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50 Fun & Best Things to Do in San Francisco, California That Will Leave You Wanting More

Hello fellow adventurers. It’s Nasiba.

After an embarrassing experience in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself on this trip to San Francisco. How? By engaging complete strangers in conversation. 

Of course, the experience was not without embarrassing moments, which I handled gracefully like the queen I am. Okay, actually the embarrassing moments were an absolute nightmare for me as an introvert. 

I started this activity at the Japanese Tea Garden. I figured that the garden’s tranquility created a set-up for a good conversation to take place. The place felt zen enough for anyone to resist my charm.

How wrong I was. The first guy I spoke to left quicker than lightning. Maybe he thought I was a thief and was trying to rob him. I looked around in embarrassment hoping no one had witnessed this.

Anyway, I tried talking to a few more people and the experience was both good and bad. If there is anything I learned from the experience it’s, never try it again.

Have a look at the best things to do in San Francisco.

San Francisco is home to many world-famous locations that are a must-see when visiting the city, ranging from parks and bridges to museums and architecture.

But the city also has secret gems throughout its streets and shorelines, where you will discover unusual experiences, meet quirky people, make memories with once-in-a-lifetime moments, and discover worlds you never knew existed.

A vibrant California city with a wide array of attractions and activities, you’ll need to find the perfect spots to visit, so below, you will find a list of the best things to do in San Francisco.

Enjoy the great outdoors and see the breathtaking views of “The Golden City,” visit shops that boast amazing and unique items and sample food that encompasses the heritage and culture of San Francisco.

Table of Contents

Things to Do in San Francisco:

1. Coit Tower

Coit Tower, San Francisco

Aerial View of Coit Tower Park in San Francisco, California | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $10.00, Seniors and Youths: $7.00, Children: $3.00, Ages 4 and Under: Free

Address: 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Guided tours available
  • All 45 minutes
  • Open daily, April through October: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, November through March: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Rising against San Francisco’s skyline is Coit Tower, a site that is dedicated to the volunteer firefighters of the city, along with the wealthy patron of the firefighters, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who bequeathed a large sum to the city for beautification upon her death in 1929.

Inside the base of the tower, you will discover breathtaking murals created in 1934 by a group of local artists that depict life during the Great Depression in California.

Take a trip on the elevator up to the observation deck, and you will be awestruck by the 360-degree view of the city, where you will be able to see iconic San Francisco sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge.

2. Exploratorium

Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $29.95, Seniors, Teachers, Students, People with disabilities, Youths: $24.95, Children: $19.95, Ages 3 and Under: Free

Address: Pier 15 Embarcadero St and Green St, San Francisco, CA 94111

  • Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, vary on Thursday and Sunday
  • Allow 3 hours

More than just a science museum, the Exploratorium was created to build confidence in the public regarding their understanding and interest in science and technology.

By combining art and science, the museum offers a rare opportunity for visitors, allowing you to interact with exhibits that encourage you and your children to dance, paint, play, and touch, putting it among the top fun places to visit in San Francisco.

Experiment with the pendulum snake, take a look at a model of Leonardo da Vinci’s pendulum clock, play with light and color, walk through a distorted room, and play games.

Ever thought about what makes you, you?

Find your answer at the Is It Genetic exhibit, where you will learn how your eye color is determined, why you have a widow’s peak, and where your dimples came from.

Make a visit to the tactile dome and journey through the darkness as you feel your way around and discover textures that will act as your guide, or take a tour of the Cinema Arts Program and make your own movie with shadows or watch a fascinating documentary.

3. Chinatown

Taner Muhlis Karaguzel | Shutterstock

Rating: 4★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA

  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Entrance located at Bush Street and Grant Avenue

For a unique and enchanting experience, head to Chinatown, an area of San Francisco that has been made famous through movies, television, and word of mouth.

Pass through Dragon’s Gate and enter a world of lively streets filled with traditional Chinese shops and boutiques, herbalists, eateries, bars, souvenir shops, and temples.

The oldest Chinatown in North America, the area boasts a rich history and vibrant culture that provides the opportunity to discover unusual spots, such as the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, where you can watch the sweet treats being made and even buy personalized fortune cookies.

You’ll also want to stop by the Wok Shop for a look at a plethora of Chinese cookware, view the breathtaking architecture of Sing Chong and Sing Fat, the first two buildings erected in Chinatown, and stop for some rare tea at Red Blossom Tea Company.

4. Alemany Farmers Market

@Alemany Farmers Market

Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 100 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Open Saturdays, 6:00 am – 2:30 pm
  • Allow 1 -2 hours

The first farmers market in California, Alemany Farmers Market, has graced the city with its presence since 1943, offering fresh produce, mouthwatering street food, and unique artisan goods you won’t find anywhere else.

Buy a bouquet of colorful flowers for your spouse or significant other, sample delectable figs and bright strawberries, discover specialty ingredients for Asian cuisine, treat yourself and your kids to some sweets, and peruse the nearby street art all while meeting the local community and enjoying the California sunshine.

