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21 Best Places to Visit in San Francisco in 2024 (Our Favorites)

21 Best Places to Visit in San Francisco in 2024 (Our Favorites)

From the California Gold Rush of the 19th century to the modern marvel of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco has been a 24-karat destination bringing travelers to the West Coast for centuries.

While the gold rush is long over, the city is still full of treasures for tourists! We’re travel nuts and had a blast when we visited the city. We’ll show you the best places to visit in San Francisco and why we love each one.

The 21 Best Places to Visit in San Francisco

California’s San Francisco has been a historic hub for prospectors during the gold rush, 1960s counterculture, art and music, natural beauty, and great food. With so much rich history, this progressive city knows how to marry its storied past with forward-looking ambitions and ideals.

That’s one reason San Francisco is packed with places you’ll want to visit on your trip. Well-known landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, beautiful hilltop views at Twin Peaks, and famous neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury where the hippie counterculture movement took off are waiting for you to explore. 

We’ll look at 21 of the best places to visit in San Francisco below to help you plan an itinerary that brings you to the city’s highlights and puts you in touch with the soul and beauty of this iconic California destination.

1. Golden Gate Bridge

Cars traversing the international orange Golden Gate Bridge, named as one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, in both directions

Travel Stock/Shutterstock

The Golden Gate Bridge welcomes travelers to San Francisco with its tell-tale orange color and Art Deco style with massive cables, 746-foot towers, and impressive surrounding views of the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. If you’re coming to SF, you can’t miss this engineering marvel! 

The 1930s-built Golden Gate Bridge stands as a symbol for the city today. Come to bike or walk across the bridge in a special pedestrian lane. If you want to learn all about the bridge’s history, take a free, guided walking tour on Thursdays or Sundays! 

The Bridge Welcome Center Plaza is packed with historic exhibits (like a 12-foot “test tower”) in an old bunker outside the Welcome Center, a coffee shop, and merchandise. On each end of the bridge, you can reach some of the area’s most scenic areas with trails, beaches, and overlooks in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

Opt for a bay cruise to see the bridge from a new perspective, visiting beautiful coves and islands like Angel Island and Sausalito. Even if you just have a minute to check out the bridge or quickly drive across, you’ll feel a little more in touch with San Fran once you’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge for yourself. 

2. Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts reflected on the still reflection pool with an outlet of spouting water on its left, pictured with a clear blue sky as a piece on best places to visit in San Francisco

Susanne Pommer/Shutterstock

San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts dominates the Marina District and sits close to the Golden Gate Bridge. Its Beaux-Arts architectural style stands out with the domed Greco-Roman rotunda casting beautiful reflections on the lagoon below. 

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe when you see its open-air octagonal rotunda, colonnades, and tranquil lagoon surrounding a theater and exhibition center. Events are held here, from weddings to galas, but you can come tour the grounds to admire the architecture. 

If you’re wondering how a unique structure like this ended up in San Francisco, the answer is more interesting than you’d think. It was originally built as a temporary structure for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition fair in 1915. 

But people enjoyed it so much that they demanded the cheap, temporary building materials be replaced and the structure reinforced to make the palace a permanent attraction in the city. And between 1964 and 1974, that’s exactly what the city of San Francisco did! 

Today, wandering the landscaped grounds, rotunda, and mezzanines will be a highlight of your San Francisco trip. With the Presidio of San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge nearby, it’s a perfect place to squeeze into your first day of sightseeing in the city! 

3. Alcatraz Island

The renowned Alcatraz Island, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, built with a tall lighthouse at the center and fortified military facility and prison surrounded by deep sea


Situated just over a mile off the coast of San Francisco, the historic former maximum-security prison and military fortress on Alcatraz Island was originally fortified to protect the city during the California gold rush in the 1850s.

Cannons, a heavily-armed Citadel, and lighthouse made it the most protected military site on the West Coast. By the 1930s, Alcatraz Island was redesigned as a maximum security prison. Military prisoners built the new prison brick by brick, stone by stone. That’s how it earned the nickname “The Rock.”

