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San Francisco

Best Things to Do in San Francisco

San Francisco may only stretch across 7 miles, but it's packed with an assortment of activities that's sure to please outdoorsy types, foodies and curious wanderers of all ages. The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see, while a visit to Alcatraz Island to tour the infamous and now closed (to prisoners at least) federal prison should also be high on your list. Instead of spending all your time around the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf, you can discover a more authentic side of San Francisco by strolling through the diverse Mission District or the vibrant Castro. And whether it's climbing to the top of Twin Peaks or sauntering through Golden Gate Park, active types and nature lovers will find plenty to love about San Francisco.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Golden Gate Bridge Free attraction
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San ... read more»

#2
Golden Gate Park Free attraction
Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Zoos and Aquariums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Golden Gate Park boasts more than 1,000 acres of land with trails, picnic areas ... read more»

#3
Cable Cars
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Chances are you've seen a television show, postcard or some type of San Francisco ... read more»

#4
Twin Peaks Free attraction
Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: San Francisco's towering Twin Peaks offer superb views of the city. Rising 922 feet ... read more»

#5
The Castro Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you want to explore San Francisco's rich — and still colorful — gay and lesbian ... read more»

#6
Ferry Building Marketplace Free attraction
Shopping | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you go to San Francisco to feast on the scrumptious gourmet treats and exotic ... read more»

#7
Union Square
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Situated north of SoMa and south of Chinatown, the Union Square neighborhood is a fun ... read more»

#8
Muir Woods National Monument
Beaches, Hiking, Parks and Gardens | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: What better exemplifies California's dramatic landscape than 380-foot-tall Redwood Trees? That's what you ... read more»

#9
Palace of Fine Arts Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Travel along the bay between Fisherman's Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge and you ... read more»

#10
Alcatraz
Sightseeing, Tours | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Alcatraz stands as a consistently popular San Francisco attraction for young and old, but it ... read more»

#11
The Exploratorium
Museums, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If you're looking for a rainy day activity — something that will keep both parents ... read more»

#12
SoMa (South of Market Street) Free attraction
Entertainment and Nightlife, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: The SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood, located between Market and Townsend streets, has seen vast ... read more»

#13
Musee Mecanique Free attraction
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Considered one of the best museums in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, Musée Mécanique features ... read more»

#14
AT&T Park
Sports | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Perched along the San Francisco Bay, AT&T Park allows visitors to steal views of ... read more»

#15
Mission District Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: The Mission District has attracted San Francisco's young bohemian crowd in the past decade ... read more»

#16
Fisherman's Wharf Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Fisherman's Wharf is so tourist-laden that some travelers might prefer the quieter, more authentic ... read more»

#17
Japanese Tea Garden
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If you're tired of the tourist track (Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, etc ... read more»

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