5. Museum of 3D Illusions

Museum of 3D Illusions

Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $45.00

Address: 55-61 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Open Daily
  • Smash It room for ages 12 and older

Make a visit to the Museum of 3D Illusions, and your kids will be delighted and entertained for hours as they explore interactive art exhibits that encourage both young and old to use their imagination.

Do you have your camera ready?

You’ll want to take a slew of photos during your tour of the museum as you pose in from of the 3D illusions, pretending to fly on a magic carpet, try not to fall off a skyscraper, run from a giant crab, or surf an enormous wave.

Drop by the Smash It experience and let out some pent-up anger, release stress, or simply have a great time breaking dishes provided by the museum that you have decorated for the occasion.

6. Take a Ride on a Historic Cable Car

Canadastock | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $8.00

Address: San Francisco, CA

  • Hail the cable car at indicated stops throughout the city
  • Ticket booths at route turnarounds
  • Ticket purchase with cash or on MUNI app

No visit to San Francisco is complete without a ride on one of the city’s world-famous historic cable cars.

One of the iconic things to do in San Francisco, you’ll have your choice of routes to take, although most locals and visitors agree that the Powell-Hyde line will give you the best overall experience.

Relax and enjoy the views while aboard one of the charming cars and see Alcatraz Island on the horizon, pass through Nob Hill’s beautiful scenery, and even cross the most crooked street in the world before getting a high-up view of the city.

7. San Francisco Botanical Garden

Tiago Pestana | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $13.00 (Feb – Oct) $10:00 (Nov – Jan), Youth and Seniors: $7.00, Children: $3.00, Ages 4 and Under: Free

Address: 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

  • Open daily, 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
  • Free public tours Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 1:30 pm

Tour the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and you will step into 55 acres of breathtaking beauty that showcases flowers and greenery from around the world.

Take a trip to the Mediterranean Garden and get a photo of the vibrant poppies, stroll past the Wild Fowl Pond and view the New Zealand Garden, enjoy the heavenly scent of the Fragrance Garden, and walk through a Southeast Asia Cloud Forest.

Before leaving the garden, stop by the bookstore and plant arbor, where you can find not only books but also souvenirs, gifts, and a variety of plants available for purchase. 

8. Japanese Tea Garden

Mirko Chianucci | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $13.00, Youth and Seniors: $7.00, Children: $3.00, Ages 4 and Under: Free

Address: 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

  • Open daily, 9:00 am – 5:45 pm
  • Built in 1894
  • Five teas available at Tea House

After your relaxing visit to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, make the short trip to the nearby Japanese Tea Garden located in Golden Gate Park.

Find quiet tranquility and beauty as you explore the oldest public Japanese garden in the country, making your way across arched bridges and stepping stones as you are enchanted by the atmosphere of a century-old Japanese village.

With details such as koi ponds, stone lanterns, native Japanese plants, and Zen gardens, you’ll be able to forget the outside world as you rest beneath cherry blossom trees and pagodas.

After your tour of the garden, head to the Tea House, where you will be able to gaze at a lovely pond while sipping a warm cup of Jasmine tea or sampling some miso soup or a sweet treat, such as green tea cheesecake.

9. Go Fishing with Flash Sport Fishing Charters

@Flash Sport Fishing Charters

Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $250.00

Address: 236 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Book in advance
  • Nearby restaurant for cooking your catch
  • Fish processing included

Take the opportunity for a unique and exceptional experience while in San Francisco with a fishing excursion provided by Flash Sport Fishing Charters.

The company offers a number of tour options, from ½ day trips to all day deep-sea fishing, along with many more.

Bring your fishing license and snacks or lunch with everything else you need being provided, from the Captain guide to tackle and bait.

Feel the thrill of catching an enormous sturgeon or unusual Spiny Dogfish Shark as you get a fantastic view of Alcatraz, the Farallon Islands, or Angel Island.

Do you want to get out on the open water but looking for more of a party atmosphere?

The company also offers On Board Boat Parties, where you can have a fun-filled time with your friends and try out some fishing, followed by a party in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. 

10. Fisherman’s Wharf

Travelview | Shutterstock

Rating: 4★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: Northern Waterfront, San Francisco, CA

  • Open daily
  • Historic neighborhood

Immerse yourself in a classic San Francisco atmosphere at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you will find endless things to do on a day excursion of shopping, dining, and sightseeing.

Rent a bike and take a tour of the waterfront, get fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, visit the Cartoon Art Museum and sit back with some great reading material, or book a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching tour.

You’ll also want to visit Umbrella Alley to check out the amazing murals and get some photos or take your significant other on a romantic wine tasting tour out on the waters of the bay.

And don’t forget to visit the gem of Fisherman’s Wharf: the sea lions.

Head to Pier 39, and you will be able to view these charming creatures, along with viewing artifacts and attending presentations about animals.

11. Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the, Bay San Francisco


Rating: 4.2★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $24.00, Seniors: $20.00, Children: $15.00

Address: Pier 39 The Embarcadero & Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Open daily, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • VIP tours available

Take your kids to the Aquarium of the Bay, and you will discover one of the most fun places to visit in San Francisco with family.

Tour exhibits that will give you the opportunity to not only learn about a wide array of sea life but also get up close to many animals you’ve never seen before, such as jellyfish, Giant Pacific Octopus, and Garibaldi.

Walk through a 300-foot tunnel as the ocean waters surround you, sharks and rays passing you by, along with schools of anchovies and others.

Visit the touch pool, where your kids will be delighted with a one-of-a-kind experience as they touch sea stars, anemones, and sharks.

You can also visit non-aquatic animals, such as tortoises, chinchillas, and frogs, or watch playful sea otters and learn about their behavior and environment.

12. Golden Gate Bridge

Ventdusud | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: San Francisco, CA

  • Open daily
  • Toll for motor vehicles

When someone mentions San Francisco, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is the stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge, a landmark that has become instantly recognizable around the world.

At the beginning of your visit, stop by the Welcome Center and learn about the history of the bridge before taking a free walking tour or going it on your own, capturing spectacular photos from the nearly 9,000-foot-long bridge.

While at the site, you’ll also want to make your way to the National Recreation Area the bridge is adjacent to, where you will discover breathtaking nature trails and viewing points.

13. Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze

Yhelfman | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.4★

Entry Ticket: $10.00, Ages 5 and Under: Free

Address: Pier 39, 0-11 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

  • Open daily, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Located on 2nd floor

Discover an unusual and fascinating experience at Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, where you can challenge yourself to a psychedelic trip through a labyrinth of mirrors.

With glowing and colorful lights highlighting the mirrors, you’ll not only have a great time finding the correct path but also be mesmerized by the beautiful surroundings, stopping for photos along the way.

Along with the fascinating glow of the place, you can also relax and listen to toe-tapping music as you laugh with your friends and lost in the infinite circles and hallways.

14. Take a Tour of the City with San Francisco Love Tours

@San Francisco Love Tours

Rating: 4.9★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $85.00

Address: 2899 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

  • Book in advance
  • Allow 2 hours

San Francisco is a large city with endless things to see and do, so a city tour is a wonderful way to make sure you get the most out of your trip to “The Golden City.”

Want to experience something a bit more fun and unique during your tour?

Take a trip with San Francisco Love Tours and find yourself exploring the city while riding in a brightly colored hippie VW van with a fun guide who is ready to share their love and knowledge of the city.

Take the classic Love Tour and visit iconic locations like Little Italy, The Castro, and Golden Gate Bridge.

For a more magical excursion, take the Night Tour and marvel at the city lights while stopping by local hangouts or choose a private tour, or see the fantastic holiday lights if you are in the city during the winter months.

15. Marin Headlands

Sam Edwards | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: Sausalito, CA

  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Pet-friendly
  • Picnic areas

Connect with the exceptional outdoor beauty near San Francisco at Marin Headlands, where you will find dramatic fog-swept landscapes, ocean rock, and spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse and take a sunset tour on a Saturday evening, learn about the Cold War at the Nike Missile Site, discover native plants and wildlife while fishing or hiking, and visit a tunnel that housed the Coast Artillery Corps during World War II.

You’ll also want to take a moment and simply enjoy the views of the shorelines and beaches, with the sound of foghorns in the distance adding to the ethereal atmosphere.

16. Randall Museum

@Randall Museum

Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114

  • Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Donations welcome

Are you still searching for great free things to do in San Francisco?

If so, head to the Randall Museum, where you will be immersed in exhibits that showcase the amazing worlds of science, nature, and art.

Learn about the wildlife of California and meet snakes, tortoises, lizards, marine life, and birds before touring spectacular art exhibits, viewing geologic rock formations, and taking part in the interactive exhibit about trains.

17. Pub Crawl San Francisco

Michael Warwick | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $20.00

Address: San Francisco, CA

  • Book in advance
  • Must be 21 or older

Enjoy a fun-filled night out with friends with Pub Crawl San Francisco, where you can enjoy some of the city’s best hangouts, premium cocktails, and live entertainment.

Go on a guided pub crawl through Nob Hill and visit lively clubs with VIP entry, free shots, and “pub crawl only” deals on drinks.

Dance the night away to live DJs providing fantastic music and get to know the locals at community bars and lounges, all while exploring the city with your tour guides.

18. Go to Levi’s Stadium and Watch the 49ers

Sundry Photography | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.4★

Entry Ticket: Varies depending on game or event

Address: 4900 Marie P DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara, CA 95054

  • Book in advance
  • Museum prices: Adults: $15.00, Children: $10.00

If you are lucky enough to be in the San Francisco area during football season, catch a San Francisco 49ers football game at Levi’s Stadium and experience an iconic California event.