For 29 years, the nation’s worst prisoners were held here with minimum privileges and chances of escape were slim-to-none. But somehow, 3 inmates did manage to escape the island prison with a makeshift raft: Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin.

The FBI couldn’t determine whether or not the inmates survived after escaping, but concluded it was unlikely with the strong currents and pieces of the raft that were later recovered. This storied history makes it an incredible place to visit in San Francisco. 

You can take a ferry over to the island today and do an all-inclusive tour of the island and prison with an audio guide. While most people opt for day tours, a night tour can be even more titillating! Just make sure to book your tickets in advance as the ferries fill up quickly. 

4. Oracle Park

A crowd gathered at the entrance of Oracle Park, known as one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, waiting admission for the game night


The home of the San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park is a must-visit for sports enthusiasts and baseball fans. Located in the bustling SoMa (South of Market) district with gardens, restaurants, boozy clubs, and museums, visiting Oracle Park can turn into a district tour that shows you another side of the city.

Public tours are held daily at the park, giving you the chance to get behind the scenes at the Visitor’s Clubhouse, dugout, batting cages, memorabilia, the field, and learn about the history and accomplishments (like 3 World Series wins) of the Giants.

Tours begin off 3rd Street at the O’Doul Gate where the Baseball Hall of Famer Juan Marichal statue stands. If you’re coming for a game, you’ll be able to taste delightfully different stadium fare, like Filipino lumpia, Hawaiian poke, or crab sandwiches at Crazy Crab’z. 

Surrounding South Beach and Mission Bay, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are all close by to keep the sightseeing going once you’ve completed your tour. You’ll find tons of restaurants, sports bars, and clubs around the stadium, too.

5. Cable Cars

Tourists excitedly riding a cable car downhill at one of the best places to visit in San Francisco and a blue sea in background


Few experiences are more San Franciscan at heart than riding one of the city’s historic and iconic MUNI cable cars. While it’s faster to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), there’s nothing quite like hopping on a cable car and feeling transported through time as you explore the city. 

Cable cars have been a San Franciscan institution since the 1870s. With 3 routes still operating around the city today, you can take a cable car up and down the hilly streets on your way to many of the best places to visit in San Francisco. 

  • Powell-Mason line: Powell/Market Street turntable to Nob Hill, Bay Street, and Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Powell-Hyde line: Powell/Market Street turntable to Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and Aquatic Park/Ghiardelli Square
  • California Street line: Financial District to Chinatown, Nob Hill, and Van Ness Avenue

Riding is really simple. Just look for a brown and white cable car stop sign or cable car turntable to board. The signs will tell you the name of the route that stops there, where the cable car goes, and hours of operation. 

Riders will pay $8 (cash only) for a single ride ticket. Opt for a multi-day (1, 3, or 7-day) passport for $13-$41 if you plan on riding the cable car around the city throughout your trip. 

6. Twin Peaks

Sweet sunrise over curve narrow sloppy road atop Twin Peaks, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, Downtown

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Looking to get out and explore some of San Francisco’s more natural areas? Hiking up Twin Peaks, two 92o-foot hills overlooking the city and the bay, will put you high above the noise and buzz of the city for a serene and beautiful experience that’s only minutes away from downtown. 

You’ll see San Francisco and the Bay from a unique aerial perspective atop the 64-acre Twin Peaks park area, including the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. This is one of our favorite spots for photography, especially at sunrise and sunset!

You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views at the top along the 0.7-mile trail that meanders up both peaks to the north peak overlook. A telescopic viewer makes the views even clearer! Other trails wind around the eastern and southern slopes and down to Glen Canyon Park. 

Keep an eye out for the rare Mission Blue Butterfly floating among the wild lupine and grasses. Getting there from downtown is simple via Market Street to Portola. Get on Twin Peaks Boulevard and follow the road up to the top parking lot to start your hike. 

