Top 20 things to See and Do in San Francisco
With so much to see in San Francisco, where do you start? Here are the Top 20 Destinations among San Francisco visitors, according to statistics collected by the San Francisco Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Browse through to decide which spots interest you most.
Shops, shops, and a plethora of great seafood restaurants line the Wharf, where you still see vestiges of the old fishing crafts used by the Italian immigrants who brought the Wharf to life after the Gold Rush.
Home to the largest urban population of Chinese people outside China, Chinatown is so authentic, you'll forget you're in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge
You've seen it in movies, television, books and postcards - now go ahead and take a walk on it! And don't forget your camera.
The finest shopping is found here with heavy-hitters like Macy's, Tiffany's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. Side streets hide some great surprises, too.
Cable Car Ride
Can you really say you've been to San Francisco without a ride on a clanking cable car? And nobody thought they'd work back in 1873...
Golden Gate Park
A beautiful oasis in the middle of a bustling city, you'll find museums, gardens, a lake - even a herd of bison.
One visit to this foreboding island and you'll know why escape was so appealing! Notorious criminals did time here: Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly, to name a few.
Some of the finest museums and galleries in the world reside in San Francisco, from SFMOMA to the Asian Art Museum to the DeYoung—all of them offer a stunning diversity of artistic expression.
Amidst chic shops and restaurants, enjoy the brightly painted Victorians and secret courtyards. As much fun at night as it is in the daytime.
Settled by Italian immigrants, the area offers outstanding Italian food and charming, old world cafés. The effects of subsequent immigrants makes this neighborhood a fascinating melange of history and cuisine. And talk about nightlife!
Yerba Buena Center / Moscone Convention Center
In this area south of Market Street sits the city's premier meeting and exhibition facility, the Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the newest addition, the Jewish Museum.
Haight Ashbury District
Nerve center of 1968's "Summer of Love," the neighborhood is more commercial today than it was then, but still worth a stroll for its history and exceptional architecture.
So named because of Mission Dolores' presence (oldest Mission in the state), the area remains largely Hispanic in its population and feel. Truly authentic Mexican food is found here, particularly at 16th and Valencia.
Since 1968, this tranquil 5-acre complex has showcased the best of Japanese life: a spa, shops, furnishings, and of course, great restaurants. Two public parking garages are available.
South of Market
With the proliferation of Internet companies in the Bay Area, South of Market (SOMA) is now considered one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city. Check out the California Historical Society, the Jewish Museum, and the Ansel Adams photography center, too.
Much of the gay and lesbian community lives and works in this neighborhood. Enjoy a fascinating assortment of shops, restaurants, pubs and a spectacular grand old movie palace.
The theater district (not far from Union Square) offers a wide range of live performances, both musical and dramatic. And fine dining is in close proximity for your convenience.
San Francisco Zoo
Located near the southern portion of Ocean Beach, the zoo is a great destination for family fun, 365 days a year. Admission is free the first Wednesday of every month.
Visit the Winery Collective is the first multi-winery tasting room in San Francisco focused on boutique wineries. This unique experience allowing you to taste wines from dozens of small wineries across California right in San Francisco without having to travel to each of the wine regions
Concerts, Performing Art and Sporting Events
Blessed with a fine symphony, a much-revered opera season, and an acclaimed ballet troupe, San Francisco offers something for every taste. San Francisco is home to two outstanding parks: famous Candlestick and the new Pac Bell, where home runs land in the San Francisco Bay.
TOP THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE OF SAN FRANCISCO
Sausalito Tiburon and Muir Woods
A lovely Ferry ride transports you to Sausalito (a bayside village tucked amongst the hills across the Bay) or Tiburon (former railroad town now similar in atmosphere to Sausalito). Take a car or tour to Muir Woods, the 560-acre park where redwoods over 1,000 years old stand tall.
Sonoma and Napa counties are best known for their vineyards, thanks to the mild sunny climate and fertile soil. Well under two hours away from San Francisco, Wine Country is a perfect day trip.
Carmel and Monterey
For a romantic weekend, few spots offer the charm of Carmel along the Monterey Peninsula. Experience Monterey's famous Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, and Aquarium.
Yosemite National Park
A three hour drive through the Gold Country takes you to the most spectacular National Park. Yosemite is home to North America's five highest waterfalls, Yosemite Falls, Ribbon Falls and Sentinel Falls. See the images captured by Ansel Adams - Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks and the 3500 ft El Capitan.
Berkeley and Oakland
Berkeley is home to the first University of California campus and boasts a history unparalleled among American universities. College Avenue, Fourth Street, and Telegraph Avenue are your best bets. In Oakland, check out Jack London Square, the historic Paramount Theater (art-deco movie palace), and the Oakland Museum.
Reno and Lake Tahoe
Situated in the center of the highest concentration of ski resorts in North America with no less than 40 golf courses and countless casinos, Reno/Lake Tahoe provides recreational opportunities galore just a few hours from San Francisco.
Parks and Beaches in the region
San Francisco has its fair share of beaches (Ocean, Baker, and China), but don't expect to do much sun-worshipping - it's rarely warm enough to bare all. Go north and explore Point Lobos, or south to enjoy the unique college/beach town of Santa Cruz.
Always a hit with families, San Francisco offers three regional theme parks. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Bonfante Gardens and Paramount's Great America.
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