Things to do in

San Francisco

Experience a patchwork of unique neighborhoods and bold metropolitan beauty rich in cultural delights.

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Top 5 sights in San Francisco

Don't miss these iconic sights and absolute must-dos.

Alcatraz

Discover the chilling history of this onetime home to some of America's most dangerous criminals. Visitors typically spend about 2 hours here. Choose from 16 activities.

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Golden Gate Bridge

Whether by bike, foot, or boat, there are endless ways to enjoy Golden Gate’s majestic splendor. Visitors typically spend about 1.5 hours here. Choose from 92 activities.

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Fisherman's Wharf

The waterfront fun-times never end, from sea lions to world-class dining, shopping, and people-watching. Choose from 59 activities.

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Pier 39

Come for the unbeatable views of San Francisco Bay, stay for the world famous sea lions. Visitors typically spend about 1 hour here. Choose from 35 activities.

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CruiseHop-on Hop-offGuided tour
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San Francisco Bay

Windy urban beaches draw sailors, windsurfers, and scenery lovers to this multi-bay destination. Choose from 19 activities.

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Cruise
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Top 10 things to do in San Francisco

Once known as the "Paris of the West," the gold-rush population boom made San Francisco a polycultural hub long before its Summer of Love. Here are some of the top attractions of this iconic west coast metropolis.

  • Alcatraz

    1. Alcatraz

    Alcatraz has had a colorful history but is most famous for being the prison that once held some of the US' most notorious gangsters, from Al Capone to Whitey Bulger.

  • Washington Square

    2. Washington Square

    The once-neglected Washington Square has evolved into an incredibly vibrant pocket of culture. It's now home to some of San Francisco's best restaurants and cafes.

  • San Francisco Bay

    3. San Francisco Bay

    San Francisco Bay actually consists of several bays, and its windy urban beaches make it a popular destination for sailors and windsurfers, as well as those just there for the scenery!

  • Golden Gate Bridge

    4. Golden Gate Bridge

    Standing proud between the Bay and the Pacific, the Golden Gate Bridge is considered by many to be the most beautiful bridge of the industrial age...

  • San Francisco Bay Bridge

    5. San Francisco Bay Bridge

    ...But the San Francisco Bay Bridge is a strong contender for that accolade when lit up at night!

  • Golden Gate Park

    6. Golden Gate Park

    Inspired by New York's Central Park, the Golden Gate Park provides a leafy respite from the city, as well as attractions like the Academy of Sciences and Japanese Tea Garden.

  • Fisherman´s Wharf

    7. Fisherman´s Wharf

    Fisherman's Wharf is the touristic center of San Francisco. It boasts seafood restaurants that go back generations, as well as museums, parks, and its own sea lion colony!

  • Stow Lake

    8. Stow Lake

    Stow Lake is the largest and most scenic of the manmade lakes at Golden Gate Park. Its island, Strawberry Hill, offers spectacular downtown views over the treetops.

  • Alamo Square

    9. Alamo Square

    Explore San Francisco's more affluent side with a jaunt around Alamo Square. The neighborhood's hilltop park looks over much of the city, and don't forget its "painted ladies!"

  • Painted Ladies

    10. Painted Ladies

    The Painted Ladies are extravagant Victorian rowhouses which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. It's astonishing to think so much of the city once looked this way!

Planning Your Visit

  • How many days?

    Some would say for as long as you can, so bear in mind that it's a big and busy city with plenty to see and do. First-timers should consider spending at least a week there if possible, though even that might not be enough!

  • Where to stay?

    Which of San Francisco's neighborhoods is best for you depends on the nature of your trip. Fisherman's Wharf will meet all the immediate needs of a fleeting visit, though Union Square is a more neutral and relaxed jumping-off point for tourists. Other neighborhoods each have their own personality so it's worth putting in the research, but high-crime areas to avoid include Bayview, Hunter's Point, Sunnydale, and Visitation Valley.

  • How to get around?

    "San Francisco has one of the world's most unique public transport systems. As well as buses and trains, the city is mostly mobilized by its historic cable-car network. Although newer trams do operate, visitors may want to ride one of the older ones for the novelty. Be warned though, notable routes such as the F-Market & Wharves line tend to get very crowded!
    The city is also very bike-friendly,with extensive bicycle lanes and even bike lockers!"

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-08:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Summer, Fall

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What people are saying about San Francisco

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,307 reviews

Great sites, driver was super friendly. We weren’t able to eat at our leisure in the vehicle due to Covid which was a challenge in a 15 hour trip. We also could have condensed some of the sites. We never got to stop and take pictures at overlooks for those iconic Yosemite park views— that was a big disappointment. Only pics we took were up close to Points Of Interest like El Capitan, etc. Definitely does not need to be an 8 hour tour. Felt like driver was dragging it out a bit bc that’s what we paid for, but I would have preferred getting back earlier. That’s me though. Maybe provide a variety of trip lengths; 3 hour, 5 hour and 8 hour..... Also would suggest updating the excursion description regarding the waterfalls — as being a point of interest during the seasons when they are dried up— would have liked to know that ahead of time. Maybe plan on stopping at the river instead so people can get a water feature of some sorts when the falls are dry. Add a restaurant stop to tour.

This was the best tour I’ve ever experienced. Phil is knowledgeable, kind, and friendly. The tour was entirely safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I felt comfortable the whole time. I highly recommend the tour and Best Bay Tours in general. I would love to take another tour the next time in the the Bay Area.

Wonderful tour through Yosemite! You get to see everything you want to see at this grant National Park. Brian, our guide went above and beyond to make sure you have the best experience ever! Very interesting and informative! I would book this tour with Brian again in a heartbeat!

Great tour guide! Kim really made the trip awesome with all her knowledge of the national park as well the routes ! Of course Yosemite speaks for itself! Overall a wonderful tour & well worth your money.

We had a great time on our tour to Napa and Sanoma. We had Geoffrey for our guide and he did not disappoint. He was so knowledgeable about wine and the city! Would definitely recommend this tour!