About Us San Francisco Bay Area U.S. Travel International Travel Contact Us Search

 

|


Home

SF Bay Area

San Francisco

Top 10 SF Tours


Attractions

Lodging

Meetings

Restaurants

Entertainment

Transportation



SF Bay Area
Events


San Francisco
City Tours
and Sightseeing


 

S.F. Bay Area — California
San Francisco, CA
Top 20+ Fun Things To Do in
San Francisco & the Bay Area

 

Fun in San Francisco
Anytime
is a good time to visit San Francisco. As locals, we love playing tourist for the day — the "city by the bay" and surrounding areas offer so many FUN things to do and see. Here are a few of our favorites for visitors and locals alike:

  1. Golden Gate Bridge
  2. Alcatraz Island
  3. Fisherman's Wharf
  4. Pier 39 & Sea Lions
  5. Cable Cars
  6. Double-Decker Bus Tour
    "Hop-On Hop-Off"
  7. Chinatown
  8. Golden Gate Park and Museums
  9. Japanese Tea Gardens
  10. Lombard Street
  11. North Beach
    - "Beach Blanket Babylon" show
  12. Coit Tower
  13. Ghirardelli Square
  14. Union Square & SF Shopping
  15. Champagne Brunch Cruise
  16. Helicopter Tours
  17. Top SF Museums
    - de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Eploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, SFMOMA...
  18. Muir Woods
    - Giant Redwoods
  19. Chrissy Field & Marina Green
  20. Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
  21. Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Country
    - Tours & Day Trip from SF
  22. Yosemite National Park Tour
    from San Francisco




1. Golden Gate Bridge
Known as the world's most famous and recognizable bridge, it's no surprise that the Golden Gate Bridge is one of San Francisco's top tourist attractions. Over 10 million walkers and cyclists walk and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge every year — it offers one of the most amazing views of the SF skyline, Alcatraz, Angel Island, SF Bay (usually filled with sailboats), and the Pacific Ocean. Scenic Vista Point areas are located at each end of the bridge — it's perfect for snapping photos and shooting videos. If you like to sail, take a San Francisco Sailing Cruise and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.

2. Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf
Take a FUN Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour. Book early because it sells out fast. Once an infamous Federal Penitentiary, Alcatraz ("The Rock" ) was home to Al "Scarface" Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud. The "Cell Block" audio walking tours are fascinating. See famous waterfront views of San Francisco Bay and the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. Visit fun local attractions, including Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Victorian homes, North Beach... and more!

3. Fisherman's Wharf
— Boudin Museum & Bay Cruise

We love visiting Fisherman's Wharf — it's such a FUN place to hang-out, people-watch and stroll along the historic waterfront, while enjoying the unique "tastes" of San Francisco.

Visit Boudin Museum & Bakery (famous for its Sourdough Bread filled with Clam Chowder, a delicious San Francisco treat). Museum features historic photos and trivia of Boudin and San Francisco, dating back to the California Gold Rush and Barbary Coast days, thru' the post Dot.com era.

Take a SF Bay Cruise — it's one of San Francisco’s "must-do" attractions! Sail next to Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge on a narrated 1-hour loop of beautiful San Francisco Bay. Cruise departs from Pier 43½ at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Top

4. Pier 39 — Sea Lions
Head over to Pier 39 and see San Francisco's famous Sea Lions — your kids will love 'em (fun for big kids too)! Pier 39 also has fun shops, restaurants and attractions, including Aquarium of the Bay — check out their beautiful jelly fish!

5. Cable Cars
Of course, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a ride on a historic San Francisco Cable Car — you can catch one opposite Ghirardelli Square, at Aquatic Park on Beach Street or at the Powell/Market turnaround in Union Square. Be prepared to wait in line, especially during peak tourist season. You can also hop on a cable car along the routes (if there's room). Experience riding up and down San Francisco's famous hills. Hold on tight!

6. SF Double Decker Bus Tour
"Hop-On Hop-Off" or Trolley Tour

Take a fun "Hop-On Hop-Off" Double-Decker Bus or Trolley Tour — it's what we do in every city we visit. It's a great way to see the city at your leisure and then you can come back and spend more time at your favorite places. Or... take a San Francisco Shuttle Tour — the in-depth 5-hr guided tour includes a one-way ferry cruise across the bay to or from Sausalito.

