15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco
Updated: Jun 30
San Francisco, one of the most colorful and entertaining cities, is very rich in terms of places to visit. Travel aside, this city has a slightly different feel than the rest of California! Many companies such as Airbnb, Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Whatsapp are here. We think you understand what we mean. It's like a part of the city is going to the office with a morning coffee in one of the skyscrapers. Here we will suggest a series for you to understand and have fun: Silicon Valley.
We just said it's a little different from the rest of California. But that doesn't mean it's not a tourist destination! We have prepared places to visit in San Francisco for you. Good reading!
1. Golden Gate Bridge
You may have seen San Francisco's iconic golden gate bridge in most movies. Probably the most photographed bridge in the world.
The Art-Deco style bridge, which started in 1933 under the direction of Engineer Joseph Baerman Strauss and lasted 4 years, was the "longest suspension bridge in the world" until 1964. Unfortunately, 11 workers lost their lives during the construction phase.
You can see the Golden Gate from many different points of the city. The most popular spots to photograph are Baker Beach, Marshall's Beach, and Fort Point National Historic Site.
2. Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is the most famous prison in the world. It worked as a prison for nearly thirty, closed in 1960, and reopened as a tourist attraction in 1973. Al Capone and Birdman, some of America's best-known criminals, were prisoners here.
You can take a ferry to the island and tour the site while listening to an extraordinary audio recording that offers a glimpse into life in prison. The narration is by Alcatraz's former prisoners and guards.
An interesting fact; During its 30-year existence, a total of 1576 prisoners were taken to the prison.
3. Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is the last surviving structure from the 1915 Panama Pacific exposition. It has the architectural style of ancient Rome with elements of ancient Greek architecture. With the calm water and the magnificent view of the green, you can find great spots to take pictures.
The Palace of Fine Arts is surrounded by a small lake on one side and a beautiful park on the other. This building looks great both day and evening, many people come here to take great photos and amazing videos.
4. California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is as versatile a museum as it is an architectural marvel. The roof is of sustainable design with solar panels to generate electricity and the earth acts as natural insulation. The walls are largely made of glass, providing natural light.
This incredible structure; features a natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium, rainforest, and more! Steinhart Aquarium contains approximately 38,000 specimens and a 25-foot-deep coral reef. The Osher Rainforest has four floors and is home to animals and amphibians in a fantastical setting.
5. Golden Gate Park
California's Central Park would undoubtedly be Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park has more than 13 million visitors a year. The park has a lot to offer; Trails, picturesque picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, gardens, museums, and more. The park also includes the Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest existing public conservatory in the Western Hemisphere. There are about 2,000 plant species in the conservatory.
6. Cable Cars
One of the most iconic structures of San Franciso is the cable car system. You may have seen this tram in a TV show, movie, postcard! You can use this mode of transportation to fully experience the charm of San Francisco. But don't think of it as a vehicle where you can reach every point because it has only 3 lines.
The San Francisco cable car system is the last of its kind in the United States, awarded the title of National Historic Landmark in 1964.
More than nine million visitors ride the cable car each year, so you have to wait for the ride, but it's worth the wait if you opt for the long queues.
7. The Exploratorium
A learning laboratory, this museum features 600 hands-on exhibits covering a wide range of topics. The museum has six main galleries, each with different interactive offerings. The Exploratorium looks like it's designed for kids, but travelers say it's a great attraction for everyone.
8. The Walt Disney Family Museum
Representative of the iconic creator Walt Disney. The museum's galleries begin with Walt Disney's childhood and showcase his life throughout the building of Disneyland, highlighting his legacy and various achievements along the way. Rotating exhibits expand the museum's space and offer a closer look at the artist. Highly recommend visiting if you are a Walt Disney fan.
9. Ocean Beach
Of course, San Francisco's beauty is not limited to human-made things. Ocean Beach is a great place for experienced surfers. But swimming is not encouraged here due to strong currents, travelers can just light a bonfire and hang out.
Average temperatures on the beach are usually around 50 degrees. Also, the Ocean beach sand is soft and beautiful, but we do not recommend swimming or surfing unless you have experience.
San Francisco's Chinatown is home to one of the largest Asian communities outside of Asia and is considered one of the oldest communities in North America. The best way to experience Chinatown is to walk around the neighborhood! If you love Chinese food and culture this is the place for you.
11. Fisherman’s Wharf
Another tourist attraction of San Francisco is Fisherman's Wharf.
It was founded in the 1800s by fishermen who had immigrated to San Francisco from Italy and later evolved into a complex with a 5-star hotel, shops, restaurants, and museums.
Arguably the most popular activity around is to wander around Pier 39. Because very cute sea lions are settled here. You can also find cafes, restaurants, shops, souvenir shops at Pier 39.
12. Lombard Street
Lombard Street, winding down from Russian Hills, is "the most crooked street in the world." In the 1920s, people made a winding road because there were no vehicles with high traction to climb such a steep slope. Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 movie Vertigo and the famous Bill Cosby TV series were filmed on this street.
Haight-Asbury, which consists of the intersection of two streets named Haight and Asbury, is a place that reflects the hippie spirit of San Francisco because this area became the capital of the hippie movement during the "Summer of Love" period in 1967 when the song "if you're going to San Francisco" prevailed. In addition, the sweetest, most beautiful, most movie-driven houses you will see in San Francisco are in this region. It is also a great place for nightlife, entertainment, and socializing.
14. The Painted Ladies
The colorful houses that come to mind when San Francisco is mentioned are known as Painted Ladies. You can see this place in most Instagram photos.
The Alamo was one of the city's favorite residential areas from the mid to late 1800s. The most popular architectural style at that time was Queen Anne-style architecture. After the earthquake in 1906, most of them were destroyed and these seven Victorian houses remained standing.
15. Silicon Valley
It is the region where the headquarters and R&D departments of all technology and information companies in the world are located. Silicon Valley includes companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, HP, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Tesla. The two most interesting places to visit are Google and Facebook. However, for entry, you must have a worker acquaintance and provide your name for the entry.