7. Golden Gate Park

Two red Pagodas peaking over trees and bushes near the pond at The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco

I and S Walker/Shutterstock

Golden Gate Park is a park designed for visitors to get lost in, with over a thousand acres of lakes, gardens, wildflower meadows, trails, sports fields, and restaurants making it a favorite destination in San Francisco for locals and tourists alike.

If you want to see the laid-back side of the city, Golden Gate Park is where you’ll find it. Take any trail to come upon interesting sculptures, gardens, and plants, like a Japanese Tea Garden with pagodas and stone bridges or the cascades at Huntington Falls.

Gear up for fun with archery, golf, disc golf, skating, tennis, and sports fields galore at the park. Running and walking trails criss-cross the acres for scenic views while people enjoy nice days in this lush and busy park where wonder is around every bend. 

Trails will lead you to dozens of gardens, lakes, and secluded little groves where shade trees create the perfect cover on a warm, sunny day. From community gardens and Dutch windmills to hillside dales with wildflowers, this is a park meant to explore.

Pack a picnic or save room for one of the restaurants and bars within the park, like Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant for upscale coastal cuisine and craft beer, the Japanese Tea Garden’s Tea House, or Blue Heron Boathouse for organic eats in a casual setting by the water.

8. The Castro

Rainbow crosswalk in Castro, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, and few cars crossing an intersection


In the Mission Dolores neighborhood, the Castro District has been a beacon for the gay community since the 1970s. Resident beat culture icons, like Allen Ginsburg, and gay rights activists, like Harvey Milk, made a name for this historically proud community

People know the Castro District for its iconic rainbow street stripes, a symphony of Pride flags waving in the breeze, and LGBT+ owned shops, bars, and restaurants along the streets. This is a hotspot for events and performances — there’s always something happening in the Castro! 

The famous Twin Peaks Tavern, which opened in the 1930s, still operates today and makes the perfect place to grab cocktails and listen to music during your visit.

Check out the GLBT Historic Museum to learn about the twists and turns of the community’s history from the fringes to the forefront, and visit the Castro Theatre to catch a play or comedy show. 

During Pride Month, this district explodes in color and life as millions arrive to celebrate the strength and solidarity of the LGBT+ community on the rainbow-hued streets with parades, events, live music, and more. 

9. Chinatown

People of various races enjoying the busy day at Chinatown, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, for the Autumn Moon Festival with tents and vibrant red all over the place

Michael Urmann/Shutterstock

Nearly every major city has a Chinatown, but there’s something really special about San Francisco’s Chinatown — the oldest and largest in the nation. This is the perfect neighborhood to acquaint you with the diversity that makes San Fran so appealing. 

Originally populated by Chinese immigrants who were displaced from mines during the gold rush, restaurants and shops sprang up from ambitious new residents who wanted to create a taste of home in the city by the bay. 

In early Chinatown history, opium dens and gambling houses were squeezed between wooden homes and restaurants decorated with paper lanterns. Today, you’ll find 30 blocks of pagodas and temples, streets strung with colorful lanterns, tea rooms, mythological sculptures, and restaurants serving Far Eastern cuisine and specialities like dim sum and noodles. 

Visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory for a tour to see how these delectable treats are made and filled with messages, head to the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum to learn about the events that built this neighborhood, and visit the Tin How Temple to see the oldest operational Taoist temple in the U.S. 

While you’re here, try a range of Sichuan, Cantonese, and fusion cuisine at street stalls and upscale restaurants, and explore the shops to discover the trinkets and handcrafted goods you didn’t know you needed. 

10. Angel Island State Park

Two women trekking a a trail to Mt. Livermore on Angel Island State Park, a piece on the best places to visit in San Francisco, and a mass of cloud hovering over the Golden Gate Bridge at a distance


San Francisco is more than its bustling downtown and diverse districts — places like Angel Island State Park offer a tranquil way to spend a day exploring the natural beauty and serenity of the city’s coastal grasslands and hiking trails that lead through meadows, low hills, and dales. 

