makes you immediately feel at home. In addition, its good weather throughout the year means that there is always cool stuff to do in SF.

To help you plan your trip, I’ve summarized the most important places to visit in San Francisco in this article. However, before exploring on your own, I recommend you book a free tour to get to know San Francisco and discover its history.

If you also want to access some of the different paid attractions in the city during your visit, I recommend getting the San Francisco Explorer Pass, which will allow you to visit 3, 4, or 5 attractions for free out of the city’s 25 top attractions. You have to use this pass within 30 days of its activation. The San Francisco Go Card is great option since you can use it over a certain number of days, and it gives you access to 29 different attractions.

In the following section, you’ll find the 60 best places to visit in San Francisco.

1. Golden Gate Bridge, the most important attraction to visit in San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most important tourist attractions in San Francisco, as it’s the most iconic suspension bridge in the city and also very popular worldwide.

Golden Gate, the most famous bridge to visit in San Francisco

1. Golden Gate Bridge, the most important attraction to visit in San Francisco

Its total length is 1.7 miles, while the hanging part has a length of 0.8 miles. In addition, the bridge is suspended at 220 feet high. All of this makes it one of the longest and tallest suspension bridges in the world.

Fun fact: the bridge is constantly undergoing maintenance. Its great length means that when painters finish painting it, they immediately have to start again at the opposite end.

To see and take good photos of the Golden Gate, I recommend the following five lookout points: Battery Spencer, Vista Point, Baker Beach, Fort Point, and Crissy Field.

2. Visit Alcatraz Prison, the best thing to do in San Francisco

The famous Alcatraz prison is one of the essential places to visit in San Francisco. It no longer functions as such and is now open to the public.

Alcatraz prison, the most famous supermax prison in the world

2. Visit Alcatraz Prison, the best thing to do in San Francisco

Alcatraz was a maximum-security prison where criminals who were considered very dangerous, such as Al Capone, George Kelly, and Robert Stroud (who tried to escape on fourteen occasions), did their time. In the entire history of Alcatraz, only Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers managed to swim away, although it is believed that they died from the low temperatures in the Pacific.

The visit to Alcatraz prison starts at Pier 33 of Fisherman’s Wharf.

3. Fisherman’s Wharf, the most popular neighborhood in San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf, built in 1853, was the first port in the city and, in its early days, one of the main ports in California.

Over time, the fishing industry abandoned this port and looked for other places instead. However, with the tourism boom, Fisherman’s Wharf was reborn and became one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, California.

Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the neighborhoods to visit in SF

3. Fisherman’s Wharf, the most popular neighborhood in San Francisco

The popular World War II submarine USS Pampanito, which sank 6 enemy ships and rescued 73 men, is at Pier 45.

In this neighborhood, there’s also Maritime National Historical Park, where you can see historical boats as well as visit a maritime museum, a library, and a research center.

4. Golden Gate Park, one of the greatest treasures to visit in SF

Golden Gate Park is even larger than Central Park in New York, making it difficult to walk all of it. To visit it, I recommend taking one of the minibuses that will take you around the entire park.

Golden Gate Park, a place to go in San Francisco

4. Golden Gate Park, one of the greatest treasures to visit in SF

It’s one of my favorite places to visit in San Francisco since you can find everything here: a Dutch mill, wooded areas, a Japanese garden, Shakespeare’s garden, and a herd of American bison (brought here in 1891 to help this seriously endangered species breed).

In addition, there are also some important museums in the park, such as the California Academy of Sciences and the Young Museum.

5. Union Square, an important place to visit in San Francisco, California

Union Square is the most important square in the city and also the most popular shopping area to visit in San Francisco. It’s considered the heart of the city and is the perfect place for shopping, since several department stores are concentrated here. This is also a great spot to dine, since its restaurants are considered the best in the city, and to visit art galleries.

Union Square, a square to visit in San Francisco, California

5. Union Square, an important place to visit in San Francisco, California

Although you can visit the square at any time of year, Union Square is even more beautiful at Christmastime because they have a large Christmas tree and an ice skating rink. Visiting Union Square is the best thing to do in San Fransciso at Christmastime.

6. Pier 39, the best place to see wild sea lions in San Francisco

Pier 39 is full of restaurants and shops so, in addition to being a meeting point for locals, it’s one of the main tourist attractions in San Francisco.

The most striking thing about this place is at K-Dock, where you can see sea lions practically all year round. However, the best time to see them is from late summer to late spring, as in June and July, most of them go south to breed.

