Wondering what to do in San Francisco? Use this guide to make sure you don’t miss any of the best things to do in San Francisco! Here’s what you’ll definitely want to see:
Best View Of Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing you want to do in San Francisco is see the Golden Gate Bridge! Here are the four best places to get the best Golden Gate Bridge view:
Best View Of Golden Gate Bridge #1 — Presidio of San Francisco
We found this Golden Gate Bridge view when we biked over the bridge to Sausilito!
Here’s a link to the exact location on Google Maps.
Read more: How to take a Day Trip to Sausalito from San Francisco
Best View Of Golden Gate Bridge #2 — Crissy Field
This grassy field and sandy beach with picturesque views of the Golden Gate is the perfect spot for a picnic!
Best View Of Golden Gate Bridge #3 — Baker Beach
This was one of my favorite views of the Golden Gate Bridge!
Best View Of Golden Gate Bridge #4 — Battery Spencer
This overlook is from the other side of the bridge. If you go to Muir Woods to see the redwoods, this is a great place to stop for Golden Gate Bridge views on the way back.
Read More: How to take a Day Trip to Muir Woods from San Francisco
Hands down, one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco is visit Alcatraz. This notorious prison was once home to Al Capone and is now open for tours. We took the Alcatraz Night Tour! For more information about visiting Alcatraz, check out our post below.
Another one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco is Fisherman’s Wharf. There are fun souvenir shops and restaurants where you can get clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls.
Read more: Best Restaurants in San Francisco
Right next to Fisherman’s Wharf is the scenic Pier 39. The pier is lined with souvenir shops, boutiques, and restaurants. You can also see tons of sea lions from the pier!
Another one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco is see the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square. The Painted Ladies are an iconic row of colorful Victorian homes. This is where the Tanners are having a picnic in the opening credits of Full House.
Full House House
If you’re a fan of Full House, you may want to go see the Full House House! It’s just a 15-minute walk from the Painted Ladies. When we were there it had been given a new paint job, but we were still able to recognize it!
Here is the exact GPS location of the Full House House.
San Francisco has crazy steep hills! The streets in San Francisco basically go straight up. Walking was more like doing lunges!! One of the most fun things to do in San Francisco is walk up to Lombard Street.
Lombard Street is that crazy curvy street you’ve probably seen in pictures or any movie set in San Francisco. The view from the top is gorgeous!
Lombard Street was originally straight, but in an effort to keep the neighborhood safer and quieter, the curves were added to deter cars from flying down the steep hill in a residential area. Unfortunately that plan seems to have backfired a bit, as the street is now such a popular attraction that there are literally hundreds of tourists lining the street at all times of the day. There are crossing guards at the top of bottom of the street to keep the tourists out of the middle of the road, and there’s a line of cars a mile long just to drive down this famous street!
Ride a Cable Car
I highly recommend the San Francisco CityPASS. We took buses, trains, and cable cars everywhere to get around in San Francisco!! You get unlimited rides with the CityPASS, whereas just one cable car ride is $6 per person.
One of the most unique things to do in San Francisco is explore Chinatown. It is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States. This area is filled with narrow streets and alleys lined with traditional, authentic Chinese restaurants and shops. Don’t miss the iconic Dragon’s Gate!
Coit Tower has some of the best views of San Francisco!! There are gorgeous, 360-degree panoramic views of the entire city from the top of the tower.
Can you see Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge?
Looking the other way, you can see the Bay Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid.
You can even see Alcatraz! This was one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco.
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing the giant redwood trees, you can easily take a day trip to Muir Woods from San Francisco. It’s a scenic park with hiking trails through a forest of giant redwood trees.
Read More: How to take a Day Trip to Muir Woods from San Francisco
In 1848, an entrepreneur named James Lick arrived in San Francisco with 600 lbs of chocolate to sell. When all of his chocolate sold quickly, he urged his friend and neighbor in Peru to come to San Francisco and start his own chocolate company. His friend’s name was Domingo Ghirardelli.
The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is one of the best things to do in San Francisco for foodies! The Ferry Building opened in 1898 and the clock tower is an iconic symbol of San Francisco.
Read more: Best Restaurants in San Francisco
Haight-Ashbury is an ultra hippie neighborhood in San Francisco. I loved exploring this area to see all the colorful Victorian homes!
