15 Best Things To Do in San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a city that is visited by thousands of travelers from across the world every day. The City hosts a number of attractive spots for the international tourist. You can find many places in the city and in nearby locations to go around and explore. Many tourist spots of the city hold its rich and diverse culture and historic values. Some of the most talked about tourist destinations have been mentioned here in this article that one can enjoy when visiting San Francisco.

Let's explore San Francisco points of interest and 15 best things to do in San Francisco:

1. Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf Exploration

When in San Francisco, Pier 39, Fishermans Wharf and Ghirardelli Square can be the best for tourists to stroll around. The waterfront places can easily be accessed within the city limits. The tourists can enjoy street performers, search for local souvenirs and other performances while visiting the place. At the Pier 39, the travelers can enjoy shopping, eating in local houses, exploring aquariums and carousel rides. This place is also a famous hub for sea lions where tourists gather to observe sea lions in their natural habitat.

2. Visit the mesmerizing Golden Gate Bridge

For tourists from all over the world, the Golden Gate bridge is an attractive tourist spot. The Golden Gate bridge can easily be seen from almost any part of the city and is famous for its architectural beauty. Tourists can enjoy stalking it like a famous celebrity and photograph its beauty. They can also rent a bike to drive across the bridge or simply walk on foot over it. The view of the below ships and vessels can also be enjoyed at the mid-span.

3. Visit the Historic Alcatraz

AlcatrazImage Source: wikimedia.org

This is one of the many places of historic importance and is visited very often by travelers from all over the globe. Actually, this is one of the most visited places in San Francisco and holds its history related to criminals and verdicts that were sentenced in the past. To get here tourists can enjoy a ferry ride to the Alcatraz Island and then walk on foot till the main building that is located at the hilltop. Inside the building, tourists can visit each cell and block that still reflects the untold history of prisoners. Tourists can also enjoy the self-guided, free of cost, audio tour that is played by the local authorities. To visit this place, tourists may have to book their tickets well in advance from the tour operator.

4. Enjoy the City Cable car ride

San Francisco is also famous for its cable car ride that is fun and iconic for tourists from all over the world. These are also considered as moving landmarks of San Francisco city and offer tourists with a lot of thrill and excitement. The tourists can enjoy the ride up and down the small hills along with the tines of the ringing bells of the cable car.

For most tourists, this ride is a life-changing experience as in most cases they are left thrilled and can explore some of the highly prized places through the aerial view. To enjoy the ride, tourists may have to spend some time waiting for their turn to come, but the wait is undoubtedly worthy enough.

5. Explore Chinatown

This place is spread over eight blocks; starting from Bush until its end at the Broadway. This is also the only Chinatown in the city and is the second largest in comparison with the main Chinatown. The place is also one of the most famous tourist destinations in San Francisco where you get to enjoy all the visuals and traditions of Main Town China. The main point of attraction is the unique Chinese Architecture that is decorated in the 20th Century with a rich color combination of Red and blue. When strolling through Chinatown the tourists can enjoy the local Chinese cuisine, souvenirs, and food. The tourists can indulge in a lot many activities like photography, and explore alleyways, tea stores and herb shops.

6. Lombard Street exploration

This place in San Francisco is famous for its crookedest streets, and the place is usually flooded by tourists from all over the world. The street stretches across all other parts of the city but the joint between the Hyde and Leavenworth is one of the most visited spots. This section is famous for its sharp turns, and colorful flowers. Even if there are not many activities to do at this place, tourists can still enjoy the nature. Tourists can easily reach here via cable car ride or walk through the town. Also, tourists can find some nice spots to take photographs of their family and friends.

7. Explore the city via the Bay Cruise

The San Francisco city is known for its beauty, and bay cruise is one of the best ways to explore its untouched beauty from a distance. Tourists can enjoy the unique skyline through the cruise that circles the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz prison. The tide is best described as scenic where some untouched parts of San Francisco can be explored. Tourists may also get a  chance to explore the city without walking through the busy streets of the town. The ride can be found at the Fisherman’s Wharf dock. Before getting started, it is advisable to collect all information about the ride and its experience in advance.

8. Visit the Golden Gate Park

Tourist attractions in San FranciscoImage Source: wikimedia.org

The park is widespread over three miles in length and covers more than half part of the city from Haight Ashbury till the beach area. When at the park, tourists will get to enjoy the piloting RC boats, buffalo herds, gardens, museums, and Dutch windmills. They can also enjoy their best time by having a picnic or playing other games with their family or friends. The park also has a stretch of 45 miles driveway where the tourists can enjoy walking or driving with their family. Apart from this, visitors can also enjoy the famous Japanese Tea garden in its natural beauty or the De Young Museum along with penguins, alligator, orchid garden, flower conservatory, and science academy.

