Top things to do in San Francisco

World-renowned as the home of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Californian city of San Francisco boast character, culture, distinct neighbourhoods and lots of things to do. For a place just 49 square miles in size (less than 1/10th size of Los Angeles), there is so much to explore here. We have narrowed down our Top 5.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island San Francisco

It is the prison that was open as a federal penitentiary from 1934-163 and at one point, housed the famous convicts, Al Capone and George 'Machine Gun' Kelly. Now, this once infamous prison island is part of the Bay Area’s 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Located one and a half miles from Fishermans Wharf, it became notorious for failed escape attempts who were lured by the glittering lights of the city. Take a ferry ride out to the island and see the prison up-close, walk around outside the Cellhouse and the Wardens House and explore the history of the outdoor spaces including Eagle Plaza, the Recreation Yard, and the Rose Garden. Or, perhaps take a tour of the cell house interior where you will see how prisoners lived. Although the last inmates were transferred off the island in 1963, the main prison block with its steel bars, claustrophobic cells, mess hall and library are still structurally intact.


Golden Gate Bridge 

Known to be San Francisco's iconic landmark and its captivating deep orange hue, the Golden Gate Bridge is truly a sight to behold and attracts international visitors each year. The suspension bridge spans over one mile connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Choose to cruise San Francisco Bay, explore the Golden Gate recreational area, ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, and don't forget to take a few snaps of this postcard-worthy landmark.


Cable Cars

Take in the incredible views up the steep hills of San Francisco on the famous cable cars, which is now the world's last manually operated cable car system. With three routes to choose from (Powell/Hyde, Powell/Mason, California/Van Ness) you won't be compromised on the views with this option being one of the best to see the city. And, here's an insider tip to make the most of your cable car experience; sit on the side facing the bay as this will offer you the best views of the city - the perfect choice for those photo opportunities!).


Painted Ladies

One of the most photographed locations in San Francisco, Alamo Square's famous "Postcard Row" at Hayes and Steiner Streets is a visual treat. These stunning Victorian houses have become a pop-culture staple and are one of the most well-recognised examples of California Victorian architecture. These beautiful houses boast a stunning backdrop of downtown skyscrapers, providing a beautiful contrast. 

Fishermans Wharf 

Fishermans Wharf San Francisco

Get your fill of San Francisco seafood, sourdough, sea lions and souvenirs at Fishermans Wharf.

Take your pick from a wide array of waterfront restaurants serving fresh seafood, see fishermen unload their catch at Pier 49, nicknamed 'Fish Alley', grab your choice of souvenirs to take back home, explore San Francisco's history at San Francisco Dungeons and take a ferry out to Alcatraz Island and Angel Island State Park at Pier 33 - the perfect option for everyone to enjoy.

Contact our America experts on 0161 888 5632 today to start planning your dream holiday to San Francisco and beyond or explore a wide range of our suggested America itineraries

*Please note, these attractions may be operating differently due to COVID-19.


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