San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why.
The city has a unique charm with its steep hills, Victorian architecture, and cable cars.
There’s also a lot to see and do, from exploring Chinatown to visiting Alcatraz Island.
And of course, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without sampling some of the delicious food on offer.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a gourmet meal, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.
So if you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation, be sure to add San Francisco to your list of must-see destinations.
Here are 31 cool things to see and do in San Francisco.
1. Visit the Iconic Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States.
Spanning nearly two miles across the San Francisco Bay, making it an icon of American engineering.
Every day, thousands of people cross the Golden Gate Bridge, admiring the stunning views of the bay and the city skyline.
For those looking for a more unique experience, there are also a number of tour companies that offer special bridge tours.
These tours allow you to learn about the history of the bridge and get a close-up view of its massive suspension cables.
No matter how you choose to experience it, a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge is sure to be a memorable one.
2. Check Out the Most Infomus Prison on Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco.
Visitors come from all over the world to see the infamous prison that once housed some of America’s most notorious criminals.
Today, the island is a National Historic Landmark and is run by the National Park Service.
You can take tours of the prison, or simply enjoy the stunning views of the Bay Area from the island.
Either way, Alcatraz is sure to make for a memorable experience.
3. Get Inspired at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art offers a world-renowned collection of contemporary art, and it is truly a place where inspiration abounds.
With over 33,000 works of art on view, there is something for everyone at the museum.
Whether you are interested in painting, sculpture, photography, or video art, you are sure to find an artwork that speaks to you.
The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and workshops, so you can learn more about the art on view.
In addition, the museum’s café and shop are the perfect places to relax and refuel after a day of exploring.
So, whether you are a seasoned art lover or a first-time visitor, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is sure to inspire you.
4. Explore Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco.
Located on the waterfront, this historic district is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions.
You can stroll along the pier, enjoy a bowl of clam chowder at one of the seafood restaurants, or catch a ride on a cable car.
Fisherman’s Wharf is also one of the best places in the city to catch a glimpse of seals and sea lions. All in all, it’s a great place to spend a day exploring.
5. Picnic at Mission Dolores Park
San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park is a great spot for a picnic.
The park offers stunning views of the city, and it’s also a popular gathering spot for locals.
There are plenty of benches and picnic tables, so you can relax and enjoy the food and drink.
There’s also a playground for kids, and a basketball court for those who want to work up a sweat.
In short, Mission Dolores Park has something for everyone.
So whether you’re in the mood for a casual lunch or an afternoon of fun and games, make sure to swing by Mission Dolores Park next time you’re in San Francisco.
6. Learn About Science and Technology at Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is a unique museum in San Francisco that’s all about science and technology.
You can explore a variety of interactive exhibits, participate in hands-on activities, and learn about some of the latest scientific research.
The museum also offers a variety of special events and programs, making it the perfect place to learn about science and technology.
Whether you’re interested in astronomy, physics, or engineering, the Exploratorium has something to offer everyone.
So come on down and explore the world of science and technology at the Exploratorium!
7. See the Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.
It was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, and it later became a part of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.
The Palace is home to a number of art collections, including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries.
It also hosts a variety of events, including concerts, ballets, and operas. The Palace of Fine Arts is a must-see for any visitor to the city.
8. Take a Ferry to Sausalito
San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the world, and a visit to the Bay Area would not be complete without a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Located just a short drive from San Francisco, Sausalito is a charming waterfront town that can be reached by ferry.
You can enjoy stunning views of the city skyline from the ferry ride over, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore once you arrive.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day trip or an excuse to get out of the city, taking a ferry to Sausalito is a great way to see another side of San Francisco.
9. Visit the Mission District
The Mission District in San Francisco is one of the most vibrant and colorful neighborhoods in the city.
From the murals on the walls to the street art on the sidewalks, there is no shortage of things to see and do.
The Mission is also home to a diverse array of eateries, from traditional Mexican taquerias to hipster cafes.
Whether you’re looking for a delicious meal or a unique shopping experience, the Mission District is sure to disappoint.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!
10. Experience the Historic Hippie Vibe of Haight-Ashbury
In the late 1960s, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco was at the epicenter of the counterculture movement.
Young people from all over the world came to the Haight in search of peace, love, and free expression.
Today, you can still soak up the historic hippie vibe of the neighborhood.
The streets are lined with vintage clothing stores, head shops, and weird and wonderful art galleries.
The Grateful Dead House is a must-see for any fan of the band, and there are plenty of places to grab a bite or a drink.
Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy some people-watching or simply want to step back in time, Haight-Ashbury is definitely worth a visit.
11. Check Out the Victorian Homes in Pacific Heights
San Francisco is a city with a rich history, and nowhere is this more evident than in the stunning Victorian homes of Pacific Heights.
These grandiose homes were built during the city’s golden age, and they are a testament to the wealth and power of San Francisco’s early residents.
Today, these homes are some of the most expensive real estates in the city, and they are coveted by celebrities and tech moguls alike.
