Top Attractions in San Francisco
Top Attractions in San Francisco
With its huddled slopes and fantastic narrows, San Francisco boggles with natural magnificence, energetic neighborhoods, and infectious vitality. From the fashionable person Mission District to the cheeky Castro, from clamoring Union Square to continuing Chinatown, this dynamic town blossoms with an assortment of places to entice you. Seemingly the most picturesque, and presumably the most dynamic real city in the USA, it stays consistent with itself: an individualistic place whose occupants pride themselves on living in a city like few – if any – others on the planet. It's a surprisingly reduced and congenial place, where downtown avenues ascend on outlandish angles to uncover staggering perspectives, and where mist comes in on a minute's notice to wrap everything in fog. From nourishing comfort delights to Michelin-starred luxurious dining, there are restaurants for every palate. Culture and cocktails, a DJ twin spin or a jazz solo, the nighttime proves the fresh approach of the city when it comes to new ways to have fun. Leave some room in your luggage for all the shopping you’ll do.
The Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco:
Dominating the skyline of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, with its vaulting, orange arches rising amidst the rocky seascapes is one of the wonders of the world and one of the icons of USA. Looming over the strait of Golden Gate, this massive structure was once known as 'the bridge that couldn't be built' due to its constant struggle against unceasing winds, fog, rock and treacherous tides for 4 years. Impressing travelers with its splendid 1.7mile stretch, the bridge is a classic landmark with a single-suspension span, which shoulders soaring twin towers pointing 746 feet skyward. Bridging the gap between San Francisco and Marin County, you can walk, ride a bike or car across it or just admire this marvel from afar. As you take an exhilarating walk across the bridge, do click snapshots of the sweeping vistas of the skyline of both San Francisco and Marin counties, Alcatraz and Angel Island, and oceangoing liners passing through the bridge’s tall red towers. A unique experience indeed!
Unfold the mysteries of Alcatraz Island, a rocky island at the heart of the San Francisco Bay that enraptures the history buffs and nature lovers alike. Dig deep into the rich history of the island that is home to the first lighthouse, the notorious penitentiary turned museum and the US built fort on the West Coast. The federal penitentiary was one of the most legendary prisons housing some of America’s most difficult and dangerous felons who never successfully escaped giving a dark mystical aura to the rock. As you tour this majestic island’s Civil War-era structures, cannons, and subterranean rooms, get a glimpse into the 19th century when it served as a harbor defense fort. The remains of 18 months occupation of all Indian tribes can be seen on the island, making it an important milestone in the American Indian rights movement. Apart from its colorful history, the island also has a natural side with gardens and tide pools roosting various bird colonies and proffering rewarding views of the bay.
Muir Woods National Monument:
Occupying a huge area of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument is the most visited redwood park in the world. Be enchanted by the natural beauty of this remarkable grove as you wander around the monument that protects old-growth coastal redwood in the Bay area. Visit this icon of the city to witness the beautiful scenery and gorgeous views of nature and experience California’s most treasured gem. Snuggled into an ocean-facing fold of Mount Tamalpais, the park was named after the esteemed naturalist John Muir, who recognized this site as “the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” Walk through the raised boardwalks that protect the sensitive root structure of these century old trees and gawk at these magical giants towering 260 feet overhead only a few minutes away from the city. The park also provides solitude, interpretive displays and programs, and numerous hiking trails.
Fisherman's Wharf has more family-friendly activities than any other part of San Francisco. Browse this section to help plan your next visit to Fisherman's Wharf.
Want to learn about San Francisco, its life and history? Visit the Maritime Museum for interesting exhibits and seafaring artifacts or play some of the turn of the century (that's 1900, not 2000) games at the Musée Mécanique on Pier 45. Take a deep breath and go down into the depths of the USS Pampanito, an original WWII submarine. Experience the historically stunning Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, docked right next to the Pampanito. Fun at the Wharf also includes PIER 39, the Sea Lion Center, the Hyde Street Pier, Ghirardelli Square, the Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussauds, and much, much more! More than 75 percent of San Francisco's visitors include Fisherman's Wharf on their itinerary. Waterfront marketplaces and the Wharf's famous fishing fleet make for a terrific fish story. Fishing boats, sea lions basking in the sun, seafood stalls, steaming crab cauldrons, seafood restaurants and sourdough French bread bakeries … you know you’re in world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf. Souvenir shops and historic ships add to the atmosphere. The historic F-Line streetcar and two cable car lines terminate in the area and sightseeing boats and boat charters link to Alcatraz ("The Rock") , Angel Island and other points around San Francisco Bay. Fisherman’s Wharf’s bustling streets are crowded for good reason—many of San Francisco’s most postcard-worthy attractions are packed into this iconic neighborhood. If enjoying the carnival fare of Pier 39, tasting some of Ghirardelli’s velvety chocolate, and riding a cable car is on your agenda, you can do it all in Fisherman’s Wharf. Surrounding the wharf, homes dot the hillsides and boast spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s infamous prison, Alcatraz. When it comes to iconic San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf is second to none. Although its waterfront is better suited to strolling than