Top Attractions in San Francisco

Make sure these San Francisco attractions are on your itinerary

Voted America's top city in numerous surveys, colorful and cosmopolitan San Francisco invariably charms visitors. While you're in town, here are the top 9landmarks and attractions to visit.

01 of 09

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA
stellalevi/Getty Images
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
+1 415-426-5220

The 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge is one of America's top ten construction marvels and a must-see on any trip to San Francisco. Over 80 years old, this graceful span (which connects to Marin county) is an unforgettable icon to drive, walk, or cycle across. Or to fly by on a seaplane.

02 of 09

Golden Gate Park

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA

Moritz Wolf/Getty Images

San Francisco, CA, USA
+1 415-831-2700

Contemplate your next move in Golden Gate Park. Within its thousand-plus acres are gardens, lakes, bridal and walking paths, Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and the tranquil Japanese Tea Garden, originally part of the 1894 World's Fair Exhibit. Tea drinkers overlook a waterfall and pond framed by fragrant wisteria.

03 of 09

California Academy of Sciences

Inside the California Academy of Sciences

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

There's really nothing else like the California Academy of Sciences. Combining innovative architecture and exciting exhibitions, the Academy is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, the Kimball Natural History Museum, and a four-story rainforest under one green roof. 

04 of 09

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf Sign San Francisco Cable Car

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Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA, USA

The city's most popular destination, Fisherman's Wharf overlooks San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The historic waterfront still serves as a working fishing pier, so expect fresh seafood at area restaurants. Nearby San Francisco attractions Pier 39, The Cannery, and Ghirardelli Square are touristy, but prove irresistible to many visitors. 

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09


Alcatraz prison is a classic example of a total institution.
Matteo Colombo/Getty Images
San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
+1 415-561-4900

A short ferry ride on the Blue and Gold Fleet deposits you on Alcatraz Island, and the self-guide brochure directs you from the former penitentiary's dock to its cell house. Evening tours, led by park guides, are also available on this island-of-no-escape in the San Francisco Bay (Ferry departs Pier 41).

06 of 09

San Francisco Cable Cars

Cable car on Nob Hill, San Francisco

Mitchell Funk/Getty Images 

Moving historic landmarks, the Cable Cars of San Francisco operate seven days a week along century-old routes. For a unique tour of the city, take the California Street line, which runs from the Financial District, through Chinatown, and over Nob Hill. The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines both terminate near Fisherman's Wharf. Board in San Francisco wherever you see a brown-and-white stop sign. 

07 of 09


A Discount store with a mural that says chinatown

Melissa Zink / TripSavvy 

Chinatown, San Francisco, CA, USA

A dragon-draped archway at the intersection of Bush and Grant streets announces the entrance to Chinatown in San Francisco. Streets teem with fish and vegetable stalls, herbal shops, temples, and eateries. (Lichee Garden, Hunan Home's, and R&G restaurants all rate high with diners.) Museums include the Chinese Historical Society of America and Chinese Culture Center.

08 of 09

North Beach

Transamerica Pyramid from the North Beach neighborhood,San Francisco

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North Beach, San Francisco, CA, USA

In between appointments, stroll over to North Beach, San Francisco's Italian neighborhood, for a snack. The espresso is strong and the cannoli sweet at Caffe Trieste, and century-old Molinari's deli appeases the hungry. Once fortified, pay a visit to City Lights Bookstore, Mecca for bohemians and serious book-lovers alike.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Lombard Street

Painted Ladies at Alamo Square, San Francisco

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Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA, USA

Postcard-worthy views include Alamo Square, where San Francisco's circa-1900 Victorian homes are juxtaposed against the towering backdrop of downtown's skyscrapers. The area is bounded by Broderick Street and Webster Street to the east and west and Oak street and Golden Gate Avenue to the north and south. Lombard Street, the world's crookedest, is also a sight to behold. Its vertiginous path winds past ornate houses and descends steeply (between Hyde and Leavenworth streets).

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