San Francisco is not a tourist town in the same way that, say, Las Vegas or Key West are tourist towns. But there are so many cool things to do in San Francisco, it has become one of the nation's top destinations for travelers. From the barking seals and seafood at Fisherman's Wharf to the cafes and bistros in North Beach to the gardens and museums of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco attractions have become brand-names recognized the world over. Our online San Francisco guide includes tours for those so inclined, as well as lots of information about the restaurants, hotels and nightlife that make a trip to the City by the Bay unforgettable.
Featured San Francisco Attractions
With over 72 interactive stations, and 500 exhibits, this two-story, 10,000 square-foot icon of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf has become a staple of the San Francisco experience. Ripley's Believe It or Not is the face of everything strange, unusual and unbelievable, and it's recently renovated interior—complete with a new Marvelous Mirror Maze and Toy and Candy Factory—make it a must-see for all visitors in the city by the water.
Popular San Francisco Tours
Save compared to separate purchases with our most popular San Francisco tour. The 4 in 1 package gives you the opportunity to take our San Francisco Downtown Tour, Golden Gate and Sausalito Tour, Golden Gate Park Tour and San Francisco Night Tour, all via open-top bus, and all on one incredible value ticket. All Loops San Francisco Bus Tour Includes: San Francisco Downtown Loop, Golden Gate and Sausalito Loop, Golden Gate Park Loop and San Francisco Night Tour.
The San Francisco bus tour package gives you the opportunity to take our Downtown Tour, Golden Gate and Sausalito Tour, San Francisco Night Tour, and Golden Gate Park Tour all on one incredible value ticket. This tour includes: Alcatraz Island Tour, Downtown Loop, Golden Gate & Sausalito Loop, Golden Gate Park Loop and Night Loop.
A classic San Francisco double-decker bus tour, the Downtown Loop Tour visits many of San Francisco’s most noteworthy sights. This 90-minute narrated tour visits renowned areas like Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach and South of Market (SoMa), and travelers can hop off at any destination to explore its nearby sights, then hop on one of the next busses, which arrive roughly every 30 minutes.
Take the Golden Gate Loop Tour aboard a double-decker bus for the true San Francisco tour experience. The loop includes destinations like Fisherman's Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts, Pacific Heights, the Golden Gate Bridge and Vista Point, and the Presidio. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, with brief stops for photos.
Few San Francisco tours offer the views of a San Francisco Bay cruise. This one-hour cruise combines entertainment with outstanding vistas, all for incredibly reasonable prices. Tour guides offer small bites of history and gossip as the beautiful and comfortable boat cruises under the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz Island and to other famous destinations where perfect picture opportunities abound.
San Francisco CityPASS is a carefully selected collection of San Francisco's most popular, most famous attractions, priced a whopping 49% less than the cost of tickets purchased separately. The CityPass youth price (ages 5-12) shaves 46% off individual ticket prices. CityPass is valid for nine days.
Spend approximately five-and-a-half hours on an indulgent adventure through Sonoma County on the Half Day Wine Country Tour. Departing from Fisherman's Wharf, this tour heads to the famous Carneros wine region in the town of Sonoma, visiting big and small wineries for tours and tastings.
Featured San Francisco Tours
City Kayak, located on San Francisco’s Embarcadero close to the San Francisco Giant’s ATT Park, offers a great way to experience San Francisco from Bay level, a point of view and a unique experience you’ll not soon forget.
Top 10 San Francisco Attractions
Bigger than New York City’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park is an oasis of towering eucalyptus trees and lush rolling lawns. Rent a pedal boat on Stow Lake, wander the paths of the Japanese Tea Garden, or enjoy exotic blooms in the Conservatory of Flowers; Golden Gate Park offers a multitude of activities. In addition to its vast natural wonders, the park also hosts sporting events, concerts, numerous festivals, and two world-famous museumsóthe California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museumóboth of which have undergone extensive recent renovations.
Situated in the heart of Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum primarily showcases American, Pacific, and African art. However, as one of the major art museums in the Bay Area, it also regularly hosts special exhibitions of some of the most well known art works in the world, such as the treasures of King Tut and Impressionist masterpieces from France. While you are there, be sure to go to the top of the tower for a 360-degree view of San Francisco’s rolling hills, the Bay, and the world famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Located directly across from the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is a small slice of heaven for science buffs. Having recently undergone an extensive remodel, there are no more dusty dioramas here; in addition to a planetarium and natural history museum, visitors will find a rainforest habitat, an aquarium full of fascinating sea life, and the academy’s already famous ìliving roof.î The Academy also offers an adults-only experience every Thursday with music, drinks, and special themes.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America, springing up in the mid-1800s as people from all over the world came to California seeking their fortunes. Though it was almost entirely demolished in the 1906 earthquake, Chinatown quickly re-built and continued its role as a center for the Chinese community in San Francisco. The streets of Chinatown are packed with open-air markets, souvenir shops, and the delicious scent of dumplings. For those who want a deeper look at Chinatown’s fascinating history, the Chinese Culture Center offers a Chinese Heritage Walk.
The home neighborhood of the original hippies, Haight-Ashbury is still a center of counterculture in San Francisco. In addition to head shops and tie-dye, the Haight is filled with vintage clothing stores, restaurants and cafes. Stop by Amoeba Records, enjoy a cappuccino, or pick up a stylish second-hand shirt while you soak in the 60s vibe.
North Beach is the ìlittle Italyî of San Francisco, its rolling hills filled with gelato shops, pizza parlors and Italian bistros. Enjoy a steaming cappuccino or a slice of tiramisu at one of the many sidewalk cafes or soak in some sun on the grassy expanse of Washington Square. Those with literary leanings can find old beat poets' haunts, including like City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio bar.
The cable car may be the ultimate San Francisco icon. Featured in nearly every film set in San Francisco, these pieces of moving history have been running up and down the steep hills of the city since 1873. Today, three routes remain to take tourists and commuters alike back and forth from the waterfront and downtown.
World famous for its fried fish, clam chowder, and the famous San Francisco sourdough and fabulous bay views, this international tourist hotspot also hosts Musee Mechanique, home to more than 300 antique mechanical items and games that still work. Get a roll of quarters and go nuts with Laffing Sal, fortune tellers, mechanical monkey bands, foosball, and 1980’s arcade games. Nearby sights include historic ships, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
Golden Gate Bridge
It is no longer the longest suspension bridge in the world, but the Golden Gate Bridge is certainly still the most famous. Joining Marin County to the City of San Francisco, the bridge has seen untold numbers of tourists and commuters across the water since its completion in 1937. Bicycle lanes and footpaths make the Golden Gate Bridge a great attraction for those who want a more leisurely experience.
Alcatraz was at various times home to such famous criminals as Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Mickey Cohen. A guided tour of the prison reveals cramped cells and a creepy hospital wing, along with stories of fantastic escape attempts and the prison’s famous personalities. But Alcatraz is more than just a prison; it has been a lighthouse, a military fortification, and for 19 months between 1969 and 1971, it was occupied by Native Americans wanting to build an education and cultural center there. Explore its fascinating history while enjoying gorgeous views of San Francisco.