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From ocean views and iconic bridges to shopping districts still bearing a hint of their hippie origins‚, San Francisco serves up a wide range of things to do in the Bay Area of California. It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting Golden Gate Park with your family or kayaking from Pier 40 with friends‚, you won’t be at a loss for fun things to do in San Francisco. People may come here for the sea breeze and Golden Gate Bridge photo opportunities‚, but they stay for the food‚, culture, and quiet beauty that abounds.
This thriving community in Northern California has a diverse array of neighborhoods, each with its own personality. When you’re trying to cram all the things to do in San Francisco into one trip, the many San Francisco tours and network of cable cars come in handy. Visit at least a few of the dynamic neighborhoods here and really sink your teeth into the local fare and attractions.
Union Square — Union Square is a must-see neighborhood in San Francisco. The area is stuffed to the brim with flagship hotels, boutique shopping, and restaurants surrounding a huge city park.
Castro District — The vibrant, gay-friendly Castro District is welcoming to all travelers. Take a stroll in Kite Hill Park where you can enjoy a scenic view of the city, or grab a piece of cardboard and take a ride down the concrete Seward Street Slides.
Haight District — This eccentric district is divided into two sections: Upper Haight and Lower Haight. The Upper Haight portion of the neighborhood, also called Haight-Ashbury, is characterized by a marriage of mainstream stores, Victorian houses, and funky independent boutiques. Lower Haight is full of punk and in no shortage of gritty bars, though during the day you will also find small coffee shops and organic food stores.
Fisherman’s Wharf — Historic Fisherman’s Wharf can be explored by land or sea. Take a dinner cruise , rent a bike , or just walk around and indulge in some of the best chowder on the planet.
The Mission — Despite being one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, this San Francisco district also has many trendy restaurants and new art. Shop at street markets or visit a taqueria.
Visit Twin Peaks to take in unparalleled views of the city; this is perhaps the best spot for photo opportunities. Of course, Chinatown is also full of sights and sounds. Check out the entrance, called “Dragon’s Gate.” Head to Pier 39 to watch the sea lions on the floating docks, or catch a show at one of the many local theaters.
Sightseeing in San Francisco is an exciting affair. Take a boat out to Alcatraz to tour one of the most famous former-prisons in the country, where you can even stand in one of the notorious cells. One of the best things to do in San Francisco for the foodie at heart is visit Ferry Building Marketplace, where artisan cheese and fresh produce is at the ready from local vendors. It’s also easy to get an adrenaline rush in San Francisco. Things to do for adventurers in The Bay include hang gliding, surfing, kite boarding, and rock climbing.
There's fun for the entire family wherever you wander in San Francisco. Here are a few family friendly experiences you can do together that are bound to make your vacation memorable:
Leave your wallet in the hotel. It's a cinch to have a ball in San Francisco without paying a cent.
Cartoon Art Museum - Bring the entire family and set off on a fascinating adventure through history together.
Intersection for the Arts - This is a fantastic place to get your culture hit and learn all about the local arts scene.
Academy of Art University - If you're into modern design and architecture, add this attraction to your schedule.
450 Sutter Building - Stroll around this historic site and find out some secrets from days gone by.
Yerba Buena Island - Find a nice spot to sit and savor the peacefulness that goes hand in hand with being close to the water.
Glide Memorial United Methodist Church - Take a few moments for some meditation or prayer at this religious site.
Baker Beach - Skip rocks across the water's surface, watch the sunset or just enjoy the scenery from the shore.
Ecology Trail - Let the natural surroundings here soothe your soul.
Yerba Buena Gardens - Cultivate your green thumb and admire the many and varied plants on display.
Known for its fascinating museums, popular shops, and acclaimed art galleries, there's plenty to explore in Downtown San Francisco. Top attractions like San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Oracle Park are major draws. Catch the metro at Market St & Stockton St Stop or Market St & 4th St Stop to see more of the city.