San Francisco
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Top attractions in San Francisco

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Top 10 things to do in San Francisco

Once known as the "Paris of the West," the gold-rush population boom made San Francisco a polycultural hub long before its Summer of Love. Here are some of the top attractions of this iconic west coast metropolis.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Alcatraz has had a colorful history but is most famous for being the prison that once held some of the US' most notorious gangsters, from Al Capone to Whitey Bulger.

Washington Square

Washington Square

The once-neglected Washington Square has evolved into an incredibly vibrant pocket of culture. It's now home to some of San Francisco's best restaurants and cafes.

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay actually consists of several bays, and its windy urban beaches make it a popular destination for sailors and windsurfers, as well as those just there for the scenery!

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Standing proud between the Bay and the Pacific, the Golden Gate Bridge is considered by many to be the most beautiful bridge of the industrial age...

San Francisco Bay Bridge

San Francisco Bay Bridge

...But the San Francisco Bay Bridge is a strong contender for that accolade when lit up at night!

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

Inspired by New York's Central Park, the Golden Gate Park provides a leafy respite from the city, as well as attractions like the Academy of Sciences and Japanese Tea Garden.

Fisherman´s Wharf

Fisherman´s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf is the touristic center of San Francisco. It boasts seafood restaurants that go back generations, as well as museums, parks, and its own sea lion colony!

Stow Lake

Stow Lake

Stow Lake is the largest and most scenic of the manmade lakes at Golden Gate Park. Its island, Strawberry Hill, offers spectacular downtown views over the treetops.

Alamo Square

Alamo Square

Explore San Francisco's more affluent side with a jaunt around Alamo Square. The neighborhood's hilltop park looks over much of the city, and don't forget its "painted ladies!"

Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies

The Painted Ladies are extravagant Victorian rowhouses which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. It's astonishing to think so much of the city once looked this way!

Planning Your San Francisco Visit

How many days?

Some would say for as long as you can, so bear in mind that it's a big and busy city with plenty to see and do. First-timers should consider spending at least a week there if possible, though even that might not be enough!

Where to stay?

Which of San Francisco's neighborhoods is best for you depends on the nature of your trip. Fisherman's Wharf will meet all the immediate needs of a fleeting visit, though Union Square is a more neutral and relaxed jumping-off point for tourists. Other neighborhoods each have their own personality so it's worth putting in the research, but high-crime areas to avoid include Bayview, Hunter's Point, Sunnydale, and Visitation Valley.

How to get around?

"San Francisco has one of the world's most unique public transport systems. As well as buses and trains, the city is mostly mobilized by its historic cable-car network. Although newer trams do operate, visitors may want to ride one of the older ones for the novelty. Be warned though, notable routes such as the F-Market & Wharves line tend to get very crowded!
The city is also very bike-friendly,with extensive bicycle lanes and even bike lockers!"

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-08:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Summer, Fall

Things to Do in San Francisco

Top Attractions in San Francisco

Cities in United States

Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco

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What people are saying about San Francisco

Excellent three day trip, would do again!

Nicole was our guide and did a great job. She even bought cupcakes for my daughter to celebrate her birthday with a song around the campfire. Great hikes. It was all we wanted to during our three day trip at Yosemite! Our group of 13 worked very well together. It is certainly requires a team effort which makes it so much more fun and enjoyable.

Yosemite Valley 3-Day Camping Adventure Reviewed by Matthew, 10/15/2018

Love being with Kathy, who obviously knows how to give a tour

Our guide, Kathy tells a great story, and kept us interested as she walked up and down the streets. Glad we took this trip and would recommend it to anyone!

This was a memorable trip around the bay, not to be miss

I've been to San Francisco many times, but this was my first sunset cruise. The images were stunning, providing close-up views of the main things you want to see. The vessel and crew were great, the food was good, the guitarist played and sang well. The combination produced great value for the price paid. Most everyone on board looked happy, like they were really enjoying themselves. I'm so glad I got to go. It was a beautiful experience. Go!

California Sunset Cruise in San Francisco Reviewed by Mark, 10/07/2018

Really enjoyed the day great tour guide kimmy

Excellent relaxing day tried lots of wine and tour guide was very attentive overall a great day

A great adventure with Mitch & Mother Nature!

Tour guide Mitch was great! We enjoyed our day in the woods and stops along the way. Sausalito was beautiful too and the ferry ride home at sunset was amazing. Thank you Incredible Adventures was fun!