If you’re lucky enough to tour one of these homes, you’ll be mesmerized by the opulent interiors and breathtaking views.
But even if you’re just strolling through the neighborhood, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the Victorian architecture of Pacific Heights.
12. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience
San Francisco is home to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience, a one-of-a-kind destination for chocolate lovers.
Here, you can tour the chocolate factory, learn about the history of Ghirardelli chocolate, and taste some of the world-famous confections.
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience is also home to a gourmet chocolate shop, where you can purchase everything from truffles to hot cocoa mix.
Whether you’re a chocoholic or simply looking for a unique San Francisco experience, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
13. Enjoy Victorian Architecture at The Painted Ladies
The Painted Ladies are one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks.
These beautiful Victorian houses, located on Alamo Square, have been featured in countless movies and TV shows.
While they may look like ordinary houses from the outside, the Painted Ladies are actually covered in intricately painted designs.
These stunning decorations were originally created to distract attention from the soot that accumulated in Victorian houses during the Industrial Revolution.
Today, the Painted Ladies are a popular tourist destination, and you can take tours of the houses or simply enjoy their beauty from afar.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique photo opportunity, the Painted Ladies are definitely worth a visit.
14. See the Redwoods at Muir Woods
San Francisco is home to many incredible sights, but one of the most awe-inspiring is Muir Woods.
This national monument is home to some of the tallest trees on Earth, and a visit is sure to leave you feeling small and insignificant in the best possible way.
The best time to see the redwoods is early in the morning when the light shining through the leaves creates a truly magical atmosphere.
Be sure to bring your camera, as you’ll want to remember this experience for a lifetime.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of trails to explore-just be sure to stay on marked paths, as the woods can be easy to get lost in.
15. Explore the Marvelous Stanford University
If you’re looking for a top-ranked university with a beautiful campus, Stanford University is definitely worth checking out!
Located in San Francisco, Stanford offers its students a wealth of opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom.
The university is home to an impressive array of both academic and athletic facilities, and its location means that students have access to all the city has to offer.
In addition, Stanford students are known for their involvement in a variety of extracurricular activities, from student government to community service.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging academic experience or simply want to enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer, Stanford is sure to exceed your expectations.
16. Shop at Union Square
San Francisco’s Union Square is one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Bay Area.
The square is home to a variety of high-end stores, as well as more affordable options.
There are also a number of restaurants and cafes in the area, making it a great place to take a break while shopping.
In addition, Union Square is centrally located, making it easy to get to any part of the city.
Whether you’re looking for designer clothes, unique gifts, or just a great cup of coffee, Union Square is the perfect place to shop.
17. Visit the San Francisco Cable Car Museum
The San Francisco Cable Car Museum is the perfect place to learn about the city’s unique transportation history.
You can see firsthand how cable cars operate and learn about the engineering and construction that went into creating them.
The museum also features a variety of interactive exhibits, making it a fun and educational experience for all ages.
And best of all, admission is free!
So, whether you’re a native San Franciscan or just visiting for the first time, be sure to swing by the Cable Car Museum.
You’ll be sure to have a memorable experience.
18. Have Fun With Your Pet at Baker Beach
Fido loves the beach! And what better place to take your furry friend for a romp than Baker Beach in San Francisco?
This gorgeous spot is known for its stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it’s the perfect place to let your four-legged friend run free.
Just be sure to keep an eye on them, as there are steep cliffs nearby.
But with a little supervision, your pup will have a blast playing in the sand and chasing the waves.
So come on down to Baker Beach and enjoy some quality time with your furry friend.
Just don’t forget the doggy baggies!
19. Take a Walk Through Chinatown in San Francisco
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the United States.
It is also one of the most vibrant and colorful neighborhoods in the city.
A walk through Chinatown is a feast for the senses, with the sights, sounds, and smells of Chinese culture on every corner.
From the bustling markets to the fragrant temples, there is always something new to see and experience.
And of course, no visit to Chinatown is complete without indulging in some authentic Chinese cuisine.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, you’ll be sure to find something to suit your taste.
So next time you’re in San Francisco, be sure to take a stroll through Chinatown. You won’t be disappointed.
20. Visit the California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is one of the world’s premier scientific institutions.
Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Academy is home to a world-class museum, aquarium, and research center.
The museum houses an incredible collection of artifacts and specimens, ranging from dinosaur bones to ancient Egyptian mummies.
The aquarium features a stunning array of marine life, including sharks, rays, and penguins.
And the research center is at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific research, with world-renowned scientists working on everything from climate change to evolution.
Whether you’re a science nerd or just looking for a fun day out, the California Academy of Sciences is sure to delight and amaze you.
21. Catch a Giants Game at AT&T Park
San Francisco is home to one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the country, AT&T Park.
Nestled right on the waterfront, the stadium offers gorgeous views of San Francisco Bay.
On game days, the stadium is filled with die-hard fans cheering on their team, the San Francisco Giants.
Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, catching a game at AT&T Park is a great way to experience San Francisco culture.