You’ll take a ferry to get to the park and the ride there is incredibly scenic. Bring your bike along to explore the park in full! Spy the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco skyline on your way to Angel Island. 

Angel Island has 100+ years of military and immigration history, earning it the nickname “Ellis Island of the West.” Today, it’s a great place to unwind and get away from the buzz of the city with recreation like horseback riding, kayaking, trails, and museums to enjoy. 

Visit the Immigration Station and Barracks Museum exhibits, bike or hike miles of trails around the 1.2 square mile island, relax on the beaches, and camp out at one of the scenic sites around the island if you can’t fit it all in one day. 

With some of the best views of the San Francisco Bay and the chance to experience the slower pace of the city, Angel Island State Park is sure to be a highlight of your visit. The ferry cost is $15.5o one-way for adults and the park is open from 8AM to sunset each day year-round. 

11. City Lights Bookstore

The City Lights Bookstore, tiled as one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, on an acute corner in between two streets famous as an independent bookstore-publisher that published the poem Howl of Allen Ginsberg


Turn the page to visit City Lights Bookstore, a shining light for the Beat movement in the 1950s. Started by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a famous Beat poet from the time, this historic bookshop offers a glimpse into the past with its long-standing corner location on Columbus Ave.

Between Chinatown and Little Italy, fantastically colorful murals adorn the exterior, while walls lined with various tomes from bestsellers to rare editions and out-of-print books will capture your attention for an hour or two. 

You’ll find the requisite Kerouac and beatnik volumes in a special section on the first floor if you’re into progressive poetry and social history. Merchandise and gifts are offered for sale, and author signings and literary events are held on a weekly basis.

It’s a bookshop to get lost in, pulling titles from the walls on all 3 floors of the iconic store. Stick around to meet an author, listen to a reading, or mingle with fellow readers visiting the shop from cities around the world. 

12. Burritos in the Mission District

San Francisco’s trendy Mission District is packed with places to explore — like the Mission Dolores Basilica, authentic taquerias, music venues, bars, and parks — but one of the highlights of the district are the overstuffed “Mission burritos.”

The Mission District’s burrito game is on point, as evidenced by the creation of the Mission burrito named for this area: a massive steamed flour tortilla pulled tight around rice, grilled meats, beans, cheese, and a variety of salsas and toppings, wrapped up in foil. 

You’ve probably had your fair share of Mission-style burritos outside of San Fran (they’re served at places like Chipotle and Blue Coast Burrito), but nothing compares to noshing on a true Mission burrito in the Mission District where it all began. 

There’s no shortage of burrito spots in the Mission District, but right on Mission Street, you’ll find some of the best if you don’t mind waiting in line: La Taqueria, El Farolito, and Taqueria Cancun. El Metate on Bryant Street and La Cumbre on Valencia are other delectable options.

Order a Mexican Coke or horchata to enjoy alongside your behemoth burrito and don’t forget to top each bite with extra salsa verde for maximum enjoyment.

13. Haight-Ashbury

A sculpture on a pair of large legs wearing fishnet stockings and red heels out of a window at Haight-Ashbury, a hippy neighborhood and one of the best places to visit in San Francisco


A symbol of the counterculture movement and the birthplace of hippie culture, the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco has its roots in the 1967 Summer of Love, but it’s still promoting peace and unity with shops, cafes, and museums that remember its history today. 

Thousands of young people descended on the neighborhood in the late 60s to take part in the growing movement that prioritized peace and love over war and conformity.

Long hair, beards, flowers, drugs, and freely-given affection made a name for the movement, and much of it went down right here in the Haight-Ashbury district. Communal-style living, sexual freedom, and flowing, colorful clothes drew people by the thousands to the district then.

Today, people come to relive the past with souvenirs, tasty restaurants and unique shops decorated with 60s memorabilia and photos, and history detailing the resistance to the Vietnam War. 

