San Francisco Sights & Attractions
What to See and Do in San Francisco
The GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE is one of the world's great icons, with two gigantic towers rising from the water. It was once the longest suspension bridge in the world, and you can see the famous Alcatraz prison from there. It is perhaps San Francisco's second best-known sight, a legendary prison complex that was home to some notorious names such as Al Capone. You can visit it by taking a ferry to its island or by going on a tour.
In the center of the city, the most monumental landmark is the CITY HALL, with its huge gilded dome and a main hall with a grand staircase which you may visit on a guided tour. Also pass by Grace Cathedral, built in the early 20th century in French Gothic style.
The San Francisco Modern Art Museum is housed in a modern building built in 1995 and presents a world-class collection of modern art. It's especially strong on American abstract expressionism, but you'll also see works from all of the major European and American modern artists.
The Fine Arts Museums' collections include European decorative arts and crafts, American paintings, and non-Western art. They are two museums in two locations, in the exquisite Beaux-Arts Legion of Honor building, and in the state-of-the-art De Young Museum.
The TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID is the standout skyscraper in the city. Completed in 1972, it's located in the Financial District, and remains San Francisco's tallest building.
More recently, the California Academy of Sciences Museum became a new architectural landmark due to its environmentally-friendly design and green-covered roof. It's the home of a natural history museum, as well as an aquarium and planetarium.
MISSION DOLORES is San Francisco's oldest construction. It's an 18th century mission with an adjoining basilica featuring some exceptional tilework and stained glass. It's located in the Mission, the city's Latino district.
Fisherman's Wharf is an obligatory stop for most tourists, and as a result it's the city's tackiest area, but still worth a visit to get a sense of San Francisco's nautical history and for its seafood restaurants.
Back in the center of the city, MARKET STREET is one of the main routes for the iconic cable cars, while LOMBARD STREET is known as "the crookedest street in the world." It snakes down a hill in a 27-degree slope, with many tourists enjoying driving it down, and others simply admiring it from the bottom of Leavenworth Street.
Many visitors also go for a stroll down the CASTRO district, the famous gay center, for its shops and restaurants. CHINATOWN is another popular destination, home to the largest Chinese community in the United States and still with a vibrant and authentic ethnic ambience.
Finally, walk by the waterfront in the attractive MARINA district, admiring the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
TOURS & DAYTRIPS
Go on a tour of San Francisco and visit some of its surroundings on daytrips to experience some of California's top attractions.