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Visiting the Golden City? Here are the best things to do in San Francisco

Looking for trip inspiration? Here are our favorite things to see in San Francisco.

Published May 27, 2024
3 min. reading time
Japanese tea garden, Golden Bridge, baseball ground in San Francisco
Photo: Pexels/ Pixabay/ Enric Cruz López

Planning a trip to the Bay Area? 

You’re in for a real treat!

An iconic and recognizable city like San Francisco means there's always a bright moment and plenty of things to do and see.

So, if a getaway is on the horizon, let us give you the inside scoop on what should be on your itinerary.

From sightseeing at the city’s iconic bridge to cruising along the sparking waters, here are the best things to do in San Francisco.

Read more: Top budget-friendly luggage for every kind of trip

San Francisco’s top things to do

a shot of the The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Visit the iconic bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
exterior shot of cable cars for transport in San Francisco
Jump in a cable car
Cable Cars
an aerial shot over a baseball game in Oracle Park Stadium
Catch a game of baseball
Oracle Park
exterior shot of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco
Soak in natural beauty
Japanese Tea Garden

Visit the iconic bridge

A trip to San Francisco isn’t complete without visiting this world-famous bridge.

Here’s what to do: Take a free walking tour, bike or hike across scenic trails to soak up the panoramic views that the red-orange bridge offers.

You'll find plenty of Instagrammable spots near the bridge and surrounding areas.

Jump in a cable car

If you're looking for a great way to experience the city, hop on a cable car.

From the Powell-Hyde Line, Market Streets and China Town to North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf, you can ride the cable cars to get to some of the city's most famous spots.

Catch a game of baseball

Visiting Oracle Park stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants, is a must for any sports fan.

Experience the thrilling action and lively atmosphere firsthand as some of the league's biggest stars attempt to secure a victory.

Considering its prime location and stunning views over the Bay Bridge and the water, there are plenty of things to see and do here.

Soak in natural beauty

This historic Japanese-style garden attracts visitors from all over the world to experience its beauty and tranquility.

Traditional towers, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native plants, serene ponds and a zen garden complete the experience. Don’t forget to stop by the tea house to taste the matcha and mochi.

Top tip: Visit the garden in March and April to see the cherry blossom trees in bloom.

Take a passport to science adventures

With its four-story rain forest, planetarium, aquarium and Natural History Museum, the California Academy of Sciences is a hub of exhibits and adventures.

Visit the Steinhart Aquarium to see over 60,000 live animals, marvel at fascinating dioramas of historic landscapes and immerse yourself in a 75-foot dome filled with hyper-realistic virtual environments.

It’s a great attraction for the whole family to enjoy!

Explore its green oasis

The Golden Gate Park is always among the top recommended places to visit in San Francisco. In fact, it’s the third most visited city park in the country.

From green lawns, bridle paths, lakes and blooming plants, it’s a feast for the eyes.

But there's more to the park than greenery and fresh air; there's a conservatory of flowers, a botanical garden and a Japanese tea garden to name just a few.

Experience the Pier

Looking to experience the best of the city? The Pier is the place to be.

Located in the heart of San Francisco, this waterfront, bustling attraction has it all. 

Visit the Sea Lions, hop on a cruise across the sparkling waters, tuck into some of the best seafood and clam chowders, or join a wine-tasting session at the Bay. Local shopping will also be a delight.

There’s something for everyone here.

What is the number one attraction in San Francisco?

According to San Francisco Travel, the most visited destination in San Francisco is PIER 39.

A hotspot for locals and tourists alike, it's popular for its entertainment, dining and shopping options and of course, its panoramic views.

sea lions splashing in the water in Pier 39 in San Francisco
Photo: Trip Advisor

What are the best things to do in San Francisco?

There are plenty of things to see and do in San Fran. It's a beautiful city with a diverse culture, as well as a lot of sights

If you’re short on time, here are the must-sees:

Looking for fun things to do in San Francisco, California? Book a ticket and catch all the action at a game at the Oracle Park stadium. 

​​As for visiting the Golden Gate Bridgeand Pier 39, these landmarks will surely inspire your Instagram feed with their host of attractions, famous cuisine and scenic views.

Happy travels!

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Prices updated on 05/27/2024. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

Lauren Pascal Professional Headshot
Written by
Lauren Pascal

A self-proclaimed ‘obsessed TikTok user,’ Lauren Pascal uses her knowledge to help readers shop for trendy new products. Lauren is also an experienced travel writer and recently wrote informative pieces for travellers during the pandemic.