Feel the thunderous roar of the crowd as you cheer on the home team and sip a beer, and snack on hot dogs, nachos, or popcorn.

If football just isn’t your thing or you aren’t in San Francisco during football season, take a tour of the stadium’s museum, tour the art collection that includes portraits of legendary players, or attend one of the many events provided throughout the year, such as music concerts, soccer matches, Monster Jam, and WrestleMania.

19. Catch a Game at Oracle Park

Michael Vi | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Varies depending on game or event

Address: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107

  • Book in advance
  • Public tour prices: Adults: $22.00, Children: $12.00

Home to the baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park has breathtaking views of the city, fantastic food, and a wide array of events throughout the year.

Experience the excitement of a Giants game, attend a live music performance by one of your favorite artists, or take a public tour and visit the dugout, batting cage, press box, clubhouse, and much more, including The Giant Vault, an exhibit the showcases the history of the park with unique memorabilia and artifacts.

20. Walk the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

Wirestock Creators | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 16th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

  • Open daily
  • No pets, food, or drink
  • 163 steps

Among the one-of-a-kind free places to spend your weekend in San Francisco, the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps is among the most interesting, where you will discover spectacular art created by the neighborhood community.

The mosaic stairway even has its own local holiday on August 27th, lush and beautiful gardens, and 163 mosaic panels that contain personalized details you’ll want to look out for during your trek.

Experience a magical place among the vivid colors, imaginative styles, and beautiful materials used to create the much-cherished artwork.

21. Go Shopping at Paxton Gate

@Paxton Gate

Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 824 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Open Wednesday through Monday, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

For a shopping excursion like no other, head to Paxton Gate for an experience that is more than just hunting for souvenirs.

At Paxton Gate, you will feel as though you have entered a museum of curiosities, with items that range from taxidermy mounts and breathtaking crystals to brass bear skull pendants and “Save the Turtles” tee shirts.

You’ll also discover unique coloring books for both kids and adults, traditional games, beautiful soaps, and science kits and puzzles for children, along with a plethora of other items you won’t want to miss in this treasure trove.

22. Grace Cathedral

Chris LaBasco | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $12.00

Address: 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

  • Tours offered Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Docent tours available
  • Allow 2 hours

Opened in 1930, Grace Cathedral hosts some of the most fantastic architecture, furnishings, and artwork in the world.

During your tour of the church, you will have the opportunity to learn the cathedral’s history as you view an art collection that includes works from world-renowned artists, such as Ansel Adams, Keith Haring, and Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Visit the AIDS Chapel, view the details of medieval furnishings, listen to the Aeolian-Skinner Organ or the church choir, and take photos of the building’s two labyrinths.

The cathedral is also known for its breathtaking mosaics and a replica of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, along with a forty-four-bell carillon and spectacular French Gothic design.

23. Go Skating at the Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square

Hotforphotog | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.4★

Entry Ticket: $19.00

Address: 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA

  • Admission includes skate rental
  • Skating lessons available

If you are in the city during the holiday season and looking for fun things to do in San Francisco in the winter, take your family or date to the Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square.

Spend an evening among Christmas lights and music as you have a fun-filled time skating, attending special events, and immersing yourself in the holiday spirit.

For more than just a trip around the rink, take part in a disco skating party, watch the Polar Bear Skate, cheer on drag queens as they skate and lip-sync, or step back into the 80s at the Flashback Friday event.

Take a break and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of the nearby restaurants or vendors or take your date to dinner of fine dining or casual fare.

24. Mission District

Noel V. Baebler | Shutterstock

Rating: 4★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: San Francisco, CA

  • Pet-friendly
  • Open daily

A popular historic neighborhood among both locals and tourists, Mission District, offers a day excursion that you will thoroughly enjoy.

Buy a cup of coffee at one of the many local cafes and stroll through the area as you peruse unique boutiques, take some photos of the mural gracing the Women’s Building, take your kids to Dolores Park, or have a picnic and enjoy the spectacular view of the city skyline.

During your visit to the area, you’ll also want to tour Mission Dolores, or Mision San Francisco de Asis, a Spanish-style mission that was built in 1776 and is California’s oldest surviving structure.

25. Balmy Alley

Through Charlotte’s Lens | Flickr

Rating: 4.5

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 50 Balmy St, San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Only personal photography allowed
  • Guided tours available through Precita Eyes

While in the Mission District, you won’t want to miss one of the fascinating things to do in San Francisco, Balmy Alley.

The block-long alley is famous for an ever-changing collection of street art that began in the 1980s as an expression of outrage regarding political abuses in Central America.

Today, the murals are diverse and awe-inspiring, with subjects that range from human rights to social injustices and gentrification.

Bring your camera and keep a slow pace, as you will want to remember the vivid art along the alleyway, with a vast array of styles, colors, and messages.

