Whether you're a first-time visitor or a longtime fan, there are plenty of amazing sights to see in San Francisco. But if you're short on time, or simply want to make the most of your vacation, here are some of the best places to visit in the city!
A must-see for science buffs, Exploratorium showcases a dazzling array of learning experiences, from pitch-black domes to fog bridges, mind-bending mirrors, and more. It's a great way to spend an evening in the city.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see in San Francisco. It spans the entire San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate strait of the Pacific Ocean, and has become a symbol of San Francisco and an international tourist attraction.
Take a walk across it, or enjoy a panoramic view from the north or south lookout points. You can also drive or take a bay cruise under the bridge.
2. Palace of Fine Arts
A relic of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, this gorgeous building draws crowds from around the world. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, it was originally constructed in wood, burlap and plaster.
Sentimental San Franciscans saved it from being demolished after the fair, so it remains in operation today as a reminder of the city's glory days.
Take a walk through the dome's rotunda or gaze at the urns and bas-reliefs, including four weeping women facing inwards to symbolise the pain of loss. Pose for photos by the swan lagoon or explore the surrounding Marina District.
3. San Francisco City Hall
San Francisco City Hall is a magnificent building that houses many historical artifacts. It is located in the Civic Center district of San Francisco and is free to visit.
It was built in 1915 after the old City Hall was destroyed in the earthquake of 1906. It is a beautiful and classy building that has appeared in many popular movies.
It was constructed by the architect Arthur Brown Jr. and took 27 years to complete. It cost $6 million at the time!
4. Wells Fargo Museum
This two level museum depicts Wells Fargo's role in various aspects of Californian history, including the Gold Rush. It also highlights their long history as a reliable and fair business that helped them become one of the largest financial institutions in the world today.
Located in the Wells Fargo Bank Building, this storefront museum is a must-see for anyone interested in American history. It showcases relics like a Concord stagecoach and gold nuggets, plus a working telegraph.
5. Grace Cathedral
Grace Cathedral is one of the most famous sightseeing attractions in San Francisco. It features striking architecture, stunning stained glass windows, labyrinths, and a commitment to social justice.
The French Gothic-style Episcopal cathedral was completed in 1964 and is known for its mosaics by Jan Henryk De Rosen, a replica of Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze Florence Baptistery doors, varied stained glass windows, two labyrinths, and medieval and contemporary furnishings. It also houses the Interfaith AIDS Memorial Chapel, with a triptych altarpiece by pop artist Keith Haring.
6. Musee Mecanique
Musee Mecanique is a unique hands-on museum featuring over 300 mechanical arcade games and musical instruments. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to experience a trip down memory lane.
The collection was built up by owner Ed Zelinsky, who started collecting when he was 11 years old in 1933. It has since grown to include one of the world’s largest private collections of antique arcade artifacts.
It’s a must-visit attraction for anyone with an interest in old time mechanical entertainment. The 300 coin-operated machines are a treasure trove of funny, amazing and even creepy games that you’ll remember from your childhood.
7. Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular attractions in California and has become a destination for hikers, campers and rock climbers. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of El Capitan, Half Dome and Tunnel View.
Yosemite is also famous for its giant sequoia trees. These colossal trees are estimated to be more than 3,000 years old and are among the world’s largest living things.
Haight-Ashbury is a culturally diverse neighborhood with a rich history. It was the epicenter of hippie counterculture in the 1960s and is famous for its rock ‘n roll houses, psychedelic murals, and colorful shops.
Today, this lively neighborhood is a tourist attraction, residential area, and modern shopping center. It’s a fun place to visit whether you’re a first-timer or a local looking for a new experience!