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The best way to see any city is by foot, and that is especially true of San Francisco. The City by the Bay has many hills for breathtaking views, and is full of funny people and quirky sights, which are best seen on foot. San Francisco is the true city of "Why Not?!" and you never know what you will see. We just laugh, shrug and say, "Only in San Francisco!"

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

15 Places

3 City Tips

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15 Places

Alcatraz Island

Historic Sites, Islands, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas

Angel Island State Park

State Parks

Lyon Street Steps

Historic Walking Areas

Mission Dolores Park

Parks

Noe Valley

Neighbourhoods

Legion of Honor

Art Museums

Golden Gate Park

Parks

Golden Gate Bridge

Bridges

Ferry Building Marketplace

Shopping Malls, Points of Interest & Landmarks,

Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant

Restaurants

Twin Peaks

Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods, Mountains, Lookouts

Castro Theatre

Movie Theatres, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Grace Cathedral

Sacred & Religious Sites

City Lights Booksellers

Historic Sites, Gift & Speciality Shops,

Mount Davidson

Sacred & Religious Sites, Mountains

sanfrantravelnut's City Tips

  • San Francisco is a Foodie town and you don't have to eat at a 5 star restaurant to enjoy it; you can enjoy picnics in the gorgeous parks or take advantage of the ever-popular food trucks.
  • Rental cars are not necessary unless you will be taking day trips around the Bay Area. It is much cheaper to get around the city on public transportation, taxi, or foot.
  • Prices are expensive but more affordable options can always be found, and there are plenty of places to visit that don't cost anything at all.
  • Save
    Alcatraz Island
    Historic Sites, Islands, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Any history buff will be thrilled to visit this legendary prison. A scenic boat ride to and from the island is a lovely way to see the city. A self-guided audio tour with real prisoner and guard testimonials, provides atmosphere along with the interesting facts. You can take as long as you want to explore the island before catching a return boat.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Reservations are essential as this tour is always sold out in advance.
    • Have a light jacket or windbreaker as the Bay is almost always windy.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Informative and fun 23/09/2018
    • Great Day 23/09/2018
    • Alcatraz Island
    Address:
    Pier 33
    B201 Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94122
    Phone:
    +1 415-981-7625
    Other:
  • Save
    Angel Island State Park
    State Parks
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Angel Island provides a gorgeous view of San Francisco and its environs, as well as a history lesson, it being the "Ellis Island of the West" and the gateway for many Asian immigrants. This island provides excellent trails and picnic areas, as well as the historical Angel Island Immigration Center.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Beach Goer
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can take the ferry from Larkspur and spend time exploring Larkspur as well
    • There's food to purchase on the island or you can bring a picnic
    • You can be as active as you want to be as there is a trolley to take you around the entire path, or you can walk/bike (or even Segway!) the roughly 5 miles around. There are additional trails to explore if you are an avid hiker.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Combined ticket with Alctaraz 14/09/2018
    • A Quiet escape 13/09/2018
    • Angel Island State Park
    Address:
    Pier 41
    San Francisco, CA 94109
    Phone:
    +1 415-435-1915
    Price range:
    US$30 - US$30
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Lyon Street Steps
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Gorgeous views and a fantastic workout, all at the same time! At the top of the steps you can see straight down to the Palace of Fine Arts and San Francisco Bay. At the bottom you can walk down to the waterfront, or act like a local and walk or jog up a few more times (or more)! The stairs are located in one of the most gorgeous neighborhoods, so mansion-gazing is another fun perk!

