5 Must-See Attractions in San Francisco

Sight-Seeing in San Francisco

If you’re trying to figure out what to do in San Francisco, then start with the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s the city’s icon and one of the foremost attractions in San Francisco. Many other interesting places to visit in San Francisco offer free entry, but there are some special attractions you need to pay to visit. To help you plan a vacation to San Francisco, we’ve put together a brief description of our five must-see attractions in the city.

1. Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is touted as the most photographed bridge in the world. You should definitely plan to see its 746-foot orange towers, which have been standing since 1937. Get a scenic view of this 4,200-foot (1.7-mile) bridge from Baker Beach, Fort Point or Crissy Field. Walk along the east sidewalk anytime between 5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily. Make sure you bring extra clothing to keep warm, since the bridge is frequently surrounded by fog.

Here’s what you can do on the Golden Gate Bridge:

  • Bike, walk, shop or enjoy a guided tour.
  • Visit the Welcome Center to get historical information and new merchandise.
  • See the 12-foot stainless steel bridge used as a test tower in 1933.
  • Learn about the engineering, science and history behind the bridge’s construction through interactive events.

2. Golden Gate Park

This picturesque park, founded in 1871, stretches for over 1,000 acres and surrounds many of the best landmarks in San Francisco. When you visit Golden Gate Park, you can see any of the following:

  • Conservatory of Flowers: This architectural gem has rare tropical flowers and plants that have been brought from different parts of the world. It also boasts five distinct galleries. 
  • Stow Lake: This pristine, manmade lake is right in the heart of Golden Gate Park. Here you can rent a pedal boat, electric boat or rowboat, and enjoy stunning views of the park in the afternoon.
  • Buffalo Paddock: Watch huge creatures roam majestically on the grounds of the park.
  • Outdoor Sports: The park has 21 tennis courts where you can play with other visitors in the evenings or on weekends. If you love disc golf, you can also enjoy playing here, as the Golden Gate Park has the only course in San Francisco.

3. Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz was converted into a military prison during the 1870s. It became famous for holding the most notorious criminals when it was converted into a maximum-security prison in 1934. Criminals such as Robert Stroud, Al Capone and George Kelly were held here in the early part of the 20th century.

Alcatraz, which is also known as “the Rock,” has been closed for decades — but you can visit the island by ferry from Pier 33. The self-guided audio tour was narrated by inmates and the guards who worked here. It’ll tell you a lot about jailbreak attempts, riots and the occupation of the island by native Americans who were asking for reparations in 1969. The round trip usually takes about three hours.

4. Fisherman’s Wharf

This festive waterfront marketplace is popular with tourists and locals. Sea lions have turned the floats on the Pier 39 Marina into their home, and visitors usually stand by the railings to watch them play. A short walk will get you to Madame Tussauds and the San Francisco Dungeon.

5. California Academy of Sciences

This amazing museum is located inside Golden Gate Park. It’s the only museum in the world that houses a natural history museum, planetarium and aquarium. At the California Science Academy, you can:

  • See the playful penguins in the African Hall
  • View the awe-inspiring coral reef system and a four-story rainforest
  • Touch a rock that was once in outer space

These are some of the most exciting attractions to see in San Francisco. This great city has much more to offer. At Marcotte Properties, we help new residents find affordable housing in areas around the Bay Area. Give us a call at 800-538-1724 to learn more, or use our contact page to get in touch with us anytime.

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