Pier 39, a place to visit in San Francisco to see sea lions

6. Pier 39, the best place to see wild sea lions in San Francisco

This place used to be a working wharf, but the presence of these large marine mammals made it impossible for ships to dock. Ultimately, instead of removing the sea lions, they decided to move the boats to other docks.

In addition to the sea lions, you can get fantastic views of Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, and Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 39, making it an important tourist spot in San Francisco.

7. Lombard Street, the most beautiful street to visit in San Francisco

Visiting Lombard Street, located in the stretch between Leavenworth and Hyde Street, is something great to do in San Francisco, California. This street, due to its steep incline, has a total of 8 curves, and its entire route is decorated with flowers. It is considered one of the most beautiful streets in the city as well as the steepest and most famous.

Lombard Street, one of the most beautiful streets in San Francisco

7. Lombard Street, the most beautiful street to visit in San Francisco

When you see it, you won’t be able to stop yourself from taking at least a few photos of it, since that’s something that is very popular to do in San Francisco.

8. Take the cable car, great stuff to do in San Francisco

Taking one of the SF cable cars, which have been running since 1873, is something interesting to see and do in San Francisco.

In 1947, this form of transport was on the verge of disappearing, but the locals opposed it, and in 1964, the cable car was declared part of the National Historical Heritage. Today it is one of the main San Francisco sights.

Take the Cable Car, the best thing to do in San Francisco California

8. Take the cable car, great stuff to do in San Francisco

The Powell-Hyde Cable Car is the most popular among tourists, as it covers several areas: Nob Hill, the Financial District, North Beach, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Russian Hill. If you want to see these areas from a different perspective, taking the cable car is something you have to do in San Francisco.

9. Silicon Valley, one of the best day trips in SF

There are several places to visit in and around San Francisco, but Silicon Valley is one that I consider essential because the headquarters of large technology companies, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, are located there.

Silicon Valley, an excursion to do in San Francisco

9. Silicon Valley, one of the best excursions to do in SF

The best way to get to know Silicon Valley is by booking this tour in San Francisco. During this tour, which lasts about 90 minutes, the guide will share anecdotes about the many famous characters of the tech world.

Whether you’re a techie or not, I highly recommend this tour because it’s full of fun tidbits and is entertaining.

10. Exploratorium, a science museum you can’t miss in San Francisco

The Exploratorium, located on Pier 15, is one of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids. At this museum, visitors learn about aspects of science and art through interactive experience.

Exploratorium, a museum you have to visit in San Francisco

10. Exploratorium, a science museum you can’t miss in San Francisco

If you decide to visit the Exploratorium, you’ll be able to walk on a fog bridge, experience a tornado, look at yourself in a giant parabolic mirror, and enjoy more than 650 exhibits. In addition, this museum has a cafeteria, a restaurant, and some shops.

11. Presidio, a national park you must visit in San Francisco

Presidio is a park with many things to do in San Francisco. Its 1,500 hectares contain various walking or cycling routes, restaurants, and picnic and barbecue areas.

It has its own free transport system around the park, which functions every day of the week. In addition, it includes transfers to and from downtown San Francisco.

Presidio National Park, something to visit in San Francisco

11. Presidio, a national park you must visit in San Francisco

If you’re a Star Wars fan, the Presidio should be included on your list of essential places to see in San Francisco, since the Yoda Fountain is here at the Letterman Digital Arts Center within the park. There is also a life-size statue of Darth Vader.

12. Yosemite, the best-known national park in California

There are several places to visit in and around San Francisco, but if you can only go to one, make it Yosemite National Park.

To be honest, the reason we ended our road trip in San Francisco was because it’s the city with the closest international airport to Yosemite, one of the national parks we most wanted to visit on our trip.

Yosemite National Park, a place to visit near San Francisco

12. Yosemite, the best-known national park in California

Yosemite is nestled among the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is especially known for its gigantic old redwoods and its striking granite mountains, which have made Yosemite an iconic climbing spot worldwide. This national park was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

If you don’t feel like driving, or you don’t have a rental car, I recommend booking this day trip to Yosemite from San Francisco, as it’s the best way to get to know the park and its giant redwoods.

13. Haight-Ashbury, the birthplace of hippie culture

The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is one of the most curious places to see in San Francisco because it was home to bohemians and hippie idealists in the 1960s.

Haight-Ashbury, a neighborhood to visit in SF

13. Haight-Ashbury, the birthplace of hippie culture

The houses here have lots of cool colors. You can even stop by Jimi Hendrix’s house and get to know some of the many cool restaurants in this area. You can also find many organic restaurants here.

Another curious thing about this neighborhood is that there are many second-hand clothing stores, such as Buffalo Exchange, which buys and sells used clothing of all sizes and is quite popular.

