25 Best Things to Do in San Francisco

San Francisco is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California, and it is a hotbed of activity. The city is the 13th most populous in the United States, yet it boasts the county’s second most excellent population density, with only New York being busier.

The city rose to prominence in 1849 as the epicenter of the Californian Gold Rush, which made it the largest metropolis on the West Coast at the time.

The city is known for its restaurants, and it is fortunate to be home to some of the top chefs in the country.

Things to Do in San Francisco

Let’s have a look at the most lovely things to do in San Francisco, with so much to see and do in this incredible city.

Take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge

Things to Do in San FranciscoGolden Gate Bridge: Source: Lucky-photographer / shutterstock

The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco Bay and Marin County. The bridge has been designated as one of the world’s modern wonders. It was built in 1937 and was the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time.

It is the most photographed bridge globally, measuring 1.7 miles in length and made of steel. The bridge has six lanes of traffic and transports millions of travelers each year. People had to take a ferry between the two places before the bridge was completed; the ferry firm was called Golden State Ferry Company, formerly the world’s largest ferry company.

Head Down To The Waterfront At Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s WharfFisherman’s Wharf: Source: Benny Marty / shutterstock

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco’s most well-known waterfront neighborhood. Here you can sample some delectable cuisine and partake in some of the world’s finest dining.

Outdoor booths provide fresh Dungeness crab, while numerous gourmet restaurants serve the freshest seafood of the day’s catch.

You may also book various tours around the area from here, including Segway, strolling, boat, and many others.

Relax At Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate ParkGolden Gate Park: Source: Andrew Zarivny / shutterstock

Golden Gate Park attracts 13 million tourists each year who come to see one of San Francisco’s most beautiful spots. This beautiful park covers 1,017 acres and offers numerous opportunities for exploration and relaxation. Lakes, picnic places, monuments, playgrounds, and gardens can all be explored.

There are a variety of events and activities that take place at the park throughout the year. You can also organize your wedding or special event on the lovely grounds, with the breathtaking nature as a backdrop for photography.

Do You Think You Could Get Off Alcatraz Island?

Alcatraz IslandAlcatraz Island: Source: Flickr

Alcatraz Island is a tiny island 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco that was built as a military fortress, a military jail, and a federal prison. The federal prison is the most well-known. Between 1933 and 1963, this happened.

The federal prison was built with the idea that inmates who were causing problems in other prisons would be sent here. Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud were among the prominent inmates who resided here. The island is now a popular tourist destination, with thousands of visitors visiting the prison’s deaths each year.

Spend Time At Union Square

Union SquareUnion Square: Source: Oscity / shutterstock

San Francisco’s most visited neighborhood is Union Square. Many high-end shopping establishments, fancy hotels, cafes, art galleries, and vibrant nightlife can be found here.

There are numerous live events to attend in the neighborhood, and there is always something to keep you engaged. This is a must-see destination on every city tour if you genuinely want to experience partying with the locals.

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture in Chinatown

ChinatownChinatown: Source: Flickr

Most major cities have a Chinatown, but San Francisco boasts four, including the largest Chinatown outside Asia and the oldest in North America on Grant Avenue. The city is so big that it has two hospitals and several parks. It attracts more tourists each year than the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you’re seeking authentic Chinese cuisine in San Francisco, you won’t be able to find it anywhere other than the four Chinatowns. If you happen to be in the city during the Autumn Moon Festival, you can attend for free.

Ride The San Francisco Cable Car System

San Francisco Cable Car SystemSan Francisco Cable Car System: Source: Flickr

San Francisco takes great pride in its cable car system. It is currently the world’s last manually operated system. There were 23 cable car lines in the city at its heyday, but only three remain now. Almost all of the people that ride the cars today are tourists searching for a unique experience while in town.

The first cable car line was established in 1873, and due to its popularity and the profits made by the owners, other lines were added. The first electric streetcars were built in 1892, and the manual car began to go away.

Keep an eye on the San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco GiantsThe San Francisco Giants: Source: Joseph Sohm / shutterstock

The San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park. One of the league’s most well-known teams and a household name. The stadium is located on the San Francisco Bay, and the stadium and city come together every time the Giants take the field. The current stadium, which cost $357 million to build, opened in April 2000.

Before coming to San Francisco in 1958, the San Francisco Giants were known as the New York Gothams. They’ve won the World Series eight times, most recently in 2014.

Explore The World Around You

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts: Source: Wikimedia

Enter the Exploratorium and learn about life in a new light. Explore what life would be like if we lived on a colorless planet or participated in a socially responsible video game.

