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.
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.