San Francisco travel (2024)

San Francisco travel (1)

Simone Anne / Stocksy United

If there's a technology still unimagined, a poem left unspoken or a green scheme untested, chances are it's about to happen here. Goodbye, inhibitions; hello, San Francisco.

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Attractions

Must-see attractions

  • San Francisco travel (2)

    Golden Gate Park

    San Francisco

    When Frederick Law Olmsted,architect of New York's Central Park, gazed in 1865 upon the plot of land San Francisco Mayor Frank McCoppin wanted to turn…

  • San Francisco travel (3)

    Haight Street

    The Haight & Hayes Valley

    Was it the fall of 1966 or the winter of ’67? As the Haight saying goes, if you can remember the Summer of Love, you probably weren’t here. The fog was…

  • San Francisco travel (4)

    Chinatown Alleyways

    North Beach & Chinatown

    If you look close today at the clinker-brick buildings lining these narrow backstreets, past the temple balconies jutting out over bakeries, acupuncture…

  • San Francisco travel (5)

    City Lights Books

    North Beach & Chinatown

    No one could have predicted the cultural force City Lights would become when it first opened in 1953. Sure, it had a proletarian ethos suggested by its…

  • San Francisco travel (6)

    Coit Tower

    North Beach & Chinatown

    If you want to reallyseeSan Francisco, head to Coit Tower, a 1933 art deco beaut designed byArthur Brown, Jr.and Henry Howard that sits high up on…

  • San Francisco travel (7)

    Golden Gate Bridge

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Few cities boast a structure so iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge, commemorated in everything from films likeThe Maltese Falconto not one but two emojis…

  • San Francisco travel (8)

    Dolores Park

    The Mission, Dogpatch & Potrero Hill

    Welcome to San Francisco's sunny side, the land of street ball and Mayan-pyramid playgrounds, semiprofessional tanning and taco picnics. Although the…

  • San Francisco travel (9)

    Clarion Alley

    The Mission, Dogpatch & Potrero Hill

    The Mission District has a long history of street art andmuralismo –an oft-political school of public art prevalent throughout South and Central America…

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Top picks from our travel experts

The 16 best things to do in San Francisco

Curated by

Alison Bing

  • San Francisco travel (10)

    Fort Point

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    This triple-decker, brick-walled US military fortress was completed in 1861, with 126 cannons, to protect the bay against certain invasion during the…

  • San Francisco travel (11)

    Buena Vista Park

    The Haight & Hayes Valley

    True to its name, this hilltop park offers splendid vistas over the city to Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. Founded in 1867, this is one of the oldest…

  • San Francisco travel (12)

    Conservatory of Flowers

    San Francisco

    Flower power is alive and well at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers. This gloriously restored 1878 Victorian greenhouse is home to freaky outer…

  • San Francisco travel (13)

    Women's Building

    The Mission, Dogpatch & Potrero Hill

    A renowned and beloved Mission landmark since 1979, the nation's first women-owned-and-operated community center is festooned with one of the neighborhood…

  • San Francisco travel (14)

    Devil's Acre

    North Beach & Chinatown

    Potent potions and lipsmacking quack cures are proudly served at this apothecary-style Barbary Coast saloon. Tartly quaffable Lachlan's Antiscorbutic …

  • San Francisco travel (16)

    Chinese Historical Society of America

    North Beach & Chinatown

    Picture what it was like to be Chinese in America during the gold rush, transcontinental railroad construction, and Beat heyday in this 1932 landmark,…

  • San Francisco travel (17)

    Rainbow Honor Walk

    San Francisco

    You're always in excellent company in the Castro, where sidewalk plaques honor LGBT+ heroes. The walk runs along Market St from Noe St to Casto St and…

  • San Francisco travel (18)

    Balmy Alley

    The Mission, Dogpatch & Potrero Hill

    Since at least the 1980s, if you stroll through San Francisco's Mission District you've likely noticed the neighborhood's profusion of colorful murals and…

  • San Francisco travel (19)

    Japanese Tea Garden

    San Francisco

    First planted in 1894, these 5 acres of gorgeous flower gardens are especially delightful in the spring, when the cherry blossoms pop, and also the fall…

  • San Francisco travel (20)

    Stow Lake

    San Francisco

    When the weather's behaving, pedal boats and rowboats are available daily at the magnificent 1946 boathouse on Stow Lake. Folks also tend to drop by for…

  • San Francisco travel (21)

    Filbert Street Steps

    North Beach & Chinatown

    Halfway through the steep climb up the Filbert St Steps to Coit Tower, you might wonder if it’s all worth the trouble. Take a breather and notice the…

  • San Francisco travel (22)

    Waverly Place

    North Beach & Chinatown

    Grant Ave is Chinatown's economic heart, but its soul is Waverly Place, lined with flag-festooned, colorful temple balconies and family-run businesses…

  • San Francisco travel (23)

    Sea Lions at Pier 39

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Sea lions took over San Francisco’s most coveted waterfront real estate in 1989 and have been making a public display of themselves ever since. Some…

  • San Francisco travel (24)

    Ina Coolbrith Park

    San Francisco

    On San Francisco's literary scene, all roads eventually lead to Ina Coolbrith. She was California's first poet laureate, editor of Mark Twain, colleague…

  • San Francisco travel (25)

    Alcatraz

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Alcatraz: for over 150 years, the name has given the innocent chills and the guilty cold sweats. Over the decades, it’s been a military prison, a…

  • San Francisco travel (26)

    Corona Heights Park

    San Francisco

    Scramble up the red rocks of 520ft-high Corona Heights for jaw-dropping, 180-degree views at the summit. Face east as the sun sets, and watch the city…

  • San Francisco travel (27)

    Crissy Field

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    War is for the birds at Crissy Field, a military airstrip turned waterfront nature preserve with knockout Golden Gate views. Where military aircraft once…

  • San Francisco travel (28)

    Chinatown Alleyways

    North Beach & Chinatown

    If you look close today at the clinker-brick buildings lining these narrow backstreets, past the temple balconies jutting out over bakeries, acupuncture…

  • San Francisco travel (29)

    15 Romolo

    North Beach & Chinatown

    Strap on your spurs: it's gonna be a wild Western night at this back-alley Basque saloon squeezed between burlesque joints. The strong slay the…

  • San Francisco travel (30)

    Golden Gate Bridge

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Few cities boast a structure so iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge, commemorated in everything from films likeThe Maltese Falconto not one but two emojis…

  • San Francisco travel (31)

    Coit Tower

    North Beach & Chinatown

    If you want to reallyseeSan Francisco, head to Coit Tower, a 1933 art deco beaut designed byArthur Brown, Jr.and Henry Howard that sits high up on…

  • San Francisco travel (32)

    California Academy of Sciences

    San Francisco

    This classic research institute and museum has been teaching San Franciscans about natural history since 1853. Right in the middle of Golden Gate Park,…

  • San Francisco travel (33)

    Beach Chalet

    San Francisco

    Microbrews with views: watch Pacific sunsets through pint glasses of the Beach Chalet's Riptide Red ale from the comfort of the formal upstairs dining…

  • San Francisco travel (34)

    Exploratorium

    The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Is there a science to skateboarding? Do toilets really flush counterclockwise in Australia? At San Francisco's hands-on science museum, you'll find out…

  • San Francisco travel (35)

    Comstock Saloon

    North Beach & Chinatown

    During this 1907 saloon's heyday, patrons relieved themselves in the marble trough below the bar – now you'll have to tear yourself away from Comstock's…

  • San Francisco travel (36)

    City Lights Books

    North Beach & Chinatown

    No one could have predicted the cultural force City Lights would become when it first opened in 1953. Sure, it had a proletarian ethos suggested by its…

  • San Francisco travel (37)

    de Young Museum

    San Francisco

    Follow sculptor Andy Goldsworthy's artificial fault line in the sidewalk into Herzog & de Meuron's sleek, copper-clad building that's slowly oxidizing…

  • San Francisco travel (38)

    GLBT History Museum

    San Francisco

    America's first gay-history museum showcases a century of San Francisco LGBTQ+ ephemera – Harvey Milk's campaign literature, matchbooks from long-gone…

  • San Francisco travel (39)

    San Francisco Botanical Garden

    San Francisco

    There’s always something blooming in these 55-acre gardens, which cover a world of vegetation from South African savanna to New Zealand cloud forest. The…

  • San Francisco travel (40)

    Golden Gate Park

    San Francisco

    When Frederick Law Olmsted,architect of New York's Central Park, gazed in 1865 upon the plot of land San Francisco Mayor Frank McCoppin wanted to turn…

  • San Francisco travel (41)

    Dragon's Gate

    North Beach & Chinatown

    Enter through the Dragon archway donated by Taiwan in 1970, and you'll find yourself on the street formerly known as Dupont in its notorious red-light…

Experience San Francisco like a local with these free things to do

Curated by

Margot Seeto

  • San Francisco travel (42)

    Lands End

    San Francisco

    Looking out from Lands End feels like surveying the edge of the world. Nestled on the point of land between Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, the park's…

  • San Francisco travel (43)

    Dolores Park

    The Mission, Dogpatch & Potrero Hill

    Welcome to San Francisco's sunny side, the land of street ball and Mayan-pyramid playgrounds, semiprofessional tanning and taco picnics. Although the…

  • San Francisco travel (44)

    Ocean Beach

    San Francisco

    The sun sets over the Pacific just beyond the fog at this blustery beach. Most days are too chilly for bikini-clad clambakes but fine for hardy…

  • San Francisco travel (45)

    Golden Gate Park

    San Francisco

    When Frederick Law Olmsted,architect of New York's Central Park, gazed in 1865 upon the plot of land San Francisco Mayor Frank McCoppin wanted to turn…

Planning Tools

Expert guidance to help you plan your trip

Things to Know

San Francisco is an incredible city to visit but you could make your experience even better with these 12 top tips from a local.

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Best Neighborhoods

San Francisco has many different neighborhoods. Here are some of the best for eating, drinking and exploring the city's history.

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Day Trips

Taking a day trip from San Francisco opens up a world of classic California experiences. Here are the best places to go.

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Money and Costs

Use these money-saving tips for a cheap trip to San Francisco.

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Transportation

With notoriously bad traffic, near-impossible parking and streets as steep as ski jumps, ditch the car in San Francisco. Here's how to get around instead.

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Free Things to Do

Get to know San Francisco and its people with this guide to the best free things to do in the city.

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Traveling with Kids

San Francisco is an exciting place for families, who will undoubtedly enjoy the city's many green spaces, vibrant culture and good weather.

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Articles

Latest stories from San Francisco

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Tips & Advice

Local Flavor: where to eat and drink in San Francisco

Mar 4, 2024 • 6 min read

From Yemeni coffee to dim sum in Chinatown, our San Francisco writer picks the city's best places to eat and drink.

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    Public Transport

    7 of the best day trips from San Francisco

    Feb 22, 2024 • 13 min read

    San Francisco travel (49)

    Neighborhoods

    The 7 best neighborhoods in San Francisco

    Feb 20, 2024 • 14 min read

    San Francisco travel (50)

    Air Travel

    How to get around San Francisco

    Feb 15, 2024 • 9 min read

    San Francisco travel (51)

    Beaches

    San Francisco with kids

    Feb 15, 2024 • 16 min read

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    Activities

    Experience San Francisco like a local with these free things to do

    Feb 12, 2024 • 10 min read

    San Francisco travel (53)

    Destination Practicalities

    12 things to know before visiting San Francisco

    Feb 9, 2024 • 8 min read

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    Destination Practicalities

    When is the best time to visit San Francisco?

    Feb 9, 2024 • 8 min read

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    Budget Travel

    Cheap San Francisco: 14 ways to make your budget last

    Feb 8, 2024 • 9 min read

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    Activities

    The 16 best things to do in San Francisco

    Feb 5, 2024 • 9 min read

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San Francisco travel (2024)
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