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 a resident.

Rich in history, diverse in culture, dotted with world-famous attractions such as the 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 a 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, the ‘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 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 – Taking a ride on these historic wooden cable cars is one of the key attractions which tops everyone’s list of things to do in SFO. These cars have been ferrying people since 1873 and are a fun way to explore the city and must-do when in San Francisco. You will surely enjoy the ride as it takes you up and down the steep hilly streets of SFO. Out of the three routes, the ride along the Powell-Hyde line is the most scenic. There are usually long queues to get into these cable cars, however, it is all worth the wait. While you’re there, you can also visit the Cable Car Museum in Fisherman’s Wharf area to learn more about these iconic historic wooden cars and their history through a large collection of mechanical exhibits and historic photographs.


Ride on Muni’s Historical Street Cars – These cars transport you back in time, as seen in old vintage movies, and are visually appealing, comfortable, and one of the best ways to explore the city.


Walk or Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge – Walk or bike across one of the world’s most magnificent bridges, enjoy the breathtaking views of the Bay and its islands, and watch ships and huge vessels pass under the bridge while enjoying the crisp and cool breeze. You can continue walking across the bridge and reach the Hendrick vista point, where you can take in the beautiful view of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline.


Shop at Union Square – Those looking for some retail therapy, can visit Union Square. With over 500 department shops, boutiques, and luxury brand stores such as Gucci, Chanel, and others, the place provides a multitude of shopping opportunities. 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, and so on.


Admire the architecture at the Palace of Fine Arts – This beautiful monumental structure was built for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. One of the few remaining structures, 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 some time relaxing on the lawn and watching the swans frolic in the lagoon while enjoying the cool breeze.


Visit the Golden Gate Park – This beautiful man-made park, spanning over 1000+ acres, is home to many of San Francisco’s top attractions and is a place for everyone to enjoy. Among the many popular attractions are the California Academy of Science, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Botanical Gardens and the De Young Museum of Fine Arts.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 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 the 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. It is a 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 spend my sun-soaked afternoons, basking in the fresh ocean breeze. Read More…

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