San Francisco, on the west American coast, is one of those cities that always makes it to the top destinations worth visiting and exploring in the United States. With stunning natural views, a rich multicultural background and world-known highlights, San Francisco is packed with a variety of attractions. And, unlike other American cities that are similarly popular tourist destinations such as Washington DC, New York City or Denver, it is geographically small, thus making it easier for travelers to see and do as many things as possible over a short period of time. Here is a suggested list of the top 10 things to see and do in San Francisco that make a visit to “the City” absolutely worth it!
Easy to reach by plane from anywhere in the United States and neighboring countries, San Francisco can also be easily reached and discovered by car. With so many car rental agencies available there, it is really simple to move around comfortably in a rental car without having to drive yours around. However, you are advised to make sure you get the car insurance you need.
Having a car accident or facing a problem with your car and not having any insurance back up to assist you can turn your dream trip to San Francisco into a nightmare. There are many insurance options available in the market but you’ll probably agree with me on the fact that a reliable third party car rental insurance is the best way to go. And once the formalities are set and completed, you are ready for a great trip to SF.
See The Golden Gate… and Walk Across It!
The Golden Gate Bridge is not only one of the most enjoyable attractions in San Francisco but also the most photographed bridge in the world. It can be easily spotted from anywhere in town and it is definitely one of the touristy spots in the city that you just have to tick off of your travel bucket list.
You are invited to drive across it or bike over it but if you really want to feel its immensity, you should walk across it. At mid-span, you’ll be able to see how small those big ships crossing the bay look as you are right above them!
With its 1.7 mile-span, the Golden Gate Bridge is stunning and offers travelers stunning views of the city. There is a pedestrian walkway so that travelers can cross it on foot safely.
Drive Down Lombard Street
Lombard Street, with its crooked layout, colorful flowers and super nitty greenery is not only one of the most beautiful streets in the world but also the most popular in San Francisco. It has been depicted in many American movies and it is definitely worth a visit. Don’t forget to take your camera as it offers quite interesting views of the bay and the surrounding area.
If you want to put your driving skills to the test, you should definitely drive down Lombard Street! It is one of those experiences that will create great unforgettable memories.
Book an Anchor Steam Tour
This is definitely a must-do for beer lovers or for those at least slightly interested in the beer making process. The Anchor Steam Tour takes you through the three floors of this famous traditional brewery in Potrero Hill.
After the tour, visitors are invited to a tasting session!
Alcatraz Prison was one of those places to avoid back in the past and but nowadays it is one of San Francisco’s most popular sights. It has built its reputation over the years because of the criminals that lived in it and for the ones who tried to escape from it.
In order to reach Alcatraz, you need to take a ferry. Once on the island, you can walk to the prison building. The cell block, the exercise yard, and other areas are open for tourists and there is a free audio guided tour that is really interesting. If the hospital area of Alcatraz is open for visits, don’t miss it! It’s an interesting experience that shows what health care for inmates was like when Alcatraz was open as a prison.
Alcatraz is a very popular tour and tourists can easily fall for scams. Alcatraz Cruises is the only company with which you can tour Alcatraz; the others sail past the island but can’t stop there. As you can imagine, tickets sell fast, especially on holidays and during the summer so do your best and try to purchase your tickets in advance. The ferry trip is only a quarter of an hour long both to and from the Island but you can stay in Alcatraz for as long as the last boat leaves. They offer a Day Tour and a Night Tour so do your research and decide which one you like the best.
Ride A Cable Car
Cable cars are, together with the Golden Gate Bridge, probably the essence of San Francisco; and a visit to The City is not complete without a ride on a cable car. They are fun, iconic and a blast for children and adults alike.
Riding a cable car can be quite a thrill, especially as it goes up and down the hills. Tourists should be aware of the fact that cable cars are popularly touristy. They only go to a few places and the queue can be frustrating at times. They are not a means of transport that locals use but it is definitely a nice means for tourists to go to some of the most popular attractions that the city offers.
There are three routes that these cable cars follow. This guide will definitely help you understand better where each of them takes you. You can buy tickets at the turnarounds that can be found at the end of each line or from the conductor as you board.
Visit China Town
Despite being relatively small in size (eight short blocks long and three blocks wide), the China Town in San Francisco is known for being one of the largest Chinese communities in the world outside China itself. It’s a lively neighborhood that offers tourists plenty of things to do. Traditional travelers may enjoy simply the plan of buying souvenirs in one of the many shops along Grant Avenue. Those with a more adventurous spirit are invited to check out the various herbalist shops, tea stores and markets and many other interesting shops they’ll probably won’t be able to see anywhere else.
Enjoy a Bay Cruise
Enjoying a bay cruise helps you discover how beautiful the city is from afar and, needless to say, it gives you a lovely opportunity to relax and rest your feet after walking around the city.
The Bay Cruise will take you around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a scenic and joyful ride that simply adds to your San Francisco experience.
Visit Fort Point
Fort Point was built for the Civil War and it overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge. In order to reach it, you need to go to Crissy Field; the promenade by the water will guide you. It’s a place rich in history that also invites you to take some great pictures of the Golden Gate from a different angle.
For the Artsy Spirits, the de Young Museum
Located in Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum will attract the attention of art lovers; especially those with a soft spot for modern and ancient art. It offers interesting temporary exhibitions and a stunning and varied collection of modern art and ancient art from Africa, Oceania, America and Native Americans.
Have lunch at the Ferry Building!
The Ferry Building is not only attractive from the architectonic point of view but also because of the delicious artisan food you can try there! Empty and hungry stomachs will definitely find something tasty to eat and enjoy. Burgers, oysters, and chocolate are available in the menu, all paired with beer and cocktails!
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Disclaimer: This is a guest post