26. Adventure Cat Sailing Charters

@Adventure Cat Sailing Charters

Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $60.00

Address: Pier 39, Dock J, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Book in Advance
  • Allow 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours
  • No outside drinks or food
  • Private charters available

For a family outing that will build a lifetime of memories or a romantic excursion for you and your significant other, book a sailing tour with Adventure Cat Sailing Charters and see San Francisco Bay from a whole new perspective.

Glide across the waters and view Alcatraz Island, venture beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and take in the skyline view as you relax and sip a cold drink or lounge in the sun as you listen to the waves rush against the hull.

If you’re searching for a romantic night, take a Sunset or City Lights Sail and sip a cocktail as you watch the waters change from blue to orange and red, watch the city lights glisten against the night sky, and create a memory you won’t soon forget.

For visitors who are in San Francisco during certain holidays or events, the company also offers special sails, such as a July 4th Fireworks Cruise, Father’s and Mother’s Day Cruises, and a cruise that offers amazing views of the Blue Angels Air Show.

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with top-rated Alaska cruises!

27. Alcatraz Island

MintImages | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7

Entry Ticket: Adults: Starting at $41.00

Address: San Francisco, CA

  • Admission includes ferry
  • Book in advance through Alcatraz City Cruises
  • Allow 3 hours

Once a fort and eventually a maximum-security prison, Alcatraz Island is now world-famous because of its exciting history, unique location, and stunning landscape.

It’s likely that you won’t find a more interesting excursion among the fun things to do in San Francisco, with tours of the empty facility that include an exhibit that allows you to hear the stories of many of the former inmates who were incarcerated based on their race and class standing.

Touch the concrete walls of dingy cells and listen to the echoes of footsteps and voices throughout the prison, learn about the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 in which the Indians of All Tribes demanded civil rights for Native Americans, and view displays that include photographs, interviews, and artifacts.

28. Ocean Beach

Travelview | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: San Francisco, CA 

  • Open daily
  • Pet-friendly

While in California, a visit to the beach is a must-do on your list, and Ocean Beach is a wonderful spot to visit, with 3.5 miles of white powdery sand and peaceful surroundings.

Take an afternoon walk or bike ride along the Coastal Trail that is adjacent to the beach and soak in some sunshine, discover native plants, and get some fresh air, or arrive in the morning and experience the fog-laced shoreline that is a quintessential San Francisco sight.

Visit the Sutro Baths or Cliff House and get some pictures of the white waves hitting the ocean rocks or go try out one of the best surfing spots in the world. 

If you want to experience a breathtaking sunset, enjoy the beach in the evening and bring a romantic picnic dinner, sitting around a bonfire as night descends for a warm spot to cozy up next to.

29. The Walt Disney Family Museum

HarshLight | Flickr

Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $25.00, Seniors and Students: $20.00, Children: $15.00

Address: 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129

  • Open Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Allow 3 hours

Among the best things to do in San Francisco with kids, The Walt Disney Family Museum is a fun-filled place to visit, where you will step into the magical world of the legendary entertainment company.

The museum is host to rotating exhibitions, where you will discover how beloved movies were made, such as The Jungle Book, and find displays that showcase art created by military veterans, endangered animals, and community artists.

See the beginnings of Disney, with some of Walt’s very first illustrated stories and cartoons, learn about his experience in the military, and discover exactly where Mickey Mouse originated.

You’ll also want to tour galleries that show you the evolution of characters, interact with a Moviola, experience the development of the legendary Fantasia, and view posters from propaganda films Disney was contracted to create for the war effort.

At the end of your visit, be sure to stop by the museum’s store and pick up a souvenir or gift to remember the immersive experience you shared with your children.

30. The Presidio of San Francisco

Sundry Photography | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 210 Lincoln Blvd, San Francisco, CA

  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Pet-friendly
  • 1,491 acres

San Francisco has a breathtaking and easily recognizable city skyline, but its natural beauty is just as famous, and the epitome of that beauty can be found and enjoyed at The Presidio of San Francisco.

While at the Presidio, you will want to explore the park and discover the many unexpected things it has to offer, such as sculptures and art installations, the fantastic views at Baker Beach, historic Battery Bluff, the National Marine Sanctuary, a plant nursery, and picnic area that put the view of the Golden Gate Bridge front-and-center.

Rent a bike and travel the many nature trails that wind through the park, and make a stop at the visitor center for assistance with planning your day or finding just the right activity for you.

The park also hosts numerous events throughout the year for kids and families, such as festivals, bowling, and live music, so be sure to check their calendar before heading to the park.

31. The Palace of Fine Arts | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

  • Open daily
  • Indoor restaurant

Make a visit to The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and you will be awestruck by the sheer beauty of the structure.

Originally created in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, it was built as a work of art and is the only structure that is still on the site of the expo.

The building was erected to intimate a Roman ruin in decay and is now recognized as one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.

