San Francisco is the capital of NorCal tourism. The city has a number of legendary sights to see and its charm is legendary. From Alcatraz prison to Haight Ashbury, San Francisco has attractions known around the world. The City by the Bay benefits from being a truly cosmopolitan destination. Travellers exploring the city can find a true piece of Americana when visiting.
San Francisco is a haven for musicians and performers alike, creating a thick urban atmosphere of creativity. Festivals are held regularly across the city. You can experience epic Mardi Gras parades, jazz venues and rock concerts that will make you feel like a true local.
San Francisco's parks and natural landscape are perfect for outdoor activities. The city is a hotspot for American sports, whether participating or viewing, you will find plenty of fun. You will find San Francisco is a cycling friendly city, and the hills are a challenge to any bike rider. The local hiking, running and walking trails are excellent opportunities to escape into the local landscape. When you finish, there are independent dining and drinking options galore in the City by the Bay.
To kick start your holiday, check out our top hotels in San Francisco!
San Francisco is filled with eclectic neighbourhoods to explore, while San Francisco's down-town area is always bustling with life. It is also surrounded by many of the city's attractions.
For incredible postcard-perfect views to make you swoon, Nob Hill and Telegraph Hill are superb scenic delights. Channel your inner hipster in historic Haight Ashbury. Find records, enjoy a drink at a café or listen to a band at one of the local venues on the historic street.
The quiet neighbourhood of Hayes Valley is great for accommodation; and it provides peace and quiet when you've worn yourself out. Wherever you choose to stay in this magnificent city, you can easily move from district to district and check out new parts of San Francisco each day.
Alcatraz Island is a must-see attraction when visiting San Francisco. The notorious prison is just a ferry ride away. Enter Alcatraz just as the prisoners did and take a tour of the imposing "Rock", a prison no one escaped from.
The Golden Gate Bridge is another must when visiting the city. Cycle, drive or walk across the 4,200 ft Art Deco suspension bridge. The views from the bridge are amazing and the perfect place to take iconic photos.
San Francisco provides everything one can need for nourishment. The city may be America's best location for organic, vegetarian or vegan dining options. But if meat is your desire, there are plenty of great restaurants to chow down at.
San Francisco's ocean side location makes it perfect for seafood. Clam chowder is one of the city's treats and eating the filling soup in a bread bowl is a delicacy you will find at many restaurants. Despite its northerly location, San Francisco is a prime location to find great Mexican food. The same can be said about the delicious Chinese fare available. Thanks to the large Chinese community, San Francisco's Chinatown has some of the best oriental food this side of the Pacific Ocean.
Over the last few years, San Francisco and northern California in general, have been at the forefront of the American Ale movement. Wash down whatever you eat with beer brewed at one of the area's breweries. Don't forget the wines that are made in the valley that are exclusive to NorCal.
San Francisco has a reputation as one of the best family holiday destinations in the United States. The city's great outdoor activities combined with great museums make it both fun and educational. Golden Gate Park is over 1,000 acres of open space that is free to the public. When the temperatures get warm, the beaches are great for lounging upon. But if the water is too chilly, heading indoors to a museum is a great way to find out more about San Francisco. The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the California Academy of Sciences are all available to see. Each offers a glimpse into a different genre, and each is a great way to spend a few hours on holiday. For more American history, head to Fort Baker and the Marin Headlands. Abandoned fortifications litter the area, and some date back to the American Civil War. The whole family can get a 360 degree view of San Francisco. There are also spooky old tunnels to explore.
From beaches to bridges, street cars to sports, San Francisco has a wealth of activities to keep you busy on your holiday. What is more epic than walking or cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge? View the city skyline as you stroll or cycle across. If you're heading outside the city, the hills and mountains have a number of great hiking and off-road trails. Don't forget to jump aboard the rolling landmark that is the city's street cars. They will take you all over the city on a sightseeing tour.
Foodies looking for adventure should head to Presidio. There, food trucks from all over the city descend and tantalise your taste buds. Food truck hop and eat the best in independent fast food in the bay. San Francisco's hilly terrain makes it a great urban hiking city. There are 42 hills across San Francisco and each is connected by 400 stairways. Explore the city by finding these secluded spots. Once you have walked each hill, head to the pier and jump in a kayak. Spend the afternoon kayaking around the bay seeing San Francisco from a different viewpoint.
Ocean Beach is often cited as San Francisco's best beach. It offers visitors amazing panoramic views as it takes up the city's entire west side. You will get peace and quiet in the five mile sandy stretch as it is the locals' favourite refuge when the city gets too crowded. Visitors will find coffee shops dotted around the sands to warm you up on the cooler NorCal days.
Located in the heart of the city, Aquatic Park is an urban beach. Close to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, Aquatic Park is easy to reach from apartments, homes or offices. The Aquatic Park's waters are very soft on the skin and the sands will be easier on your feet than the ocean beaches in San Francisco.
The city has other, more secluded ocean spots to lounge upon. Stinson Beach and Bolinas Beach are a bit out of the city, but offer just as much as the others. Visiting them gives travellers a chance to see the local area and experience a more rural piece of Americana.
San Francisco’s nightlife can be laid back or in your face. It truly depends on what you are looking for. The city has a number of classy independent bars that serve cocktails to die for, while you will also find plenty of places serving locally brewed beers. The Presidio is a great place to grab a microbrew and beer connoisseurs can bar hop to taste the new American trendsetting beers. Don’t forget the wineries in the area supply many restaurants and bars with their best reds and whites. Also remember that in the U.S. the legal drinking age is 21 so remember your ID as you may be carded if you look young and bars are strict on this in San Fran. You are expected to tip bar servers as well.
If you are looking for a great dance club, the best area to go is Soma. DJs spin late into the night there, and the music will keep your keep your body moving all night. If you want to check out a real American dive bar, then Mission is the district to head to. Filled with jukeboxes and cheap drinks, the area is unpretentious and what many other cities base their hipster areas on.
What is more romantic than a candlelight dinner in one of San Francisco's swanky restaurants? Perhaps a trip to Chinatown or a picnic in Golden Gate Park? Whichever you choose, San Francisco offers couples plenty of ways to spice up their relationship. The Bay Bridge's western span gives you the chance to view its stunning lights. The 25,000 LED lights sparkle through the night. Bundle up warm on a cool evening and wrap your arms around a loved one.
If you want to get your heart pumping and blood racing, take the stairs up Telegraph Hill. You will ascend two extremely steep sets of stairs before peaking at the hill's legendary flock of parrots. It is truly unique, and something you will find nowhere else. Get your sea legs and book a catamaran trip around the bay. Watch the sunset over the bay as you cruise on the high seas.
San Francisco’s culture is diverse and has been influenced by people coming to the city for generations. Americans settled the area thanks to the California Gold Rush in the 1800s and not long after immigrants from all over the world descended on the city to grow it into what we know today.
San Francisco has a large Chinese and Japanese population. You will see this throughout the city. San Francisco can claim the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, and it once again shows the melting pot of people that live in the city.
San Francisco isn’t just diverse when it comes to people. The city has an eclectic taste for art, music, cuisine and even architecture. Art and music are extremely high on the list of cultural events in the City by the Bay. San Francisco has numerous museums dedicated to preserving and promoting the arts. You will also find plenty of music venues, from modern rock clubs to classical and opera theatres. It truly is a melting pot of diverse elements.