Bay Area — California
San Francisco, CA
Top 20+ Fun Things To Do
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:
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Alcatraz Island
- Fisherman's Wharf
- Pier 39 & Sea Lions
- Cable Cars
- Double-Decker Bus Tour
- Golden Gate Park and Museums
- Japanese Tea Gardens
- Lombard Street
- North Beach
- "Beach Blanket Babylon" show
- Coit Tower
- Ghirardelli Square
- Union Square & SF Shopping
- Champagne Brunch Cruise
- Helicopter Tours
- Top SF Museums
de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Eploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, SFMOMA...
- Muir Woods
- Giant Redwoods
- Chrissy Field & Marina Green
- Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
- Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Country
- Tours & Day Trip from SF
- 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. Oover 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. If you like to sail,
take a San
Francisco Sailing Cruise and sail under the Golden Gate
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
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
of beautiful San Francisco Bay. Cruise departs from Pier 43½ at Fisherman’s
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
including Aquarium of the Bay — check out their beautiful jelly
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
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.
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
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.
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
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 :)
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
Square is a fun place to visit - it offers fabulous waterfront
dining, upscale art galleries, fine shops, live entertainment,
and great people-watching.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
More Fun SF Tours
Find More San Francisco Tours,
Day Trips and Fun Things To Do
Back to SF