The Castro District
Another fun neighborhood to explore is The Castro! The rainbow crosswalk is at the corner of 18th street and Castro.
One of the most fun things to in San Francisco is a Segway Tour of Golden Gate Park. We rode all over the park, and even went off-roading through redwood trees! Our tour guides were amazing and extremely knowledgable. They had both lived in San Francisco for 40+ years, and were able to give us so much history and tell us how much it has changed through the years.
They also offer a segway tour of Lombard Street!! You can ride a segway down that crazy curvy street!! Next time we are totally doing that!!
de Young Museum
One of the great tips our Segway guide gave us on the tour was to check out the view from the top floor of the de Young Museum. It’s totally free. You can just walk right in and get straight on an elevator to the top floor. There’s a gorgeous panoramic view of the park and San Francisco. If you are near Golden Gate Park, definitely check it out!
San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise
One of the most romantic things to do in San Francisco is a sunset cruise of the bay with Adventure Cat Sailing Charters. We went all around the bay — past Alcatraz, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and right by the city shoreline at dusk as all the buildings were lighting up the skyline.
The catamaran held about 30 people, and the cruise lasted about an hour and a half. There places to sit inside (where it was warmer) and outside with the sea and the wind in your hair. It was a bit chilly, but the cruise offered plenty of warm jackets to wear. There are also snacks and 2 free drinks offered on the cruise.
We arrived back to the dock right at sunset. The staff and crew were very friendly, funny, and knowledgable. They were always offering to take pictures. The atmosphere on the boat was very fun, with lots of upbeat sailing-themed music. At one point the Titanic theme song came on, and everyone wanted to go up to the bow of the boat for pictures, lol!
San Francisco Hotels
The Omni San Francisco Hotel is in a great location downtown — on a quiet street, but close to everything, and right on the cable car line so we could just hop on and off anywhere we wanted to go. The staff was super friendly and helpful. I always love staying at Omni Hotels for their excellent service!
Visiting the fisherman’s wharf sounds very interesting and fun. I never knew they have shops and food right on the water. My family is traveling to San Fransisco soon and we want to make the most of our time there and take a tour of all the important sites.
Just fyi it’s not just a rainbow crosswalk it’s to represent the LGBT community
Just came across your blog. Just in time since we just moved to San Francisco. It will be great to try all these places you mentioned. I have been to San Francisco probably 25 times and some of these places were still new to me. One thing I was really excited about was the night tour of Alcatraz. I have been out there probably 5-6 times, but never at night. Now I must go. MY MOTHER GREW UP ON ALCATRAZ. Grandpa was a guard there when Al Capone was there. I’ve heard some crazy stories first hand from her.
Anyway, enjoyed coming upon your blog. Its beautiful and informative. I just spent about two hours looking through when I really should be packing my bags for New Zealand trip tomorrow. Oh boy!
One of my dream place was sanfranciso in US and amazing blog was this….amazing and beautiful Lombard Street and the houses are just beautiful…i never had been to Us …must actually missing these amazing places thanks for this post….this blog reminds me that there is sanfrancisco is also in my list.!
Congratulations for your article: very cool :). It is definitely my favourite place in the US and I hope, one day, to come back to visit it again ;)
Thank you for the great post! I had a similar experience traveling in SF but didn’t get to stop by Alcatraz Island! On my visit next time though! There are just so many things to do in that city!
Beautifully written. Very user. You made my trip USA trip thousand times easier. A big shoutout to u guys..so much love
*Beautifully written. Very useful . You made my trip to USA thousand times easier. A big shoutout to u guys..so much love
Your blog is absolutely incredible and has so much helpful information! I cannot wait to explore San Francisco now, thank you for your insight! I was just wondering what kind of camera you have been using or? These pictures are gorgeous!
If you can remember where did you find the blue and purple house that you have in your pic that says I’ll take any of these to live in. I love the colors and would like to be able to find them to paint my house. We live in Calif at the Lick Observatory and it would be fantastic to have a house painted like that up here :)
Hi Amanda, I love, love all your pictures and fun ideas! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip in mid December, I cannot wait! We are actually going to San Diego for a week and then to Irvine for 3 days where my niece is getting married and then flying up to San Francisco for 6 days. I got my tickets for Alcatraz for the night tour! Very excited! I also have a private half day tour booked which he said he could customize. So many of your ideas will come in handy! I would love to do a segway tour but have never been on one and many of the tours say you must have experience. Was this true with your tour? We are staying at the Tuscan at fisherman’s warf. It looks like it is near everything. I also plan on buying the hop on off pass, and trying uber for my first time there! If you have any more advice, it would be great!