The Exploratorium is one of the most dynamic locations to take your kids; the layout is so entertaining that you won’t even notice you’re learning.

There are six galleries, each focusing on a different game aspect, and they award you based on how focused you are.

Spend a Day at San Francisco’s Presidio

Presidio Of San FranciscoPresidio Of San Francisco: Source: Wikimedia

The Presidio of San Francisco is a park that was once a military base. The park is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area and is located on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. The Spanish first owned the land, then the Mexicans, until finally being purchased by the United States in 1948.

There are several areas in the park where you can stand and look out over the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. The location has also been designated as a California Historical Landmark.

Come Face To Face With Jellyfish

Come Face To Face With Jellyfish

Jellyfish: Source: Flickr

The Aquarium of the Bay is located on San Francisco’s waterfront. As you come face to face with the local aquatic species, you will have a memorable experience. The purpose of the aquarium is to safeguard the bay and the species that reside there.

You’ll see 300 feet of clear tunnels filled with 700,000 gallons of water once you’re inside. Twenty thousand animals from the bay and neighboring areas rely on this water to survive. You can see a leopard shark up close and be amazed by the walls of jellyfish.

Spend Time In Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli SquareGhirardelli Square: Source: Wikipedia

One of the things that makes this plaza interesting is its history. Domenico Ghirardelli owned and founded the company, which began as a chocolate factory. Ghirardelli was born in Italy in 1817 and worked as a young confectioner before departing at the age of 20 for Uruguay.

Ghirardelli evolved into a coffee and chocolate merchant, eventually settling in San Francisco to open his chocolate business. Many expensive boutiques, restaurants, and hotels now line the square.

Sample Delicious Food At The Ferry Building

The Ferry BuildingThe Ferry Building: Source: Flickr

The Ferry Building Marketplace is one of the City’s most well-known sights, offering everything from freshly caught fish to gourmet cheeses. The Ferry Building, which is situated at the bottom of Market Street, houses the market.

There are a variety of shops, both large and small. You can dine at some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, which are home to some of the City’s best chefs. Before being a market, the structure served as a Ferry House for those entering from the east.

Take In The View From Twin Peaks

View From Twin PeaksView From Twin Peaks: Source: ESB Professional / shutterstock

San Francisco’s Twin Peaks are a world-famous tourist destination that offers breathtaking vistas of the Bay Area. The Peaks were once known as “Los Pechos de la Choca,” or “Maiden’s Breasts.” The two summits, which stand at 922 feet each, are near to one another.

Visit a Museum of Modern Art in the City

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Source: Wikipedia

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was the country’s first museum dedicated solely to modern art. More than 29,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, photos, and architecture, are currently on show.

The museum, which is more than 80 years old, was once housed at the War Memorial Veterans Building before moving to its current location.

Take in the sights from Coit Tower

Coit TowerCoit Tower: Source: Flickr

Since 1933, Coit Tower has stood at the summit of Telegraph Hill. A viewing platform at the conference of the tower provides 360-degree views of the City and surrounding bay. Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy and eccentric woman, was the inspiration for the building.

When she died, her husband bequeathed a large quantity of money to the City, and this tower was built in her honor. The building is accessible by elevator all year, and tickets can be purchased at a nearby ticket office.

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts: Source: Wikimedia

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is a magnificent structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated landmark in the city. The design was built in 1915 to display artwork.

Tennis courts, military storage, and now an art gallery have all been used in the structures over the years. Ducks, swans, geese, and raccoons are among the fauna that inhabits the water surrounding the Palace.

Learn All About Asian Art

Asian ArtAsian Art: Source: Flickr

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of Asian art. The museum houses more than 18,000 works of art, including more than 6,000 years old. Avery Brundage contributed a considerable quantity of money to the city to establish the museum.

Avery Brundage was a multimillionaire and an avid Asian art collector. The artwork focuses on all of Asia’s major countries, and the museum also hosts many traveling exhibitions. The Dalai Lama opened a show about knowledge and compassion in 1991.

Wander Amongst The Redwood Trees

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument: Source: Flickr

Muir Woods National Monument is a redwood forest atop Mount Tamalpais. A 554-acre parcel of property that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Center. This park has 240 acres of redwood trees.

There were roughly 2 million acres of redwood trees in California; however, many of these were cut down when the logging industry arrived. This is one of the few remaining forests in the area. Although the park is dog and picnic-free, there are numerous trails of varying difficulty to explore on a day out.

