8 Must-See Attractions to Visit in San Francisco

When you think of California the first things that may come to mind are sun, sand and warmth. That's what's typically depicted in the movies and TV. Even in movies and shows that are shot in San Francisco come across as having warm temperatures and plenty of sun. So I admit I was surprised when I visited San Francisco a few years ago and found that sun and warmth aren't the norm. Even in the middle of summer.

Before visiting San Francisco check out this list of eight must-see San Francisco attractions. | arelaxedgal.com

San Francisco is the most densely settled large city in the state of California and second in the United States after New York City. It also has beautiful rolling hills, cool summers and lots of fog that rolls in from San Francisco Bay. This is why some of the city's nicknames include "The City by the Bay" and "Fog City."

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

In addition to the cool summers and fog, San Francisco is also know for several tourist attractions. Several of which I visited and enjoyed when I was there. Below is an alphabetical list of my eight must-see attractions when visiting San Francisco.

1. Alcatraz


8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

Alcatraz was probably one of the most interested places I visited in San Francisco. Most likely because of the history surrounding it and I love learning historical facts. Alcatraz is one of the more popular paid attractions in San Francisco so I recommend planning for this one in advance.

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

On the tour I got to see several areas of the jail including the shower room, some offices and several cells. Two cool features of the tour are they played the sound of the jail cells closing and you could go into one of the solitary cells. I opted to not go into the cell, it was too dark for me.

2. Chinatown


8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

I loved walking through the streets of Chinatown and seeing the sites. Street and building signs are in both Mandarin and English. You also hear both Mandarin and English spoken as you walk down the street. There are several shops to visit where you can get gifts for family and friends.

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

As you'd expect there are also lots of Chinese restaurants to chose from if you'd like to eat lunch or dinner there. I ate at one of the restaurants, but I'm not sure how authentic the food was.

3. Dinner Cruise


8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

This is a great way to get a view of the city and San Francisco Bay. The cruise allowed for some great skyline pics. A few of my highlights from the cruise included seeing the fog rolling in the beautiful sunset.

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

4. Fisherman's Wharf



8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

This is the place to be. Fisherman's Wharf is a smorgasbord of things to do. There are shops, restaurants, it's where you go to get fishing charters, catch the bay cruises and land-side city tours.

Restaurants at the wharf range from seafood to chain restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe and Applebees.

Other attractions you can find at Fisherman's Wharf include Madam Tussauds San Francisco, the Aquarium, Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum and the sea lions.

5. Golden Gate Bridge


8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

This is a definite must-see. It's probably the most popular landmark and symbol of San Francisco. Some options for seeing the Golden Gate Bridge include walking across it, driving across it, or taking a cruise around the bay.

6. Golden Gate Park


Check out my list of eight must-see attractions when visiting San Francisco. | arelaxedgal.com

Golden Gate Park is a hidden gem in San Francisco. It's a three mile park that has museums and themed gardens. There are botanical gardens, a rose garden, Japanese Tea gardens and several other types of gardens.
8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

If you want to get active during your visit you can play golf, rollerblade, rent bikes, go horseback riding and more. Overall Golden Gate Park is a great place to people watch and enjoy the outdoors.

7. Lombard Street


8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

I just had to visit the crookedest street in America. It was crazy seeing cars slowly driving downhill going around the sharp curves on the one-way street. I walked down the street and made it down before the cars without even trying. That's how slowly you have to drive down the street.

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

In addition to being the crookedest street, Lombard Street also has some of San Francisco's most expensive real estate.

8. Muir Woods Redwood Forest

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

I just couldn't visit this part of California and not see the majestic redwood trees. Muir Woods is actually outside of the city on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, so you'll need some type of transportation either renting a car or doing a guided tour bus like I did.

When I stepped into the Forest it was so peaceful. Seeing those tall redwood trees was amazing. They are so tall you can't really see the tops just by looking up when your standing.

8 places to visit in San Francisco | @arelaxedgal

Some tips for visiting San Francisco in the summer
  • Pack clothes that can be layered (e.g. jackets, long sleeve shirts, scarves, etc.)
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes
  • Stay walking distance to Union Square
  • Walk around the city instead of driving or taking public transportation
  • Get some pizza in Little Italy
  • Be prepared for the fog to stay around until late morning
  • If you have AAA get your AAA travel guide for San Francisco and ask if you can get a discount at paid attractions
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8 comments:

  1. Only this week i was watching a vlog about Golden Gate. These are great tips and it looks like you had a wonderful trip.

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    1. It was a great trip. I'd like to go again sometime. Thanks for reading Tomes!

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  2. I am from San Francisco and love going back often, great list! I would also throw in Sausalito. Great little town with fantastic food, a ferry from SF, and amazing views of the city from across the bay!

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    1. Thanks for reading Kim! What took you away from SF?

      I've heard good things about Sausalito. The tour bus to the Redwoods went through a little town that I think was Sausalito. If it was I didn't get to see much of it. Sausalito's on my list of places to visit should I visit SF again.

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  3. California is on my bucket list. Most of these places were on my visit list, but some a totally new. Thanks

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    1. California is such a diverse state. I've also been to Santa Monica which is nice area. I'd like to visit LA and Napa at some point.

      Thanks for reading Sarah!

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  4. I love visiting San Francisco, and this is a great list. We always try to hit the Cannery district - not only are there tons of local artisans represented, but there are always some amazing street musicians playing there too.

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    1. I haven't heard of the Cannery District. I'll have to add that to my list of places to visit should I go back to SF.

      Thanks for reading Renee!

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