SAN FRANCISCO ATTRACTIONS
Alcatraz - THE ROCK
A mile and a half from Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz was the site of the first lighthouse built on the Pacific Coast. Later, it was made a federal prison from 1934 to 1963, for such notorious convicts as Al Capone. Now it is one of the city’s most popular attractions. A visit to the island includes a tour of the cell house where visitors can see where the prisoners lived. Although the last inmates were transferred off the island in 1963, the main prison block with its steel bars, claustrophobic cells, mess hall, library and “dark holes”, is still structurally intact. Book our recommeded tour of Alcatraz and City
San Francisco’s Chinatown, North America’s first and largest. It is located next to North Beach and the Financial District. Authentic restaurants are everywhere in the neighborhood, but YOU MUST try China Live, a multi-story Chinese food emporium that offers a variety of dining experiences. Link to China Live website
Learn about the community’s history at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum on Clay St. Near Portsmouth square, visit the Chinese Culture Center, which is free.
Did you know ? The fortune cookie was first created in San Francisco? See how they get made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory at 56 Ross Alley.
Try a tour of Chinatown with a local guide – Voted Best Walking Tour in S.F. 3 years in a row. 2 ½ hour, apx USD 30
The Wharf is a world famous tourist attraction, a vibrant local neighborhood and commercial area. Home to world-class dining, shopping, hotels and endless entertainment opportunities. As the home of San Francisco’s fishing fleet, docked along Jefferson Street, Fisherman’s Wharf is the important center of the city’s historic fishing industry. Along the neighborhood’s “Fish Alley” you can still see fishermen at work, which is always a fun experience. The Wharf area is also the launching point for Bay cruises and charters.
Family friendly entertainment is a neighborhood specialty. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, Musée Mecanique, the Aquarium of the Bay at PIER 39, the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien and the World War II submarine, the USS Pampanito, Fisherman’s Wharf is the perfect place to bring the kids. Shops and restaurants line up at the Wharf, including the PIER 39 and Anchorage Square shopping complexes. The world famous Ghirardelli Square has been converted to an open-air center filled with fun shops and restaurants. Book tickets to Aquarium of the Bay
Amazing views and sea lions, PIER 39 is one of the most visited destination in San Francisco. It offers two levels of dining, entertainment, shopping and attractions, all surrounded by unbeatable views of the city and the Bay. Located along the historic San Francisco Waterfront, PIER 39’s location provides the picture-perfect backdrop for postcard views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz and Angel Islands, and the famous city skyline. Located on The Embarcadero at Beach Street, a few blocks east from Fisherman’s Wharf. Link to official PIER 39 webite.
Golden Gate Bridge
Each year the Golden Gate Bridge attracts more than 10 million visitors. They take in its tremendous 746-foot tall towers, sweeping main cables, signature International Orange color and Art Deco styling. The Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate which is one-mile-wide (1.6 km). It is connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It carry both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco and California. Possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world. Read more on Golden Gate Bridge official website.
The bridge is popular for pedestrians and bicyclists. The main walkway is on the eastern side, and is open for use by both pedestrians and bicycles in the morning to mid-afternoon during weekdays (5:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). To pedestrians only for the remaining daylight hours (until 6:00 p.m., or 9:00 p.m. during DST). The eastern walkway is reserved for pedestrians on weekends (5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., or 9:00 p.m. during DST), and is open exclusively to bicyclists in the evening and overnight, when it is closed to pedestrians. The western walkway is open only for bicyclists and only during the hours when they are not allowed on the eastern walkway. Book our recommended guided Bridge Walking Tour
The “Crookedest Street in the World,” Lombard Street is one of San Francisco’s most popular landmarks and one of the most scenic streets. Every year, millions of visitors walk or drive down its eight sharp hairpin turns. Take a spectacular photo at the bottom looking up. Or enjoy the breathtaking view from the top, looking out onto the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge and Coit Tower.
The famous crooked portion of Lombard St. is located between Leavenworth and Hyde streets. Although it’s a steep walk up Lombard Street, visiting doesn’t take a lot of time. Once there, you are close to numerous other San Francisco attractions. North Beach, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf are all within short walking distance.
The San Francisco Cable Cars are the world’s last manually operated cable car system. A tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street. 9.7 million people ride the cable cars each year.
The cable cars were named a national historic landmark in 1964. Refurbished and equipped with new tracks, cables, turnarounds and cable propulsion machinery, they operate as started in 1873. Once upon a time, cable car lines serviced the entire city. Today, only three lines remain. They can take you to some of San Francisco’s most popular neighborhoods and destinations, as North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Nob Hill, Chinatown and the Embarcadero.
A single ride costs $7, no matter your age or the time of day. You can pay with exact change or via the MuniMobile app or a Clipper card. You can find out about the history of San Francisco’s cable car, and even see the enormous mechanisms that keep the system running. Visit the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. This fun family friendly attraction is open every day of the year and always free.
Cable Car ride is part of our recommended “Make the Most of SF in One Day” tour
San Francisco Zoo
Open 365 days a year, San Francisco Zoo is home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals. You will find 100 acres of majestic and peaceful gardens located directly on the Pacific Coast. Great experience for everybody – family friendly.
Link to official SF ZOO webite. Book your ticket to the Zoo here
Academy of Science
Life-changing moments. World-changing science. Aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Powerful voice for biodiversity research and exploration, environmental education, and sustainability across the globe. A very family friendly activity
Link to official Acadamy of Science webite. Buy your Skip-the-line ticket here
Visitors go to Coit Tower to take in views of downtown San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other landmarks. With its perch in Pioneer Park on top of Telegraph Hill, the 210-foot-high (64-meter-high) tower, built in 1933, offers some of the best panoramic photo ops in San Francisco. Advance elevator ride tickets to view spectacular 360 degree city views, and reservations for guided tours of the Tower are available on site.