Go to the United States’s Oldest Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea GardenJapanese Tea Garden: Source: Flickr

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is the country’s oldest public Japanese garden. In 1894, the park was established for an exhibition; a gentleman’s agreement was reached when the show ended, and the garden was kept. With time, the garden grew to its current size of around 5 acres.

The pagodas, stepping stones, arching bridges, and native Japanese plants are all prominent tourist attractions in the gardens today. There’s also a Zen garden and a koi pond. You can stop for some traditional Japanese refreshments if you get hungry or thirsty during your tour.

Take a trip to Angel Island

Angel IslandAngel Island: Source: Flickr

Angel Island is the Bay’s second-largest island. On the island, there is a small permanent population of roughly 60 individuals. You can go here by ferry from San Francisco and then take an open-air tram or a Segway tour of the island after you arrive.

Some numerous beautiful cafes and taverns provide delectable cuisine. The views of the bay from the island are amazing, and the ferry ride alone is worth it. Many events on the island feature live music, so check out what’s going on ahead of time to make sure you go on a day when a lot is going on.

Take a trip across the Bay Bridge 

Bay BridgeBay Bridge: Source: Flickr

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is the official name of the Bay Bridge. The bridge connects San Francisco Bay and Oakland, and 240,000 cars pass through on one of the ten allocated vehicle lanes each day. There is also a lane for cyclists and pedestrians.

The bridge was built to carry trains on the lower deck, but after the Key System Transit line closed, it was converted to vehicles, increasing the capacity for cars and trucks. In 2002, a section of the bridge collapsed, forcing the closure of the entire bridge for a month. The rehabilitation cost an estimated $6.5 billion.

Take A Stroll Along Ocean Beach

Ocean BeachOcean Beach: Source: Flickr

Ocean Beach is a lovely, calm beach with stunning white sand and few visitors. The beach runs for 3.5 miles in front of you and is relatively quiet; it’s typically just you, the birds, and the ocean waves. The water is suitable for surfing, but only experienced surfers should attempt it because it can turn very choppy.

Because the beach is part of the Golden Gate National Park, there are no high rises or obnoxious structures to look at while you explore. Instead, you’ll be treated to stunning natural scenery as well as views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Find Culture At Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena GardensYerba Buena Gardens: Source: Flickr

Yerba Buena Gardens is located in the heart of the downtown cultural district. Restaurants, cafes, museums, and theaters can all be found here. In addition, there is a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that is well worth visiting.

There is always something going on, and hundreds of free outdoor activities are held each year for residents and visitors. Bowling, ice skating, and a ride on the famous carousel are all options. The park has been named one of the top 30 urban parks in the country, and it’s easy to see why once you visit.

Have a good time at the Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family MuseumWalt Disney Family Museum: Source: Flickr

Anyone who likes Disney films should visit the Walt Disney Family Museum. Here you can learn about Walt Disney’s life. The 40,000-square-foot museum houses some of the iconic artifacts that helped bring Walt Disney’s ideas to reality.

Some of the early drawings, as well as a 12-foot mockup of Disneyland, are on display. Disney received 248 prizes over his illustrious career, which are displayed in the museum. A Fantasia-inspired theater, which presents Disney masterpieces regularly, is part of the museum.

Final Words

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Things to Do in San Francisco

  1. Take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge
  2. Head Down To The Waterfront At Fisherman’s Wharf
  3. Relax At Golden Gate Park
  4. Do You Think You Could Get Off Alcatraz Island?
  5. Spend Time At Union Square
  6. Immerse yourself in Chinese culture in Chinatown
  7. Ride The San Francisco Cable Car System
  8. Keep an eye on the San Francisco Giants
  9. Explore The World Around You
  10. Spend a Day at San Francisco’s Presidio
  11. Come Face To Face With Jellyfish
  12. Spend Time In Ghirardelli Square
  13. Sample Delicious Food At The Ferry Building
  14. Take In The View From Twin Peaks
  15. Visit a Museum of Modern Art in the City
  16. Take in the sights from Coit Tower
  17. The Palace of Fine Arts
  18. Learn All About Asian Art
  19. Wander Amongst The Redwood Trees
  20. Go to the United States’s Oldest Japanese Tea Garden
  21. Take a trip to Angel Island
  22. Take a trip across the Bay Bridge
  23. Take A Stroll Along Ocean Beach
  24. Find Culture At Yerba Buena Gardens
  25. Have a good time at the Walt Disney Family Museum

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