Walk the 162-foot tall open rotunda and take the time to enjoy the atmosphere evoked by the surrounding lagoon that reflects the monumental structure and is home to swans, turtles, and ducks.

As you stroll through the building, you may recognize it from a wide array of movies that include Star Wars, Vertigo, and Bicentennial Man, with a plaque from Lucasfilm set into the floor beneath the dome.

32. Ferry Building

Telesniuk | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94105

  • Open daily, 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Keep an eye out for pop-up markets and events

Spend an afternoon at Ferry Building, and you won’t be disappointed.

Opened in 1898, the Ferry building is a historic landmark that was once the main arrival spot for anyone traveling to or from the city by train but is now a wonderful marketplace, where you will find artisan goods that range from coffee and sweets to fresh produce and books.

Meet the local community as you peruse vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits from regional farmers before stopping to get a cup of exotic tea and sit in the courtyard as you people watch.

Browse botanical wellness treatments or grab a one-of-a-kind postcard on your way to listen to live music or take your kids to the roller skate rink.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to experience a fantastic dinner at one of the restaurants on hand that serve mouthwatering food, such as crisp empanadas, made-from-scratch tacos, or wood-fired pizza.

Whoever planning to spend his vacation in California, I would also recommend to have a look to our article of best places to visit in Los Angeles!

33. California Academy of Sciences

Sundry Photography | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $35.00

Address: 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

  • Open daily, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Private tours available
  • Café and shop

Visit the California Academy of Sciences, and you will experience one of the best things to do in San Francisco, learning about the ecosystems of the world while being immersed in exhibits that transport you to vibrant habitats.

Take a tour of the rainforest and be surrounded by a lush and tropical four-story environment that is filled with birds, Amazonian fish, amphibians, unusual reptiles, and fascinating insects.

Stroll through the aquarium and view breathtaking marine life up close, such as a coconut octopus, flashlight fish, and more.

Have you ever wanted the experience of spending the night in a museum?

Well, now is your chance, with sleepovers available at the museum that give you and your kids the opportunity to explore the exhibits and planetarium at your leisure, meeting Claude the alligator, wandering through the ocean depths, and viewing the treetops of the rainforest.

34. San Francisco Columbarium

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Rating: 4.9★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 1 Loraine Court, San Francisco, CA 94118

  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Free tours should be arranged in advance

An unusual and fascinating place to visit, the San Francisco Columbarium is a unique historical landmark that is both a site of reverence and beauty.

Wander the columbarium, and you will be surrounded by breathtaking neoclassical architecture as you view displays that evoke the personalities and lives of those who found their final resting place on the grounds of the site.

Take in the splendor of the many stained-glass windows in the building, the colorful dome, and the elegant furnishings before visiting the Harvey Milk Memorial.

If you aren’t sure where to start when visiting, the columbarium offers free tours provided by the caretaker, who will share his vast knowledge of the site’s history and point out some of the more interesting residents laid to rest there. 

35. The Wave Organ

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Rating: 4.2★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 83 Marina Green Dr, San Francisco, CA 94123

  • Best time to visit is high tide
  • Open 24 hours a day

A hidden gem of the city, The Wave Organ is perfect if you are searching for unique spots in San Francisco. 

Located on a jetty in the bay, The Wave Organ is a large acoustic sculpture that is activated by the waves of the ocean, creating an enchanting and magical sound as the water plays music for those who are listening.

Created by two collaborating artists, the jetty was also formed with the organ in mind, constructed with materials such as carved granite and marble.

As the ocean tides rise and fall, the 25 organ pipes create sound according to the movement and impact of the water, allowing visitors to experience a one-of-a-kind moment.

36. Muir Woods National Monument

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Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: $15.00

Address: Mill Valley, CA

  • No pets allowed
  • Open daily, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Reservation required for vehicles

Located only thirty minutes from the city, Muir Woods National Monument is a breathtaking spot for those wanting to get some outdoor time near San Francisco.

Explore the famous redwoods as you make your way across the forest floor, marveling at the size and beauty of the trees, the tranquil sounds of the woods, and the scent of redwood needles filtering the sunshine.

Have a picnic and enjoy the chirping of birds, visit the café and warm up with a hot drink, or visit the gift shop and pick up a souvenir.

You’ll also want to get some great pictures along the footpaths, bridges, and creeks that grace the area, along with the Chandelier Tree that is large enough for a car to drive through.

37. City Lights Bookstore

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Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Open daily, starting at 11:00 am
  • Check calendar for events

Whether you are a bibliophile, a history buff, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local community, City Lights Bookstore is a unique and wonderful “literary landmark” of San Francisco.

Opened in 1953, the shop was the country’s first all-paperback bookstore and attracted the beatnik generation of San Francisco.

Today, you will find not only a wide selection of books but also community events, gifts, and souvenirs, along with cozy spots to read.

To learn more about the bookstore and its history, visit the store’s website and read about the exceptional culture and events as you make your way through the building.