I love all the photos you have posted. Its a big help for my tour in the next 2 days. My husband is going to have a business conference in San Francisco while im meeting up my old dear friends who could take me to these places. I cannot wait. Im excited. My first time in San Francisco.
thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for this review its incredible. I too am staying at the Omni and glad to here it’s in a good quiet location!!
I’m planning a trip to San Francisco soon for spring break with my friends and your guide has been of amazing help. I’ll probably visit the same places you did! Any recommendations on where to stay on a budget? Or what are safe areas to stay at?
SO thrilled to stumble upon your wonderful article! Please do come back! We would LOVE to take you down Lombard St next! Thank you for joining us!
We have been lucky enough to visit twice…all the way from England! I would go again in a heartbeat. I agree with all you have mentioned, adding a few more. The Cable Car Museum was fascinating, although a little off the beaten track, but was on a bus route. Also we loved Sausalito. We went across the Bridge on an Open Top bus, and I have never been so cold in my life…but worth it!
Great blog! My husband and I are traveling to San Francisco for 7 days in September. We are foodies as well so I enjoyed your food blog as well. :-)
Do you recommend staying in different hotels throughout the week?
It’s fun staying in different areas, but it’s also nice to be able to unpack and stay in the same place the entire time! :)
I’m currently on my honeymoon in Naples, FL and I have some down time so of course I’m stalking your blog. We brought our Canon DSLR camera along for the honeymoon and I am so thankful for that decision! I can’t help but look at all of the gorgeous photos with both of you in them and wonder if you hand the camera to a kind stranger or if you lug your tripod around with you on your trips? It seems a little crazy to set up a tripod everywhere, but the photos are a little too perfect for a stranger to take! I would LOVE to know how you manage it!
Hi Maria! Awww, best wishes! Hope you are having a wonderful honeymoon! :) I brought our small travel camera with us to San Francisco. Everyone was so nice there, and I was surprised at how many people offered to take our picture for us, even when we weren’t looking to get a picture together. Sometimes when we do want a picture together, we’ll look for another couple taking pictures and offer to take their picture together. Then they’ll usually return the favor for us. :) If I really want a particular shot, I’ll take a few pictures of Kevin first, just how I want it (all the settings adjusted, zoomed in, etc) before asking someone if they would mind taking a picture of us. And if I’m standing in a certain spot, then they usually come and stand right where I was standing, so basically all they have to do is point and shoot. :) Hope this helps! :)
Love your post…especially the pics!! Did you take the pics with your iphone camera?
Hi Samantha! I used my new favorite pocket-sized travel camera. I take it with me everywhere when I travel now instead of my DSLR. It is SO nice. It really makes it seem like a vacation when I don’t have to carry my huge camera around! :)
I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco! Your photos are gorgeous, especially of the houses.
Oh, we loved our visit to San Francisco last summer! We stayed in Pacific Grove two nights and did the Monterey Bay things, then stayed in a flat off of Hyde Street on Russian Hill for 5 nights . Loved being on the cable car route. Looking forward to the reading about the rest of your trip.
LOVE all of your colorful San Francisco photos! What a fun trip! I’m still traumatized from my segway tour in MN. Definitely not for me, lol!
These pictures are just beautiful! Thank you for sharing your trip. I haven’t been to San Francisco since I was a teenager and your pictures reminded me of such a wonderful trip.
Headed to SF tomorrow and so wish I could have a sneak peek at your food post so that I can plan all of the things that I need to fit in while I’m there! Great photos! Thanks!
you are my spirit animal! and I mean that in the best way! love your trips, thanks for sharing and inspiring!
I have always wanted to go to San Fransisco! I will get there one of these days!!
Beautiful pics! We’ve been there twice and I love that city. (and Carmel-by-the-Sea!) We stay at a painted lady in Japantown and one day we walked 12 miles from Japantown down to the Ferry Building, along the pier (in and out of various stores and restaurants on the way of course) and then back up to Japantown. One of the locals we told in Ghirardelli Square thought we were insane! LOL
Looking forward to all of your other posts!