There are many things to do in San Francisco, a city in Northern California. The main attraction in San Francisco that pulls tourists is the unique variety of restaurants that offer food that leaves you wanting more.
If you are not a big fan of food and instead want picturesque locations to spice up your feed, the city of San Francisco in California is the right place.
San Francisco is a city that can be visited any time of the year but a few points should be kept in mind so that your list of things to do in San Francisco is completely fulfilled.
The weather patterns in San Francisco can be quite mysterious. In the early months of summer, the city is sometimes covered in fog which can obstruct your view of, ‘The Golden Gate Bridge and many other different attractions.
San Francisco is the perfect place to plan a vacation with your family, as there are a lot of fun things to do and visit.
The months of June and July are filled with activities that attract many visitors worldwide. The Haight Ashbury Street Fair and the pride celebrations are the top highlighted events that take place during the summer months.
The best time to visit the city of San Francisco is in the fall, from August-October. The temperature is the warmest with the additional advantage of lesser crowds.
After deciding the time of your visit, it can be troublesome to find the things to do to spend your vacation efficiently. Below is a list of the best things to do in San Francisco city that can help you plan your itinerary.
Golden Gate Bridge
While planning to visit San Francisco, California, the first place that pops into our mind is no other than, The Golden Gate Bridge. It joins San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean
Built more than 80 years ago, Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects San Francisco Bay to Marin county. Golden Gate Bridge is truly a wonder to see and everyone must see it featured in many movies, recently being the ‘Godzilla’.
Across the Golden Gate Bridge, visit the Golden Gate National Recreation Area which is the most famous Bay Area national park.
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and the most photographed bridge in the world.
Walk on the bridge, ride around on a bike, or enjoy the view from the insides of your car; the Golden Gate Bridge will surely leave you mesmerized.
The free walking tour is also available if you want to learn about the historical facts of the bridge.
To capture the perfect shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, there are many spots. Nob Hill which is on the San Francisco Bay, while in Marin County, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area can offer spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Golden Gate Park
From museums to botanical gardens, Golden Gate Park has it all and is one of the largest parks in San Francisco city. When visiting the ‘third most visited park’ in the United States, there are many things to watch out for.
Golden Gate Park is free to enter for all but the magnificent events that take place around the year have their own entry fees.
Recreational activities like archery, basketball, soccer, baseball, segway tours and rental bikes allow people of every age group to enjoy the most of their time in the park. The park is the perfect spot for a fun family picnic.
Taking a walk around the park at night when it is lit up is a nice way to end your day at the park.
There are many places to explore while visiting Golden Gate park like the California Academy of Sciences which is an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum.
The de Young museum is also an exciting museum to visit in the park, which houses spectacular art collections
The Golden Gate Park is a sight to behold with the variety of flowers that blossom in the park throughout the year, which is why it takes its rightful place among the list of things to do in San Francisco.
The most exciting and adventurous among the list of things to do in San Francisco is visiting Alcatraz Island.
Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay is a place to experience historical events with its mesmerizing beauty.
Alcatraz Island was once a maximum-security prison where it was home to many dangerous prisoners, including the infamous Al Capone. The Alcatraz prison was shut down many years back in 1963.
The Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay is now open for tourists to visit and get a close look at the prison, and a detailed tour is provided to get insights into how the prison worked.
A ferry is available to reach Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.
It is one of San Francisco’s most attractive spots for tourists from around the world. Fisherman’s wharf is a place you cannot get enough of. It is the most fun destination among the things to do in San Francisco.
From cartoon Art museum for kids to Madame Tussaud’s, there is something for everyone at Fisherman’s Wharf and a perfect spot for having some family fun.
Situated on the Northern wavefront of San Francisco city, Fisherman’s Wharf is filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, and Sea Lions taking a sunbath at Pier 39.
The nightlife at the Fisherman’s Wharf is something you do not want to miss. Cable cars are also available at the Fisherman’s Wharf, which provides the best view of San Francisco city.
More attractions to visit in Fisherman’s Wharf:
- Ghirardelli Square
- In N Out
- Museé Mécanique
- Aquarium of the Bay
- Pier 39 & Pier 45
- Mirror Maze
- Art Museum
Palace of Fine Arts
Located in the Northern part of San Francisco city, the Palace of Fine Arts is free for all visitors and provides a brief account of historical events that took place at the Palace.
