San Francisco is the ultimate destination for sightseeing, shopping, dining and so much more. This beautiful city is perfect for nature lovers, city slickers and just about everyone in between! One of the ways to see as much of San Francisco as possible is by going on some of the many tours available and to help you plan your holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in San Francisco.
1. Painted Ladies
San Francisco’s Victorian houses, affectionately known as the Painted Ladies, are one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. People from all over the world come to sit down on the green area in front of the houses, where you get to enjoy the breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline over the rooftops. If you do visit the Painted Ladies, be sure to stick around for the sunset, which spectacularly sets the houses.
No trip to San Francisco is complete without a trip to the infamous Alcatraz. Home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, this fantastic island will give you an insight into the lives of the inmates and officers who spent time at this prison. Tour around the Rock, hear spooky stories and get to see the prison cells of criminals like Al Capone and the ‘Birdman’ Robert Stroud, as they were in the 1930’s.
3. The Lombard Street
No visit to San Francisco is complete without a visit to the twistiest, turniest street in California! San Francisco is known for its steep streets but Lombard Street is one of the most famous in the world. Lombard’s hairpin turns were built on this road to ease the extreme slope and to make it safer. This design now makes for a fun ride down and a great instagram shot from the bottom.
4. The Aquarium at Bay
Just steps away from the waterfront, Aquarium at the Bay is the perfect day out for people of all ages. Experience unforgettable encounters with fish and marine life that live in 300 feet of clear tunnels. You can even get up close and personal with some amazing animals like leopard sharks and bat rays.
5. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
One of San Francisco’s most iconic features, the Golden Gate Bridge looks amazing from any angle, so why not see it from both sides! You can cross it on foot on the pathway made especially for pedestrians or you can cycle across on the Western side where bikes are allowed. Of course if you prefer a more leisurely route, you can take a bus across.
And if you’re planning on crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, why not make a day out of it and have some lunch in Sausalito before heading back to the city. There’s a ferry that operates daily back across the bay.
6. The sights at Fisherman’s Wharf
There’s something for everyone at this world famous attraction. Fisherman’s Wharf is a vibrant neighbourhood in San Francisco that’s full of shopping, dining and entertainment options. It is also home of the world famous sea lions, who spend their day sunning themselves at Pier 39.
7. Shopping in Union Square
If you are a serious shopper, then you will love Union Square. This is the ultimate shopping destination during your trip to San Francisco. From your favourite high street stores, to the iconic American department stores to the designer boutiques, you’ll find it all at Union Square. Many of the city’s hotels are also situated around the Union Square area.
8. Largest Chinatown in North America
No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to the largest, oldest Chinatown in North America! Spend the day exploring traditional Chinese stores, eating in authentic restaurants and marvelling at the architecture in this cultural hub.
9. Ride a Cable Car
The bells of the San Francisco cable cars can be heard from blocks away and these famous cars have been bringing people across San Francisco since the 19th Century! They are the perfect way to get around the steep slopes of San Francisco and they also offer many amazing views en-route as well.
10. Explore Sonoma and Napa valley on a wine tour
If you are a wine fan (and who isn’t), make the most of your stay in San Francisco and the surrounding areas by taking a day trip to Sonoma and Napa Valley. Enjoy spectacular scenery as you enter Marin County and the Carneros District and while there you, will get to explore each unique winery.