Top Tours & Activities 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 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.
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 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!
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...
...But the San Francisco Bay Bridge is a strong contender for that accolade when lit up at night!
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 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 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.
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!"
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!
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!
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.
"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!"
- CurrencyUSD ($)
- Time ZoneUTC (-08:00)
- Country Code+1
- Best time to visitSummer, Fall
Things to Do in San Francisco
Top Attractions in San Francisco
- 1Golden Gate Bridge
- 2San Francisco Bay
- 3Fisherman's Wharf
- 5Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
- 6Crissy Field Center
- 7Presidio of San Francisco
- 8Pier 39
- 9North Beach, San Francisco
- 10San Francisco Bay Bridge
- 11Inspiration Point at the Presidio
- 12Lombard Street
- 13Washington Square
- 14Aquatic Park
- 16Union Square, San Francisco
- 17Civic Center Plaza
- 18Alamo Square
- 19Golden Gate Park
- 20Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco
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What People Are Saying About San Francisco
Tour guide was very helpful and informative. Bus was extremely comfortable. Nicholson Ranch winery was some of the best wine I have tasted, and i have tasted a lot. Good time frames at each winery allowed plenty of time to taste, shop and refresh.
Tolan was very enthusiastic and we could tell she loved introducing us to North Beach. It was fun to socialize with the other couples on the tour while eating some good food: (1) Cioppino at Sotto Mare ; (2) Charcuterie at Doc Rickett's ; (3) Tomasso's Pizza was the entree and was excellent; (4) delicious Gelato at Naia. Short walks between stops were pleasant. My wife, Anne, and I are from Ottawa, Canada and we were visiting our son who is now working in San Francisco. He lives in the the North Beach neighborhood and loves it. Verify meeting location with Avital as our GetYourGuide voucher did not have the right meeting location.
Day 1: Zach was informative, entertaining, and helpful. He took our group of twelve to Muir Woods, three wineries and a brewery where we enjoyed some great wines and beer. It occurs to me that a little drinking makes for convivial tour-mates, because by day's end everyone was sharing stories, laughing, and having a great time. It was good to have Zach safely drive us. He dropped the 2-day tour folks off at our lovely hotel in Sonoma. Day 2: Aaron picked us up the next morning. The wineries were nicer on this day. It rained, which is unusual for that time of year, but Aaron was able to make adjustments to the usual plan so we didn't miss a thing. The only thing I have an issue with is the fact that admission to Muir Woods is not included in the price of the tour. It was not a surprise to us; it was clearly stated in the given info, but including it in the title of the tour is misleading. It's not like there was another option unless we wanted to sit in the parking lot!
This visit to Muir Woods was wonderful. The van was clean and comfortable, the driver was pleasant and knowledgeable. My only concern is that the reservation material said that reconfirmstion was needed before the trip, but no information about how to do that.
Overall great experience. Never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus. The buses were all clean and the drivers was always helpful with any questions we needed answered. The night tour fell short of being a night tour. Since the last night tour leaves at 7:30 and the sun doesn't set until 8:30 but overall great experience would use the Big ReD Bus again