California Dreamin’ – 9 Must-Visit Attractions in The City by The Bay
Visiting San Francisco? Whether it’s your first or fifth time venturing across the Atlantic to the City by the Bay, there are certain attractions you need to tick off your bucket list.
From Golden Gate Bridge to the city’s famous cable cars, San Francisco is a city that appeals to visitors of all ages and interests. For a complete guide on the city’s dining experiences, check out our food guide to San Francisco.
Likely the most famous bridge in the world, Golden Gate Bridge impresses even the most experienced of travellers. Spanning 1.7 miles, the bright red colour stands out as a symbol of the city.
Connecting San Francisco with nearby Sausalito, the bridge is said to be one of the most photographed things on the planet. You can drive, walk or cycle across the bridge, catching magnificent views of the sea, San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz and Sausalito on route.
Located on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Curious visitors to the notorious former prison can tour the eerie accommodation of some of America’s most notorious criminals. To reach the island, take an Alcatraz Cruises ferry from Pier 33. Advanced booking is highly recommended.
Home to Pier 39 and its resident sea lions, Fisherman’s Wharf also boasts several renowned and historical eateries, including Bistro Boudin, home to San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread.
From here, it’s a short walk to many tourist attractions and shops – the perfect place to spend a sunny summer day.
Union Square is home to the city’s most exclusive designer boutiques and department stores. Even if you’re not planning to splurge, a good wander around Union Square is not to be missed.
The square serves as a popular meeting point for locals and is also just a short walk from Chinatown, so be sure to visit the Dragon Gate and try some Asian cuisine.
Visit the Ferry Building Marketplace at the port of San Francisco for a culinary experience that won’t disappoint. The market is home to a number of artisan food producers and eateries, along with some more unique offerings (I’m looking at you chocolate worms).
There’s also a great selection of homeware, books and other products, many of which are produced locally. The Ferry Building is also a great spot to catch some views of the Bay Bridge, which is longer than the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
See the San Francisco Giants play a game at AT&T Park. Attending a baseball game is a rite of passage when visiting the US. Munch on some garlic fries and cheer for the home team. It’s a great social experience, even if you haven’t a clue what’s going on!
If the rain comes out to play or it’s just a particularly dull day (cheers Karl the Fog), why not take a trip to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
With free admission to the ground floor galleries, you could easily lose yourself in here for a few hours. Besides, it’s always great to visit at least one museum in a new city as it provides a solid look at the culture and history of the area.
In search of the perfect majestic city view of San Francisco? Then a trip to Twin Peaks should be on your list of activities while visiting the City by the Bay. Located up many of the city’s famous hills, Twin Peaks is a fantastic vantage point.
Just be wary of heading up the hill for sunrise if the city’s tormentor, Karl the Fog is about, you won’t see anything by fog for miles. But this in itself is a pretty fascinating experience.
Let San Francisco’s cable cars transport you around the city, from the hills to the waterfront and beyond. The historic cable cars have been transporting San Franciscans since the late 19th century and the exhilarating ride is highly recommended, especially for first-time visitors to the city.
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.