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Trip List by Calafia

The Best S.F. Spots that Visitors Overlook / Forget to See

8 Apr 2011  Letting visitors/tourists know about all the best spots in S.F.!
3.5 of 5 bubbles based on 8 votes

As a local San Franciscan, I love showing the city to visitors. But so often, visitors forget to see some of the best, locally-loved sights because they don't know about them. So I posed this question to the TripAdvisor Forum: "In your opinion, what S.F. sites/spots do visitors most often overlook and forget to see? Is there a particular place you enjoyed that you think tourists often don't know about?" I've shared the responses below -- enjoy! (And feel free to send me a message if you think there are other spots we should add.)

Thanks to the following TripAdvisor members who contributed to this list:
--- wanderer, RamblinSal, scottca075, mini, Cintagreen, ImaMY, davdaven, poetinsf, tymetraveler222, SFSusanW, wanderer, travelbug61, Bayatuning ---

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Marin County, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Sausalito
  • Category: Perfect day
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Sports buffs, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists, Pet owners
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Land's End Trail
    Lands End, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Outer Richmond *

    -- travelbug61

  • 2. Crissy Field
    Crissy Field, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Presidio *

    -- Calafia: Crissy Field is a beach and nature reserve that has been lovingly restored by the city and is now a favorite of S.F. locals. It's my favorite way to see the Golden Gate Bridge and a gorgeous setting and walk (you can walk along the paved path or along the beach). There are always many people around, and you can stop at the Warming Hut cafe on the way to the bridge.

  • 3. Filbert Steps
    Filbert Steps, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: North Beach/Telegraph Hill *

    -- Bayatuning
    -- Calafia: agrees!

  • 4. Upper Grant Avenue
    Upper Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: North Beach/Telegraph Hill *

    -- SFSusanW: the less touristy/visited part of North Beach; see local bars, coffee houses (some even still with boho poets spouting spoken word poetry) and boutiques.

  • 5. Greenwich Steps
    Greenwich Steps, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: North Beach/Telegraph Hill *

    -- Bayatuning

  • 6. Sutro Baths

    * Neighborhood: Outer Richmond *

    -- travelbug61: Sutro Baths and Sutro Heights Park are modern ruins of an old favorite S.F. spot from the early 1900s.

  • 7. Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Twin Peaks *

    -- wanderer: I suspect that Twin Peaks may be overlooked by visitors because it's not so transit-accessible, it requires a goodly uphill walk. It is terrific.
    -- ImaMY: Twin Peaks on a clear day - great view of the city!

  • 8. Victorians Beyond Postcard Row

    * Neighborhoods: Multiple (see below) *

    -- wanderer: it seems like for a lot of folks Victorian houses in S.F. translate to "Postcard Row," period. But of course there's the whole Victorian Crescent from the Mission through the Castro and the Haight and on up to Pacific Heights. People may be visiting these neighborhoods for other reasons, but not necessarily looking for the Victorians.

  • 9. Mission District
    Mission District, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Mission District *

    -- Cintagreen
    -- Calafia: agrees! In particular, walk along Valencia Street and drive through Balmy Alley to see murals.

  • 10. Walt Disney Family Museum
    Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Presidio *

    -- mini: often overlooked - as it is not mentioned often in what visitors are seeing. It is a well done museum on the life of Walt Disney.

  • 11. Pier 45 and 47

    * Neighborhood: Fisherman's Wharf *

    -- SFSusanW: the less touristy/visited version of Fisherman's Wharf/Jefferson Street; see fish processing plants, a local museum, even a seaman's chapel (compared to wax museums and tourist tack).

  • 12. Japantown
    Japantown, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Japantown/Pacific Heights *

    -- mini: often overlooked - right now (April) is Cherry Blossom Festival so wonderful time to visit.

  • 13. Stockton Street
    Stockton Street, San Francisco, California

    * Neighborhood: Chinatown/Downtown *

    -- SFSusanW: the less touristy/visited part of Chinatown; see herbalists' shops, dim sum bakeries, and even some temples, instead of the souvenir shops.

  • 14. Downtown Architecture

    * Neighborhood: Downtown *

    -- wanderer: there's interesting art deco and modern architecture, especially in Downtown San Francisco, that I think goes under-appreciated.

  • 15. Murals at Rincon Center

    * Neighborhood: SOMA *

    -- wanderer: I think the murals at Coit Tower are pretty well known. But I don't think the history of San Francisco murals at the old Rincon Annex Post Office downtown are nearly as well known.

  • 16. People Watching in Parks

    * Neighborhoods: Multiple *

    -- tymetraveler222: Sitting on a bench or on a blanket in one of the "squares" and people watching. :)

  • 17. Getting Outside the City!

    * Neighborhoods/Areas: Multiple (see Items #18-27 Below!) *

    -- davdaven: I think visitors often overlook attractions outside of the City of San Francisco itself. Unlike cities like Los Angeles, which are large and sprawling, the city limits in SF are quite small. Some of the regional attractions that people manage to visit in LA get overlooked in SF as a result. A great example is the Oakland Museum of California (see above).

  • 18. Berkeley
    Berkeley, California

    * Area: East Bay (Berkeley) *

    -- scottca075

  • 19. Jack London Square
    Jack London Square, Oakland, California

    * Area: East Bay (Oakland) *

    -- scottca075

  • 20. Oakland Museum of California
    Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California

    * Area: East Bay (Oakland) *
    -- wanderer: a short BART ride away; deserves to be better known; has a fascinating sections devoted California art, ecology, and history, and has recently been completely re-installed.
    -- davdaven: agrees (see recommendation #17 above).

  • 21. Oakland Ferry

    * Area: East Bay (Oakland) *

    -- wanderer: The ferry to Oakland could use a little more visitor love--it goes over to an interesting area of Oakland, which has been steadily picking up, especially with restaurants. And it gives you a great dead on view of the San Francisco skyline on the way back.

  • 22. Angel Island State Park
    Angel Island State Park, San Francisco, California

    * Area: Angel Island (Middle of the Bay!) *

    -- poetinsf

  • 23. Marin Headlands
    Marin Headlands, Marin County, California

    * Area: North Bay (Marin) *

    -- poetinsf

  • 24. Mount Tamalpais State Park
    Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley, Marin County

    * Area: North Bay (Mill Valley) *

    -- poetinsf: The East Peak has a spectacular view of the S.F. Bay.

  • 25. Tiburon
    Tiburon, Marin County

    * Area: North Bay (Tiburon) *

    -- scottca075

  • 26. Sausalito
    Sausalito, Marin County

    * Area: North Bay (Sausalito) *

    -- scottca075: especially given the chance to take the ferry.

  • 27. Limantour Beach

    * Area: North (Point Reyes) *

    -- Calafia: If you want to see quintessential beautiful Northern California beach, go to Limantour (part of Point Reyes National Seashore)! It's a gorgeous beach with a long stretch of quiet land and protected reserve/wildlife -- surrounded by by several different day hike trails. You can read lots about it and see pictures on Yelp and the National Park Service website.