9. Enjoy Sausalito Side trip

This place is known as the charming town and is located at the North side of the bay. Tourists can enjoy some of the best scenic views here including the houseboat community. They can also experience the water boat homes, floating Island, and even the floating Taj Mahal. Apart from these, they can also enjoy the shops and take a walk at the waterfront. To make the trip even more exciting tourists often rent a ferry ride from the Fisherman’s Wharf or a mini cruise that offers a ride through the Marin Headlands.

10. Explore the 49 Mile drive

Initially, this facility was started as an advertising tool and represents the area number of San Francisco. Tourists just have to follow the Blue seagull signboards that are widespread across the city to reach this spot. This route passes by some of the best spots within the city including ideal neighborhoods. Tourists can also have a chance to experience the twin peaks, which  is the highest point of the city and offers visitors a brilliant panoramic view of the fog-covered city. One of the best ways to enjoy this spot is to walk a few miles on foot and drive through other points.

11. Spend some time at Science Exploratorium

Science Exploratorium San franciscoImage Source: wikimedia.org

This is one of the most famous science museums in San Francisco and is located near Pier 39 and Ferry Building. It is a modern museum where the tourists can enjoy different types of exhibits. These are very much appealing for people of all age groups and veteran scientists. The museum has different levels that are related to latest scientific developments and theories.

12. Visit Historical Union Square

Historical Union Square, San FranciscoImage Source: flickr.com

This is the best place for those who enjoy watching local people or would love to shop around in San Francisco. Union Square is one of the most visited places here and dates back to as early as 18th century. The place is located at the cities epicenter and is a busy shopping spot surrounded with Guggenheim museum, spiral escalators and indoor shopping mall. During Christmas, the place is a welcome spot for people who enjoy ice-skating, Christmas decorations or music. There are many places that can be visited here at the Union Square.

13. Take a walk

One of the best ways to enjoy in San Francisco is to take a walk through the city and enjoy the breath-taking views. Tourists can enjoy the small hills and flat walkways while exploring the mesmerizing waterfronts, gardens, shops, sidewalks or even Golden Gate treks. This is one of the best things to do in San Francisco and explore dozens of unexplored places.

14. Farmer's market and Ferry Building

Ferry building is one of the hubs for transits and one can buy fruits, vegetables, oysters, and wines here. At the ferry building, tourists can enjoy a lot of food items and other products like coffee and cheese. At the local restaurants, tourists can also enjoy a full meal from the local cuisine.

15. Visit Angel Island Hike

San Francisco attractionsImage Source: flickr.com

If someone is interested in enjoying breathtaking views then Angel Island hike is one of the best places to visit. The hike is 781 foot tall where the tourists can get a chance to dwell on the history of the civil war in the past. This is also famous for its Immigration station museum and Ellis Island. The only way to get to this Island is via a ferry from pier 41.

Here we have covered you with all San Francisco attractions and places to visit in San Francisco.

Are you looking for a San Francisco travel itinerary? Create an itinerary within minutes, on your own!

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco, California

Must see places in San Francisco ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in San Francisco and point of interests to visit.

  1. Muir Woods National Monument

    # 1 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 17133 times in trip plans
    Muir Woods National Monument

    Tags: National Park, Trail, Hiking Trail, Walking Area

    Address: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, United States

    Timings: 08:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County boasts of its old growth towering Redwood trees through which scenic trails meander to Bohemian Grove, Cathedral Grove, and Redwood Creek. Among the numero...Read more

  2. Alcatraz Island

    # 2 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 20655 times in trip plans
    Alcatraz Island

    Tags: Outdoors, Island, Garden, Landmark

    Address: San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The Alcatraz Island San Francisco is an infamous historical prison island, built in 1868. Alcatraz is located in middle of San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco, California, United...Read more

  3. Pier 39

    # 3 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 16541 times in trip plans
    Pier 39

    Tags: Bar, Aquarium, Pier, Food And Drinks

    Address: 39, Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 09:00 pm Details

    There is no end to the fun to be had here. A vast bumber of shops, restaurants, a film arcade, road exhibitions, a Marine Mammal Center, the Bay Aquarium, several virtual 3D rides, and Californian oce...Read more