From the moment you step into the stadium, you’ll feel the excitement in the air.
So grab a hot dog and a beer and settle in for a fun afternoon at the ballpark.
22. See the Sea Lions at Pier 39
Sea lions have been a common sight at Pier 39 in San Francisco since the early 1990s when a colony of Californian sea lions took up residence on the dock.
These charismatic pinnipeds are a huge hit with tourists, who flock to the pier to see them sunbathing, swimming, and playing in the water.
The best time to see the sea lions is from January to September when the population is at its peak.
However, even outside of this period, there are usually a few dozen sea lions to be seen at Pier 39.
So if you’re ever in San Francisco, be sure to check out these amazing animals for yourself!
23. Get to know the Animals at the San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo is home to more than 250 species of animals from all over the world.
Whether you’re looking for lions and tigers or monkeys and apes, you’re sure to find your favorite animal at the zoo.
And with more than 1,000 animals to see, there’s always something new to discover.
Here are just a few of the animals who call the San Francisco Zoo home.
The African section of the zoo is home to lions, giraffes, rhinos, and other African animals.
In the Asian section, you’ll find tigers, leopards, red pandas, and more.
The Australian section is home to koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies.
And in the North American section, you’ll find bears, bison, and wolves.
No matter what kind of animal you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at the San Francisco Zoo.
24. Get a Bird’s-eye View of The City From Twin Peaks
San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and there’s no better way to appreciate its stunning views than from Twin Peaks.
This iconic spot offers 360-degree panoramas of the city, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island.
On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Mount Tamalpais.
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast or just looking to take in the view, Twin Peaks is a must-visit destination.
And best of all, it’s free! So don’t miss out on this incredible experience.
25. Catch an Art Exhibit at the De Young Museum
The de Young Museum is a world-renowned fine arts museum located in San Francisco, California.
The museum features permanent exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as rotating special exhibitions.
You can view paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from a variety of cultures and periods.
The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including classes, lectures, and tours.
Whether you’re a die-hard art lover or just looking for something new to do, be sure to catch an exhibit at the de Young Museum.
26. Feel the Vibe at the Flower Conservatory
The Conservatory of Flowers is one of San Francisco’s most beloved landmarks.
Built in 1879, the Conservatory is home to a wide variety of plant life, from pitcher plants to orchids.
But the Conservatory is more than just a building full of plants.
It’s also a vibrant community space, with events and programs for everyone to enjoy.
From yoga classes to art exhibits, there’s always something going on at the Conservatory.
So whether you’re looking to learn about plants or just experience the vibe, the Conservatory of Flowers is the place to be.
27. Explore the Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is a large park that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration.
You can stroll along the scenic waterfront, hike through the forested hills, or picnic in one of the many green spaces.
The Presidio is also home to a number of historic sites, including the restored Officers’ Club and the Spanish colonial adobe building known as El Presidio.
There are also several museums on the grounds, including the Museum of the City of San Francisco and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.
With so much to see and do, the Presidio is a great place to spend a day outdoors.
28. Stroll Around the Fort Point Historic Site
Fort Point is a historic site located in the Presidio of San Francisco.
The area was originally used by the Spanish military to guard the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
In 1776, the Spanish built a fort here, which was later taken over by the Mexicans and then the Americans.
During the Civil War, Fort Point was used as a base for Union troops.
Today, the fort has been turned into a state park and is open to the public for tours.
The best way to explore Fort Point is on foot. There are plenty of things to see, including the old fortifications, cannons, and views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including squirrels, birds, and lizards.
San Francisco’s Fort Point is a great place to take a stroll and learn about San Francisco’s history.
29. Hike to Lands End Lookout
Hiking to Lands End Lookout is one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco.
And for good reason! The views are simply breathtaking.
On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. But even on a foggy day, the views are still stunning.
The hike itself is relatively easy, although there are a few sections that are steep.
But it’s worth it when you reach the top and see the incredible views.
If you’re looking for an amazing hike with incredible views, be sure to hike to Lands End Lookout!
30. Learn About Plants at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a great place to learn about plants.
With over 55 acres of gardens, it features a diverse collection of plants from all over the world.
The garden also offers a variety of educational programs, making it a great resource for both kids and adults.
In addition to learning about different plant species, you can also get tips on gardening and landscaping.
Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned gardener, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is an excellent location to broaden your knowledge and nurture your passion for plants.
31. Check Out the Unique Transamerica Pyramid Skyscraper
The first thing you notice about the Transamerica Pyramid is its unique shape.
Designed by architect William Pereira, the pyramid was originally intended to be part of a much larger complex that would also include two 56-story towers.
However, due to budget constraints, only the pyramid was built.
Standing at 853 feet tall, it was the tallest building in San Francisco from 1972 until 2014, when it was surpassed by the Salesforce Tower.
The Transamerica Pyramid is also notable for its use of triangles. With over 700 windows, the building has more triangles than any other structure in the world.
And although it’s no longer the city’s tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid remains one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks.