Top 10 Things To Do In San Francisco, California
I went to San Francisco, California for the first time this year. I was so excited to finally make it to the west coast. San Francisco is known for being the cultural, historical, and financial heart of Northern California. San Francisco became famous in 1849 as the home of the Californian Gold Rush which at the time made it the largest city on the West Coast. Since then, its culture and Bay community continues to develop and thrive.There are so many sites and landmarks to visit in San Francisco. However, I have provided you with my top 10 things to do in San Francisco, California (not in any particular order):
1. Go To The Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco is known for its waterfront pier called The Fisherman’s Wharf. This pier offers restaurants, water/land tours, and shopping. Once at The Fisherman's Wharf, you can indulge in number 2-5 on this list.
Tip: You have to stop by and see the sea lions. They usually sun bathe on the pier and make the cutest sounds.
2. Cruise on the San Francisco Bay - The best, and coldest part of our stay in San Francisco was the boat ride on the San Francisco Bay. It is a great way to see San Francisco from the water. I was able to see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other San Francisco sites.
Tips: Dress warm because it gets extremely cold on the waters. We had on jackets and we were still freezing.
3. Visit The Golden Gate Bridge - The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic part of San Francisco's landscape. From childhood, I have seen it in the backdrop of movies, in the news, and in my geography classes. It's so exciting to see this renown bridge in person. The Golden Gate Bridge connects the Pacific Ocean with the San Francisco Bay. It was originally built to make transportation between San Francisco and Marin County smoother. However, it has most recently served its purpose as a tourist destination to take pictures, walk across the bridge, and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Tips: You must bring your camera and a poncho. You will definitely want to remember views as breathtaking as The Golden Gate bridge. Also, bring a poncho to protect you from the rain. If it does rain, a poncho can help you to continue your trip without a delay.
4. Visit Alcatraz Island- Alcatraz island is the home of one of the most dangerous federal prisons in the United States between 1933 and 1963. It is located 1.5 miles from San Francisco's shore, and it sits on a small, rocky island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. It is no longer in operation for federal purposes, but it is open for day and afternoon tours. Many infamous prisoners have stayed there, including Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud. The island has become a tourist attraction and many people go there to hear the stories of Alcatraz and explore the prisons.
Tips: You have to take a boat/ferry to reach the island, so dress warm! Also, tickets start at $39 to enter the island. To avoid long lines, book your tickets online. Online tickets can be purchased 90 days in advance.
5. Visit Sausalito - Sausalito is a sleepy town on the opposite side of the Golden Gate bridge. It has a perfect contrast to the city life of San Francisco. Sausalito is surrounded by water and looks like a town that I would be happy retiring in. It has houses along the hills and mountains, and several of those homes are owned by celebrities. Sausalito's main strip is filled with great restaurants and shops. The best food that we had during our trip was in Sausalito.
Tips: Make sure to schedule to have lunch or dinner in this town. The food is amazing! You can reach Sausalito by car or ferry. However, we took the San Francisco BIG BUS.
6. Hop on and off the San Francisco BIG BUS Tour- The San Francisco BIG BUS Tour is a great way to see all of the important landmarks in the city of San Francisco. On the bus, everyone is given headphones to hear a commentator share information about San Francisco between each stop. The tickets last for 24 hours so you can get off and explore at your stops of interest. Each guest is provided with a map to help with the order of stops. And don't worry, the buses travel to each stop every 15-30 minutes, so individuals can easily get on and off throughout the day.
7. Explore Union Square - Union Square is the downtown area of San Francisco. The buildings are as high as your eyes can see and there are signs everywhere beckoning you to shop at stores, sleep at hotels, dine at a particular cafe, or just stroll through. It reminded me of a cleaner version of New York City.
8. Visit Chinatown - San Francisco has the biggest and oldest Chinatown outside of Asia. The town has hospitals, authentic culinary establishments, and many stores to buy Asian products and decorations. There is so much history behind the establishment of San Francisco's Chinatown, and it's definitely worth a stop learn about San Francisco's Asian population.
9. Ride on a Cable Car - Nothing says San Francisco like a cable car! Electric cable cars are a part of San Francisco's electrical transportation history. San Francisco's cable cars are the last manually operated system in the world. Cable cars started in San Francisco in 1873. During the cable car's prime time, there were twenty-three cable car lines in the city. However, now there are only three left. Most of the travelers on the cable cars today are tourists eagerly waiting to try San Francisco's electric transportation.
10. Get a spa treatment - So, I had no idea that San Francisco was known for great spas. However, my husband and I went to the Nob Hill region of San Francisco and stopped by the Huntington Hotel. We were introduced to a spa treatment at the Nob Hill Spa that included swimming pool and jacuzzi access, relaxing on an outside balcony overlooking the city, and one the best massages that I have ever received.
Overall, my trip to San Francisco was fascinating. It was very different than I expected and I enjoyed learning about this famous city. I loved the sites, hills, bridges, and bays. I am definitely looking forward to visiting other cities in California. We were able to do all of the items above in 3 days. Take a look at my video of my experience and share your thoughts. I am a travel agent and I would love to help you to book a trip to San Francisco or anywhere in the world. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.