14. Twin Peaks, the best lookout point in San Francisco

The Twin Peaks, as their name indicates, are 2 identical hills whose peaks, 900 feet high, are an excellent lookout points. Although you can get near the top by bus, I recommend walking up. You’ll have beautiful views of the entire city from above, which makes this one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco.

Twin Peaks, one of the places with the best views in SF

14. Twin Peaks, the best lookout point in San Francisco

To get 2 different perspectives of the city, it’s best to go to the Twin Peaks lookout during the day and at night.

15. SFMOMA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is the second largest art museum in the United States after the MOMA in NYC. It features works by great artists, such as Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ellsworth Kelly.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a museum to visit in SF

15. SFMOMA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The building, by Mario Botta, is incredible and can be considered a work of art in and of itself. Additionally, in the garden, you can find several sculptures.

This museum is one of the places to visit in San Francisco if you’re an art lover. To better plan your visit and avoid long lines, I recommend getting tickets in advance.

16. North Beach, the Little Italy neighborhood in SF

North Beach, also known as Little Italy or the Italian Quarter, is among the landmarks in San Francisco. This neighborhood was home to many Italian immigrants and is now a lively area with retro-style Italian cafes, bars, and restaurants.

North Beach, a neighborhood to visit in San Francisco

16. North Beach, the Little Italy neighborhood in SF

I recommend you start the tour at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Broadway Avenue to get to know its beautiful streets with colorful buildings, on some of which you can see samples of street art.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy reaching Telegraph Hill via the Filbert steps and seeing the famous Coit Tower. Also, I suggest you stop by the Vesuvius Cafe and the City Lights bookstore, two places to visit in San Francisco where you can enjoy the imprint left by the Beat generation.

17. Nob Hill, the most luxurious place in San Francisco

Nob Hill is the neighborhood where many upper class families live and a must see in San Francisco. It is located on one of the hills where San Francisco was founded, very close to Chinatown.

Nob Hill, a luxurious neighborhood to go in SF

17. Nob Hill, the most luxurious place in San Francisco

One of the most striking features of this exclusive and luxurious neighborhood is the steep incline of its streets. Because of this, there are many cable cars in this area, as that is the most comfortable way to get around Nob Hill.

18. Russian Hill, a picturesque and beautiful neighborhood in SF

The picturesque neighborhood of Russian Hill is also one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, United States. It’s located north of Nob Hill and south of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Russian Hill, a neighborhood you have to visit in SF

18. Russian Hill, a picturesque and beautiful neighborhood in SF

The name of this neighborhood comes from the times of the Gold Rush, when a small Russian cemetery of unknown origin was discovered at the top of the hill on which Russian Hill was built. Nowadays, there is a nice park with a monument and a commemorative plaque where the cemetery was.

In this neighborhood, Lombard Street is a highlight and one of the main tourist spots of SF, as I have previously mentioned.

19. SOMA, a place with a lot of things to do in San Francisco

The South of Market neighborhood, also known as SOMA, offers many things to see and do in San Francisco. What was once an industrial area is now of the best residential areas to visit in SF.

SOMA, one of the neighborhoods to visit in San Francisco

19. SOMA, a place with a lot of things to do in San Francisco

Among its many attractions, SOMA houses the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. But if, like me, you’re not very into museums, AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants play, is also in this neighborhood. You can check the game schedule here.

20. Dungeons San Francisco, a fun themed experience in SF, California

The Dungeons San Francisco is a quirky attraction that transports visitors to San Francisco’s most dangerous past. If you want to learn about the city’s history in a different way, entering this peculiar dungeon is great stuff to do in San Francisco.

Dungeons, a place to visit in San Francisco to learn its history

20. Dungeons San Francisco, a fun theme experience in SF, California

Although I didn’t have the opportunity to visit this dungeon, I visited one in London and it works exactly the same. In this interactive experience with 360º stages, actors, and special effects, you live through 60 minutes of the darkest episodes in the history of the city. It’s totally recommended!

21. Sausalito, a quiet place to visit in San Francisco

If you fancy a quiet day, Sausalito, which is across the bay and very close to the Golden Gate Bridge, is one of the places to visit in San Francisco.

Sausalito, a beautiful and quiet place in San Francisco, California

21. Sausalito, a quiet place to visit in San Francisco

A colony of bohemians and artists decided to build floating houses from old boats and establish their community there. Now Sausalito is the place of choice for celebrities seeking tranquility away from the vibrant city of San Francisco.