staying, a day spent bayside is a San Francisco treat. Watch the seals lounge seaside, sample the city's famous sourdough, and applaud the Wharf's painted street performers. And when it's time to wind down, rest your feet and tip your glass. Walk to North Beach, where you will find a plethora of great restaurants. Relax in one of the outdoor cafes and enjoy one of San Francisco's most unique areas. Go shopping in the Marina which is filled with unique San Francisco boutiques and great dining. Put on your sneakers and check out Crissy Field, where you can watch the windsurfers and sailboats. As San Francisco's most popular pier, Pier 39 provides visitors with endless diversion. Yes, there really are fishermen at Fisherman’s Wharf. Bobbing at the docks are a handful of weathered fishing boats, and they still chug out to catch Dungeness crab and other seafood in and around the Bay, as they have for over a century. Early risers can watch them unload their catch at Pier 47, nicknamed Fish Alley. Or sleep in and just sample the catch: Try fresh crab cooked in steaming cauldrons set up on sidewalks here—cracked crab dipped in melted butter, paired with a fresh loaf of local sourdough is a delicious San Francisco tradition. And if you like buying kitschy souvenirs (who doesn’t need a “can of fog” or a foam crab-claw headdress?) then you have found your mecca in Fisherman’s Wharf. Stroll to Pier 39 for more seafood eateries, shops, street performers, and the area’s noisiest residents: a barking and bellowing throng of sea lions who have turned some of Pier 39’s floating docks into a sea lion beach party. Knowledgeable aquarists from Pier 39’s Aquarium of the Bay are on hand 11 am to 4 pm daily (weather permitting) to answer questions about the hefty pinnipeds (bulls can weigh nearly half a ton).
The hustle and bustle of the city, Union Square is a public park outfitted by grasses and flowering shrubs and flanked by sky-piercing structures in downtown San Francisco. Being the nerve of the city, it is home to the biggest retailers and world-famed fashion label, making it one of the premier shopping landmarks in the world. Fenced by signature palm trees, the four massive entrances, the central stage and granite plaza honors the civic history of the city and provides space for celebrations. Apart from giving your credit card a thorough workout at the departmental stores, upscale boutiques and gift shops, you can pamper yourself at the beauty salons, ease your appetite at the restaurants or party all night at the jazz bars and clubs. It also houses various historical monuments like a landmark church and a theater that talk about the renaissance of the district. The most preferable time of visiting the Union Square is during Christmas, when the streets are dazzling with lights and fireworks and the huge Christmas tree captures the eyes and hearts of the visitors.
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre:
The Palace of Fine Arts is the last structure remaining in the city from the Panama Pacific Explosion in 1915. An important part of the city's rich history, the structure was originally designed by Bernard R. Maybeck, who made it reflect the impression of a Greco-Roman ruin. Seating about 1,000 patrons, the palace stands as an iconic structure that is featured in various movies and television series. Stroll through this favorite wedding location and admire the beauty of the cultural health of the city's art scene. You will also find a miniature replica of it is built in Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim.
Hike up to the towering Twin Peaks, the two famous grassy pounds in the city that soar 922 feet above the sea level in the geographical center of the city. Reach the summit of these imposing jagged hills and be treated with the spellbinding panoramas of the San Francisco skyline and get a bird’s eye view of the iconic landmarks such as the Bay Bridge and the skyscrapers imposing the heart of the city. Spend your afternoon hiking the trails around these second highest hills as you see a treasure trove of animal life taking shelter under diverse flora species of this coastal scrub.
When in San Francisco, you cannot miss out the “most crookedest street in the World”. Featuring a steep, one-block section with eight sharp hairpin turns, Lombard Street is one of the city’s most photographed landmark. Every year, thousands of tourists flock here to admire the excellent views of the perfectly manicured street with blooming flower-beds complementing the edges of this red brick road and the surrounding stately mansions of Russian hill. Listen to the passengers squeal in mock fear as the vehicle streams downhill at every turn while the walkers are busy clicking pictures of the scenic ziggedy-zaggedy turns from the sidewalk. This unique, vertically endowed road has increasingly become a postcard of the city and have been featured in movies and TV series.
A museum dedicated to science, art and human perception, Exploratorium is a wonderland for all the investigating and experimenting enthusiasts. Showcasing around 600 indoor and outdoor exhibits embracing subjects like human body, science and outer space, this museum offers hands-on experiences to scrutinize the gadgets and dive in through the world of scientific principles. One of the preferred attraction include the Tactile Dome, a place where you can navigate through the pitch black sphere with your touch and the shadow room where light flashes project a shadowy figure onto a wall.
A must visit destination for all the shopaholics, the Pier 39 boasts off chic boutiques, souvenir stores, ethnic restaurants, video arcades and more. Alluring the little minds with attractions like the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides and best views of the boisterous California sea lions or “Sea Lebrities” hauled out on docks on Pier 39's marina and a 5-acre waterfront park, this place makes for a perfect family day out. Let the performers like magicians, jugglers and comedians entertain you or find your way through the infinite hallways of the Mirror maze or just let the San Francisco Carousel swoon you with its artistic renderings of the city, this site has got it all. After enjoying every site, nibble on some of the freshest seafood at one of the eateries.