These things to do in San Francisco will leave you falling in love with the Bay area. Aside from the Golden Gate Bridge, and Golden Gate Park, the city has tons of delicious food you can stuff yourself with. This mini guide lists down some of the best places to eat, best things to do, and other helpful advice for traveling to San Francisco.
Things to Do in San Francisco, California
In this article:
- What Time Is it in San Francisco
- Free Things to Do in San Francisco
- Things to Eat in San Francisco
- Most Popular Restaurants in San Francisco
- Most Popular Places to Shop in San Francisco
- Most Popular Destinations in San Francisco
- Check Out Art and History in San Francisco
- How to Get Around in San Francisco
- Travel Tips for San Francisco
1. What Time Is It in San Francisco
San Francisco is part of the GMT-7 time zone. It practices Daylight Saving Time (DST), as with many other states. DST started March 11, 2018, and will end on Nov 4, 2018.
2. Free Things to Do in San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge is a staple tourist destination. You should never miss your chance to walk over to it and take photos of the beloved landmark.
You can also take advantage of the free admission days for some of the attractions at the Golden Gate Park:
- Conservatory of Flowers – Every first Tuesday of the month
- California Academy of Sciences – Every third Wednesday of the month; Free for San Francisco residents (needs proof of residency) twice a month
- deYoung Museum – A free event every Friday night (6 pm to 8:45 pm) with cultural exhibits, performances and art activities for all ages
Despite being SF’s most popular shopping center in the city, Union Square is more than just that. They also house some of the finest art galleries in the area. They also occasionally have outdoor performances in the middle of the bustle of the big city. If you’re into people watching or just want to chill and enjoy a good book at a park then the Union Square Park is the answer. There is also a free Wi-Fi network for everyone provided to the public.
You may also visit the most crooked street in the country—Lombard Street. You can attempt to drive down or just take photos. It’s free to visit. But, you may need to shell out a few bucks for traveling to and from Lombard Street.
Wander around Lands End for pockets of beaches, shipwrecks, and the ruins of Sutro Baths. In love with animals? Head over to Pier 39 and watch the sea lions. Did you know the all-time record of sea lions at the pier reached a total of 1,701?
3. Things to Eat in San Francisco
San Francisco is a melting pot of different cuisines. From Asian to European, to Ethiopian, there’s something for everybody’s taste buds.
Give the Koffee Krunch Kake from Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop at Japantown a try. Just be sure to arrive early. The cake usually sells out by 11 am every day. In the mood for some Mexican? Grab some grub at the Primavera stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. Their chilaquiles are to die for!
There’s also the famous fish and chips at Fisherman’s Wharf. Don’t forget to grab an order of their crab and clam chowder, as well! They sell like hotcakes there for a reason.
4. Most Popular Restaurants in San Francisco
Looking for a unique dining experience? Try the Eat With program at Don of the Bimini Twist. Don, himself, will be there to take you on a journey of gastronomic proportions.
In the mood for some Italian? Order a plate of Ravioli from Seven Hills. It’s highly recommended among its diners. Another Italian favorite is the Molinari Delicatessen. Their sandwiches are huge. You can also customize your ingredient for your own order.
5. Most Popular Places to Shop in San Francisco
The 1960s spirit comes alive at San Francisco’s Haight Street. Their stores are teeming with tie-dyes and trinkets. Also as previously mentioned, Union Square is home to a lot of retailers—from fast fashion to luxury brands. San Francisco also has its own Westfield mall. Theirs boasts of the second largest Nordstrom in the country. It’s located in the heart of downtown area, so you won’t miss it!
6. Most Popular Destinations in San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island are two of San Francisco’s definite must-sees. Once you’ve crossed those off your list, feel free to wander around Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s one of the busiest tourists areas. It’s also one of the best places to grab some grub.
Twin Peaks and Lombard Street must be paid a visit, as well. Twin Peaks gives you fantastic views of the San Francisco Bay Area. Lombard Street, on the other hand, might make you feel a little uneasy. It’s the popular steep road of SF with eight hairpin turns. It’s definitely interesting seeing all the cars maneuver their way on the street.
7. Check Out Art and History in San Francisco
Celebrating two years of operation! One visit to the American Bookbinders Museum and you will never look at a book the same way again. What was a simple thing you took for granted becomes an object of admiration and wonder. Your tax-deductible #GivingTuesday donation helps us expand and develop hands-on workshops for makers and book making enthusiasts, preserving and continuing the art and craft of book making for future generations, and in expanding our tours to multiple formats with special topical docent-led tours delving deeper into specific areas of interest. We can’t do it without your support! Join ABM in preserving this rich cultural history today! https://bookbindersmuseum.org/support/donate/ #bookstagram #industrialrevolution #bookbindersmuseum
Experience art the SF way! Be it art, performing arts, or history, SF got it. If you’re into arts, the Bay Area has lots and lots to offer. But you can start with the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), The Color Factory, and Cartoon Art Museum. Do you love performing arts? Experience theater, musicals, opera and ballet like no other at the San Francisco Theather and The Palace of Fine Arts.
Know more about the history of San Francisco by visiting these museums and more in the Bay Area:
- American Bookbinders Museum
- Cable Car Museum
- California Historical Society
- GLBT History Museum
- North Beach Museum
- Society of California Pioneers
- Wells Fargo History Museum
8. How to Get Around in San Francisco
There are two options for getting around in San Francisco. Aside from walking, you can choose to hop on the BART or ride through Muni. Visiting tourists can also take advantage of the Citypass. The pass includes both Muni transportation and several participating attractions. Overall, it can save you as much as $50. Another way to travel the city of SF is through a cable car. It’s fun, relaxing and a nice way to explore and marvel at the beautiful city.
9. Travel Tips for San Francisco
It’s advised to avoid bringing a car when visiting San Francisco. Parking is usually hard to come by. Instead, you can look for accommodations in Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf. It’ll be easier to use public transportation from there.
Also, remember to book your Alcatraz Island reservations in advance. At least 2 weeks is a good measure. Remember to ask about tour details, as well. Some tours and companies will only let you sail past Alcatraz Island, robbing you of the full experience on the island.
Looking for more things to do in San Francisco? Press play on the video to add more things to your “free” list:
California is more than just Los Angeles alone. There are tons of things to do in San Francisco, too, apart from the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, it’s best to have at least three days to fully experience the city by the bay. Also, don’t forget to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. All that exploring can take a toll on your feet.
Have more awesome ideas on things to do in San Francisco? Share them with us in the comment section below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on November 6, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.