TOP 15 Best Things to Do in San Francisco

things to do san francisco

Looking for things to do in San Francisco? Discover what you can do in San Francisco, California – We found 15 best tourist attractions and places to visit.

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San Francisco is one of the most incredible cities in America.

Did you know that it was named the best city in the world in 2021?

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a museum lover or just a foodie wanting to enjoy world-class dining, San Francisco has it all.

There’s a reason why San Francisco is one of the top travel destinations for tourists.

Ready to take your next trip to this enchanting city? Here are 15 of the best things to do in San Francisco.

Best Things to Do in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge – the most photographed bridge in the world, is an iconic bridge that stretches 4,200 feet and towers as high as a 65-story building. Places to stay in the area

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

This is a bridge that’s more than just a bridge. It’s one of the biggest hot spots in the entire California, not just in San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge stands out due to its stunning splendor and grandeur.

Are you ready to see the Golden Gate Bridge from different angles?

The best Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint is Hawk Hill. Baker Beach has also postcard-perfect views of the famous structure, while Crissy Field is the best place to take Golden Gate photos at night.

This is absolutely one of the greatest places to visit in San Francisco.

Alcatraz Island

Experience the beauty, history and infamy of Alcatraz Island, one of the most recognizable attractions in San Francisco. Places to stay in the area

Alcatraz Island - Tourist attractions in San Francisco
Alcatraz Island – Tourist attractions in San Francisco

Located on a lonely island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was once a fort, a military prison, and a maximum security federal penitentiary.

Be surprised by a history that is more than any movie can show.

Did you know that the island also served as a Civil War fortress?

The prison is the biggest draw, of course, but you can also enjoy the gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and exceptional views of the San Francisco Bay.

Plan on spending at least a few hours on Alcatraz exploring the exhibits, checking out the video presentations or audio tours.

Take some food, there is no food available on Alcatraz Island.

Aquarium of the Bay

If you are looking for unique and interesting things to do in San Francisco, look no further than Aquarium of the Bay. Places to stay in the area

Located at Pier 39, Aquarium of the Bay has 20,000 local sea creatures ready for seeing and even touching.

With a 300-foot underwater tunnel, nature talks, and thousands of sea creatures, this is an amazing – and interactive – way to get to know the waters that surround this city.

Discover the beauty and diversity of Northern California aquatic life at Aquarium of the Bay.

Probably you have already been to other aquariums, but this is something you must do if really want to be mesmerized.

Walk through crystal clear tunnels and watch San Francisco Bay’s most amazing animals swim overhead.

Seeing eye-to-eye with a Sevengill shark is one of the best things to do in San Francisco.

Palace of Fine Arts

There’s no wonder that Palace of Fine Arts draws in hundreds of visitors a day.

This magnificent monument is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco. Places to stay in the area

How much do you know about this free attraction?

A monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there.

One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is the only one still situated on its original site.

One famous artwork is a statue which depicts a weary Native American man slumped over his horse. It’s meant to represent the trauma and exhaustion suffered by indigenous people in the United States.

This iconic building made famous cameos throughout the years in films like Vertigo (1958), The Rock (1996), and Bicentennial Man (1999), and The Room (2003); and in series including Monk and Sense8.

What do you think about this captivating landmark? It is worth a visit?

Things to Do in San Francisco

Pier 39

Put PIER 39 on your short list of things to do in San Francisco.

Whether you’re traveling with the kids, looking for a fun and romantic date setting, or just seeking a getaway with friends, the possibilities are endless at PIER 39. Places to stay in the area

There are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39’s marina.

During your visit, make sure to take advantage of its unique location on San Francisco’s waterfront.

Capture stunning shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, The Bay Lights, and the city skyline.

When you’re looking for places to visit that appeal to all ages, you should visit this popular destination in San Francisco.

San Francisco Treasure Island

Are you still planning your vacation in San Francisco?

From the best view of the city skyline, to sailing, wine tasting, this little island features new vibrant public recreation and cultural spaces. Places to stay in the area

There is plenty to see at San Francisco Treasure Island.

If are you asking why visit this attraction, the answer is quite simple: the view.

San Francisco’s entire northern waterfront from bridge to bridge is picture-perfect here.
You can’t leave the island without snapping at least a quick selfie against the skyline.

The island is also home to public art, flea markets, and festivals throughout the year.

The Treasure Island Museum promotes the history of Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands through curated exhibitions, a regular lecture series, online exhibitions, special events and more.

If you are looking for some recreational activity, the Islands are home to a variety of recreational opportunities including athletic fields for San Francisco-based leagues, Treasure Island Sailing Center and a skatepark.

Hike to Twin Peaks

Want a spectacular 360 degree view of San Francisco?

Located in the geographical center of San Francisco with an elevation of about 925 feet (282 m), Twin Peaks offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the city, the bay and the ocean beyond. Places to stay in the area

Twin Peaks - Things to do In San Francisco
Twin Peaks – Things to do In San Francisco

The view will leave you breathless.

Twin Peaks should be firmly planted on any visitor’s list of things to do in San Francisco.

Are you still wonder why you should visit this attraction in San Francisco?

Twin Peaks is also the name of the residential neighborhood that lies on the slopes of the hill. Along the streets leading to the top of the hills, there are quite colorful modern houses in rows.

There are many unique things in terms of plants and animals. The Twin Peaks are easy to access if you’re visiting San Francisco.

The area is also home to the Mission Blue Butterfly, a butterfly native to the Bay Area that is now endangered.

Your best chance to spot these rare butterflies is from late March to early July.

For a workout and a breath of fresh air, you may want to consider hiking up to Twin Peaks instead of driving.

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Escape to a unique urban oasis at one of the most diverse botanical gardens in the world.

