Top 20 things to do in San Francisco

We have collected the top 20 best things to do in San Francisco

Top 20 things to do in San Francisco

San Francisco is often a top pick for people who come to the United States, since the city is very beautiful, and has such a distinct style to it. It might not be the largest or most populous city of the USA, but it’s still as memorable. The city is a hub comercially, financially and culturally, and has also been the birthplace of the United Nations global organization. If you are planning to come here, which you should, then this list of the top 20 things to do in San Francisco might prove useful to you.

  1. Golden Gate Bridge
    What better way to start this list then with the most recognizable landmark of San Francisco? The Golden Gate Bridge is an important bridge for the city, and not only as a busy road, but since it has become a symbol of the city. Tourists flock here each day every year to either see it from afar, or drive on it with a car, or just cycle or walk across it. No matter which way one chooses, this beautiful and memorable bridge is a must-see among the things to do in San Francisco.

2. Muir Woods National Monument
While not exactly in San Francisco, the Muir Woods National Monument is a beautiful forest not far from the city, is an excellent place for those who want to take a break from the busy city. People who come here can hike, cycle or take a stroll among the redwood trees, or swim and sunbeathe at the nearby beaches. Definitely a place worth visiting for nature lovers.

3. Union Square
Union Square is one of the busy centers of San Francisco, and a hub socially, culturally and commercially. It’s a popular gathering and resting place for both citizens and tourists as the square and park there are both wonderful. The theatre district is also located nearby, and there are many upscale shops, souvenir shops, department stores, hotels and restaurants around the square.
4. Palace of Fine Arts
Visitors at the Palace of Fine Arts can be confused for a moment and think they have just arrived in Rome. This garden-like palace was built with that in mind, as the structures all pay homage to ancient Roman architecture. It serves now as a popular place for weddings, and just a regular park where people can take walk around the ponds and feed the ducks and swans there.
5. Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is mostly made for children, but adults will definitely love it as well. This public learning center has numberous fun and interesting interactive exhibitions, which are all centered around different parts of science, like the human body and the way it works, and outer space. The exhibitions will make you use every one of your senses to teach you stuff that you might have not yet known.
6. South of Market
The South of Market, or SoMa, is a neighborhood of San Francisco, that is mostly known as a place with a great number of galleries and museums, and a place with many nightclubs.
7. Golden Gate Park
The Golden Gate Park is a large park in San Francisco, often compared to the Central Park in its size and beauty. This public park is filled with monuments, lakes, picnic areas, wonderful flowerbeds and so on. The place is excellent for recreational purposes, so it is quite popular and famous among both citizens and tourists. If you have some free time or want to take a breat, definitely come here, as this park can’t be missed.

8. California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is one of the largest museums of natural history, and is located at the Golden Gate Park. The collection consists of over 26 million species, an incredible number. These are all on display in different kinds of exhibitions, like the rainforest exhibit and an aquarium. A planetarium can also be found here.

9. Japanese Tea Garden
Located at the Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden is the first and largest of its kind in the United States. This garden inside the park is dedicated to style of the Japanese gardens, and has several structures and buildings in Shinto and Buddhist architectural styles. Statues and sakura trees fill the gardens, making a visit here one of the best things to do in San Francisco.
10. Chinatown
Like many cities throughout the world, San Francisco also has its own Chinatown, but this one is the most notable, as it is both the first of its kind in the United States, and the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. The district is like an enclave for the Chinese people living there, with many places of worship, parks, squares, infrastructure, social clubs, language, customs and so on. It’s a popular place for tourists as well, as they can get a good feel of how Chinese communities go about their lives, and it’s especially popular for those who love Chinese cuisine.
11. Mission District
While the Chinatown is the Chinese district of the city, the Mission District is mostly known as the Mexican and South American part of the city. This place is best known as the origin of the burritos that spread throughout the United States. If you want to grab a bite, this is the best place for it. Be sure to also check out the wonderfully painted walls throughout the district.
12. AT&T Park
If you like baseball even the slightest, then you should see the AT&T Park, a large baseball stadium near the shores of San Francisco. If you can catch a game there, that is even better, as nothing compares to watching baseball while seeing the beautiful waters behind the stadium. Fans can also take a tour around the stadium to learn more about its history.
13. Twin Peaks
The Twin Peaks are two hills in San Francisco, and are very popular among tourists and citizens, as the hills are great for hiking, taking a picnic or a nap, and cycling. The hills offer a great view of the city, so it is recommended to go there at least once.
14. Castro District
While not for everyone, the Castro District is worth a visit for those interested in the district known mostly as a center for LGBT activism and events. At one of the streets, the pedestrian crossing was even painted in rainbow colors, the symbol of LGBT.
15. Financial District
The Financial District is, just like its name suggests, the main business hub of the city. It is full of skyscrapers, insurance companies, banks, stock exchanges and financial buildings. It is worth a visit for those who are interested in business, or just want to see some beautiful modern buildings like the Transamerica Pyramid.
16. Fisherman’s Wharf
If you like seafood and shops, then the Fisherman’s Wharf is the best place for that. Located at the shores of San Francisco is very popular among tourists, and lots of famous tourist attractions are located here as well, like the Pier 39 shopping center with its restaurants, arcade centers, old ships and shops. Street performers fill the place and make it even livelier.
17. Musée Mécanique
Considered one the best museums at the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Musée Mécanique is a free museum dedicated to antique penny arcade and coin-operated music and amusement machines, including whack-a-moles and pinball machines, among others. Entrance is free, but using the machines require coins of course. Some of the machines are 75 years old, so they can be fun and educational for both yong and old visitors.
18. Ferry Building Marketplace
The Ferry Building Marketplace is a large market that is excellent for trying out and buying food, like artisan cheese, oysters, jams, chocolate, pastries and so on. Although some of the shops here can be pricey, their quality is worth it, and so does coming here just to experience the market.
19. Cable Cars
A trip to San Francisco isn’t a trip if you leave out the Cable Cars of the city. These trolleys have become iconic in the city, and the only one in the United States that still operate. They are a bit expansive, probably because of how busy they can get, but they are definitely hopping on to take a slower but great ride through the city.
20. Alcatraz
Another one of the world-wide famous landmarks of San Francisco is the prison island of Alcatraz. The old penitentiary is now a museum to show the history of this spectacular prison island, and to show many of the escape attempts. The entrance is free, but the ferry costs some money. However, it goes without saying that it is worth the money. The place can be a bit disturbing for some, so be advised before you go there.
If you want to see another spectacular park like the Golden Gate Park, check out this page. Or if you want to read some interesting facts about the Golden Gate Bridge and other famous landmarks, see this collection of them.