SF Waterfront Segway Tour
Looking to do something fun and completely different? Take an eco-friendly San Francisco Waterfront Segway Tour — it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a great way to see the city.

San Francisco Waterfront Segway Tour

Top

7. Chinatown - Fortune Cookie Factory, Tea Tastings and Walking Tour
Visit San Francisco's Chinatown — it's one of North America's oldest and largest. Stop by the famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to see how fortune cookies are made. Enjoy Tea Tastings at fun Chinatown tea shops and learn the wonders of tea. Take a FUN Chinatown Walking Tour and explore Chinese markets, restaurants, theaters, herb shops, temples... and more!



8. Golden Gate Park & Museums
Golden Gate Park is home to beautiful gardens (Japanese Tea Gardens, Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers), meadows, lakes (Stow Lake), biking and running trails, Music Concourse, museums (de Young and California Academy of Sciences) — even a small herd of Buffalo!

9. Japanese Tea Gardens
Stroll through Golden Gate Park's beautiful Japanese Tea Gardens, (located next door the de Young museum) — it's the oldest public Japanese garden in the nation. Enjoy tea in their open-air Tea Room that overlooks the gardens.

10. Lombard Street
— Crookedest Street in the World!

Drive or walk down Lombard Street — it's the most famous crookedest street in the world. The views from the top of Lombard Street are stunning. You can see Coit Tower and Alcatraz. The Cable Car (Powell-Hyde line) stops here to let passengers take pictures.

Top

11. North Beach (Little Italy)
Foodies love San Francisco! And one of our favorite places to eat, walk and people-watch is North Beach (SF's Little Italy). It's dotted with quaint little cafes and outside seating everywhere. Take a Little Italy & North Beach Walking Tour and enjoy tasting everything from great coffee, truffles, breads, olive oils, specialty meats... and more! North Beach has so many great restaurants — here are a few of our favorites: Tony's Pizza Napoletana (award-winning Margherita Pizza), Rose Pistola (great buzz), The Stinking Rose (you gotta love garlic) and Ristorante Mona Lisa (feels like you're in Italy). Buon Appetito!

Beach Blanket Babylon Show
North Beach also offers fabulous entertainment. We highly recommend seeing Beach Blanket Babylon, especially if it's your first visit to the city. The show is a hilarious musical fairy-tale, featuring performers in wildly extravagant costumes and outrageously huge hats. We've never seen a show quite like this one... anywhere in the world — and we're betting you haven't either! Prepare to be entertained :)

Buy Beach Babylon Show Tickets - a "must-see" San Francisco Show!

12. Coit Tower
Visit Coit Tower, one of San Francisco's most famous landmarks — enjoy a scenic walk to Coit Tower from North Beach. See its treasured murals and get a bird's eye view of San Francisco and SF Bay from high atop Coit Tower's circular Observation Deck.

13. Ghirardelli Square Ice-Cream Shop
Ice-cream lovers won't want to miss a stop at Ghirardelli Square's world-famous Ice-Cream Shop. Ghirardelli Square is a fun place to visit - it offers fabulous waterfront dining, upscale art galleries, fine shops, live entertainment, and great people-watching.

Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco

Ghirardelli Square Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in San Francisco

Top

Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tours

Book a FUN SF Helicopter Tour

Book Muir Woods Day Trips

Book California Wine Country (Sonoma and Napa Valley) Day Trips

14. Union Square — Shopping & Dining
If you like to shop, head over to Union Square — - it's the Bay Area's premier shopping destination, featuring high-end fashion boutiques, major retail stores, specialty shops, fine jewelry stores, gourmet restaurants, top hotels, theaters and art galleries. One of our favorite casual restaurants in Union Square (Cheesecake Factory) sits atop Macy's. Dine al fresco — get a table at the outdoor Sky Terrace Patio for an incredible view of Union Square and downtown San Francisco.

Westfield San Francisco Center is another FUN shopping and dining destination, located near Union Square — it's the largest urban shopping mall this side of the Mississippi and includes great restaurants, an amazing food court, a luxury spa and a movie theater.

15. Champagne Brunch Cruise on SF Bay
Treat your honey to a romantic Champagne Brunch Cruise what better way to cruise the picturesque waters of San Francisco Bay than sipping on champagne and mimosas and enjoying a lavish brunch.