38. Walk or Drive Along Lombard Street

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Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA

  • Crooked section located in Russian Hill
  • One-way street

The world-famous Lombard Street is a must-see while in San Francisco, where you can find the amazingly crooked block that weaves its way back and forth down a steep incline.

Once you are at the bottom of the stretch, be sure to capture a photo of the magnificent flowers and hedges that line the red brick street and see just how steep the climb is.

While driving down Lombard Street is not difficult, only slow, walking is a great option, allowing you to take your time, get pictures of the magnificent views, and enjoy the scent of the numerous hydrangeas.

39. Discover the Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Telegraph hill san francisco parrots

Credit: Judy Bellah/Getty

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: Filbert Street and Kearny Street

  • Do not feed the birds
  • Bring camera
  • Mind the steep steps

While you are in the Telegraph Hill area for Coit Tower, be sure to explore the area for one of the most interesting things to do in San Francisco.

Make your way down the steep steps that begin on the corner of Filbert and Kearny Street, and keep your eyes peeled for the vibrant greens and reds of a flock of wild parrots who reside in the area.

The birds began to make their home along Telegraph Hill in 1990, with more and more members joining them over the years, becoming a beloved sight in the city.

As you make your way down the hill, you will pass through lush gardens that are filled with colorful and sweet-smelling flowers, adding to the ethereal feel of the experience of seeing these tropical birds in the center of a bustling urban area.

40. Angel Island

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Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $5.00, Children: $3.00, Ages 5 and Under: Free

Address: San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, CA

  • Ferry trips from Pier 41
  • $5.00 fee for tour of Immigration Station 
  • Café and cantina
  • No pets allowed

Take a public ferry to Angel Island and visit the state park found there for an enjoyable day of sunshine, beautiful views, and numerous activities.

During your visit, you can discover the native wildlife that includes sea lions, dolphins, deer, and native birds, along with a ring road great for hiking or bicycling to explore the native plants and get some great photographs of the city skyline, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Not only an outdoor playground, but the island also is host to the U.S. Immigration Station that operated from 1910-1940, where you can tour the building and view artifacts, such as the carved poems, names, and thoughts of detainees on pieces of the wall.

Visit Fort McDowell and see the quarantine station built in 1899, take a guided tram tour that will give you an audio history of the island as you make your way around it, and stop by the visitor center to see the exhibits that showcase the Miwok, along with the island’s military and natural history.

41. See The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square

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Rating: 4.4★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: Steiner St and Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94117

  • Open daily
  • Pet-friendly

Make your way to Alamo Square and see one of the most iconic spots in San Francisco, The Painted Ladies.

Perhaps most famous for appearing in the title sequence of Full House, the charming homes are located on what is known as “Postcard Row,” with the colorful row houses being framed by vibrant green lawns, colorful flowers, and the San Francisco skyline as a backdrop.

While at Alamo Square, you can do much more than take photos of the famous homes, with activities such as tennis, a playground, picnic areas, and playgrounds available.

42. Peephole Cinema


Rating: 4.1★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 280 Orange Alley, San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Check calendar for current showings

While peering through a peephole in a public area may sound salacious or unbecoming, Peephole Cinema is not that kind of place.

Find the Victorian cottage in the Mission District that is host to this novel type of art form, and you will be in for a treat as you peer into the world of silent and Avante-Garde films, which are shown twenty-four hours a day.

The free films include When I Look at You, a collection of videos that showcase the wonder and enchantment of our everyday lives.

43. Secret Food Tours San Francisco

@Secret Food Tours

Rating: 4.9★

Entry Ticket: $79.00

Address: San Francisco, CA

  • Book in advance
  • Allow 3 ½ hours
  • Upgraded drink package available

Learn how San Francisco’s food culture has been influenced and reshaped by immigrants who brought recipes to the Mission District of the city, merging the tastes of Italy, Germany, Ireland, and Latin America with Secret Food Tours San Francisco.

As you gain a new perspective on the culture and heritage of San Francisco, you will be sampling mouthwatering fares, such as Mission-style burritos, sweet treats, seafood, and even a mysterious secret dish.

During the tour, you will make six stops at local eateries, meeting the community at taquerias, chocolate factories, and traditional Mexican restaurants, along with having the opportunity to snap photos of murals and spectacular views.

44. Madame Tussauds

Martin Luther King JR. at the Madame Tussauds museum. Anton_Ivanov | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.3★

Entry Ticket: $30.76

Address: 145 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Open daily
  • Allow 2 hours
  • Concessions available

Madame Tussauds is among the top things to do in San Francisco, where you will discover a wax museum that allows you to get up close with some of your favorite celebrities and get pictures that show just how realistic the sculptures are.

Would you love to get your picture taken with Taylor Swift, the President of the United States, or Joe Montana?

Now is your chance, with a wide array of athletes, musicians, and movie stars all waiting to meet you.