22. Chinatown, the oldest Chinese community in North America

Chinatown in San Francisco is the neighborhood that houses the second largest Chinese community in the United States and is the oldest in North America. Its colorful facades, temples, restaurants, and shops make it another must-see in San Francisco.

Visit Chinatown, something to do in San Francisco

22. Chinatown, the oldest Chinese community in North America

I recommend accessing Chinatown through the Dragon Gate at Grant Avenue. Once there, you have to visit Portsmouth Square, where the flag of the United States was first raised in 1846.

You can also book this tour to get to know the history, culture, and gastronomy of this neighborhood.

23. Eat chocolate in Ghirardelli Square, something to do in San Francisco

This is my favorite recommendation: eat chocolate in Ghirardelli Square. There used to be a chocolate factory in this square, and, today, it is a very lively place full of restaurants and shops. Visiting the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, a paradise for chocolate lovers and people with sweet tooths, is one of the best things to do in SF, California.

Ghirardelli Square, a place to visit in San Francisco, California

23. Eat chocolate in Ghirardelli Square, something to do in San Francisco

In the Ghirardelli store, you’ll find all kinds of products made with delicious chocolate. This is undoubtedly the best thing to do in San Francisco.

24. Oakland Bay Bridge, an attraction to visit in SF

The San Francisco Bay Bridge, or Oakland Bay Bridge, links the city of San Francisco with Oakland via Yerba Buena Island, which connects to Treasure Island, an artificial island.

Although the Golden Gate Bridge is the best known and famous bridge, Oakland Bay Bridge is the longest bridge and an important place to visit in San Francisco. In addition, Oakland Bay Bridge was built half a year before the Golden Gate Bridge, making it the oldest in the city.

San Francisco Bay Bridge, an important bridge to visit in SF

24. Oakland Bay Bridge, an attraction to visit in SF

This bridge is very important for the city of S,F and it is estimated that more than 250,000 vehicles cross it daily.

25. Coit Tower, one of the nicest views over San Francisco

Visiting the Coit Tower, on Telegraph Hill, is another thing to do in San Francisco. It was built in 1933 and is 200 feet high, making it a perfect lookout point in San Francisco. The Coit Tower was designed by Arthur Brown and Henry Howard in an Art Deco style and using unpainted, reinforced concrete. In addition, it has fresco murals by 27 artists.

Coit Tower, something to visit in SF

25. Coit Tower, one of the nicest views over San Francisco

The funds for its construction came from Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who, after her death, left a third of her assets to the city to be used for its beautification.

26. Palace of Fine Arts, an architectural landmark to visit in San Francisco

The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 to house the 1915 Universal Exposition and has a design inspired by Greek and Roman classicism.

At first, this building was going to be demolished after the exhibition, but many locals asked that it be preserved due to its beauty. As it was built with flimsy materials, in 1964, it was almost completely demolished to be rebuilt using appropriate materials this time. Thanks to its beauty and historical value, it is a place of interest in San Francisco. Also, the palace is surrounded by a lake, which makes it even more beautiful.

Palace of Fine Arts, an attraction to visit in San Francisco

26. Palace of Fine Arts, an architectural landmark to visit in San Francisco

Today there are numerous events and celebrations in this palace. It also has a theater and restaurants.

27. Asian Art Museum, the largest museum of Asian art in the world

The San Francisco Asian Art Museum has more than 2,400 objects from Asia, some of which are more than 6,000 years old. If you don’t know what to see in San Francisco if it rains, I recommend this museum. If you like Asian art, visit it regardless of the weather.

Asian Art Museum, a museum of Asian art to visit in San Francisco

27. Asian Art Museum, the largest museum of Asian art in the world

On the ground floor are the temporary exhibitions, the restaurant, and the museum shop. On the second floor, there are decorative elements, such as vases, animal figures, and objects that were used in religious ceremonies and funeral rituals. And finally, on the third floor, sculptures of wood, stone, and bronze are exhibited.

28. Muir Woods National Monument, a beautiful place to go near SF

Muir Woods was originally acquired by William Kent, a businessman, and his wife to protect an area of high natural value. Later, part of the land was donated to the government to become a national park.

Muir Woods National Monument, a place to go in San Francisco

28. Muir Woods National Monument, a beautiful place to go near SF

The park offers numerous hiking trails surrounded by redwoods, making it one of the best places to see near San Francisco.

If you can’t drive there, I recommend booking this day trip, which also gives you the opportunity to get to know Sausalito.

29. Japanese Tea Garden, a spectacular place to visit in SF

The Hagiwara Japanese Garden or Hagiwara Tea Garden is one of the most beautiful places to visit in San Francisco. This 2-acre Japanese garden is the oldest of its style in the United States. It is located within Golden Gate Park.

Hagiwara Tea Garden, one of the best gardens to visit in San Francisco

29. Japanese Tea Garden, a spectacular place to visit in SF

It was built as part of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 and became a small world of ponds, trails, Japanese plants, sculptures, and bridges. To me, it’s a very beautiful and peaceful place that invites you to relax. Also, it has a teahouse that I recommend you visit.

30. Bridge to Bridge Cruise, an essential tour to take in San Francisco

I recommend booking a bridge-to-bridge cruise, as going under the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge is one of the best things to do in San Francisco.

Bridge to Bridge Cruise tour in San Francisco

30. Bridge to Bridge Cruise, an essential tour to take in San Francisco

The boat departs from Pier 43 of Fisherman’s Wharf, and during the tour, you’ll see North Beach, Hyde Street Pier, the National Maritime Park, Marina District, and the Presidio Hills. After passing under the stunning Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, you will pass near Marin Headlands, a wild reserve, and go around Alcatraz prison.

If you’re interested in this tour, the best option is this one.

31. Ocean Beach, the quietest beach in SF, California

Ocean Beach is one of the most beautiful and quiet beaches in San Francisco. If you’re going to spend a few days in the city and want to go to the beach, enjoying Ocean Beach is one of the best things to do in San Francisco.

Ocean Beach, a beach to visit in San Francisco

31. Ocean Beach, the quietest beach in SF, California

This is a quiet beach with no crowds, something that I always value. You can take a dip, sunbathe, stroll along the shore, or even enjoy several water activities, such as surfing.

32. Yerba Buena Gardens, another quiet place to visit in San Francisco

Yerba Buena Gardens is another great place to go in San Francisco.

Yerba Buena Gardens, a place to go in San Francisco

32. Yerba Buena Gardens, another quiet place to visit in San Francisco

In and around the gardens you can see things like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, behind the waterfall at the Esplanade Gardens; the Charles Looff carousel, a hand-carved historical piece; and several museums and important buildings, such as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Moscone Convention Center. There is also a skating rink and a bowling center.

33. Walt Disney Family Museum, one of the coolest things to see in SF

If you’re looking for something to do in San Francisco with kids, I recommend visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Walt Disney Family Museum, a place to visit in San Francisco with kids

33. Walt Disney Family Museum, one of the coolest things to see in SF

This museum covers the life and work of Walt Disney, explains what Disney’s beginnings were like, and shows how a visionary man gave life to a gigantic empire. Clothes, archive footage from old movies, photographs, and even a Disneyland model are exhibited.

If you want to visit, this museum is in Presidio Park and you can get your ticket here.

34. California Academy of Sciences, the museum with the most Californian history

The California Academy of Sciences is an amazing museum with 150 years of history and a fun thing to do in San Francisco if it rains.

California Academy of Sciences, a visit to do in SF

34. California Academy of Sciences, the museum with the most Californian history

It’s a unique museum that features the world’s largest digital planetarium, a huge aquarium, a living ceiling filled with wildflowers, and a colony of African penguins. Even if I prefer to see wild animals in their habitat, I understand that there are people who may be interested in this attraction.

For information on schedules and tickets, you can check here.

35. The Castro, one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States

Castro, the neighborhood where the largest LGBTQ community in the city is concentrated, is another place to visit in San Francisco. You’ll know you’re in Castro when you see rainbow flags in shops and on terraces.

Castro, a neighborhood to visit in San Francisco

35. The Castro, one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States

I recommend visiting the Castro Theater, a place where old films are shown, the famous Hot Cookie bakery, and the LGBT History Museum.

SF is the world’s most LGBT-friendly city, so booking a guided tour like this to learn more about the history of the neighborhood is one of the best activities in San Francisco.

36. Baker Beach, a popular beach in the Bay Area, SF

If you’re looking for a must-do in San Francisco, another place that I recommend is Baker Beach, a 0.62-mile long beach where you can picnic and barbecue. It is quite a popular place with San Francisco families and groups of friends.

Baker Beach, a beach to visit in San Francisco

36. Baker Beach, a popular beach in the Bay Area, SF

What stands out the most is that this beach begins at the southern part of the Golden Gate Bridge, so you get incredible views of the bridge, especially at sunset. It’s a place to visit in San Francisco that can’t be missing from your list.

37. San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

The Botanical Garden of San Francisco (San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum) is the largest botanical garden on the West Coast of the United States and one of the best places to visit in San Francisco.

San Francisco Botanical Garden, a place to go in SF

37. San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum, an urban oasis

This space, of about 23 hectares, is located within Golden Gate Park and is home to more than 7,500 plant species.

The garden is divided into different areas: Mediterranean, Southeast Asia Cloud Forest, High Elevation Palms, and others. Each one has plants from the region it represents.

38. The Painted Ladies, the famous Victorian houses of San Francisco

You probably know the Painted Ladies, in Alamo Square, from the the Full House series, starring the Olsen twins. These beautiful family houses were built between 1849 and 1945 in an Edwardian and Victorian style.

The Painted Ladies, the most famous houses in SF

38. The Painted Ladies, the famous Victorian houses of San Francisco

Many of these houses were painted in quite striking colors, such as orange, yellow, and red. The best-known ones are the Painted Ladies from 710 to 720 Steiner Street. Although there are more houses of this style in the area, these are a favorite for tourists.

If you want my advice, I suggest visiting them at sunset, when there is an interesting play of colors and light. In short, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco, regardless of whether you liked or followed Full House.

39. Lands End, one of the best hikes to do in San Francisco

Lands End is a strip of rocky shoreline within Golden Gate Park, between Lincoln Park and the Sutro District. This is another of the many things to see in San Francisco, USA that I recommend, as it’s a very beautiful and interesting place.

Lands End, a place to visit in San Francisco

39. Lands End, one of the best hikes to do in San Francisco

This area is littered with wrecks and has a monument to the USS San Francisco submarine. You can find many hiking trails here that run alongside the Ferries & Cliff House Railway and the cliffs.

Sutro Bath Ruins, another place to visit in San Francisco, is next to Lands End. This old complex of public saltwater pools was once the largest in the world.

40. Mission District, a must see place in San Francisco

Among all the places of interest in San Francisco, I’d highlight Mission District, as it’s a colorful neighborhood where you can eat very well. If you want to enjoy this charming neighborhood, I recommend you take a guided tour or visit it on a Sunday, when there’s lots of activity.

Mission District, a colorful place to visit in San Francisco

40. Mission District, a must see place in San Francisco

The tour begins with a coffee and some donuts made with natural ingredients. Next, you’ll head to Balmy Avenue, where the murals tell the stories of Latino immigrants. Then, you’ll wander among the flavors of tacos and street vendors to arrive at Clarion Alley, where there is another interesting collection of street art. Although there are around 200 murals in the neighborhood, the best known are Women’s Building, Clarion Alley Street Art, Precita Eyes Muralists, and Balmy Alley.

Finally, you can visit several second-hand stores and the Mission Dolores church.

As you can see, it’s a tour full of art and food. Can you think of anything better to do in San Francisco?

41. Church of 8 wheels, a peculiar place to go in SF

The Church of 8 Wheels is one of the most peculiar places to see in San Francisco. In what was once a church, you can now skate and enjoy music at the same time.

Church of 8 Wheels, a nightclub to visit in San Francisco

41. Church of 8 wheels, a peculiar place to go in SF

Church of 8 Wheels is a nightclub where different events and musical shows are held for people of all ages who share a passion for skating.

This is undoubtedly one of the most fun things to do in San Francisco if you like to skate. There is no place like it in the world.

42. Musée Mécanique, the most curious museum in San Francisco

The Musée Mécanique is another of the tourist spots of San Francisco and I recommend it, especially to those who are fans of arcade games. This museum exhibits a private collection of old coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade artifacts.

The owner, Edward Galland Zelinsky, started collecting these devices in 1933, and, nowadays, he has over 300.

Musée Mécanique, a very curious museum to see in SF

42. Musée Mécanique, the most curious museum in San Francisco

Among the rarities that can be found at the Musée Mécanique is a red motorcycle called the “Steam Flyer” from 1912. This piece is perhaps the only one that exists in the world.

Here, you’ll be able to see everything from turn-of-the-century hand cranked music boxes to modern video arcade games, so it’s a great place to go in San Francisco.

43. 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, a colorful place to visit in San Francisco

The mosaic on the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps is well worth a visit. Inspired by the Rio de Janeiro staircase, Colette Crutcher, a mosaic designer, and Aileen Barr, a ceramicist, joined forces to carry out this project with the help of more than 300 volunteers.

16th Avenue Tiled Steps, something beautiful to visit in San Francisco

43. 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, a colorful place to visit in San Francisco

To decorate these stairs, each panel was created separately, for a total of 163 panels, one for each step. They used 2,000 handmade tiles and 75,000 mosaic fragments, stained glass, and mirrors. The result is a must-see in San Francisco.

44. Eat at the Atelier Crenn, a unique experience in San Francisco

Although I’ll admit that eating at the Atelier Crenn is not cheap, it’s definitely something amazing to do in San Francisco, especially if you appreciate gastronomy. Its chef, Dominique Crenn, was the first woman in the United States to receive 2 Michelin stars for creating art with her dishes.

Atelier Crenn, where to eat in San Francisco

44. Eat at the Atelier Crenn, a unique experience in San Francisco

She was inspired by her father’s workshop, where her love for art and good cuisine led her to combine both worlds to offer a unique gastronomic experience. An authentic gift for all five senses.

45. Walk in Crissy Field, something nice to do in San Francisco

Crissy Field once functioned as an airfield and was later transformed into a public park. It’s a place to visit in San Francisco to walk and disconnect, as well as see incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crissy Field, a place to visit in San Francisco

45. Walk in Crissy Field, something nice to do in San Francisco

The park offers activities for young people and open spaces for the elderly. If you feel like disconnecting from busy San Francisco, this is your place.

46. Marin Headlands, another interesting hike in SF, California

Marin Headlands is north of the Golden Gate Bridge and is a mountainous area that’s perfect for hiking, another activity to do in San Francisco that I love.

Marin Headlands, the best hiking trails in San Francisco

46. Marin Headlands, another interesting hike in SF, California

The cliffs here make the landscape surprising, although the most beautiful thing is viewing the Golden Gate Bridge with the city of San Francisco in the background. Plus, there are old military installations, making Marin Headlands a pretty interesting place to see in San Francisco.

47. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco

The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum is located in Golden Gate Park, a few feet from the California Academy of Sciences, and is a museum to visit in San Francisco if you’re interested in African and pre-Columbian art.

M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, California

47. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco

It opened in 1895 but was destroyed in 1989 by an earthquake and did not reopen until 2005. In this museum, you’ll find an exhibition of African art and art collections from the 19th and 20th centuries, including pre-Columbian works from Peru and Teotihuacan.

48. Conservatory of Flowers, a garden with rare and exotic plants

The Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park and was built in a Victorian style, making it one of the beautiful sights in San Francisco.

Conservatory of Flowers, beautiful gardens to visit in SF

48. Conservatory of Flowers, a garden with rare and exotic plants

This greenhouse houses a large collection of exotic plants from the highlands and lowlands of the tropics, including carnivorous and aquatic plants.

49. Transamerica Pyramid, the second tallest skyscraper in San Francisco

The Transamerica Pyramid is an imposing pyramid-shaped skyscraper with 4 sides and is one of the most spectacular buildings to see in San Francisco.

Transamerica Pyramid, a skyscraper to visit in San Francisco

49. Transamerica Pyramid, the second tallest skyscraper in San Francisco

The city’s susceptibility to earthquakes was taken into account for the building’s design and construction, and special reinforcements were added to the structure. In 1989, an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 on the Richter scale didn’t even damage it.

50. Legion of Honor, a museum of fine art in San Francisco

The Legion of Honor Museum is another must see in San Francisco, California. It was built in 1924 in memory of the 3,600 California soldiers who died in World War I.

Legion of Honor, a museum of decorative arts in SF

50. Legion of Honor, a museum of fine art and decorative arts in San Francisco

Reminiscent of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Paris, this museum has works by Fra Angelico, El Greco, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Claude Monet, and other internationally renowned artists. At the entrance of the museum, you can see the statue The Thinker by Auguste Rodin.

51. Point Bonita Lighthouse, a place of interest in San Francisco

Point Bonita Lighthouse, a beautiful place to go in San Francisco, California, is at the entrance of San Francisco Bay and close to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Point Bonita Lighthouse, one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco

51. Point Bonita Lighthouse, a place of interest in San Francisco

I recommend visiting it because of its interesting location between cliffs. Keep in mind that the lighthouse can only be accessed on Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. On the way to the lighthouse, you can visit the US Coast Guard Station Golden Gate.

52. Monterey and Carmel tour, the best activity to do in San Francisco

Some of the best places to visit around San Francisco are Carmel, with its historic center, boutiques, and galleries; and Monterey, where Cannery Row, a large sardine factory that was converted into one of the most touristy places in California, with luxury hotels and restaurants, is located.

Excursion to Carmel and Monterey, something to do near San Francisco

52. Monterey and Carmel tour, the best activity to do in San Francisco

Taking a trip to Camel and Monterey from San Francisco is worth it because you travel one of the most beautiful roads in the United States, the Pacific Coast Highway. On the way, you’ll visit unparalleled landscapes and cliffs that look out to the Pacific. For this experience alone, I think visiting Monterey and Carmel is something you shouldn’t miss in San Francisco.

