18 Best Things to Do in San Francisco at Night

San Francisco at night

Piriya Photography / Getty Images

Like any big city, San Francisco has its share of evening fare: theater and performing arts, fine dining, and plenty of bars and nightclubs. But what if you don't like those typical after-hours pursuits or are traveling with a family? Never fear, there are still lots of things you can do in San Francisco after the sun goes down, whether you're into ghost tours, evening baseball games, or just want to see the best views of the city after dark. Here's a list of 18 of our favorites.

01 of 18

Take in Views from a Sunset Cruise

Adventure Cat Sailing Charters

Adventure Cat Sailing Charters

End your long day of sightseeing with a relaxing sunset cruise on San Francisco Bay. Red and White Fleet offers a 90-minute sailing daily, during which you'll have the chance to sail past Alcatraz Island and underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and Oakland Bay Bridge. Adventure Cat Sailing Charters has a similar 90-minute experience, giving guests the chance to sail in sailboat under the Golden Gate Bridge — each ticket also includes a free drink per person. Whichever cruise you choose, remember to bring along a jacket, as it can get quite chilly on the water at night.

Address
Pier 39 Dock J, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Phone +1 800-498-4228
02 of 18

Embrace the City's Rich Comedy Scene

Punch Line San Francisco

Punch Line San Francisco

San Francisco is home to some of the greatest comedy clubs in the country, including the Punch Line, which brings in legends like Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Margaret Cho, and Dana Carvey, among other big names; Cobb's Comedy Club, frequented by Michael Ian Black, Dave Attell, and Michelle Wolf; and The Setup, home to a more underground comedy scene.

If you prefer improvisational comedy, head to the Shelton Theater's Secret Improv Society show, which is based entirely off audience suggestions and is reminiscent of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" The same theater also hosts stand-up comedy shows by local, independent artists during its Cheaper Than Therapy sessions, which are also worth checking out.

If you're short on time, opt for Dylan's Comedy Bus Tour for a BYOB 90-minute tour of San Francisco aboard a minibus, led by local comedians who share their best jokes and stories about the city as you make your way around town.

Address
782 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Phone +1 415-932-6993
03 of 18

Go to a Roller Disco Party at the Church of 8 Wheels

The Church of 8 Wheels San Francisco

The Church of 8 Wheels

For something a bit more quirky and retro, head to the Church of 8 Wheels, where you'll get to live out your roller disco fantasies in a former church on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights alongside area locals. Don't worry about packing your skates—you can rent some for a small fee—or being a skating pro, as lessons are available on Fridays and Saturdays ahead of the skate night festivities. Check the website for more info on schedules and events and lean into the Church's mission: to spread the joy of skating throughout the land.

Address
554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
Phone +1 415-752-1967
04 of 18

Explore Jack Kerouac's San Francisco

Vesuvio Cafe and City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco

Gerald French / Getty Images

Literary enthusiasts should stop by City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, the legendary North Beach bookstore where Jack Kerouac and his Beatnik buddies used to hang out in the 1950s. Visit Vesuvio Cafe, located just across Jack Kerouac Alley and still a San Francisco institution for local artists, writers, poets, musicians, and anyone who is fan of the writer, as well as Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, and some of his other contemporaries. If time allows, learn all about this fascinating group and the world they lived in around the corner at The Beat Museum.

Address
255 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Phone +1 415-362-3370
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05 of 18

Have a Drink at a Ritzy Hotel Bar

JCB Tasting Lounge at the Ritz Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Kick off your evening at the swanky, swoon-worthy JCB Tasting Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, where this jewel box of a lounge seats about a dozen people in an eye-popping setting of black and gold, animal prints, and glittering crystal. Order a glass of passionate, provocative No. 9 sparkling wine or flirt over the flamboyant, sensual (and oh-so-yummy) No. 69 Pinot Noir. When this place fills up all its Baccarat crystal glasses, it won't accept another single soul, no matter how much you beg, so make reservations to avoid disappointment.

For a gorgeous view from slightly less opulent surroundings, you can't beat the Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco hotel, offering creative cocktails and epic views from its perch on the 19th floor since 1939. 

Address
600 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
Phone +1 415-296-7465
06 of 18

See the Lights on the San Francisco Bay Bridge

Bay Lights on the San Francisco Bay Bridge

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy

At sunset, the otherwise utilitarian San Francisco Bay Bridge transforms into a sparkling, LED light sculpture. Computer programs create incredible patterns that span the bridge and there are a few different places to best take in the view, whether you want to watch from the Embarcadero between the Ferry Building and the bridge or look down on the lights from the top of Telegraph Hill's Coit Tower. 

Address
San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
07 of 18

Explore Alcatraz at Night

Aerial of Alcatraz at sunset, San Francisco, USA
Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

Touring Alcatraz during the day can be hot, cramped, and take away from valuable time elsewhere. But visiting the storied prison at night extends your daytime sightseeing opportunities and gives you a chance to experience special programs and activities not typically offered during the day. You'll also be the only group on the island, which can add to the slightly mysterious charm of this unique 2.5-hour guided tour. 

