Explore San Francisco’s Most Popular Attractions
Your Guide to a Golden Gate Getaway
With its scenic hills, stately homes, and rolling fog, San Francisco offers many things to do, places to visit, and sights to see. Explore the Bay Area with our guide to San Francisco’s must-attractions during your stay.
- Alcatraz - Made famous by Al Capone, The Rock, the titular Birdman and seemingly countless media depictions, this notorious locale boasts an all-too-often overlooked natural beauty. Alcatraz Island is home to the first lighthouse and US fort on the West Coast, as well as a number of gardens, tide pools and bird colonies. Visit and see one of the most distinctive tours in San Francisco, bringing you up close and personal with the history of the federal penitentiary, the 18-month occupation by Indians of All Tribes, and breathtaking nature. Reservations are strongly suggested.
- Golden Gate Bridge - With viewing vistas on both sides of the bay, you can look back to the city and forward to picturesque Sausalito, Marin, Napa and beyond. This Art Deco feat of engineering allows access to pedestrians and cyclists as well as drivers, providing a scenic commute like no other for residents of the Bay. If you're spending significant time in the Golden Gate Bridge area, avail yourself of new visitor experiences, including the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, and the enticing bridge overlooks.
- Cable Cars - A legend of engineering since its construction, the San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system, and many people's iconic image of the city includes the cars. Spanning some of the most traveled parts of the city, the three cable car routes - Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason and California - go past neighborhoods like Nob Hill, Russian Hill and the waterfront. tickets can be purchased at turnarounds or from the conductor as you board; adult and youth (ages 5-17) tickets are $5.00 each way.
- Fisherman's Wharf - Named for the San Francisco's late-1800s Italian immigrant fishermen who made this part of the waterfront their own, Fisherman's Wharf is home to incredible entertainment, world-class museums and fine dining. This is the site of many San Francisco events, including the city's Fourth of July fireworks and Fleet Week air shows, and ever-popular destinations like Ghirardelli Square, Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, the Musée Mécanique, Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park at Hyde Street Pier. Be sure to look out for the resident sea lion colony soaking up the sun next to Pier 39.