I spent five days in San Francisco and loved it. It rained a few of the days but it didn’t ruin my fun. I wish I could have stayed longer to explore outside San Francisco, but I’ll save that for another day. Here are 15 things I don’t think you should skip when visiting San Francisco. This is not in any particular order.
1. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge- This is a 1.7 mile long bridge over to Sausalito. We did the hop on/hop off bus and they have a drop off right before the Golden Gate Bridge and after in Sausalito. We took the bus back from Sausalito to San Francisco since it was raining and able to say we rode over it too. On our walk over, we stopped a few times to watch the seal lions below. They say sometimes you can see whales, but no luck on this trip.
2. Alcatraz- I really enjoyed this tour. Learn about how 3 men escaped the grounds, their famous prisoners, stories on some of the death, and a lot of other things. I did the night tour, which is cool; however, I recommend an earlier tour. My reason for this is because the night tour, you are more limited on your time there. You must leave on the next boat, since it’s the last. If you did a day tour, you have more option of times to leave the island. I could have adventured out more if I had the time. I will say, I got to watch a beautiful sunset so that was nice. The ride there and back was peaceful and got to see the skyline at night.
3. Pier 39- There is quite a bit to do here. There’s shopping, restaurants, games, and night life. My favorite part though, was watching the sea lions. I laughed how they would throw each other off and just plain be lazy while the bask in the sun. For any of you lefty’s out there, they have a store just for you. I’m part of that small percentage of people, so I had to check this place out and pick up a few items.
4. Muir Woods- If you want to see the Redwoods, but do not have time to drive all the way up to Redwood National Park, this is the closest thing. You will have to take a tour for this or make reservations since they have limited parking. If you do take a tour, you only get so much time. This will give you enough time to take one of the trails. I couldn’t believe how huge these trees were. I loved the hike and the nature walk. It’s so beautiful.
5. Lombard Street- You have to see the most curvy street. When we were riding the cable cars, it stopped right at the top of Lombard Street. If you have a car, you need to drive down it. I walked down the sidewalk, but if you are not in shape, either take it slow or don’t go if you have to go back up. It’s a steep hill for one block. It was fun to watch all the cars go down it. It wasn’t fun to walk back up it.
6. Pacific Ocean-This was my first time to the West so I knew I had to see the Ocean. We took the bus to Land’s End Lookout. It’s a great scenic view from here. It was a rainy day so we got out for only a few minutes to take in the scenery. We ended up stopping in another spot too. I wish we could have stayed longer, but the weather just didn’t cooperate with our trip.
7. Painted Ladies- Who wasn’t a fan of Full House? You can have a small picnic across the street from the ladies or just walk a few blocks from my number eight. This is a must see spot, but not much to do here except see the houses.
8. Haight – Ashbury– Do you want to see where Jimi Hendrix lived, or even Grateful Dead? Take a walking tour to see why this is the counterculture of the 1960’s. Check out the legs coming out of the building. You have some great shops and restaurants to choose from.
9. Ride on a cable car- You can start the cable car by Fisherman’s Wharf and take it to downtown and back, or start downtown. You can buy a one-way or round trip. This is something that was on my bucket list, so it was a must for me.
10. Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum- Some of you already know, I love Disney and everything Disney. This museum is about his family and how he started Disney. They have some of his furniture, awards, medals, and his work. You even get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a little cafe and shop you can enjoy too. If you love Disney, you need to add to your list.
11. Golden Gate Park- There is a few things to do here. The most popular is probably the Japanese Tea Garden. You can walk through the gardens or have some tea. If you don’t want to go here, there is also the Botanical Gardens, Aquarium, Dutch windmill, bison paddock, or many other things.
12. China Town- The thing I enjoyed the most was the artwork on the buildings. I’m not a fan of Chinese food, but since my mother loves Chinese food, I took the bullet and ate some. There was some cute shops to buy your souvenirs.
13. Musee Mecanique Arcade- This is at Fisherman’s Wharf. I recommend if you go here, bring a roll of quarters. I had so much fun playing all these antique arcade games. This place made me feel like a little kid again. Go and enjoy yourself.
14. SS Jeremiah National Liberty Ship- This is one of the two fully functioning ships that was launched during WWII. This is next door to the Musee Mecanique. If you enjoy history, take a tour of the inside.
15. Fisherman’s Wharf- There is much to do here. Some of the above mention are on Fisherman’s Wharf. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and fresh seafood. You have other attractions like Madame Tussauds and Ripley Believe it or Not. You can book tours or rent bikes. You name it. It’s here. We booked our hop on/hop off bus from here to. Take a day and spend here and see the sights. You get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from here.
I hope this gives you some great ideas on your visit. If you have any recommendations, please leave below in the comments.