San Francisco Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Foodie Cities in the USA
Credit

Courtesy of Kodiak Greenwood/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in San Francisco

If you have extra time, Yerba Buena Gardens is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in San Francisco
    View all Photos
    #1 in San Francisco
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San Francisco Bay have made it one of the West Coast's most enduring symbols and the city's most popular tourist attraction. The bridge's name, "Golden Gate," actually refers to the body of water it spans (the Golden

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  • #3
    Golden Gate Park
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    #3 in San Francisco
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Zoos and Aquariums, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Zoos and Aquariums, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If California had aCentral Parkequivalent, Golden Gate Park would undoubtedly be it. Though Golden Gate Park sees a small fraction of the visitor's it's New York counterpart does (Central Park gets upwards of 25 million, while Golden Gate gets more than 13 million yearly), it's about 174 acres bigger (Central

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  • #4
    Yerba Buena Gardens
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    #4 in San Francisco
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    After a day of hasty sightseeing, the Yerba Buena Gardens provide travelers with an opportunity to wind down and enjoy San Francisco's weather and unique culture. The gardens proper include 5 acres of landscaped lawns complete with flowers, trees, water and art. The Cho-En Butterfly Garden attracts native San Francisco

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  • #7
    Twin Peaks
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    #7 in San Francisco
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you want the best views of San Francisco, take a hike to Twin Peaks. These famous grassy pounds rise 922 feet from the ground, making them the second highest point in the city (after Mount Davidson). From the top, travelers can view multiple San Francisco landmarks, including the Bay

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  • #8
    The Castro
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    #8 in San Francisco
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you want to explore San Francisco's rich gay and lesbian culture, the Castro neighborhood is its beating heart. Not only is the Castro the center of the city's LGBTQ community, but it's considered by many to be the gay capital of the world. And once you learn the Castro's

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  • #9
    Baker Beach
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    #9 in San Francisco
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    While San Francisco isn't known for being a beach town, the city's Baker Beachis often considered one of the best in California. Located in the northwestern area of San Francisco in the Presidio, Baker Beach is primarily known for its sweeping views of theGolden Gate Bridgeand the neighboring Marin Headlands.

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  • #10
    Ferry Building Marketplace
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    #10 in San Francisco
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Attention all foodies: this delectable attraction needs to be at the top of your San Francisco to-do list. The Ferry Building Marketplace is a public food market that features a variety of food stalls that act as small restaurants, snack stops and grocery stores. Here you can find everything from

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  • #11
    Union Square
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    #11 in San Francisco
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Situated a couple blocks north of Market Street and southwest of the city's Financial District, Union Square sits at the heart of downtown San Francisco's hustle and bustle. This area is loved by travelers and locals alike for its awesome location and incredible energy. Union Square Park is flanked by

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  • #12
    Chinatown
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    #12 in San Francisco
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    WhileNew York City's Chinatown tends to take center stage in the USA, San Francisco's Chinatown is just as much of a star. San Francisco's Chinatown hosts one of the largest Asian communities outside of Asia, and is considered one the oldest in North America. Chinese immigrants first started coming to

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  • #14
    Lands End
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    #14 in San Francisco
    Beaches, Hiking, Historic Homes/Mansions, Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Hiking, Historic Homes/Mansions, Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of the top places in San Francisco to catch the sunset, Lands End offers whimsical, winding trails through rocky cliffs. Located in the northwestern corner of San Francisco, the park sits inside of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park encompasses multiple historic sites, monuments, a golf course,

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  • #17
    Mission District
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    #17 in San Francisco
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Mission District has attracted San Francisco's young bohemian crowd in the past decade, but it's still retained its authentic, local Mexican ambiance. This is the place that introduced the burrito to the wider world, so be sure to check out a local hole in the wall for some great

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  • #18
    Fisherman's Wharf
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    #18 in San Francisco
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Fisherman's Wharf is so tourist-laden that some travelers might prefer the quieter, more authentic attractions nearby (like theCastroorGolden Gate Park). But if you're looking to explore all of San Francisco – from its alternative underbelly to its mainstream attractions – Fisherman's Wharf really is a must-see. This waterfront neighborhood features a

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  • #19
    Ocean Beach
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    #19 in San Francisco
    Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located in the northwestern corner ofSan Francisco, Ocean Beach separates attractions like the San Francisco Zoo andGolden Gate Parkfrom the Pacific Ocean. This 3 ½-mile stretch of sand is a welcome respite from the city's bustling downtown. Visitors and locals can walk the beach, while experienced surfers brave the frigid

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  • #24
    Lombard Street
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    #24 in San Francisco
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Fans of zigging and zagging and charming thoroughfares will appreciate Lombard Street, an exceptionally crooked street in northern San Francisco. Victorian mansions line the street, while beautiful flowers and landscaped shrubbery fill the space between its eight switchbacks. While the road runs from east to west for the length of

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  • The Presidio Trails
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    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you want to experience the Bay Area's pristine natural spaces but may not have enough time to explore neighboring Marin County, the Presidio is the perfect alternative. This park is famous for its placement at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, affording incredible views throughout. In addition

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