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San Francisco has so much to offer that it might initially baffle you. There are so many places to visit in San Francisco. This city is known for its culture, music, cultural movements, technology, and much more. It is an eclectic city to visit. The diversity of this city will amaze you. This city offers one of the best dining options.
This city is for zealous individuals as it will make you free-spirited. You get world-class cuisine, spectacular sights, and cozy cafes. That is not it, the city offers booming nightlife as well. You will stay busy during your entire visit to this city as there are so many things to do here.
Here is a detailed breakdown of tourist attractions in San Francisco:
7 Places To Visit In San Francisco
1. Golden Gate Bridge
Walking across this marvelous art-deco design and engineering is simply fun. This 1.7 mile-long bridge, is an icon of the San Francisco Bay region. It connects the city to California. Up until 1937, Golden Gate Bridge was considered to be the longest main suspension bridge in the world.
Later on, the record was broken by New York’s Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964 and Japan’s Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in 2019. This West Coast landmark draws millions of admirers every year.
The best month to visit Golden Gate Bridge-
September and October are the best time when you can walk down the bridge and spot some terrific views
Open time- 05 am to 06:30 pm
How to travel- Buses number 10, 70, 92, 93, and 101 runs from San Francisco to the bridge
Things to do:
- Take a bike on rent ( $8 per hour) and explore the bridge from either side on a bicycle
- Buy souvenirs from the Roundhouse, it is close to the bridge
- Enjoy at the clothing-optional beach i.e. nude beach. It lies opposite the Crissy Field
- Dine at Fog Harbor Fish House for amazing seafood and stunning views of the Golden Gate. Garlic roasted crab is the specialty here
- Alcatraz Island should be the next destination for those coming to Golden Bridge. The island is a historical tourist site in San Francisco Bay
2. Musee Mecanique
Musee Mecanique is a privately-owned collection of machine-operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. This museum takes you on a journey to the era of hand-cranked music boxes and video arcade games.
Adults and children equally enjoy a trip to this museum. It is your ticket to learn what people did for entertainment when there was no television, computer, or smartphone.
Location: Pier 45, San Francisco near Fishermans Wharf
Opening hours: 10 am to 08 pm every day
Admission fee: Although it is free, visitors can enjoy arcade games by paying fees up to $1
Restaurants nearby: After spending some time exploring the museum, you should come to Alioto’s Restaurant. The historic restaurant is functional since 1925 and serves the best Italian seafood.
3. Dolores Park
Mission Dolores Park is a hub of all types of activism. Though it is not one of the famous tourist attractions in San Francisco, visitors love to relax here. You can also spot people demonstrating or playing local sports in the park thus it is crowded most of the time.
The park also organizes movie nights and mime troupe performances during summertime. If you go towards the upper southwestern corner, you can get an amazing view of downtown. So whenever you are in this city, do not forget a lazy trip to this park.
Location: 19th Street of Mission District of San Francisco
Timings: Opens at 6 am and closes at 10 pm daily
Top Things To Do Near Dolores Park
- Come to the Painted Ladies, an iconic row of Victorian homes
- There is a Museum of Modern Art close by where you can see some of the amazing collection of artworks
- Twin Peaks within the locality is one of the great sightseeing places to visit in San Francisco
- If you love Mexico food, then must-try the La Taqueria, Papolete, and Mexican burritos in Mission District eateries
- The nightlife culture of the city is something that will fill you with excitement and enthusiasm. Knockout, Doc’s Clock, Trick Dog, Dalva, and The Homestead are the few best places here for enjoying drinks and music
4. Haight Ashbury
This is a culturally rich hub of San Francisco. Having a long history of hippie culture, Haight Ashbury has a unique charm. You can visit the vintage bookstores, cocktail lounges, or attend the extravagant Haight Ashbury street fair. This district has something to offer to every type of tourist.
Things To Do Here:
- Eat, shop, and dance in the cultural street fair of the district that held the second weekend in June
- Coffee lovers should not miss the organic and free-trade coffee at “ Coffee to the people” café
- Club Deluze at 1511 Street is famous for the nighttime hangouts, so if you are on a group trip do come here
- Relax at Buena Vista Park that is located on a hill in the Haight-Ashbury district
- The 1644 Haight Street is very popular among book readers for its wide shops and quality bookstores
How to reach-
- Bus numbers 7 and 33 will take you directly to Ashbury. Haight St & Masonic Ave, Ashbury St & Haight St, and Masonic Ave & Haight St are the closest bus stations.
