Tucked in along the ocean with rolling hills and recognizable landmarks, San Francisco is a must-see city. It’s chock full of culture, art, history, and sandy shores, so there’s something there for everyone.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the trip planning process, let us help. Keep reading to learn what to do in San Francisco.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
This two-mile-long iconic structure is an architectural marvel and one of the most visited San Francisco spots.
There’s more to do at the bridge than stop for an Instagram photo, though. Take a guided tour, walk or bicycle across, or even stop for a bite to eat.
2. Pier 39
Pier 39 provides infinite entertainment and activity options, no matter your vacation style. It’s one of our most recommended must-sees when visiting San Francisco.
If you love shopping, you’ll enjoy doing so with fantastic views of bridges and the San Francisco skyline. Visit the many gift shops, clothing stores, or boutiques to get your fix.
If you love the water, charter a boat, go sailing, or get a tour of the area by water. You can even go whale watching to catch glimpses of gray, humpback, blue, or sperm whales. If you want to see sea life but don’t want to leave the land, check out the sea lions in the West Marina.
Pier 39 is also a foodie and seafood lover’s paradise. Choose from over a dozen delicious food stands or full-service restaurants.
Don’t forget one of the best San Francisco attractions while you’re at the pier —Alcatraz. This former penitentiary is a must-see for history buffs itching to learn more about the island and its infamous inmates.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest one you’ll find outside of Asia. It was created in the 1800s when a significant number of Chinese immigrants came to the city.
The area is full of temples, souvenir shops, theaters, and restaurants. If you’re traveling around Chinese New Year, expect to see beautiful and extravagant celebrations.
Foodies will also love getting a taste of Chinatown. Enjoy authentic culinary dishes as close to traditional Chinese food as you can get outside of Asia.
4. The Exploratorium
Whether you’re traveling with kids or are young at heart yourself, The Exploratorium is a San Fran must-see. It’s a hands-on science museum featuring hundreds of exhibits to take in and touch. The diverse displays cover topics like ecosystems, sea life, space, and art.
You can easily spend an entire day here, so make sure you dress comfortably and bring snacks.
5. Nearby Wonders
There are enough activities to do in San Francisco to last a lifetime, but your trip to the Bay City doesn’t have to stop there.
Adventure lovers should hike through Yosemite National Park or visit the Gold Rush-era town of Mariposa.
Winos looking to taste their way through the best vineyards need to check out Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
Check out some top weekend getaways for ideas to uplevel your trip.
A Trip to San Francisco On the Horizon
There certainly is no shortage of exciting and tasty things to see and do around San Francisco.
Keep reading our travel blogs for more inspiration for your next trip.