This magical display of greenery consists of more than 8,500 varieties of flora from across the globe. Places to stay in the area

Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden is the largest of its kind on the West Coast.

The Botanical Garden is a living museum within Golden Gate Park.

If you are thinking of visiting this wonderfully serene place in San Francisco, you should know that there are a few interesting areas, such as: The Moon Viewing Garden, The
Waterfall Garden or The Ancient Plants Garden.

Hard to believe there is such a beautiful garden smack-dab in the middle of a big city?

Painted Ladies

There’s a lot to enjoy and explore in San Francisco, but most visitors have this location at the top of their bucket lists. Places to stay in the area

Painted Ladies - places to visit San Francisco
Painted Ladies – places to visit San Francisco

What makes these Victorian houses so special?

Located next to each other on the corner of Alamo Square, Painted Ladies are Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings repainted in three or more colors that enhance their architectural details.

This historic houses are a beautiful reminder of the San Francisco of old, while the gleaming downtown skyline of new San Francisco shimmers in the distance.

It’s really hard for you not to want to stop and look at them.

Take your time in admiring these homes, and be sure to snap plenty of photos.

Walt Disney Family Museum

Did you already fall in love with San Francisco?

Located in the scenic Presidio of San Francisco, The Walt Disney Family Museum is one of the Bay Area’s most inspirational venues. Places to stay in the area

You won’t miss this museum with 40,000 square feet of fantasy-themed space with 200 video screens, music, films, and more.

Learn all about how one man’s tireless pursuit transformed the world of animation and entertainment and created an American legacy.

Come experience the life story of the man behind the magic.

This place is also a great spot for stunning views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you’re looking for tourist attractions in San Francisco, head to The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea Garden endures as one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco.

If you want to experience the natural beauty, tranquility and harmony of a Japanese-style garden, step in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Places to stay in the area

This refuge features classic elements such as an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds and a zen garden.

Is the pinnacle of relaxation attractions in San Francisco.

One of its most eye-catching features is the five-tiered wooden pagoda.

Did we pique your curiosity?

Coit Tower

Coit Tower is a landmark that stands out in the city skyline, and one of San Francisco’s most well-known attractions. Places to stay in the area

Also known as the Coit Memorial Tower, it is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood, offering panoramic views over the city and the bay.

This makes the tower a must-see during your stay in San Francisco!

The Coit Tower is the site of a large number of stunning murals and paintings, which refers to the labor and California life during the Great Depression.

You should add this place on your list, if only for the wild parrots!

They’ve become such an integral part of the neighborhood’s identity that a documentary film was even made about them!

If you’re feeling good and you’d like some exercise, take the Filbert Street stairs to get up to the tower.

It does take some energy, but it will be worth it. Otherwise, you can get there by public bus or by a minibus tour.

This is absolutely one of the greatest places to visit in San Francisco.

California Academy of Science

The world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum, California Academy of Science takes visitors to a unique journey into the past, present, and future of the world – one that lasts a lifetime. Places to stay in the area

This stunning museum is one of the biggest points of interest for anyone visiting San Francisco.

Delivering the wonders of land, space, and water in one exquisitely wrapped package, the California Academy of Sciences brings the above, below, and beyond of the entire world to life.

The greenest museum on Earth is also where planet-saving ideas grow.

You can have a very fun time here. It is great for visitors of all ages.

Face your fears—and an albino alligator—inside the Swamp, and meet scientists as they return from research expeditions around the world.

Fly to Mars from the safety of your planetarium seat, take a virtual safari in African Hall, or climb into the canopy of a living rainforest.

So many cool things can be done here.

Oracle Park

Make the most of each moment when you travel.

Oracle Park, with its breathtaking views and classic design, is one of the most lovely destinations in San Francisco. Places to stay in the area

It is considered one of baseball’s most picturesque ball parks. But, it’s not just a baseball park.

The stadium has been featured in video games, films, TV shows, and other popular culture offerings. It’s an iconic cultural landmark of San Francisco.

Go behind-the-scenes at Oracle Park and visit team’s dugout, indoor batting cage and clubhouse; the press box, and a luxury suite.

You can also enjoy a 10-minute documentary on the Giants franchise in the newly-designed theater space.

Some cool features are the big glove in left field and the bottle which is actually a slide for kids. It has a lot of fun things for everyone.

If you love baseball, this is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in San Francisco.

Presidio of San Francisco

What would you say if I told you that San Francisco cradles a natural oasis in its urban heart?

Located at the Golden Gate, the Presidio is a national park site like no other, with surprising adventures for everyone. Places to stay in the area

Come enjoy the history and the natural beauty of the Presidio and explore centuries of architecture.

Presidio Park of San Francisco is home to 30 butterfly species, 323 kinds of birds, and 330 types of native plants.

Enjoy the perfect natural escape in the middle of the city!

The Presidio also features 24 miles of hiking and biking trails, eight scenic overlooks, and San Francisco’s only campground.

All you have to do is recharge, and reconnect with nature and each other.

One of the best activities in San Francisco is spending the better part of a day at the Presidio.


Hope you found useful tips to plan the perfect vacation for you and your family.

Best Places to Visit in San Francisco

  1. Best Things to Do in San Francisco
    1. Golden Gate Bridge
    2. Alcatraz Island
    3. Aquarium of the Bay
    4. Palace of Fine Arts
    5. Pier 39
    6. San Francisco Treasure Island
    7. Hike to Twin Peaks
    8. San Francisco Botanical Garden
    9. Painted Ladies
    10. Walt Disney Family Museum
    11. Japanese Tea Garden
    12. Coit Tower
    13. California Academy of Science
    14. Oracle Park
    15. Presidio of San Francisco