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

Perfection, humour and quality sights all in one bundle.

A truly wonderful experience. Grey Lines tours really shined with their care and customer service. The guide had a significant amount of local knowledge and even gave us enough time to get some photos on the north side of the golden gate bridge. The tour went like clock work. Even though their was a tight schedule we never felt rushed and had plenty of time to soak up all the sights. We highly recommend getting the ferry back from sausilito, this will give you plenty of time to enjoy the town and relax yourself back to San Francisco. Don't forget to check your emails and confirm the timing of your tour! Even though we booked the 9am tour it was confirmed as 11am, this is due to the changes in parking for Muir Woods. For us this was anticipated as we made sure that we contacted Grey Lines a week before, and via the phone on the day. Altogether a wonderfully unique experience from a tour company we now trust and appreciate.

Awesome Museum, great for a rainy day in San Francisco

Really beautiful Museum - I live in San Francisco and haven't visited since the renovations. It's way bigger now and I love the new look. There is way more on display now than in the past. There were hotel workers striking next door making a lot of noise, but once I got past them and into the Museum, I couldn't hear them at all and really enjoyed exploring the Museum on a rainy day. I bought the ticket online and used the voucher on my phone to get my ticket. The instructions say to go to any available ticket line - I just picked the shortest line at membership, walked up, she looked up my voucher and handed me a ticket. Pretty easy, took about ten seconds. I didn't see any audio guides, but the agent said I could download the app on my phone and listen for free or they had additional ones I could pay for. I just used the app on my iPhone. Worked great!

This was a great way to get to know lesser know areas in San fransisco

Blondina was absolutely the best! Very kind, informative, funny and knowledgeable. The pace of the afternoon was perfect. A nice balance between great food, some exercise to walk it all off, followed by facts of the area that only a local resident would truly know. This was a fun afternoon and we would highly recommend it to anyone. We would certainly do it again the next time we are back to San Francisco.

North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour Reviewed by Geoff, 11/21/2018

Funny, organized and a enriching experience.

This tour went behond my expectations. During the tour we will watch more than 20 movie clips related to the spot where the bus will pass. The whole experience is extremely well organized and funny. The best part is the guide herself. She will make sure you will not get bored. She truly loves what she is doing. Time will go by so fast as she is such a cheerful and professional guide. Stop your endless search for a tour and don’t miss the opportunity to book this one. You won’t regret.

San Francisco Movie Tour Reviewed by Antônio, 11/14/2018

Fantastic trip to the magical Muir woods

We had a fantastic time on this trip to Muir Woods, our driver and guide Willy was fantastic, very welcoming, funny and knowledgeable. He also played some San Francisco based songs in the bus which was a fun addition. The Woods are beautiful and we would have happily stayed the whole day!

Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods Reviewed by laura, 11/14/2018