Popularly known as SN or San Fran and home to many eclectic architectures, San Francisco, California locates at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its peninsular location between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco, many famous landmarks, rolling hills, and vibrant arts, musical scenes, make San Fran one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. the city’s famous bright red-orange suspension bridge, ‘The Golden Gate Bridge’ is the most photographed bridge in the world. It connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean spanning over the Golden Gate Strait. San Francisco, California certainly hosts a whole lot of beautiful places and landmarks that are worth visiting and admiring.
The city has many unique places that make it stand out as a tourist hotspot of the country. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in the world outside Asia. From skyscrapers to many Victorian-style homes and from the National Historic Landmark of Alcatraz Island to many beautiful museums, San Francisco, Calfornia has many popular destinations that will keep its visitors thoroughly entertained and will make them satisfied. If you are visiting this ‘jewel of Northern California’ anytime soon, these are the top-rated and best places you must visit in the city.
Top-rated And Best Places To Visit In San Francisco, California:
The Golden Gate Bridge:
The gracious icon of San Francisco, California, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed bridge in the world. The suspension bridge runs for 1.7 miles and connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean spanning over the Golden Gate Strait. A marvel of modern engineering, this symbol of San Francisco as well as California has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. In the year 1937, the bridge got opened and the main reason behind the construction of this iconic bridge was to lessen the traffic from the ferries.
You must have seen pictures of this outstanding orange bridge standing tall peeing through the clouds. The bridge took four long years to get completed and its tall orange towers stand at a height of 746 feet. It has walkways on both sides of the bridge and is open to pedestrians. You can go for a bicycle ride over the bridge too. There are many bike rentals available wherefrom you can hire a bike and can set your bike ride. This art-deco truss arch bridge looks enigmatic against the backdrop of the deep blue ocean. If you are wishing to stop at any point on the bridge and take in the view, consider stopping at Marin Headlands, Fort Point, or Crissy Field. Take your bridge selfie and enjoy every moment of your stay at the bridge.
One of the most famous tourist spots in San Francisco, California, Alcatraz Island is mostly known for Alcatraz penitentiary, one of the most ill-famed prisons in America. Being located in San Francisco Bay, about 2 km offshore from San Francisco, its prison was operational from the year 1934 to 1963. Why will you set a trip to this island? To visit the abandoned prison where many well-known criminals of America were imprisoned. The list of inmates includes Harvey Bailey, Joseph Bowers (was also the first person to attempt an escape from the prison), Al Capone, and the very notorious Robert Stroud aka “Birdman of Alcatraz”. The prison convicted a total of around 1,576 prisoners. And the interesting fact about the prison is that there were times when the guards outnumbered the prisoners. Also, you will visit the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. If you love to explore the natural features of an island, then you will love seeing many rock pools here. Colonies of western gulls, cormorants, and egrets liven up the island too.
To reach the island, you have to take a 15-minute ferry ride from Pier 33. Upon reaching the island, take a tour of the sites, visit the prison, get to know the story of the prison life through outstanding audio clips, and revisit the past of the city.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and it is also the largest Chinatown you will find outside Asia. A happening tourist spot and also a historic neighborhood in San Francisco, California, you will get a true flavor of Chinese style and Chinese vibe here once you enter into it through the iconic Dragon’s Gate. Containing the largest Chinese population outside of Asia, the Chinatown is a place where you get to see robust Chinese festival celebrations one of which is obviously the very colorful Chinese New Year Festival. The buzzing neighborhood is all gleeful with yum dim sum restaurants, tea shops, boba stops, and many authentic Chinese eateries. Explore the busy alleys and streets and all the souvenir shops, dark cocktail lounges, and karaoke bars that dot both sides of the streets.
Witness Chinese culture being in America. one of the most interesting facts about SF’s Chinatown is that, the Dragon Gate which is the main entry point to Chinatown was donated to SF in the year 1970 by Taiwan, China. Inside, go visit the Fortune Cookie factory, Bank of Canton, and Hien Hau Temple which are rich historical and cultural components of the Chinatown.
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the two most touristy neighborhoods in San Francisco, California, the other one being the Chinatown. Once known as the Little Italy of San Francisco, this section looks beautiful encompassing the northern waterfront area of SF. One of the must-visit attractions of this place is Pier 39. It has its own colony of sea lions. And it is basically a lavish two-story outdoor shopping mall where you will get to shop and eat good food. Also, get outstanding views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island from here. Some of the top attractions of Pier 39 are the Sea Lion Center, Musical Stairs, the Aquarium of the Bay, Houdini’s Magic Shop, and the SF 2-story Carousel.