If you don’t want to drive, you can book a day trip here.

53. Grace Cathedral, an important church in SF

Grace Cathedral is in Nob Hill. This beautiful cathedral, which was built between 1928 and 1964, is Gothic in style and closely resembles Notre Dame de Paris. It’s one of the most important religious monuments in San Francisco.

Grace Cathedral, an attraction to visit in San Francisco

53. Grace Cathedral, an important church in SF

Many people feel that ceremonies acquire a special beauty in this place, especially with the music of the organ, which was added to the cathedral in 1934.

Whether you’re a believer or not, I think this is a very beautiful place to visit in San Francisco, United States.

54. Shakespeare Garden, the most beautiful themed garden in San Francisco

The Shakespeare Garden is another sight in San Francisco to see if you want to learn about all the plants that Shakespeare mentions in his works. Don’t worry if you haven’t read all his works or don’t know them well, since next to each plant is a plate with the quote from the work that mentions it.

Shakespeare Garden, another garden to visit in San Francisco

54. Shakespeare Garden, the most beautiful themed garden in San Francisco

This garden is within Golden Gate Park and is a highly sought-after venue for outdoor weddings.

55. Napa and Sonoma wine tasting, something great to do in San Francisco

A wine tour of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys is something you have to do near San Francisco. These two regions are known for their excellent wines. Although both are dedicated to making the same type of wine, each one has its own characteristics which make the wine different.

Napa and Sonoma, the places to do wine tastings in San Francisco

55. Napa and Sonoma wine tasting, something great to do in San Francisco

On this excursion, you’ll get to know some of the most important vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, in addition to participating in a wine tasting.

56. The Wave Organ, a mysterious and magical attraction to visit in SF

Something very special among the things to see in San Francisco is the incredible wave organ. It’s made of concrete with marble steps, and inside there are 35 organ pipes placed in a very specific way so that each one produces a different sound.

The Wave Organ, a musical work of art in San Francisco

56. The Wave Organ, a mysterious and magical attraction to visit in SF

The movement of the waves and the sea breeze create a melody when the breeze enters the tubes. This melody is said to be the music of the sea. It’s very beautiful!

57. Seward Mini Park, an unusual and amusing place in SF

If you’re wondering what to do in San Francisco with kids, I recommend going to Seward Mini Park. This park, located between the houses on Seward Street, has unique concrete slides that will entertain both adults and kids.

Seward Mini Park, a place to go in San Francisco with kids

57. Seward Mini Park, an unusual and amusing place in SF

Of course, to slide down them, you’ll need cardboard. Sometimes you can find some abandoned cardboard, but I recommend bringing your own just in case.

58. Angel Island, a place to visit around San Francisco

Angel Island was discovered by Juan de Ayala. First, it served as an observation and defense post, and later, it served as an immigration station.

Angel Island, one of the largest islands in San Francisco

58. Angel Island, a place to visit around San Francisco

Now, Angel Island is a place that offers very good views of San Francisco Bay and is the perfect place to enjoy various hiking trails. If you have time, it’s one of the best places to visit in and around San Francisco.

59. San Francisco City Hall, a historic attraction to see in SF

The San Francisco City Hall, with its 90-meter-high dome, will impress you with its grandeur. Although in 1906 it was destroyed by an earthquake and had to be rebuilt, it’s one of the main landmarks in San Francisco. Of course, the care put into each of its details makes this building the favorite of many couples for getting married.

San Francisco City Hall, a must see building in SF

59. San Francisco City Hall, a historic attraction to see in SF

Just for its beauty and grandeur, the City Hall is one of the main attractions in San Francisco.

60. The Embarcadero, another popular place to go in San Francisco

The Embarcadero is a historic dock distinguished by the Ferry Building tower, at the beginning of Market Street, one of San Francisco’s main streets.

El Embarcadero, a place I recommend visiting in SF California

60. The Embarcadero, another popular place to go in San Francisco

The Embarcadero is also a place where there’s always a lot of activity, especially on weekends, due to the Farmer’s Market. At this market, you’ll find fresh fish, artisan cheeses, and other products, as well as restaurants. I recommend this market if you want to try the authentic local gastronomy of San Francisco. This is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco if you want to enjoy the Bay Area’s food.

These are the 60 things to do in San Francisco that I recommend. I also want to share a map where you’ll find all these places, so you can start planning your trip now. You can download this tourist map of San Francisco and take it with you while you’re are visiting the city.

I hope this article has helped you. Now all you have to do is enjoy the city of San Francisco to the fullest!photography and travel guide

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Ascen

COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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