15 Fun Things To Do in San Francisco
San Francisco is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, as well as one of the leading financial and cultural centers of North America. Known for it’s magnificent Victorian homes, steep hills, unbelievable views, diverse architecture, cool summers and the unpredictable fog, San Francisco is one place you do not want to skip on your must-see destination checklist! Wether you are visiting San Fran as a day trip, or with the family, expect a ton of fun things to do.
Located in the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island also known as “The Rock” is much more than an abandoned prison. Alcatraz was the site of the first lighthouse in the Western United States, as well as a military reservation in 1850. It then became a place for men too tough for any other prison, housing famous convicts such as Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelley. Tours constantly leaving out of Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz is one of the cities most popular attractions as well sa fun things to do in San Francisco.
14. Coit Tower
Built in 1933, Coit tower lies at the very top of Telegraph Hill and has become a featured landmark. Serving as a memorial for the fallen firefighters who fought the 1906 earthquake fires. Some say that the tower is designed purposely in the shape of a fire hose nozzle.
13. Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge is the most beautiful bridge in the world, known for its spectacular location, color, art deco detailing, along with the bridge being a complete technical masterpiece. When the bridge was built in 1933 many did not believe it was technically possible to span this suspension bridge. Thousands of workers, 35 million dollars and 4 years later, the bridge was walked across by 18 000 people! The Golden Gate Bridge is an unbelievable must see sight, which can luckily be viewed all over San Francisco.
12. The Painted Ladies
This is definitely one of our favorite places to see whenever we are in San Francisco. Maybe because the TV show “Full House” was filmed in second house from the left, or just because of how immaculate and flawless these beautiful Victorian homes are kept. The houses are back dropped with the stunning downtown skyline, and in front of the houses is a perfectly manicured grassy square. This area is one of the most photographed locations in San Francisco. We truly recommend visiting this spot as it is one of people’s favorite things to do in San Francisco.
11. Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is a major tourist attraction in San Francisco, with the many delicious street seafood vendors, cute souvenir shops, and if you are visiting with children don’t forget to go to pier 39, where you will find video arcades, street performers, the Marine mammal center, the aquarium of the bay, and of coarse the famous California sea lions, which lay on the docks of the pier 39’s marina.
Haight-Ashbury was made famous by the hippie movement in the 1960’s. It had somewhat of a bad reputation for the area where the hippies could get their drugs in that era; it was also the home to many famous singers such as the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin. John Lennon and Yoko Ono would make their way over to Haight-Ashbury to help push boundaries of the hippie movement and make history. It is still a fun area to go visit as some of the history can still be seen today, many thrift shops and stores selling memorabilia from the Haight history.
9. San Francisco Cable Cars
San Francisco has been using cable cars to get around the city since the first run in 1873. Riding an actual historical monument around the city is an absolute MUST. For more information and history on the San Francisco Cable Car’s you should check out the Cable Car Museum!
The Exploratorium is such a great hands on museum that exhibits a great mix of science and art, with activities for visitors of all ages. The location was within the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, crafted and inspired by Roman and Greek architecture. The Exploratorium is known to be the prototype for participatory museums throughout the world. Sadly this beautiful location closed its doors at the Palace of Fine Arts on January 2nd 2013, and we have been patiently awaiting the opening of the brand new location on April 17th 2013. Be sure to visit the new location located on Piers 15 and 17 along the Embarcadero.
7. San Francisco China Town
Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest one outside of Asia. The great thing about Chinatown is that there is no need for an itinerary or even map. You just need to roam around aimlessly looking up at the hundreds of lanterns and the outstanding pagoda roofs. Stumble upon some of the most interesting and delicious hidden, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and shop at the many different boutiques. Chinatown actually draws more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge.
6. Lombard Street
Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth is known to be the most crooked street in the world! It is famous for having a steep section that consists of eight tight turns. Cars are only allowed driving down the street towards Leavenworth Street. The humor and sight of witnessing cars maneuvering down this extremely steep and curvy road has made this street an extremely popular tourist attraction.
5. Muir Woods
Located 12 miles north of San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area lays the uncanny Muir Woods National Monument. On January 9th 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt was the one who declared this land a national monument. The main attraction in Muir woods is the Coast Redwood, which is known for their unbelievable height of nearly 380 Feet. The average age of most of the trees in Muir Woods are between 500-800 years old!
4. San Francisco Union Square
Union Square is the perfect shopping destination center, with 6 of the major department stores, as well as several upscale boutiques. Union Square is also the center for many of the cities finest hotels, along with the famous theater district.
3. Bay Bridge
The renowned Bay Bridge was opened in 1936 and is the link between San Francisco and Oakland. This busy bridge carries approximately 280,000 vehicles per day within the two decks. The Bay Bridge is known to have one of the longest spans in the world measuring 4.46 miles! A large section of the upper deck of the eastern portion of the bridge had collapsed due to the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 but was quickly revived. There are no pedestrian walkways on this particular bridge, but you can stop at the midway point at Treasure Island for a view of the breathtaking San Francisco skyline.
2. Lands End Trail
Lands End offers outstanding views of the span and an exceptionally wild hike. The trail is located in the northwest corner of San Francisco and is thoroughly enjoyed daily by many locals for a jog or a walk on the trails, while tourists are taken aback by the view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
1. Japanese Tea Garden
After a day of touring around all the great attractions San Francisco has to offer, you need some time to unwind and relax. Located in the Sprawling Golden Gate State Park, The Japanese Tea Garden is the largest in its kind in the United States. Since the Tea Garden was built in 1894 right after the World’s Fair, it has become one of the most unique and visited attractions in San Francisco. This tranquil, quiet and peaceful spot will be the most perfect down time for your eventful trip!