San Francisco will surpass all your expectations when it comes to things to do, what to see and where to go. Bustling nightlife on Telegraph Hill, shopping at Union Square and fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco has it all.
Art, culture, history and cuisine runs through every part of San Fran, from the architecture of Alamo Square and the stunningly gothic Grace Cathedral to the world-class fish restaurants of Pier 31. Gawp at the distinct flair of Haight-Ashbury and Castro, where you will find unique bars and shops. Enjoy The Mission’s Latino spirit, and enjoy a yoyo (delicious pastry with jam) in a Mexican bakery. Combine world-class museums and green living at the tranquil open spaces of the Golden Gate Park – where it is easy to lose a day exploring. Visit the Japanese Tea Garden, before heading downtown on the tram for cocktails and dinner.
There are so many bars in San Francisco it may be difficult to decide. A good place to start is the Mission District. Head to the punky beer garden called Zeitgeist – jam-packed with picnic tables and graffiti daubed walls. For live music, try the Great American Music Hall in Tenderloin, plus a great selection of craft beers. Explore each area for quirky dive bars, tequila taverns and craft breweries.
Union Square is the best place for high-end shopping, with Macy’s department store and brand superstores. A few blocks’ walk away, at Market and Powell, browse some of the biggest chains at Westfield Mall. Visit Chinatown for herbal remedies or Embarcadero’s unusual shops, like the Discovery Store. For the literary-minded, the beatnik-era City Lights Bookstore is a must.
USA’s foodie capital, there are over 3500 restaurants in San Francisco – amazing considering there are less than a million permanent residents. Sample chowder at Chowders at Fisherman’s Wharf, or sausage at Schroder’s beer hall in the Financial District – find something to your taste. Those in the know head to Nopa in Western Addition, for their delectable custard French toast.
Arts & Culture
Arts and culture are a way of life in San Francisco. Visit the wonderful De Young Museum, which houses American, Pacific and African art. Admire the collection of treasures from the Far East at the Asian Art Museum. Children will be delighted with the planetarium and aquarium at the Academy of Sciences. And the stunning Legion of Honour offers ancient and European art within a breathtaking space in Lincoln Park.
Tour the infamous island-prison of Alcatraz, explore the cells, and listen to mesmerising tales of escape attempts and famous prisoners – like Al Capone and the Birdman. San Francisco’s cable cars are the ideal way to travel, so head from downtown to the tourist-haven of Fisherman’s Wharf. Drive across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, or head the other way across Bay Bridge to fashionable Oakland.
There are so many sports teams in the Bay Area, it would be a crime not to mention a few of them. The Golden State Warriors are a leading basketball team (they won NBA title in 2015) and the San Francisco Giants a huge baseball team (they won the World Series in 2014). The Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49s play American Football in the NFL.
Must do experiences in San Francisco
Book exciting sightseeing experiences to make your San Francisco holiday complete.
The sky is the limit on this fantastic tour of San Francisco and the Bay area. The perfect way to admire the San Francisco skyline, its rolling hills and the famous infamous Alcatraz island. You will be whisked away on this once in a lifetime trip, over the bay and across the city. Gaze in wonder at the Bay Bridge and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a wonder of the world. The pilot knows this city and its history so sit back and enjoy the ride.
The San Francisco CityPass is the best way to save money in the City by the Bay. You can get tickets to world-renowned attractions, lots of discounts and seven days’ unlimited use of the cable cars and MUNI public transport systems. Each booklet is packed with useful information about the city, including opening hours, inside tips and transport information. You won’t need anything else to see the best that ‘Frisco has to offer.
Leave your big-city life behind and take a trip to California’s most famous park, where fresh air and natural beauty await the explorer. Yosemite Valley is home to some of the USA’s wildest flora and fauna, and will not disappoint in this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Enjoy lunch at the renowned Ahwahnee Dining Room, or head straight out in to adventure. Join the informative guide on a walking tour, or head out into the wilderness alone. In your four hour trip, you can explore as much or as little as you wish.
The Golden Gate Bridge is possibly the most famous bridge in the world, an iconic and unmistakable structure seen in many films. The 60-minute Golden Gate Bay cruise is the perfect introduction to the bridge and the surrounding bay. On the narrated cruise, you will learn about the Bay area, sail close by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. This hour-long cruise will entertain and inform you about this diverse region, and is a must-do attraction.
Enjoy this incredible whale watching tour and catch sightings of these magnificent creatures. The Pacific Coast adjoining San Francisco and the picturesque Farallon Islands are known for their rich and diverse marine life. The California coastal waters, off San Francisco, have an annual migration patterns for whales. From June to November you'll sail in search of blue and humpback whales, and from December to May you'll have the chance to spot grey, sperm and killer whales.