- If you are coming by rail then take a train to Carl St & Cole St, Ashbury is only 10 min away from the station
Nearby attractions: Janis Joplin’s House Museum, Grateful Dead House, and Hippie Hill
5. North Beach
San Francisco’s North beach is reflective of its rich history. It is an eclectic and picturesque community so a walk in this district is recommended. Official city guides offer a volunteer-led tour which is a great way to learn about North Beach and the city in general.
This neighborhood is often known as ‘little Italy’ for its historical connections with Italian immigrants. It is only 2 km away from the main city and can be reached easily via bus, train, and private cars.
What To Do In North Beach?
- Between Romolo Place and Broadway lies the art museum that preserves the music history of San Francisco. The Beat Museum is heaven for artists and music lovers where they will get a chance to see some of the rare artifacts of the history
- Washington Square Park is the next best place in North Beach where you can relax and behold the stunning view of the Italian Cathedral
- North Beach is also famous for its vintage collection, Schein and Schein is one of the best antique shops here
- The city has a mini jungle at Telegraph Hill where you can soak up in greenery
- Visitors should not leave North Beach without a trip to Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze. The museum has numerous mind-blowing optical illusions.
6. The Palace Of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful dome-shaped building on the calm water drifted by the mesmerizing surroundings. The architecture was, however, originally built for the Panama-pacific Exposition.
Other structures could not survive the tide of time except this palace. It was rebuilt and open for public events, fairs, and even weddings.
Location: 3301 Lyon Street, Marina District
How to reach: Take bus number 30 from Stockton & Stutter to reach this place.
Places To Eat:
The palace is close to some of the best dining places in the Marina District. These 3 are highly recommended for great food:
- The Sandwich Spot SF
- Chestnut Street Coffee Roastery
Other parts of the world also have Chinatown, but this one is pretty special and the oldest in North America. The place always finds a spot in the list of must-visit places in San Francisco for many reasons. One being is its area as it is the largest Chinatown in any non-Asian country.
How to reach: Cable car is the best option that runs from Powell Mason line to Bush and Jackson. Walk down the hill and head towards Stockton Street. Another way is to reach the main street, Grant Avenue, which is close fro, California Street Line.
Tourist Attractions In San Francisco’s China Town
There is a lot to see here but one must not miss these top places to visit in San Francisco which is located in China town:
– Chinese Historical Society of America- A place where you can learn more about the Chinese and American relationship
– Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral- The Gothic Revival style church was built in 1894 and was the first Roman Catholic church in California
– Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory- Test your fortune and taste the delicious chocolates at this cookie factory.
– Stroll down to Grant Avenue street and collect the treasures of the past from the shops lined across the street
– The Tien Hau temple is the country’s oldest Chinese temple and is popular among both Chinese and non-Chinese visitors
Food Places In Chinatown:
If food is the only reason to come here, then eat and drink at China Live, My Canh, Yuet Lee Seafood, and Dim Sum Bistro. These are the best in the city where you can enjoy local Chinese cuisine with some amazing views.
Things To Do For Free In San Francisco
– Take a stroll around the city to see the spectacular mission murals. This tradition of public art has turned the city into a grand canvas
– Visit San Francisco’s Ferry building marketplace to learn about the architectural landmark and have artisan food and wine
– The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a must-visit for its collection of modern and contemporary artworks.
– Attend a public art exhibition at City Hall
Best Time To Visit San Francisco
This bohemian city is lively all year long so there is no wrong time to visit this city of love. However, if you want to do all these best things to do in San Francisco, here is a breakdown of best seasons -
August to October is the best time for warm weather, street fairs, and fresh cuisine. This is the time when you will get the best photographs are there is no fog. During fall, you can go outside and explore the natural hilly areas in the city.
Winter And Spring
November to June is a great time if you want to enjoy the city without the overwhelming crowd. You will definitely need a lot of layers to protect yourself from harsh winters.
During June and July, the city gets the highest number of visitors. During this time you can attend the Haight Ashbury street fair, Pride celebrations, and many more outdoor activities.
How To Reach San Francisco?
San Francisco is accessible through both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport. These two airports get multiple flights from all cities of the United States. Public transportation takes only 30-40 minutes to reach the airports.
It is a city that is constantly transforming. So no matter what time of the year you choose to visit, you will get a unique experience. It is the world’s most dynamic metropolitan city. Besides all the big tourist attractions, do not forget to visit a couple of lesser-known neighborhoods too.