The City by the Bay
As one of the top destinations in the U.S., there's so much to choose from in San Francisco. Even on a long weekend, it can be tough to hit the top attractions in the bay area. To help you plan your trip, we've put together 10 of the best parts of San Francisco that aren't to be missed.
Alcatraz. Whether a history buff or not, Alcatraz Island is an iconic landmark in San Francisco. While most people visit Alcatraz Island during the day, we recommend the night tour. The night tour features much less people, nearly giving you the island to yourself, plus special programs that aren't offered during the day. Other highlights of the night tour includes a beautiful sunset and night views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bride is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. You'll want to put on a good pair of athletic shoes for this one. While many walk the bridge, some also rent bicycles and ride across it to the cozy oceanfront city of Sausalito. If you rent a bike, be aware of the steep hill that goes down into the town, which is no easy ride back up.
AT&T Park. It's gone through many name changes over it's short existence, but AT&T Park has established itself as one of the premier MLB stadiums. The park has a lot of unique features, from the kayakers waiting for home run balls to drop in the water to the large Coca Cola bottle slide to the great views of San Francisco. Not to mention, the summer weather in San Francisco is often an attraction in and of itself.
Coit Tower. Coit Tower is another iconic landmark in San Francisco. The 210-foot tower is located at the top of Telegraph Hill and offers some of the best views of the bay area. The tower is a unique architectural landmark making for great photos, but make sure you go to the top of the tower to get one of the best views in San Francisco.
Fisherman's Wharf. Fisherman's Wharf is typical San Francisco, but don't let the droves of tourists deter you from a day by the harbor. Fisherman's Wharf is ideal for a weekend afternoon, when there's more going on, such as a variety of different shows and street performers. One of the most notable features are the seals of Pier 39, which is a popular gather spot for taking photos and videos of the seals that hang out there.
Chinatown. While there are many Chinatowns scattered around the world, there are none that are as big as the one in San Francisco. Go with an empty stomach and enjoy walking around the many markets and restaurants to try a variety of dim sum. Another unique feature is being able to see and try fortune cookies being made right in front of you.
Fort Mason. Located in the Northern Marina District of San Francisco, Fort Mason is one of the most historic parts of the bay area, dating back to the 1800s. Today it features a beautiful area for walking around and enjoying beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco. Friday nights are popular when many of the city's food trucks gather for an evening of good food and local music.
California Academy of Sciences. Cal Academy of Sciences is one of the most unique museums in the world, and the one museum you'll want to make sure you visit in San Francisco. Not only is it one of the largest museums, but is a 3-in-1 museum. Recently undergoing a massive renovation, the Cal Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum, aquarium, and planetarium, all in one. Make sure to give yourself a full day here.
Union Square. Union Square is but one of a long list of revered landmarks in the bay area, located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. This is a great place for meeting friends or family before exploring San Francisco's great restaurants or boutique shops. A beautiful, open square, you'll often find people gathered here on warm afternoons.
Beach Blanket Babylon. Beach Blanket Babylon may just be the one thing on this list you've never heard of. Well-known among locals, Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest running musical revue in America. Even if you're not into musicals, you may find yourself entertained. The revue changes frequently, as it spoofs the latest in pop and political culture.