Address
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA, USA
08 of 18

Catch a Baseball Game at Oracle Park

Oracle Park in San Francisco

DanCardiff / Getty Images

Nighttime baseball games are a ​fun tradition anywhere, but catching a game at Oracle Park, formerly known as AT&T Park and home of the San Francisco Giants, is particularly enjoyable, especially if you're visiting with the whole family in tow. Grab a hot dog and a pint of beer and join in on the fun. The expansive ballpark also hosts a few different special events and concerts throughout the summer. 

Address
24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
Phone +1 415-972-2000
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09 of 18

Visit Treasure Island for This View

San Francisco from Treasure Island

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy

Treasure Island is possibly the best place in town to watch the city lights come out at sunset. The tiny island is a fun place to explore during the day, with bikes, cocktails, and a winery, but you won't believe the photos you'll be able to get of the San Francisco skyline once the sun falls below the horizon each night. To get there, take the Bay Bridge toward Oakland and exit halfway across. 

Address
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, USA
10 of 18

Escape to the Marin Headlands

Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco at Twilight

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy

4.9

If you're interested in snapping more breathtaking sunset photos, this photo was taken from the Marin Headlands, located on the northwest side of the Golden Gate Bridge. The city lights behind the bridge are truly magical. To get there, go north across the Golden Gate Bridge, exit just past the north vista point and turn left to drive up the hill.

Address
Marin Headlands, California, USA
11 of 18

Walk Along Pier 7

San Francisco from Pier 7 at Twilight

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy

Hidden away from other touristy spots in San Francisco, you'll find Pier 7 along the waterfront between Washington Street and Broadway. A short walk to the end of it gives a beautiful city lights view, and there are plenty of benches where you can relax and enjoy a perfect San Francisco evening, crowd-free. 

Address
Pier 7, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
12 of 18

Climb to the Top of Coit Tower

Telegraph Hill and 'Coit Tower'
Thomas Winz / Getty Images

Head to the top of historic Telegraph Hill, where you'll find San Francisco's 210-foot Coit Tower. While the ground floor of the tower sports colorful murals painted by local artists, the top level offers beautiful views of the glittering skyline. Pro tip: This view is very similar to what you can see from the top floor of the parking garage above the police station on Vallejo Street.

Address
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Phone +1 415-249-0995
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13 of 18

Photograph the Transamerica Pyramid at Night

Transamerica Building at Twilight

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy

Whether you love it or hate it, San Francisco's iconic Transamerica Pyramid has always had a unique profile in the city. You can get some of the most iconic SF photos by shooting it from one of the city's many hilltops, set against the lights of Berkeley across the Bay.

Address
600 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
14 of 18

Stroll Through the Streets of Chinatown

San Francisco Chinatown at Night

TripSavvy / Betsy Malloy

As soon as the sun goes down, Chinatown nearly turns into a ghost town. The few people who walk through it never seem to look up to see all the neon-lit signs or the glowing, red lanterns against the twilight blue sky. Don't be dull like everyone else. Take the short walk along Grant Avenue from Bush Street to Columbus just after the sun goes down—and don't forget to look up.

Address
Chinatown, San Francisco, CA, USA
15 of 18

Take a Segway Tour at Night

People riding Segway's in Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco
csfotoimages / Getty Images

Why let your feet get tired when you can use a Segway human transporter to explore the cityscape at night? An evening tour with the San Francisco Electric Tour Company is more fun than you can imagine. Tours begin in Chinatown and cover the Embarcadero and Little Italy.

Address
757 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
Phone +1 415-474-3130
16 of 18

Go Ghost-Hunting

San Francisco Ghost Hunt

San Francisco Ghost Hunt

The San Francisco Ghost Hunt promises to introduce you to San Francisco's most notorious ghosts on a 90-minute lantern-lighted walk through Pacific Heights. Tours are led by Christian Cagigal, a Bay Area magician and actor, so you know you'll be properly entertained. The Haunt offers 90-minute ghost-hunting adventures through Chinatown and the Jackson Square Historic District, focusing on the city's darker side. Guests also have the chance to use EMF monitors to detect paranormal activity during the tour.

Address
1801 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
Phone +1 415-754-8209
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17 of 18

Visit a Museum After Hours

Lit up exterior of the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, seen at night.

Phil Bond / Getty Images

Many of San Francisco's best museums offer late-night entry at least once a week. The California Academy of Sciences offers late-night admission every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., while the de Young Museum, one of the city's best art museums is open late on Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Most museums' late-night programs include special talks and performances or sometimes food and drink.

Address
55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
Phone +1 415-379-8000
18 of 18

See a Concert at The Fillmore

The Fillmore

 The Fillmore

This historic concert venue opened in 1954 and has hosted the likes of the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and The Who, among many others. The landmark Geary Boulevard venue still showcases both rock legends and up-and-comers, making it a uniquely San Franciscan way to spend an evening. 

Address
Fillmore District, San Francisco, CA, USA
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Best Things to Do in San Francisco at Night