The Palace of Fine Arts is home to a beautiful dome with many curved columns. It is the largest remaining structure from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition.
The pond surrounding the dome and columns is a sight to watch and has many types of wildlife, including ducks and swans.
The Palace of Fine Arts was used for many things, and once it was used as military storage, it is now an Art gallery.
Japanese Tea Garden
Spread across 5 acres, the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco city is the oldest Japanese Garden open to the public in the country.
Japanese Tea Garden or Hagiwara Tea Garden will make you feel relaxed and lift your spirits with its enthralling beauty.
The Garden features many aesthetic and delightful things, including Japanese maples, Buddha statues, stepping stones, arched bridges, and native Japanese plants.
To relax, head on to the zen garden, and don’t forget to take a look at the koi pond.
As the name suggests, Japanese tea is also served with all Japanese traditions, and refreshments are also provided.
The hub of San Francisco’s city, Union Square, is a one-stop for all. It is one of the city’s most visited localities.
Just like the famous Times Square in New York, Union Square of San Francisco is a bustling place to visit.
Union Square is lined with high-end retail shops that sell various products, hotels, cafes, and art galleries, and it is famous for offering a very joyous nightlife.
Some event is always taking place at Union Square. The live events with plenty of dining options available make Union square one of San Francisco’s city top-visited places.
North Beach is conveniently located between Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown. It is also called the ‘Little Italy’ of San Francisco.
The North Beach neighborhood is filled to the brim with many different things to do, and taking a guided walking tour if you are not a local will be beneficial.
The street food offered is unique, delicious, and delightful to eat. Free walking tours are also available.
Columbus Avenue street is the main street of the North Beach area. After enjoying the leisure walk on avenue street, head up the Filbert street steps, which lead up to Telegraph Hill.
On reaching the top of Telegraph Hill, you will be encountered Coit Tower, which is free to enter from where you can see amazing views of Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and many other attractions of San Francisco city.
Originally known as ‘Los Pechos de la Choca,’ which translates to ‘Breasts of the Maiden,’ Twin Peaks offer a spectacular view of the bay area.
It is considered the best free attraction in San Francisco city and convincingly takes its place in the list of best things to do in San Francisco.
To look over the delightful views offered, taking a hike is recommended along the North Peak. Many attractions are visible from the Twin Peaks, including areas across the Golden Gate, Nob Hill, Alcatraz, Pacific Ocean, and many more.
There is car parking also available at many points around the peaks. Park your car and walk along the trail of the peaks to explore many beautiful sights.
Cable Car Ride
There was a time when the entire city of San Francisco operated on cable cars for public transport, but now the number is reduced to only three.
The cable cars allow people to delve into the historical time of San Francisco city. The three operating cable car rides run so that all the city’s main attractions are covered.
The three cable car ride routes available around San Francisco city are:
- Powell-Hyde Line (Blue line)
- Powell-Mason Line (Green line)
- California Line (Red Line)
Every route has something exciting to offer along the way, and the most famous among the crowds is Powell-Hyde Line. On this route, there is a cable car museum that is free to visit as well, which shows all the mechanics and history of cable car rides.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns outsides of Asia. The streets of Chinatown are bustling with shops, museums, restaurants, and many more attractions that follow Chinese food, culture, and traditions.
Chinatown is famous for its Dragon gate and China Live and offers one of the city’s best dim-sums. Walking these colorful streets of Chinatown is a fun way to explore Chinese traditions.
The historic neighborhood of Chinatown is famous around the whole world, and tourists walk these streets with their family or friends to spend the best time of their vacation.
Things to do in San Francisco
There are many things to do in San Francisco that can not be summarised in a single list. The above-mentioned places and activities are the best way to explore San Francisco.
When looking for a place to stay in San Francisco, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf are the best options, as they are surrounded by easy transportation and scenic views.
If you have less number of days while visiting the city, taking a guided tour is highly recommended.
As there are many things to do in San Francisco, as it is a big city with many beautiful attractions, it can become difficult to spend your time wisely. Taking a tour helps in this situation as they not only save time but allows you to visit as many places as possible.
It is no secret that San Francisco is considered an expensive city, but there are many places that are free to visit, like Museums, Ferry Building Market Place, Lombard street, Painted Ladies, and many more.
Free walking tours are also available on many streets and places which tell about the facts and history.
That is all about the things to do in San Francisco; I hope the article helped you in planning a wonderful trip to San Francisco.