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Comfortable footwear
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #104 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • What a view 17/09/2018
    • Get a workout with a view 12/09/2018
    • Lyon Street Steps
    Address:
    Lyon St
    At Green St, Pacific Heights
    San Francisco, CA
  • Save
    Mission Dolores Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Whether sunny or cloudy, any day is a perfect day to spend at Mission Dolores Park. Act like a local and bring your food, beverages, friends, kids, dogs and bicycles with your picnic blankets. It has a brand new modern playground for the kids, and fantastic views of the city skyline from its grassy slopes.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Plenty of local businesses on nearby Mission and Valencia streets to buy picnic food and drinks. Tartine is an especially popular local bakery/cafe.
    • Layers are important as it can be windy or very hot & sunny
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Perfect way to relax on a sunny day 23/09/2018
    • Superb city view 22/09/2018
    • Mission Dolores Park
    Address:
    Dolores Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    Phone:
    +1 415-831-2700
    Other:
  • Save
    Noe Valley
    Neighbourhoods
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    This is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in San Francisco, with picturesque Victorians and tree-lined streets. Sidewalks are full of pedestrians, many with strollers and or dogs. The pace is easy, there are plenty of small boutiques for shopping unique treasures, and restaurants for satisfying every appetite.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • A fun way to get to Noe Valley is to take the J Church MUNI streetcar. For burning lots of calories, you can walk up palm-lined Dolores street until you get to 24th street.
    • A pleasant way to spend the day could be to purchase picnic lunches in Noe Valley and take the J Church MUNI streetcar to Mission Dolores Park.
    From the community
    Ranked #188 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    • Fantastic Neighborhood 22/08/2018
    • Upscale Neighborhood 02/03/2018
    Phone:
    +1 415-374-7249
  • Save
    Legion of Honor
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Any art lover must plan a trip to the Legion of Honor for Rodin sculptures, as well as an extensive collection of 4000 years of ancient and European art, and interesting traveling exhibitions. Housed in a palatial replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, the exterior of the museum is almost as awe inspiring as the interior. And the icing on the cake is that this gorgeous museum is perched on a cliff overlooking the crashing Pacific Ocean. Visiting this museum is a feast for all the senses!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • A delicious cafe offers delectable refreshments.
    • Parking is somewhat limited, but is free. The #18 MUNI bus drops off directly outside the museum.
    • It's on a cliff over the ocean, so bring your layers!
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of my favorite museum 20/09/2018
    • Beautiful Place 16/09/2018
    • Legion of Honor
    Address:
    100 34th Ave
    Lincoln Park
    San Francisco, CA 94121-1677
    Phone:
    +1 415-750-3600
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Golden Gate Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Golden Gate Park offers something for everybody and with a greater acreage than New York's Central Park, you can spend as little or as much time there as you wish, without doing the same things twice. Popular activities are hiking, paddling boats around Stowe Lake, visiting the bison, touring museums and botanical gardens, free Lindy Hop lessons on Sundays, and much, much more. There is a giant playground and carousel for kids, sports fields, and tons and tons of fields for parties, picnicking, lazing about, and sleeping. The Park often hosts free concerts, musical and cultural events. You can drive straight through the park and arrive at the Pacific Ocean.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • LGBT
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The main roads inside the park are closed to traffic on Sundays, meaning pedestrians have more room, but parking can be more difficult.
    • You can get lost for hours here if you wish, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and lots of layers for the variable climate in this park.
    • The AIDS Memorial Garden is a particularly beautiful and emotional gem to visit.
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful 23/09/2018
    • Nature Tour 23/09/2018
    • Golden Gate Park
    Address:
    501 Stanyan St
    San Francisco, CA 94117-1898
    Phone:
    (415) 831-2700
    Other:
  • Save
    Golden Gate Bridge
    Bridges
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Everybody knows why this iconic bridge is a Must for any visitor. You can drive across it, of course, and there are view points on both sides for scenic pictures. It is much better to walk or ride a bicycle across it, as that gives you a much better idea of the size and length of this bridge. Walkers use the east side of the bridge, and cyclists use the west side of the bridge. If you ride a bike, it is a short distance to the picturesque town of Sausalito where you can grab refreshments, and a ferry ride back to the city if you wish.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • If you are riding a bicycle, make sure NOT to look at the oncoming cyclists, or you'll want to steer right into them!
    • Layers are a must on this windy, windy bridge
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Bridge was a beautiful site and gift shop has lots of information about the bridge 23/09/2018
    • A sight to remember! 23/09/2018
    • Golden Gate Bridge
    Address:
    Lincoln Boulevard, near Doyle Drive and Fort Point
    San Francisco, CA 94129
    Phone:
    +1 415-921-5858
    Other:
  • Save
    Ferry Building Marketplace
    Shopping Malls, Points of Interest & Landmarks,
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    The Ferry Building is a beautiful mix of historic architecture, local artisans, and luxury dining housed in a beautiful structure anchoring Market Street. You can take ferries to various destinations such as Sausalito, Angel Island, and Larkspur, which provide scenic pictures en route and quaint places to explore with great dining, on the other side. Many visitors to the Ferry Building are there for the food and fine dining.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The Slanted Door Vietnamese restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in the city.
    • The Saturday morning Farmer's Market is a must see! In addition to the fresh fruits and vegetables, there is hot food available or purchase, and lots of delicious samples!
    • On many days there are craft vendors outside the building for shopping.
    • Cowgirl Creamery is a must for any cheese-lover, and Acme bakery for those chocolate croissants!! (Cash only)
    • Hog Island Oyster Company is wildly popular for fresh oysters, but they also have to-die-for grilled cheese sandwiches!!
    From the community
    Ranked #49 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great food options 23/09/2018
    • Superb market 22/09/2018
    • Ferry Building Marketplace
    Address:
    1 Ferry Building
    The Embarcadero at Market Street
    San Francisco, CA 94111-4209
    Phone:
    +1 415-693-0996
    Other:
  • Save
    Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant
    Restaurants (Chinese, Asian)
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    For somebody who wants authentic Chinese (Cantonese) food, and not the glitzy tourist restaurant, Hong Kong Clay Pot is your destination! It is a hole in the wall which isn't the easiest to find; it's located up a nondescript flight of shabby stairs, and the ambiance does not impress. But if you are here for the food and not the ambiance, it will not disappoint! Food is served family style and is delicious. You are going to love that bill at the end of your meal, too!

