20 THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO
Located in Northern California, San Francisco has been a tourist favourite for decades. Known for its hilly landscape, the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and beautiful Victorian homes, San Fran is a great city for all types of holidays given there is so much to see and do. If you’re thinking of booking your next holiday to San Francisco, then here is 20 things to do in San Francisco.
THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO
- Fishermans Wharf- As one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, no trip to San Fran would be complete without visiting its famed Fishermans Wharf. The neighbourhood features world-class hotels, restaurants and has a very family friendly atmosphere to it. The historic waterfront district features bay cruises, city tours, bike and GoCar tours and more. Things to do while there include a visit to Ghirardelli Square, Madame Tussauds, the Aquarium of the Bay and the Hyde Street Pier.
- Alcatraz – Located just 1.25 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay, the old prison is now a popular attraction in the city. Once home to inmates, including Al Capone, it’s now a museum that’s accessible by ferry. The audio tour is a great way to learn about the island and its history and you’ll see amazing views of the bay! There are also tours running both day and night, but get in early as tickets do sell out during peak season.
- Union Square- if you want to do some shopping, head over to Union Square, which is San Fran’s top spot for shopping, dining and hotels. The site also houses various cultural centres and is a where all the action is!
- Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park- The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge is a unique experience for everyone who visits the city. You can hike, walk, bike or take a guided tour of the bridge, or simply sit back and take in all of its beauty. There’s a welcome centre to learn more about it, as well as outdoor exhibits. The walking tours are free, and you can enjoy a snack or two at the locations two cafes. Both ends of the bridge touch the Gold Gate National Recreation centre, which has fun trails and more.
- Cable Cars- The city’s cable car system is the last manually operated cable car system in the world and is an icon of San Fran. No trip is complete without riding one!
- Chinatown – As the largest Chinatown outside of Asian, it’s the oldest one in North America and has the largest Chinese community. A visit will provide tourists with amazing foods, shops and cultural learning centres.
- Ghirardelli Square- If you love chocolate, you’ll have to visit Ghirardelli Square that’s located in the Fishermans Wharf area. There, you’ll get to visit the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, which is also a museum where you’ll be able to enjoy some chocolate confections.
- Twin Peaks- See the city and all of its glory with a hike up to Twin Peaks, which are two prominent hills in the city.
- Japanese Tea Garden- Located in the Golden Gate park this is the oldest public Japanese garden in the States. It was originally built as part of the Word’s Fair of 1894, the garden features amazing views, including koi ponds and pagodas, and you can stop for tea at the tea house.
- Yosemite National Park- Not exactly in San Fran, Yosemite National Park is about four hours away and is one of the most famous national parks in the U.S. It’s known for its giant and old sequoias, waterfalls and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. You can camp for a few days in the great outdoors or stay in a nearby hotel.
- Sonoma & Napa Valley Wine Tour- You can hop on a tour to visit the Napa and Sonoma to enjoy some fine wine. Both are a short distance away from the city and features delicious wine and beautiful views, making for an experience of a lifetime.
- Explore North Beach- As San Francisco’s famous Italian quarter, it’s actually not a beach town, a beautiful European neighbourhood that is centred along Columbus and Grant Avenue. Coit Tower at Telegraph Hill offers a great view of the bridges and the bay, making it a perfect stop for a photo. Inside the tower is also a number of beautiful murals painted in the early 1930s of San Francisco.
- Sausalito- The San Francisco Bay Area city in Marin County is a quaint little city to visit with its waterfront views. The charming quiet town features art galleries, shops, fine dining and more.
- Haunted Walking Tour – For those who like a bit of a thrill try the haunted walking tours. That will take you around the city and show you famous haunting sites! You’ll explore the dark side of the city as the guide tells you about some of its most horrific murders, ruthless villains and famed ghosts.
- Redwood and Muir Wood Forest- Just a few hours from the city, the scenic, forested park features giant redwood trees, hiking trails and beautiful sights. When I say giant redwood trees, I mean giant! The redwood species contains the largest and tallest trees in the world. These trees can live thousands of years. Standing near one you feel absolutely dwarfed by the sheer size of these trees. For another perspective of the redwoods you can see the view from the top. I did a treetop adventure in which you swing from the trees and zip line through the mountains. I must admit as a person incredibly afraid of heights I made it to obstacle one, but it was still amazing. For the others in my group they were just blown away by the experience and thrill of the treetop adventure.
- Segway tours- if you only have a limited amount of time and looking for something a little fun, then consider exploring the city on a Segway. Check out our post for more details.
- Craft Cocktail Tasting Tour – San Fran is known for its creative food culture and the city’s cocktail culture is no different. The Downtown Masters of the Craft Cocktail Tasting Tour lets you explore the city’s best dive bars, lounges and bars and taste unique drinks along the way.
- Nob Hill Walking Tour- Check out the rich history of Nob Hill with this walking tour that explores the posh neighbourhood that features impressive mansions, hotels and tranquil hilltop parks. A guide will share its history and more.
- Check Out A Baseball or Football Game- San Francisco is home to the Giants baseball team and the 49ers football team. Check out a game on your next visit if you’re a fan or just want to experience a game in the city!
- Enjoy The Nightlife – Over the years, I have found San Francisco nightlight to constantly be changing, but one thing for sure is that there is something to suit everyone. Whether you are into alternative, jazz bars, cocktail bars of hip and happening gay dance clubs then San Francisco has you covered. Here is a website with all the latest on things to do in San Francisco by night.
Hope you enjoyed our guide on the top 20 things to do in San Francisco!
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GETTING TO SAN FRANCISCO
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