San Francisco is one of those places you can visit over and over and find something new and exciting every time. It has a unique cityscape to explore and just a few miles away, a vast naturescape. You can’t beat that! I’ve been to The City By The Bay (cue Journey guitar solo) three times and I still haven’t seen everything I want to see there. I foresee another trip in the future! In the meantime here are some places to definitely visit while you’re there. Who knows, the next time I go I may find some place I like more than all 7 of these places!.. Well anyway, in no specific order, here they are!
#1: Pier 39
Pier 39 is definitely a place to visit if you like to peruse little shops. If you get hungry, stop and get a bite to eat at one of the pier restaurants. The end of the pier has a nice picturesque view of Alcatraz. If you don’t want to tour Alcatraz (shame on you) you can take a picture here and act like you did… You’re welcome. If you head over to the west side of the pier, you’ll see dozens of sea lions just chillin’… Taking a nice sunbath. It’s definitely a sight to see. There are SO MANY!
#2: Fisherman’s Wharf
Head farther west and you’re at Fisherman’s Wharf. Even more shops to explore! You’re not done yet! If you didn’t grab a bite at Pier 39, The Franciscan Crab was absolutely delicious! The gem of Fisherman’s Wharf is DEFINITELY Musée Mécanique! You can’t miss this unique stop. Load up on change before you go in. You’ll want to see how EVERY SINGLE one of these coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines work! Watch a video of one of the contraptions below. Also, don’t feed the seagulls. Seriously.
Pro Tip: Take an Uber, cable car, or just walk to the pier. Parking near the wharf and pier were outrageous (like $30) and that’s unnecessary. You may be able to find it a bit cheaper, but these options will most likely be cheaper and you can ever tick “ride a legit cable car” off your list.
#3: Lombard Street
Crookedest street ever! At least that’s what they say… In the one block between Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street, Lombard Street has EIGHT hairpin turns! I took a video going down that section of Lombard and sped that thing up… It makes me dizzy watching it now! You can find the little video HERE on my Instagram or right below. This little tourist spot is a must see just simply so you can say you drove down Lombard Street, “the crookedest street in the world.” Yes, crookedest is a word… Ok maybe not, but if you google it, like I did HERE, Lombard Street pics and videos are your results! Crazy.
#4: Golden Gate Bridge
You know what’s better than driving across the Golden Gate Bridge? Going UNDER it! I can’t even express how great and unique of a perspective it is! If you decide to opt out of taking a trip under it, you may as well drive across it while in the Bay Area. When in Rome! Errr… San Francisco… While you’re at it, head on over to the Marin Headlands (the opposite side of the Golden Gate Bridge) and do some exploring in nature! I have an entire blog post about it I loved it so much! You can find it HERE. Which brings me to the Marin Headlands…
#5: Marin Headlands
There is so much to do in the Marin Headlands! When you get to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, stop at the Vista Point and take that cliché photo holding it in your hands. Just like this… After you’re done being a tourist, head down Conzelman Road for batteries, lighthouses, missile sites, secret beaches, and more! Read my Marin Headlands post for more info HERE. Speaking of secret beaches…
#6: Kirby Cove
This little hidden cove/beach situation located in the Marin Headlands has the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge! You can find a detailed description of how to get there HERE. You may as well get a little hike in while you’re in San Francisco. Not like walking the streets in San Francisco isn’t a hike in and of itself. That elevation gain though! Whew!
I loved this tour so much I wrote a post about it, too! Find it HERE. This island is much more than just the famous federal high security prison that housed high profile criminals like Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. The entire island is full of history dating all the way back to it’s first documentation in 1775. It was a military prison, government fortification site called the Alcatraz Citadel, site of the first lighthouse on the U.S. west coast, site of Native American occupation and protest, and on and on. So much history in these walls! Read more about Alcatraz and my experience HERE.
There is so much more to do while in San Francisco. Explore the city. Explore nature. Enjoy yourself and learn something new about The City By The Bay (end with Journey guitar solo). <– Click it. You’re welcome.
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“If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life…San Francisco is a world to explore. It is a place where the heart can go on a delightful adventure. It is a city in which the spirit can know refreshment every day.” -William Saroyan