It’s a popular spot to pose for photos in front of the Haight-Ashbury district sign, visit the iconic Amoeba Records, pop into head shops, see the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin houses, and explore the love-all vibes this historic district puts off. 

14. Musee Mecanique

Four people seen passing by Musee Mecanique, a pick on the best places to visit in San Francisco, on a hot afternoon


Make time to explore the whimsy of Musée Mécanique while you’re in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf! This arcade game museum on Pier 45 contains 300+ relics from the past, spanning back to penny arcade games and coin-operated machines from the 20th century.

There are mechanical games that once drew young people in with lights, sounds, and quirky promises to show you your love personality, your strength level, or to reveal your future with generated fortunes.

Hand-cranked music boxes, video arcade games, and more are available to play inside the museum. You’ll also find curiosities like a steam-powered motorcycle (perhaps the only in the world), antique slot machines, and pianos with unusual attachments inside. 

All ages can appreciate the wonder of this museum, which gives young and old the opportunity to see what entertained previous generations and try their hand at games and coin-operated machines that were once on the cutting edge of technology.

It’s an awesome place to spend some time on Fisherman’s Wharf, and we love arriving here on a cable car to complete the retro experience! 

15. California Academy of Sciences

Two women viewing an aquarium, filled with various marine species, inside one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences

Kit Leong/Shutterstock

Remember when we told you how vast and beautiful the 1,000+ acre Golden Gate Park is? The California Academy of Sciences is located within the park and offers a huge collection of natural history exhibits and specimens that’s great fun for history and science lovers to navigate. 

This is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. There are 46 million specimens and exhibits inside, each one providing a window into the distant past of the planet’s species, biomes, and periods when different animals and insects wandered the earth. 

There’s a planetarium where you can journey to the stars and beyond, an aquarium to see aquatic life up-close or take a coral reef “dive,” a living 4-story rainforest biome encased in a glass dome, and exhibits showcasing places from the California coast to African savannah. 

Head outside to stroll through the East Garden filled with exotic and native plants, visit the Wander Woods natural play area and endless hands-on activities for kids, or check out the weekly night events for adults on Thursdays after dark.  

With the surrounding Golden Gate Park to explore and tons of activities and exhibits to explore within the museum, this place is worthy of spending a full day to explore in full. The Academy Cafe and Terrace Restaurant are onsite if you get hungry! 

16. Coit Tower

View on the tall cylindrical Coit Tower peaking over a pocket of trees in a downtown, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco

Matt Boyle/Shutterstock

Standing on Pioneer Park’s Telegraph Hill, the white concrete beacon of Coit Tower overlooks San Francisco at 210 feet high. This is where you’ll find the best views in the city.

Look 360 degrees around you at the low hills, San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, offshore islands, and colorful neighborhoods in the heart of the city. Coit Tower has been open since the early 1930s with its high-up observation deck making it possible to see for miles around you. 

The surrounding Pioneer Park has scenic trails leading around the tower and Telegraph Hill. These are lovely to meander along on a sunny day before heading up to the observation deck. A resident flock of wild parrots can be heard squawking when you explore! 

Inside the base of the tower, you can see painted murals and frescoes showing daily life scenes from the Great Depression. From there, take the elevator (or 13 flights of stairs) up to the top to reach the observation deck and perhaps catch sight of those wild parrots in flight. 

The Coit Tower Cafe is just a few feet from the tower if you’re ready to grab coffee, frozen yogurt, a sandwich, or pizza after your trip to the top. Adults pay $10 admission with $3 discounts for seniors and kids. Take a guided tour for an extra $10 if you have 4-6 people! 

17. The Fillmore

The Struts passionately performing in a concert at The Fillmore, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco, where bright show lights flash from the stage


The Fillmore is one of the most iconic venues in American music history, spanning back to its opening day under the Fillmore Auditorium name in the 1950s. A hub of counterculture and the psychedelic music movement, this music hall represents an essential piece of San Francisco’s past. 

