Things to do when in San Francisco and the Bay Area

The beautiful and vibrant city of San Francisco never ceases to awe you whether you are visiting this place for the first time or have been here multiple times or even if you are a local resident. Rich in history, diverse in culture, dotted with world-famous attractions such as majestic Golden Gate Bridge, lovely Victorian Mansions, iconic Cable Cars, stunning waterfront, magnificent parks, famous operas, ballet shows and countless other things to do and see; the city appeals to all age groups and hues of travelers. The city offers spectacular culinary experience as well, especially for foodies with varied tastes and palates with its multi-cuisine and multi-cultural food scene.

If you are visiting SFO for the first time, ‘Hop on Hop off’ bus service is one of the convenient ways to get around and explore the city. Services are on time at the designated bus spots and buses are not crowded. Viator.com and Getyourguide.com offer many trips and tours which cover the places in San Francisco and around the Bay Area.

As there is so much to explore a little bit of advanced planning is required to get the best of travel experience and this includes making sure all attractions and visiting spots are mapped, itineraries are planned, and advance bookings are made.

Here is the list of the attractions which are not to be missed when you are in San Francisco and the Bay Area :

Ride a Wooden Cable Car – One of the key attractions on everyone’s list of things to do in SFO is to take a ride on these historic wooden Cable cars. These cars have been ferrying people since 1873 and is a fun way to explore the city and is must-do when in San Francisco. You will surely enjoy the ride as it takes you up and down the steep hilly streets of SFP. The ride along the Powell-Hyde line is the most scenic out of the three routes. These are usually long queues to get into these cable cars, however, it is all worth the wait. While you are there, you can also visit the Cable Car Museum located in Fisherman’s Wharf area to know more about these iconic historic wooden cars and their history through a large collection of mechanical displays and historic photographs.


Ride on Muni’s Historical Street Cars – Delightful to the eyes, convenient and one of the best ways to explore the town, these cars take you back in time as seen in old vintage movies.


Walk or Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge – Walk or bike across one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, enjoy the breathtaking views of the Bay and the Bay islands, watch ships and huge vessels pass by under the bridge while feeling the crisp and cool breeze. You can continue to walk across the bridge and reach the Hendrick vista point from where you can enjoy the majestic view of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline in the background.


Shop at Union Square – Those looking for some retail therapy, can visit Union Square. The area offers many shopping options with its more than 500 plus retail stores, boutiques and luxury brand stores – Gucci, Chanel and many more. The area also has some of the best hotels, restaurants and cafes. There is also a park in the vicinity where you can sit, relax and enjoy various seasonal events and shows like art exhibitions, live music, film nights etc.


Admire the architecture at the Palace of Fine Arts – This beautiful monumental structure was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. One of the few surviving structures from the event, perched on a lagoon, where you can stroll along its gorgeous outdoor paths and admire the beauty and details of its design, structure and statues. This is a beautiful place to spend time relaxing on the lawn and watch the swans roaming around the lagoon while enjoying the cool breeze.


Visit the Golden Gate Park – This beautiful man-made park, spread over 1000+ acres and home to many San Francisco’s top attractions, is a place for everyone to enjoy. The California Academy of Science, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Botanical Gardens and the De Young Museum of Fine Arts are just a few popular attractions out of many. It also features the Japanese Tea Garden, Stow Lake, Windmills, Tulip Park and several other beautiful groves and gardens.


Grab a bite at the Boudin Bakery – San Francisco is one of the country’s best food cities offering a wide range of eating options – world-class restaurants, cafes, bistros, bakeries and even food trucks. Known for its multi-cuisine and multi-cultural food scene, the city offers a spectacular culinary experience . A visit to San Francisco is incomplete without savoring its Sourdough bread bowl filled with delicious Clam Chowder – San Francisco’s quintessential culinary delight. Read More…


Japanese Garden, San Francisco

Find your moment of Zen and peace at the Japanese Garden in SFO– Strolling in this garden evokes a Zen state of mind. The classic elements of Japanese gardens – stones, colors, plants, and water – placed all around create a feeling of tranquility, harmony, and peace. Cascading waterfalls, serene Koi pond, arched drum bridge, stone lanterns, beautiful pagodas, statues and swirling patterned rock pathway all in perfect harmony make a beautiful landscape and gives a glimpse of Japanese art and takes you on a spiritual journey of spiritual awakening. Read More…


Enjoy the flavors of China at the China Town – Situated in downtown San Francisco, flanked by Powell, Kearny, California, and Broadway streets, this Chinatown is the oldest in the US and one of the largest Chinese ethnic neighborhoods outside of Asia and it would not be wrong calling it as a city within a city. Read More…


Ferry Building San Francisco

Visit the specialty Marketplace the Ferry Building -Set inside San Francisco’s iconic Ferry building, this specialty marketplace is frequented and loved by locals, ferry commuters, savvy chefs, and tourists alike. The marketplace features an incredible variety of boutique shops, eclectic food outlets and handmade craft products, and showcases the local flavor of Bay Area’s products, and is also a perfect spot for avid food lovers. Read More…


Enjoy at the Fisherman’s Wharf and say hello to the beloved residents of Pier 39 – Sea Lions -The popular neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see attraction if you are visiting San Francisco. Bit touristy, but you will enjoy exploring the area, its scenic waterfront, and all the charm the place has to offer. Read More…


Stroll through the Muir Woods – Located just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County near the town of Mill Valley, Muir Woods is home to some of the most beautiful and incredible coastal redwood trees which are the tallest living trees in the world, attracting millions of visitors from around the world every year. Read More…


Visit the quaint and beautiful bayside town of Sausalito – The quaint and beautiful bayside town of Sausalito is a popular day-trip destination and draws tourists and residents from San Francisco and from other regions of the bay area. This town is an ideal getaway for those looking for a quick break outside of a busy city, and experience the easy-paced life of an American small town with history. Read more


Trip to Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay – Bright sunshine making the endless sea shimmer; rhythmic ebb and flow of the Pacific tides setting the tone of the sea; surfers surfing enthusiastically and sharing a deep connection with the ocean; seagulls, pelicans and cormorants resting on the sea battered natural bridge making for a delightful view; towering historic lighthouse overlooking the sea adding to the spectacular coastal settings. This is simply the place I want to stay forever, bask in the fresh ocean breeze and spend my sun-soaked afternoons. Read More…

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