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Things to do in San-Francisco

Beyond the well-known attractions of San Francisco, you’ll find a wealth of things to do and see that will surpass your expectations. From the bustling nightlife of Telegraph Hill to the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach.

Art, culture and history run throughout every district of the city, from the stunning architecture of Grace Cathedral to the ‘painted ladies’ of Alamo Square and the distinct style of Haight Ashbury. Each area has its own flavour, whether you’re shopping, dining or partying. Combine world-class museums with spectacular sightseeing and the tranquillity of Golden Gate Park ­– which you could easily spend a whole day exploring. Or why not start at San Francisco Zoo and end the day relaxing at the Japanese Tea Garden.



Sip cocktails at the Starlight Room, where the master mixologist will create a spectacular beverage to represent each decade. Or get a taste of the Caribbean at Smugglers Cove, with its Havana-inspired sundowners. For a more relaxed experience, head to Zeitgeist  – an urban beer garden with wall-to-wall picnic tables and graffiti-adorned walls.



Head to Union Square for a wealth of department stores and superstores. Or walk a few blocks to Market and Powell and browse some of America’s largest chains at Westfield San Francisco. Visit eclectic Chinatown or bustling Embarcadero, which combines well-known brand names with unusual shops like the Discovery Channel store.



Sample the finest Pacific Rim cuisine and enjoy spectacular indoor thundershowers at the Tonga Room. Or for an unusual dining encounter and a multi-sensory experience, head to the Supperclub where every night is different. The Waterbar has floor to ceiling aquariums and spectacular views of the bay, while art deco style Elite Café serves exquisite New Orleans cuisine.

Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

San Francisco has plenty to offer in the way of Arts and Culture. From De Young Museum, which showcases American, Pacific and African Art to the stunning Palace of Fine Arts. The Asian Art Museum is home to a world-renowned collection of Asian art treasures and the Academy of Sciences will interest everyone with its planetarium, rainforest habitat and fascinating aquarium.



Take a guided tour of Alcatraz. Explore the cells, hear the mesmerising tales of escape attempts and learn about the prisons infamous personalities. San Francisco’s cable cars are the perfect way to travel from downtown to tourist friendly Fisherman’s Wharf. Stroll through Golden Gate Park or drive over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco areas

There's a lot to discover in San Francisco. Find the best place for you.

Union Square

A mecca for shopaholics, cosmopolitan Union Square is home to an abundance of shopping options, ranging from well-known department stores like Macys to exclusive designer boutiques. This one block plaza is a major tourist attraction, consisting of a 97-foot Corinthian column that is surrounded by palm trees, colourful flower stands and street performers. You will also find many high street favourites on nearby Market Street, and the theatre district, art galleries and beauty salons are also nearby.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see spot on San Francisco holidays. See the sea lions at Pier 39, watch the fishermen at work down ‘Fish Alley’ or enjoy the boardwalk style entertainment. Book the Jail and Sail experience and take a trip to the notorious island prison of Alcatraz. Sample the famous San Francisco sour dough or savour some locally made Ghirardelli chocolate. There is plenty of fun to be had at the museums and shops along the pier and other family-friendly attractions nearby.

Financial District

This area is home to some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers, with an abundance of modern and historic buildings and clusters of high-rise towers. It also offers plenty of ways to let your hair down, from retail therapy to dining out and trendy bars. Go shopping at the Embarcadero Center, enjoy exquisite cuisine at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market or mingle with the spree-loving locals at The Cocker Galleria - located in the heart of the Financial District.


Enter at the ‘Dragons Gate’, located between Grant Avenue and Bush Street, and explore this tightly packed warren of restaurants, shops, temples and street vendors. One of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia and the oldest in North America, you’ll become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, pagoda roofs and dragon parades. Hunt for exotic gifts or enjoy the extra special festivities and fireworks that happen over Chinese New Year.

Mission District

Situated in the heart of San Francisco, the Mission District, or ‘The Mission’ is a predominantly Latino neighbourhood. It features a collection of authentic restaurants, Mexican bakeries, produce markets and specialty shops. Mission Dolores is the oldest structure in San Francisco, while nearby Dolores Park has a Spanish flavour. Take a walk through this colourful area and enjoy a visual treat of eye-catching public art. Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley are known for their stunning, thought-provoking murals.

San Francisco weather

Prepare for the weather before your holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • 13°Jan
  • 15°Feb
  • 16°Mar
  • 17°Apr
  • 17°May
  • 19°Jun
  • 18°Jul
  • 18°Aug
  • 21°Sep
  • 20°Oct
  • 17°Nov
  • 14°Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 119
  • 97
  • 79
  • 38
  • 18
  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
  • 8
  • 25
  • 64
  • 112
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 5
  • 7
  • 8
  • 10
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6

The ultimate San Fran shopping guide

High Life Magazine

San Francisco shopping.

The city’s top fashion editors, style bloggers and social media influencers share their favourite retail therapy spots.

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