25 Best Things to Do in San Francisco | Northern California

For a hub of excitement, you need to visit San Francisco. Here you can enjoy commercial, cultural, and many other activities in and around the city. Furthermore, the metropolis shot to fame during the Californian Gold Rush in 1849, making it the largest West Coast city. So if you are planning a trip to this famous city here are 25 things you can do in San Francisco.

The Best Things for You to Do in San Francisco

25. Enjoy Coffee at Buena Vista

Buena Vista
Source: punchdrink / Eric Wolfinger

Drink some Irish coffee at Buena Vista as their famous bartender Nolan serves up a wide selection of coffees here every day. Taste the recipe dating back to 1952 made in different ways. Watch how he prepares the beverage on a busy night as he sets up to 12 stemmed glasses in a row while strategically filling them for you to enjoy. Make sure to sit at the bar as Larry has some magic tricks up his sleeve as well.

24. Gawk at the Architecture

Gawk at the Architecture
Source: Pinterest / Jesse Collins

Enjoy the best architecture at the Palace of Fine Arts, dating back to 1919. The major attraction is standing at the foot of the lagoon to see the daylight reflecting on the palace. Enjoy a brisk walk of the grounds and head inside to view the massive pillars with details found indoors. Take your time, as you need to appreciate every moment inside. Even better, you can visit the place at night to see it lit up as well.

23. Visit Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square
Source: Destination360

Here you can enjoy the best chocolate made at the fisherman wharf. According to legend, the Italian founder traveled via Peru to San Francisco in the 1800s and established his chocolate plant here. You can still find small-scale produce here, as the storefront is an iconic symbol known in the area. Here you can sit at a bar or drink delicious chocolate sundaes. Furthermore, there are some eccentric shops to explore, as well.

22. Get a Workout at the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

16th Avenue Tiled Steps
Source: Reddit / spicedpumpkin

Here you can see gorgeous mosaic artwork displayed on the 163 stairs you climb. You can see waves of colors shown on the steps. Enjoy viewing vibrant marine life to birds. Once you reach the top, you can marvel at the breathtaking view of the fascinating artwork here.

21. Enjoy a Gastronomical Meal

Gastronomical Meal
Source: Yelp / Stephanie Z

Visit the Atelier Crenn restaurant in San Francisco for a gastronomy meal. See how the chefs take chemical and physical transformations of the ingredients used to prepare the meal. Here you experience powdered food, delectable foams, to deconstructed dishes. The restaurant has a cutting-edge menu with multi-course tasting for your taste buds to enjoy and the eyes will not forget.

20. A Spectacular View at Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks
Source: Unsplash / David Barajas

For the best, view of San Francisco head over to Twin Peaks. Here you get a 360° view of the city standing on the hilltop in the middle of the town. You can see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Mission District. While there look, out for the mission butterfly an endangered species. Alternatively, look out for the raccoons they are cheeky.

19. Cycle or walk across the Golden Gate

Golden Gate Bridge
Source: Unsplash / Jeff Finly

Instead of taking a car drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoy a walk or bike ride instead. You can rent a bike or bring your one with you for a ride. A popular place to rent a bike is from Blazing Saddles that offers you an eight-mile bike tour across the bridge. You can enjoy a self-guided trip as well but make sure to abide by the bridge’s laws while there.

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18. Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths
Source: Unsplash / MontyLov

Enjoy a moment of yesteryear at the Sutro Baths created by the former mayor of San Francisco. The entertainment complex burned down mysteriously after closing its doors in 1960. Here there used to be a tidal salt-water pool with low-cost entertainment. Today you only find the ruins left behind and sit on a hill overlooking the Pacific Coast. You will find several trails leading to the ruins.

17. Enjoy a Mind Challenging Experience

Mind Challenging Experience
Source: Hoodline

Take part in the Real Escape Game in San Francisco to escape from a trapped room. Solve the riddles and puzzles to find your way out of the locked room.

16. Take part in Trampoline Dodge Ball

Trampoline Dodge Ball
Source: Yelp “Houseofair”

Visit the House of Air for some trampoline dodge ball. The jumpy game offers weekly leagues for you to take part in. Here you can make new friends while jumping around on the trampoline.

15. Pose at the Haight Ashbury Sign

Haight Ashbury Sign
Source: Flickr “MK Feeney”

Haight Ashbury is a historic neighborhood in San Francisco. Here you can find the same color and vibrancy of hay-days while taking a walking tour. Hear stories of some famous stars and leaders who used to live here. So get your circle sunglasses on and throw a peace sigh to capture an iconic moment at the intersection of two famous streets in the city.

14. Visit the Palace Hotel for Afternoon Tea

The Palace Hotel

Nothing comes grander than the Palace Hotel. Feel like royalty while sipping on a cup of tea at this famous place. You will sit in an admirable glass atrium decorated with furniture, greenery, and chandeliers. Enjoy a cup of tea served in China with an English menu that is continuously changing. Listen to the pianist tinkle away on the piano and see the rich history the hotel has to offer.