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Seafood dishes are especially good here
    From the community
    Ranked #299 of 4,357 restaurants in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Quite okay... 04/08/2018
    • Awful - insect found in rice 04/08/2018
    • Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant
    Address:
    960 Grant Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94108-1302
    Phone:
    +1 415-989-2638
    Price range:
    US$15 - US$20
    Hours:
    Thu - Tue
    11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Twin Peaks
    Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods, Mountains, Lookouts
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    If the air is clear, there is no better place to view San Francisco than from the 2nd highest hill in the city, which is located directly in the middle of this city. You will have 360 degree views of all of San Francisco, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and the Pacific Ocean.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • When looking up at the red and white Sutro Tower, look at the base of the tower. If you can see it, then it's a good time to go to Twin Peaks. If the bottom is obscured by fog, then don't waste the time to get up there as you won't see anything.
    • You can take the #37 bus from downtown up to Twin Peaks. Your stop is the very last stop on the route.
    • You can do additional hiking once at Twin Peaks, as there are two hills for even higher views. Not for those afraid of heights as there are no handrails and it can be very windy up there.
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great View of the City 21/09/2018
    • Twin peaks 18/09/2018
    • Twin Peaks
    Address:
    501 Twin Peaks Blvd
    San Francisco, CA 94114
    Phone:
    +1 415-831-6331
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    5:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Castro Theatre
    Movie Theatres, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    This historic theater is one of the quirkiest gems of this fair city. It is a historic building and a live person plays an organ before the start of every movie. They have all kinds of fun features like Sing-A-Longs to cult favorites such as The Sound of Music, The Little Mermaid, Grease, etc. It is a symbol of the vibrant Castro district, which has fun shops and great dining for the LGBT community, as well as everybody else.

    Good for
    • LGBT
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Sing A Long movies are especially fun to see here!
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 69 Fun & Games in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Gorgeous 12/09/2018
    • a "must see" 27/08/2018
    • Castro Theatre
    Address:
    429 Castro St
    Market Street
    San Francisco, CA 94114-2019
    Phone:
    +1 415-621-6120
    Other:
  • Save
    Grace Cathedral
    Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    You don't have to be Catholic to appreciate this gorgeous Cathedral. It is perched on top of Nob Hill, surrounded by views of San Francisco. Inside it is an immense Gothic cathedral, and outside it even has a Labyrinth. Across the street is a tranquil park full of fountains, where you can enjoy the views, the peace of rippling water, and the majestic bonging of Grace's bells tolling the hours.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • You can take the cable car up to the top of Nob Hill, or for bragging rights, walk!
    • Other fun stops are Huntington Park across the street, and the Fairmount Hotel where you can visit the famous Tonga room (tiki bar!) or see the City spread out below you from the roof deck.
    From the community
    Ranked #52 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful church with so much character! 22/09/2018
    • Met a lovely deacon. 21/09/2018
    • Grace Cathedral
    Address:
    1100 California St
    San Francisco, CA 94108-2244
    Phone:
    +1 415-749-6300
    Hours:
    Sun
    8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    Mon - Fri
    7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Sat
    8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    City Lights Booksellers
    Historic Sites, Gift & Speciality Shops,
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    Not only are independent booksellers a dying species and should be supported, but City Lights has historical significance for being the home of the Beatniks. Buy some books from this cultural landmark, and then go enjoy them at nearby Cafe Vesuvius, also another important Beatnik landmark.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • There is also a nearby Beatnik Museum for those with a special interest.
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 318 Shopping in San Francisco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Must see for any book lover 21/09/2018
    • Yes, yes, yes! 20/09/2018
    • City Lights Booksellers
    Address:
    261 Columbus Ave
    North Beach
    San Francisco, CA 94133-4586
    Phone:
    +1 415-362-8193
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Mount Davidson
    Sacred & Religious Sites, Mountains
    See more photos
    sanfrantravelnut Says:

    This is a little known about tranquil getaway in the center of San Francisco. Mount Davidson is the tallest hill in San Francisco (2nd is Twin Peaks, another scenic Must). There are benches scattered throughout and the views of the city are outstanding. This is truly an off-the-beaten path destination, even with locals. There is a giant white cross at the summit in honor of the Armenian genocide. On Easter Sunday every year there is a sunrise service, which is a truly otherworldly experience.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • As always, wear your layers as it can be windy on top of the hill. Wear comfortable hiking shoes for the trails.
    • There are not a whole lot of trails so you won't expect to spend a lot of time here. The views make it all worthwhile.
    From the community
    Ranked #191 of 736 things to do in San Francisco
    • Great walk up to the top 05/08/2018
    • Lovely hike and view 28/07/2018
    • Mount Davidson
    Address:
    Monterey Blvd.
    San Francisco, CA 94127
    Phone:
    +1 415-831-2700
    Other:
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