Some of the greatest concerts of all time were held here, with bands like the Grateful Dead and the Jimi Hendrix Experience gracing the stage in the 60s and 70s.

Enter the lobby to see walls covered in photo collages, framing special moments in musical history with top stars like Janis Joplin and the Doors posted on the wall. Memorabilia from the Summer of Love through modern day is highlighted inside.

The auditorium is grand with crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, red curtains, and a room-length bar along the walls fully stocked with every liquor and mixer you can imagine.

The hardwood dance floor has seen its share of shuffling, dancing feet as people eagerly watch performances by artists great and those new to the music scene. An upper balcony level is a more exclusive area with views of the stage, designed much like an opera house.

Best of all, the Poster Room is filled with concert posters from some of the greatest acts of all time, all framed and displayed for easy viewing. A full bar and kitchen are in the Poster Room, which makes a great spot to spend a while admiring the historic legacy of this music hall.

18. The Exploratorium

Coming to San Fran with kids? You’ve got to save time to visit The Exploratorium! This children’s science museum encourages the entire family to engage in hands-on play, marvel at exhibits showcasing tech, science, and the arts, and participate in lessons that make learning about science as fun and natural as playing. 

Frank Oppenheimer, the famed particle physicist, opened the museum in the Palace of Fine Arts originally. Today, it’s on the bay on Pier 15 and 17 — adding gorgeous waterfront views to the museum experience. 

With 650+ exhibits to engage in and explore, this is one of those place you’ll come to for the sake of the kids and end up enjoying just as much as the younger members of your crew. There are 18+ After Dark Thursday Nights for adults if you’re coming without kids! 

Biology, geography, physics, and sensory rooms are part of the experience. From feeling your way through the passages of the Tactile Dome with touch alone to crossing the pedestrian Fog Bridge in a haze, there’s so much to see and do at the Exploratorium. 

There are 2 restaurants on the grounds if you’re staying for lunch or dinner and a gift shop you can visit to bring home cool toys and merchandise that’ll remind you of your visit. 

19. Muir Woods National Monument

A trail of hundred steps around the thriving Muir Woods National Monument as one of the best places to visit in San Francisco

Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Muir Woods National Monument is a beautiful park filled with stands of giant redwood trees, well-worn dirt walking paths, and serene beaches located just 40 minutes from downtown San Francisco.

The national monument is part of the wider Golden Gate National Recreation Area and stretches from San Francisco into Marin and San Mateo counties with a massive 558-acre footprint. It protects old-growth trees, plants, and animals that shelter in the forested oasis of the park. 

This is the site of the famed Bohemian Grove and Cathedral Grove, where towering redwoods create an enchanted sense of complete immersion in the wooded forest. A coho salmon sanctuary at Redwood Creek and rugged hiking trails that lead to hills overlooking the Bay Area for plenty of recreation options. 

From the Visitor’s Center, set out on the Fern Creek Trail, then catch Lost and the Canopy Trail Loop to complete the most popular hike in the monument (moderate, around 1.5 hours).

The Ben Johnson to Dipsea Trail Loop is a little longer (a little over 2 hours) and offers stunning views of the surrounding verdant hills and wildlife. Muir Beach is 3 miles west and the perfect spot to unwind after a rewarding hike! 

20. Fisherman’s Wharf

Empty fishing boats docked on the emerald water at Fisherman's Wharf, a piece on the best places to visit in San Francisco

Gabriele Maltinti/Shutterstock

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most famous places in San Francisco because it’s home to so many iconic attractions, great waterfront views, and excellent restaurants, cafes, and shops to check out while you explore this historic part of the city. 

Watch boats putter about the harbor, see nets brought in squirming with today’s catch, people watch as folks wander the wharf, use it as a launch point for a bay cruise or cable car ride, and pop into the number of waterfront entertainment and dining hotspots along the way. 