13. Enjoy a stroll at the Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea Garden
Source: Unsplash “Antonio Gabola”

Transport yourself back in time when visiting the Japanese Tea Garden. Relax at the koi pond and see the pagodas when sitting in the tea garden. There is an authentic teahouse for a relaxing atmosphere to reflect on things in the mind. Here you find various carvings with sculptures throughout the garden.

12. View Fantastic Artwork at Coit Tower

Coit Tower
Source: Unsplash “Ferdinand Stohr”

See the best artwork display at Coit Tower and a must when visiting San Francisco. Take the elevator to the top for a spectacular view of the city. The towers built with the money left by Lillian Hitchhook Coit, a wealthy woman who lived in the city years ago.

11. Explore the Mission District

Mission District
Source: Flickr “Pelin Karakas”

Explore the murals at Balmy Alley in the Mission District. The artwork display dates back to the 80s and displays the human and political injustices of the time. Today you can see a colorful collection that depicts each artist’s feelings with world issues.

10. Visit the Exploratorium at Night

Visit the Exploratorium at Night
Source: Exploratorium

Enjoy an 18+ event at the Exploratorium After Dark for a night of fun. The circus funhouse serves drinks and is the home to a wide selection of art, science, and perception exhibits. Here you can become interactive with more than 600 displays that comprise of distorting mirrors, kaleidoscopes, and so much more. While viewing the art, you listen to great music and guest speakers.

9. Enjoy a Cable Car Ride

Enjoy a Cable Car Ride
Source: Flickr “Chairman Pip”

Leaving San Francisco is not complete without taking a cable car ride. The icon has carried many tourists up and down the steep hills in the city. Furthermore, it is a great way to travel to this popular destination. Once completing the ride, you can head over to the Cable Car Museum to learn the fascinating history of this transport system.

8. See what is blooming in the Conservatory

See what is blooming in the Conservatory
Source: Paradise found around

The Conservatory of Flowers is a greenhouse with a botanical garden in the city. Here you can smell the roses in bloom and see flowers blossoming throughout the year. See Victorian architecture on display while roaming through domestic to exotic plants from around the world.

7. Enjoy a giggle at Pier 39

Enjoy a giggle at Pier 39
Source: Pinterest

Here you can find a school of sea lions located at Pier 39. A fact is that the sea lions took the place over from boaters years ago and still found lying in the sun here. Furthermore, they are one of the city’s main attractions. Here they find plenty of food to eat and remain safe from predators. You will see hundreds of sea lions lazing around with occasional dipping and diving into the water.

6. Enjoy the Adult Playground

Enjoy the Adult Playground
Source: Pinterest

At Seward Street Slides, you can have adult fun by taking your toboggan ride. The slides are steep and offer you a fast ride. Here you can race with your partner on the 14-year old girl designed slides that opened its doors in the 70s.

5. Visit Alcatraz during the Night

Source: Upsplash

Instead of exploring this famous military prison during the day, why not head there at night. Take the evening tour for an exciting adventure of the prison. At night, the jail looks spookier than during the day. You will get chills down your spine and best to book a couple of months before the time.

4. Find the Gold Painter Fire Hydrant

Gold Painter Fire Hydrant
Source: California Earthquake Authority (CEA)

Explore the Mission District for the Gold Painter Fire Hydrant that saved the city during the 1906 earthquake. With the water supplied by this fire hydrant, they could put out fires in the district over two days. There is a plaque on the sidewalk to honor the firefighters who put out the flames and each year; they re-paint the fire hydrant gold.

3. Drink a Delicious Cocktail

Delicious Cocktail
Source: Hari Nandakumar

Head over to Secret Speakeasy when making an appointment with Wilson & Wilson. With the password received, you get a place to enjoy a relaxing moment at the Bourbon & Branch 1920 style bar. Once you enter inside a dimly lit area greets you where you can enjoy a three-course cocktail. Expert mixologists are offering you an explosive taste for your palate.

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2. Turn up Your Smile at the Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum
Source: Trip.com

The museum is remarkable to walk through and explore the life of Walt Disney. There are loads of interactive exhibits displayed all year round. However, we do not recommend it for smaller kids but is an excellent option for teens and adults to visit.

1. End Your Day at one of the Food Trucks

Food Truck
Source: Headout Blog

One of the main eatery attractions found around San Francisco is the food trucks. Go Off the Grid and enjoy a night at Fort Mason. Partake in the food party with more than 32 vendors with drinks and food. Here your senses will get overloaded and there are fun games to do as well.

San Francisco has many things for you to do from the normal to abnormal. So the next time you are not sure what to do in the city, make sure to head back here for things to do.


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