Top

16. Helicopter Tours
See San Francisco as you've never seen it before - it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Take a Helicopter Tour and get a bird's eye view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and the SF skyline. Fly over the spectacular Pacific Coastline, Marin Headlands, (offers the best vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge), Tiburon (home to Sam's, our favorite outdoor brunch cafe) and the quaint waterfront town of Sausalito, (a "must-see" destination when visiting San Francisco).

17. Top SF Museums
Visit San Francisco's fabulous museums. One of our favorites is the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park — it's the only place in the world that houses one of the world’s largest Planetariums, an Aquarium and Coral Reef, a Natural History Museum, and a beautiful glass-domed Rainforest — all under the same roof!

MH de Young Museum
The MH de Young is another "must-see" museum (located opposite the California Academy of Sciences). The state-of-the-art museum houses priceless collections of American art and art of the Native Americas, Africa, and the Pacific. Our favorite Special Exhibits have included: "Birth of Impressionism and Post Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay," "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," "Warhol Live," "Yves Saint Laurent" and "Chihuly."

Legion of Honor
We love visiting the Legion of Honor — its Rodin Gallery features the largest selection of Rodin sculptures outside of the Musée Rodin in Paris. And wait until you see the panoramic SF Bay views from the museum — they're breathtaking, especially on a "fog-free" sunny day.

Exploratorium
Bring out the kid in you and visit the Exploratorium's spectacular new waterfront location Pier 15, overlooking San Francisco Bay (it opened mid-April 2013). The hands-on interactive Exploratorium Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception features 600+ exhibits — a FUN place to explore with family and friends when visiting San Francisco.

San Francisco Museum
of Modern Art

SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) houses an impressive collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. In February 2011 the museum announced an exciting addition to its permanent collection — 195 promised gifts of works by some of the biggest names in art in the last half-century — Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Francis Bacon and Gerhard Richter.

One the world's finest private collections of modern and contemporary art (more than 1,100 works by iconic 20th century artists), the renowned Fisher Art Collection (from the Gap founders, Doris and Donald Fisher, will be showcased (during the next 100 years) in a new wing that will be built as part of SFMOMA's expansion — the expected completion date for the expansion is 2016.

18. Muir Woods
— Giant Redwoods

While visiting San Francisco, take a fun half day trip to Muir Woods (see California's Giant Redwood Trees) — they're among the oldest and tallest on earth. Muir Woods is a very popular Marin attraction and it can get very crowded. If you're driving, arrive early because the parking lots fill up quickly. We suggest that you take a leisurely tour and leave the driving and parking hassles to someone else.

19. Chrissy Field
and Marina Green

Spend a day biking, walking, or picnicking at Chrissy Field and the Marina Green. We love walking along the water — you can't beat the views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay! FYI... there's a big Safeway opposite the Marina Green where you can pick up a sandwich or deli items for a picnic.

20. Ferry Plaza
Farmers Market

On a Saturday morning, THE place to be in San Francisco is the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market at Ferry Building Marketplace — it's a "must-see" for Foodies!

We hope these suggestions help narrow down what to see and do in San Francisco — there's still a lot we haven't mentioned, but this is a good start, especially if it's your first visit. Whatever you do... have FUN!

Tell us about YOUR favorite things to do and see in San Francisco and the Bay Area - we'd love to hear from you.

21. Napa Valley
& Sonoma Wine Country

If you love wine, you won't want to miss the chance to visit Napa Valley and Sonoma Wine Country, especially during late summer/fall when harvest season is in full swing. Check out our Top 20+ Fun Things To Do in Napa Valley. Visit a mix of boutique and large-scale wineries, enjoy wine-tasting and learn how wines are made in California's historic wine region. No need to worry about drinking and driving — take a fun California Wine Country Tour (from San Francisco) and leave the driving to someone else. California has very tough drinking and driving enforcement. Cheers!

22. Yosemite
National Park

If you have the time, don't miss seeing Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias — it's one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. See its majestic granite cliffs, giant Sequoias and spectacular flowing waterfalls. Bet ya won't want to leave.

Book Yosemite National Park Day Trip

More Fun SF Tours
Find More San Francisco Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do

 

Back to SF Attractions page

spacer

Love to Eat and Travel Home Page Privacy Sign In