From its humble beginnings in the early 1900s as a true fisherman’s wharf, one angler started selling clam chowder and new seafood recipes to passerby: the local specialty Crab Louie salad (crab and Thousand Island dressing), shrimp and crab cocktails, and more. 

Today, those dining traditions live on with modern establishments like Pier Market Seafood Restaurant and the Codmother Fish and Chips. There are dozens of eateries and sweet shops (including Ben & Jerry’s and The Fudgery) to satisfy every taste. 

Break out with an Escape Room game, watch the resident sea lions play, visit the aquarium, see the Cartoon Art Museum, and visit Madame Tussads Wax Museum while you’re on the wharf. 

21. Museum of 3D Illusions

The Museum of 3D Illusions is an awesome spot to visit on your San Francisco trip if you’re looking for interactive fun that bends and morphs your visual perception. This is the ultimate spot for creating share-worthy selfies that defy the imagination.

Bluetooth-enabled tripods are supplied in each of the rooms, painted with 3D scenes that will boggle the mind. Skydive, lie down on San Francisco streets filled with cars, surf huge swells, challenge size perception with the Ames Room, and stand in a shark’s mouth. 

Take the experience up a notch with the Gold Package, where photographers will stage and snap the pictures for you so you can get the best and most realistic angles. You’ll look back on the photos taken in the 3D museum for years to come! 

A Smash Room is perfect to take out a little aggression and break some plates after writing symbolic words or phrases on them. Kids, teens, and adults alike can appreciate the wonders of this cool museum. It’s well worth a visit if you’ll be near Fisherman’s Wharf.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hyde Street cable car overlooking the Bay, one of the best places to visit in San Francisco


With so many things to do in San Francisco, travelers often have a lot of questions to answer before planning a visit. Take a look at the FAQs below to learn more about making the most of your time in the city by the bay! 

What shouldn't you miss in San Francisco?

There are a few special sights and experiences you shouldn’t miss in San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge, a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf, a hike up Twin Peaks hills, and a stroll through Golden Gate Park and its massive network of walking paths, eateries, shady groves, gardens, and lakes.

What are two famous places that tourists visit in San Francisco?

The Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf are two famous places that tourists have to visit in San Francisco. The city is well-known for both attractions, and each one has decades of history behind it. The bridge features a pedestrian lane for walking and biking, while the wharf is fun to explore with family-friendly attractions, restaurants, and shops.

What is San Francisco's most visited attraction?

San Francisco’s most visited attraction is the Golden Gate Bridge, attracting over 10 million visitors annually who come to see its iconic International Orange color, giant cables, and high towers over the San Francisco Bay. Bay cruises offer amazing views of the bridge, as does nearby Baker Beach.

Is 2 days enough to visit San Francisco?

Yes, two days is enough to visit San Francisco if you just want to dip your toes in what makes the city special. Two days gives you enough time to ride a cable car, see the Golden Gate Bridge, wander Fisherman’s Wharf, relax on a beach, and explore a few of the famous neighborhoods and districts.

What month is good to go to San Francisco?

Laid-back September is a good month to go to San Francisco, with October as a close second place. Both months are less popular with tourists and see the warmest weather of the year with average highs around 70-71°F. September sees almost no rainfall while October gets around 2 rainy days on average.

So, What’s the Best Place to Visit in San Francisco?

San Francisco skyline and dramatic sunset over city lights, a picture on the best places to visit in San Francisco

Engel Ching/Shutterstock

The best places to visit in San Francisco are those that link the city’s amazing history to the present day — spots from the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island to the Fillmore and Golden Gate Park. 

If you really want to delve into the heart of San Francisco, make time to enjoy several of the places on this list during your trip. You can’t skip a retro cable car ride down to Fisherman’s Wharf, a meal enjoyed in Chinatown, or a day celebrating peace and love in the Haight-Ashbury district. 

San Francisco has much to show you and tons of experiences just waiting to be had. Are you all set to relish the eclectic and historic quirk of this beautiful bayside city? With the best places to visit in mind, you’ve got every reason to say yes!