The area of Fisherman’s Wharf starts from Pier 35 and runs roughly up to Ghirardelli Square. Ride a cable car here over the narrow hilly streets and if you are first visiting the Alcatraz Island, take a boat from there and ride to Pier 33. Fisherman’s Wharf is also heaven to sample some hearty seafood. Head to Crab House on the upper level of Pier 39 and taste amazing crab dishes. Taste some clam chowder while you are in this area.
Visit restored 19th and 20th-century ships in the waterfront area of San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and many other attractions that make this neighborhood one of the hard-to-miss areas in SF to indulge in shopping, eating, and entertaining activities.
Legion of Honor Museum:
The most popular and most beautiful museum in San Francisco, Legion of Honor, or the California Palace of Legion of Honor is a part of the Fine Arts Museums in SF. The museum was designed in such a way so that it replicates the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. A gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, this museum houses an extensive and impressive collection of European decorative arts, sculpture, and paintings; Rodin’s Thinker in the museum’s Court of Honor; Ancient art, and a huge collection of the country’s prints and drawings. One can see a collection that dates back to even 4,000 years.
The Beaux-Arts building of the palace was built in SF’s Lincoln Park area to pay homage to the Californian soldiers who died in WWI and its breathtaking setting and location overlooking the ocean and iconic Golden Gate Bridge makes it one of the most fascinating sites in San Francisco.
Want to have the finest view of the SF city and the SF Bay? Head straight to the top of the quaint 925-feet-high Twin Peaks. From the summit, you can get a spectacular 360-degree view of the city. Not only that, from the viewing area, you will see the gorgeous landmarks of SF that include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the towering skyscrapers of downtown, and many more things. You will also get views of the Pacific Ocean and parts of Golden Gate Park in other directions. They are the highest among San Francisco’s 43 hills and you can easily reach there. The North and South Twin Peaks do not only provide you with excellent views but also contain many hiking trails.
Spanish settlers named the Twin Peaks as ‘Los Pechos de la Chola’ or the Breasts of the Indian Women. These twin peaks which are known as ‘Eureka’ and ‘Noe’ respectively stand about 660 ft. apart. They are gorgeous and in the evening time, you will get to see the all-lit beauty of the SF city from the top while the cool breezes coming from the Pacific Ocean will calm and soothe your senses.
Golden Gate Park:
Golden Gate Park is the lungs of the city of San Francisco, California. This large urban park sitting in the heart of the city has a shape of a rectangle and is even larger than Central Park, NYC. Prior to its development, the area of today’s park was an area of arid dunes. Today it contains several museums, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers that is a greenhouse, and a botanical garden. The very beautiful Strawberry Hill that occupies a whole island full of trees and shrubs is bliss to visit. And there is also an artificial waterfall naming Huntington Falls. The area also has several parks and its greenery includes more than 5,000 different types of plants. You can rent a bike and take a tour of the park to explore all its attractions.
Golden Gate Park also happens to be the third most visited city park in the United States of America only next to Central Park and Lincoln Memorial.
When in San Francisco, California, visit the historic Embarcadero along with Exploratorium to enjoy a full day amidst the fun. Exploratorium at Pier 15 is located in the Marina District at the Palace of Fine Arts and is a science museum that will enchant both children and adults. It houses more than 650 hands-on exhibits and a whole lot of indoor and outdoor exhibitions. On the weekends, the museum organizes many programs such as Explorables, Saturday Cinema, or Full-Spectrum Science. Your children will enjoy spending time here as they get to take part in many amazing activities and experiments. There is a pond outside of the Fine Art buildings where you will get to see beautiful Muscovy ducks.
San Francisco, California is one of the most diverse cities to visit in the United States in terms of arts, cuisine, museums, architecture, and iconic landmarks. Apart from great physical attractions, you will witness an excellent cultural blend of Spanish American and Mexican culture here. Probably the most beautiful city in the USA, SF’s true splendor can only be experienced when you land in this city and start exploring it. Apart from its well-known landmarks, the city has many hiking trails, countless parks, and thousand of viewpoints that offer you the best-ever views of the surrounding. The next time you visit this gorgeous city, explore it like crazy and drink in every bit of its beauty.