You can also find historical figures at the museum, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Marilyn Monroe, and Janis Joplin, just to name a few.

California has tons of great attractions and cities to visit, don’t miss our list of things to do in San Jose this weekend!

45. San Francisco Zoo

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Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $25.00, Seniors: $20.00, Children: $18.00, Ages Under 2: Free

Address: Sloat Blvd and Upper Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132

  • Book holidays and weekends in advance
  • Gift shops

Spend a fun-filled day at the San Francisco Zoo with your family and make memories that will last a lifetime with amazing animals, art, gardens, and exhibits.

Admire the majesty of lions, see the sheer strength of gorillas, be awestruck by the size of a Grizzly Bear, and view snakes from the rainforest, along with a multitude of other animals.

You will also want to tour exhibits that transport you to the Australian outback, African savanna, and primate habitats.

Take a ride around the zoo aboard the Little Puffer Steam Train, ride the charming carousel, and let your kids climb and run at the playground before grabbing a lunch of pizza or classic San Francisco soup.

Before leaving, don’t forget to peruse the gardens and enjoy exotic plants that include lush greenery and colorful flowers.

46. Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience

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Rating: 4.5★

Entry Ticket: Varies depending on experience

Address: 900 North Point St, Ste F301, San Francisco, CA 94109

  • Open daily, starting at 9:00 am
  • Allow 2 hours to visit the entire complex

If you are a chocolate lover, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience is for you, with a world sweet treats at your fingertips that come in a variety of custom ways.

Enter the shop and feel your mood be lifted as you visit the Chocolate Station, smelling the divine aroma of hot fudge, waffle cones, and other sweets.

Sample a butterscotch sundae topped with a square of Ghirardelli white chocolate, try a classic chocolate shake, sip a warm cup of rich hot cocoa, and sit back as you enjoy the views of the bay.

The shop also includes wall-to-wall chocolate gifts, ingredients, and bars to choose from, along with a Pick and Mix bar so that you can customize the perfect treat for yourself or someone you love.

47. GoCar Tours

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Rating: 4.4★

Entry Ticket: Starting at $200.00

Address: 431 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • Book in advance
  • Passengers must be 7 or older
  • Allow 3 hours
  • Audio tour guide

Combine a sightseeing tour of the city with a fun-filled adventure and thrills provided by GoCar Tours, a unique company that offers an exceptional experience.

Drive around San Francisco in a three-wheeled little yellow car, visiting Postcard Row, Golden Gate Park, or Chinatown as you zip through the streets at your own pace.

Take your car out into the open with a trip to Marin Headlands and explore nature, great views, and less traffic, following the GPS navigation on your vehicle.

48. Bay Area Discovery Museum

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Rating: 4.7★

Entry Ticket: Adults and Children: $18.00, Seniors: $16.00

Address: 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965

  • Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Daily programs

Adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge is the Bay Area Discovery Museum, an experience that focuses on the joy of children while educating them about the world.

You and your children will be fascinated by the How Things Work Exhibit, where you can see the internal workings of everyday objects, or visit the Woodshop and help your kids discover their woodworking skills before heading to Lookout Cove, where you can both explore nature and Bay Area landmarks.

49. Asian Art Museum

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Rating: 4.6★

Entry Ticket: Adults: $20.00, Seniors: $17.00, Students and Youths: $14.00

Address: 200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

  • Open Thursday through Monday
  • Allow 2 – 3 hours
  • Museum store

Step into an enchanting world at the Asian Art Museum, where you will be surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful Asian art collections that contain over 18,000 artworks.

View Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other Asian art that ranges from ceramics and paintings to drawings and sculptures, with pieces dating back 6,000 years, where you will find glimmering pieces of jade, Buddhist art, and works by Imperial artists, along with much more.

Immerse yourself in the Persian world with art from Iran and surrounding countries that depict breathtaking designs, mosaics, and metal work.

You’ll also want to tour the Masterpieces gallery and view statues of deities from 1,200 years ago, a golden temple image from Burma, a beautiful Korean teapot, and an elegant cup carved from white jade.

50. Go to a Concert at Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove

@Jodi Tolmas Thirtyacre

Rating: 4.8★

Entry Ticket: Free

Address: 2750 19th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132

  • No pets allowed
  • Concerts on Sundays beginning at 2:00 pm
  • Reservation required

Are you looking for free concerts in San Francisco?

If you happen to be in the city during the summer, you will want to head to Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove, known to locals as Stern Grove.

The park hosts the Stern Grove Festival each year during the months of June, July, and August.

Not only does the festival provide great live performances in a beautiful landscape, but it is free to the public.

Before attending one of the concerts, you will also want to take your kids to the KidZone for some fun or browse the festival shop.

Discover local talents, along with world-renowned performers, while listening to classical, country, and indie rock, as well as pop music and rap.

Grab a blanket and fixings for a picnic and head to this undeniably enchanting spot for some great music and time with your favorite people.

See you on the next adventure!