The Best Things To Do In San Francisco

Written By: Kristen Cook

This west coast city on the bay appeals to nearly everyone – business-types, boho beatniks and those looking for some quaint, unique vibes from the countless neighborhoods spread throughout the city. Located in Northern California, the weather here is always good, but often a little chilly with its breeze coming off the eye-catching San Francisco Bay. Dress in layers and always be prepared for a thick layer of fog to roll in and saturate the area with clouds and mist.

Getting around San Francisco is easy, thanks to the multiple options of public transportation. The Bart rail system transports visitors from San Francisco International Airport and beyond, making it easy to avoid renting a car if you choose to walk throughout the city. Be prepared for some steep climbs, though, as San Francisco is built on countless hills and some of them are pretty substantial in elevation for a city. Hop on and off a quintessential Trolley for that perfect San Francisco experience – you can purchase passes for any length of stay.

Once you’re in the city, there’s a lot to do. One of the most iconic destinations is Lombard Street, considered one of the world most crooked streets. There are two ways to see it – by car, down the one-way street or on foot. Whether you view it from the top or bottom of the hill, it’s always a sight to see! If you love chocolate and sweets, no trip to San Francisco is complete without a stop at Ghirardelli Square – a chocolate-lover’s dream – to pick up some treats for the ride back to the hotel.

There’s history and charm in every part of the city, but San Francisco is best known for its place in hippie culture of the 1960s. Check out the shops and restaurants along Haight-Ashbury for a fun immersion into eclectic boutiques, record shops and vintage finds. Of course, no trip to San Francisco is complete without viewing the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz! Tours are offered at Alcatraz daily, which lends a fascinating peek into this chilling prison destination that once housed famed gangster Al Capone.


Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an integral part of San Francisco’s transport infrastructure, and it also reflects the vast culture of the city. A bridge of many moods; it glitters in the sun, but it can also wake up hidden by the misty fog of the bay. Join the daily commuters as you walk or cycle across the bridge, or find a vantage point to take in its majesty from a far. Some of the bridges favourite viewing points can be found at Vista Point in Marin or Crissy Field!



Alcatraz – one of the most notorious prisons in America – is now an incredibly popular tourist destination, so it’s best to book your tickets early. As you step off the boat onto the island, you enter another world. It’s fascinating, it’s eerie, and it becomes a bit scary as you gain an appreciation of the hard life the inmates faced. This is one place that is not to be missed!


Pier 39

Pier 39 is the hub of bayside entertainment and is a day of fun for the whole family. Meet the sea lions and visit the Aquarium of the Bay to discover 20,000 local sea creatures. Local street performers will entertain you as you meander around the shops or drop into a restaurant for lunch. If you want to make it an extra special day, why not take a boat trip on the harbour? There’s something for everyone at Pier 39!


Muir Woods

Just 12 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge lies another world – Muir Woods. The trees in this redwood forest date back 1000 years and are the tallest living things on earth. Hike along the trails and take in the beauty and majesty of these Woods. There is an easy one-mile hike, or a more challenging two-mile trail that provides spectacular views of the ocean and San Francisco.


California Academy of Sciences

A trip to the California Academy of Sciences is a trip to observe our universe! Visit the aquarium, then explore the natural history museum, and then move onto the planetarium to explore outer space; yes, everything on the one site! See the diversity and beauty of coral reefs, visit the Morrison Planetarium with a 75-foot dome, and step inside a four-story rainforest! Trust us, you don’t want to miss this gem!


Twin Peaks

Get your bearings at Twin Peaks and take in a magnificent view of San Francisco and the bay. These two hills in the centre of the city are a favourite lookout point among travellers and locals alike. Take time to relax and take in the sights with a picnic; it’s a great (and free) way to kick off your visit to San Francisco!


Union Square

As you stroll around San Francisco, stop for a while in Union Square. Take a break and take in the atmosphere of the city as you watch people go about their daily business; grab a park bench or have a coffee at the café! Once you’ve recharged your batteries hit the shops; whether it be big department stores or trendy boutiques, they are all waiting for you!


Fisherman’s Wharf

Head to Fisherman’s Wharf for fun and food, and a few drinks. Try the restaurants (great seafood chowder!) and give the kids a treat at the many attractions that surround the wharf. Wander to Pier 39 and meet the sea lions, treat yourself and the kids to a carousel ride, and at Pier 45 take in the maritime history of the city. There really is so much to do here!


The San Francisco Bay

As you stroll around San Francisco, you will notice one very distinct thing, and that is how the Bay blends harmoniously into the city; it truly is as one with its residents. With a proud trade and military history, this Bay is an ecological marvel. So close to a major city, yet it is home to so much wildlife, such as crabs, waterfowl, seals and sea lions. If you want to really experience the Bay, why not explore on a sunset cruise; it doesn’t get better!


Golden Gate National Recreation Area

You don’t just visit the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, you experience it. Walk or bike your way through this magnificent area; the biggest urban park in the world. With pristine shorelines, try the simple pleasures such as kite-flying, stop for a leisurely picnic, or meander along the promenade and watch the hustle and bustle of the Bay.



Come to Mendocino and experience the magnificent splendour of the picturesque Mendocino Headlands State Park, as you hike the famous clifftop trails, then descend to enjoy the perfect golden beaches below. This stunning seaside location is a magnet for all travellers with a love for dramatic and untamed nature, as well as charming and relaxing Victorian culture, and with so much beauty to be found here, it truly is one place that you will never forget!


Napa Valley

Take a tour of Napa Valley and discover the spectacular natural beauty, magnificent wine, and the amazing fresh produce that abounds from the fertile soils of the region. Soak up the history with a tour of one of the many wineries that dot the hillsides, and relax with a picnic full of the local gourmet foods. A day tour is a great option, so that you can enjoy a few wines and not have to worry about the drive!


Yosemite National Park

Make the pilgrimage to magnificent Yosemite National Park, a mere 160 miles from San Francisco. Stare in awe of its beauty, watch the waterfalls cascade, and climb and hike the natural treasures that are so plentiful in this park. Stay for a while in one of the camping grounds, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Related Links

North America

World Regions

United States of America


San Francisco

Cities & Towns

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This