  4. California Academy Of Sciences

    # 4 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 6125 times in trip plans
    California Academy Of Sciences

    Tags: Museum, Aquarium, Educational Site, Tour

    Address: 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, United States

    Timings: 09:30 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The California Academy of Sciences is science museum in San Francisco and one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Originally established in 1853, this oldest museum in California has ...Read more

  5. Marin Headlands

    # 5 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 8968 times in trip plans
    Marin Headlands

    Tags: Outdoors, Trail, Park, Wildlife Park

    Address: Marin Headlands, California 94941, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The Marin Headlands are located within the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and offer stunning views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge and an opportunity to see some historic military sites. The...Read more

  6. Ghirardelli Square

    # 6 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 6544 times in trip plans
    Ghirardelli Square

    Tags: Walking Area, Food And Drinks, Cafe, Dine In

    Address: 900 North Point Street, #E100, San Francisco, CA 94109

    Timings: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Originally a chocolate factory established by Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli, it is now a retail and dining complex with several shops and restaurants. A must visit place with an interesti...Read more

  7. Fishermans Wharf

    # 7 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 16474 times in trip plans
    Fishermans Wharf

    Tags: Stage Show, Concert, Leisure, Market

    Address: Jefferson and Jones Streets, San Francisco, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Fishermans wharf in San Francisco is a place to experience seafood done well. The home base of San francisco fisherman's wharf underwent major development in the 70’s and 80’s to recr...Read more

  8. At And T Park

    # 8 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 12299 times in trip plans
    At And T Park

    Tags: Sport, Park, View Point, Stadium

    Address: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A ballpark with a difference! Host to Major League Baseball and home to the San Francisco Giants Baseball team, AT&T Park is a must visit for any sports enthusiast. The park offers stunning view o...Read more

  9. North Beach

    # 9 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 5392 times in trip plans
    North Beach

    Tags: Hotel, Bar, Outdoors, Off Beaten Path

    Address: North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94111, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    You want to come to this place, San Franciso’s own Little Italy for the really authentic cheese and pasta dishes. It’s also a thriving nightlife/red light district. Named among the top ten...Read more

  10. Lands End

    # 10 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 3168 times in trip plans
    Lands End

    Tags: Outdoors, Trail, Park, View Point

    Address: 680 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Located within the Golden Gate National Recreational Area is another gem with stunning views and winding trails. Lands End is essentially a park with several points of interest within it. Visit the me...Read more

  11. The Walt Disney Family Museum

    # 11 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 3069 times in trip plans
    The Walt Disney Family Museum

    Tags: Museum

    Address: 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States CA 94129

    Timings: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    The museum is dedicated to the life and work of the legendary Walt Disney. It houses several interactive displays, early drawings, awards and artefacts belonging to the company and the man. There is a...Read more

  12. Cable Car Museum

    # 12 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 6293 times in trip plans
    Cable Car Museum

    Tags: Cable Car, Specialty Museum, Souvenir Shop

    Address: 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

    Timings: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Cable car museum San Francisco located in Nob Hill, corner of Mason and Washington Street. San Francisco is home to the only cable car system in the world. While many tourists ride the cable...Read more

  13. Asian Art Museum Of San Francisco

    # 13 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 1852 times in trip plans
    Asian Art Museum Of San Francisco

    Tags: Art And Culture, Art Museum

    Address: 200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The museum houses one of the most extensive collections of Asian art in the world. The collection has over 18,000 works of art and artefacts from 40 Asian countries, some of which are 6000 years old. ...Read more

  14. Musee Mecanique

    # 14 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 3301 times in trip plans
    Musee Mecanique

    Tags: Entertainment, Exhibition

    Address: Pier 45 Shed A, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    The Musee Mechanique is a profit-oriented interactive exhibition hall comprising of over 300 twentieth century penny arcade amusements and antiquities, which were discovered at the Fisherman's Wharf i...Read more

  15. Cliff House

    # 15 of 6245 Things To Do in San Francisco | Added 2057 times in trip plans
    Cliff House

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Restaurant

    Address: 1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 09:30 pm Details

    Perched on the edge of the cliffs north of Ocean Beach, is Cliff House. It is a historical building that now serves as a restaurant and viewpoint. It is one of the most iconic restaurants in San Franc...Read more

Find Your San Francisco Attractions on Map

Top San Francisco Activities And Tours

Explore the best things to do in San Francisco. These are the most preferred tourist activities.

Find more places to see in San Francisco

  • California Historical Society

    678 Mission St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Fort Point National Historic Site

    Marine Dr

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • SF Armory

    1800 Mission St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Mills Building

    220 Montgomery St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • SS Jeremiah O'Brien

    11 Pier 45

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Coit Tower

    1 Telegraph Hill Blvd

    Historic and Protected Sites
View On Map
  • Spreckels Lake

    36TH Ave

    Lakes
  • Lake Merced

    28 Bucareli Dr

    Lakes
  • Lloyd Lake

    John F Kennedy Drive

    Lakes
  • Metson Lake

    Lakes
  • Lloyd Lake

    Golden Gate Park

    Lakes
  • Laguna Honda Reservoir

    375 Laguna Honda Blvd

    Lakes
View On Map
  • Maritime Museum

    900 Beach St

    Museums
  • The American Bookbinders Museum

    355 Clementina St

    Museums
  • San Francisco Railway Museum

    77 Steuart St

    Museums
  • SOMArts Cultural Center

    934 Brannan St

    Museums
  • African American Art & Culture

    762 Fulton St

    Museums
  • Cable Car Museum

    1201 Mason St

    Museums
View On Map
  • Dart Ops

    1150 El Camino Real

    Amusement Parks
  • PanIQ Escape Room San Francisco

    750 Hyde St

    Amusement Parks Landmarks
  • 7D Experience

    39 Pier

    Amusement Parks Arcades
  • The Haunted House of Horrors

    88 5th St

    Amusement Parks Restaurants
  • Astro Gaming

    345 6th St

    Arcades Amusement Parks
  • Ticketmaster

    201 3rd St

    Amusement Parks
View On Map
  • Swank

    488 Presidio Ave

    Bars Restaurants Cafes, Coffee and Tea Houses
  • Saap Ver Authentic Thai Cuisine

    88 Division St

    Bars Thai
  • Sutter Station Tavern

    554 Market St

    Bars American
  • Social Kitchen & Brewery

    1326 9th Ave

    American Bars Breweries
  • St Francis Yacht Club

    700 Marina Blvd

    Bars Restaurants
  • Playground

    1705 Buchanan St

    Korean Bars American
View On Map
  • Artichoke Joe's Casino

    659 Huntington Ave

    Casinos and Gaming Hotels and Motels
  • 2Go Casino Parties

    851 Cherry Ave

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Bay Area Mobile Casino Parties

    239 Boardwalk Ave

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Casino College

    870 Market St

    Casinos and Gaming
  • River Rock Casino Express

    664 Clay St

    Casinos and Gaming
  • 21 Fun Casino

    870 Market St

    Casinos and Gaming
View On Map
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    499 Jefferson St

    Natural Parks
  • Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

    201 Fort Mason

    Natural Parks Playgrounds
  • Hyde Street Pier

    2905 Hyde St

    Natural Parks
  • Twin Peaks

    501 Twin Peaks Blvd

    Natural Parks
  • South Park

    22 S Park St

    Playgrounds Natural Parks
  • Fort Point National Historic Site

    201 Fort Mason

    Natural Parks
View On Map
  • Buena Vista Park

    Haight Street

    Dog Parks
  • Upper Douglass Dog Park

    800 27th St

    Dog Parks
  • Rincon Hill Dog Park

    486 Beale St

    Dog Parks
  • Mission Creek Park

    451 Berry St

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
  • Corona Heights Park

    Roosevelt Way and Castro

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
  • Buena Vista Park

    Buena Vista

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
View On Map
  • Baker Beach

    1504 Pershing Dr

    Beaches
  • China Beach

    490 Sea Cliff Ave

    Beaches
  • Ocean Beach

    Fulton St

    Beaches
  • East Beach

    Crissy Field

    Beaches
  • Point Lobos

    101 Point Lobos Ave

    Beaches
  • Ocean Beach

    Point Lobos Ave

    Beaches
View On Map
  • San Andreas Trail

    Skyline Blvd

    Hiking
  • Lyon Street Steps

    Lyon Street

    Hiking
  • Strawberry Hill

    Golden Gate Park

    Hiking
  • Coastal Trail

    Washington Blvd

    Hiking
  • Vulcan Stairway

    1 Vulcan Stairway

    Hiking
  • Corona Heights Park

    De Forest Way

    Hiking
View On Map
Show More

What To Do in San Francisco: Day-Wise Ideas

Find what not to miss in San Francisco! Recommended San Francisco itineraries and vacation ideas created by travelers across the world.