Top attractions 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
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!
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.
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.
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!
A very memorable evening and what a way to enjoy such a beautiful sunset and the San Francisco Bay! Next time we're back in San Fran - we'll be signing up for another trip. Excellent!