Top attractions in San Francisco
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
Cities in United States
Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco
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What people are saying about San Francisco
I enjoyed my 4 hours at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Everything was laid out in a simple format that was easy to understand. The displays and aquariums were beautiful and simply educational. I was skeptical when I sad down for the 15 minute video presentation (4 topics that rotated every half-hour) but ended up watching 3 of the four presentations (video with live narration) because they were so informative! Watch people feed the sea otters within the aquarium, then go try to spot wild otters from the observation deck! The aquarium is really doing a unique thing as it partners with scientists and engineers to learn more about the ocean and do more to conserve the vast habitat that is so intriguing and unknown!
The boat ride gave us every view that you can imagine. My wife fell in love with the landscapes. The history that was being given was outstanding!!
The Bay is beautiful and the catamaran was a great way to see it. It was very chilly because of the winds but they did have jackets.
It was a very well organized and informative tour. I took the tour at 8:00am on Friday 4th of May and enjoyed it to the max over the 11 hours of the tour time. The driver was such a nice and experienced guy. He helped us enjoy the scenery all over the road. If you really want to see the best of California, jut take this tour! Well done Grayline.
We really had the best day ever thanks in part to our wonderful guide and driver Aoki