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San Francisco is one of the best American cities to visit. There are many iconic landmarks that make this city such a popular tourist destination. San Fran, nicknamed “The City” by the locals, was built on money from the gold rush. It expanded quite rapidly and gave this town a rich history, no pun intended.

There are so many things to do and see in this city, I’ve been here for two years and still haven’t experienced it all.

So I narrowed it down and compiled a list of the 15 must see places in San Francisco

 

1. The Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Must See: Golden Gate Bridge

Could I really start this list anywhere else? When you think of SF, you think of the Golden Gate. There are many locations to photograph this historical beauty from, but the best is across the bridge from the look out. That way you can get the city in the photo too.

For more information about the Golden Gate Bridge visit Goldengatebridge.org

2. The Bay Bridge

San Francisco Must Sees: Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge is the bridge that leads from San Fran to Oakland and Berkeley. The golden gate was made famous for being the largest suspension bridge of its time, but the Bay Bridge well surpasses that accomplishment. There are actually two sections of this bridge, both connecting on Treasure Island. This is a great place to stop to photograph the city skyline and the bridges!

For more information: Baybridgeinfo.org

3. Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco Must See: Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is where you can get the freshest clam chowder. There are lots of fun activities to do here, like amusement rides and souvenir shopping. This is also a place where you can find an In-n-Out (a very famous chain of fast food restaurants)!

For more information: Fishermanswharf.org

4. Pier 39

San Francisco Must See: Pier39

Pier 39 is within walking distance from Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s where you’ll find the resident sea lions! There are more shops and restaurants here, and also San Francisco’s Aquarium by the Bay.

For more information: Pier39.com

5. Alcatraz

San Francisco must visit: Alcatraz

The most famous prison and an absolute must visit when in San Francisco. The saying used to go “If you were bad you went to prison, if you were bad in prison, you went to Alcatraz”. Some of America’s worst criminals lived here on ‘the rock’. Today it is a national park and open for tours. Make sure to book your tickets far in advance, I’m talking months. They sell out fast!

For more information: NPS.gov

6. Presidio Park

San Francisco must visit: Presidio Park

source: nps.gov

This is the grounds of an old naval base. There are still many bunkers and buildings here today. There are a few trails that lead through the eucalyptus forests. If I have any Disney Fans out there, this is home to the permanent Walt Disney museum. Today many of the buildings are rented out to local businesses and as housing.

For more information: NPS.gov

7. Twin Peaks

San Francisco must visit: Twin Peaks

Trying to catch the best view of the city? This is a top contender. Head up here just before sunset to see the city lights come alive.

For more information: sfrecpark.org

8. The Full House House

San Francisco must see: Full House house

This row of houses was made world famous by the popular TV show Full House and is now a much visited tourist attraction.

“What ever happened to the predictability?” I knew you were waiting for this one. All of the landmarks will work in your map by using its name, expect this one. Alamo Square or the Painted Ladies is what you want to use. Take a relaxing break on the field of Alamo Square with the locals. The higher you climb, the better the view you’ll get.

9. The Sutro Baths

San Francisco must visit: Sutro Baths

The Sutro Baths was once an old bath house, where Thomas Edison himself used to frequent. The building no longer stands, but the ruins do. It is a gorgeous place to see the Pacific Ocean and to get in a little exercise. On the lower left of the sea wall is a small cave- check it out!

For more information: NPS.gov

10. Coit Tower

Must visit in San Francisco, CA: Coit Tower

Once an old lookout tower, now a small museum. You are able to take a small elevator ride to the top for 360° views of San Francisco. I know I’ve listed a few view points, but its because they’re all amazing in their own way. Don’t pass this one up.

For more information: sfrecpark.org

11. Haight-Ashbury

San Francisco must visit: Height Ashbury

Many famous rock and roll artists made it big singing on the streets of Haight-Ashbury, a district of San Francisco, in the 60’s and 70’s. A lot of those bars are still open today. There is a lot of great local shopping on Haight, as well.

12. Chinatown

This is my favorite Chinatown in the USA. There are a lot of cool stores with Chinese goodies, Chinese architecture, and great Dim Sum- yum! My favorite part about Chinatown is their local produce stands. They have an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables that I didn’t even know existed.

13. Transamerica Pyramid

San Francisco must see: Transamerica Pyramid

source: Mariordo

Probably the most iconic building in the city’s skyline is the Transamerica Pyramid. It’s pretty cool to see up close, but unfortunately they don’t offer any tours inside the building.

14. Lombard Street

San Francisco must see: Lombard street

Lombard Street is the self-proclaimed “Most Zigzagged Street in the World”. The street is so steep that developers had to make it curvy in order to drive down it safely. During the summer weekends they close it off to through traffic so go on a weekday and drive it yourself!

15. Golden Gate Park

San Francisco must visit: Golden Gate Park

source: Two+two=4

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is comparable to Central Park in NYC- except, a little smaller. There are great trails, open fields, sport centers, museums, gardens, lakes, Dutch windmills, and even a waterfall. Oh, and a herd of bison! There is so much to do in this park, you could spend 5 days straight exploring this incredible place and still have plenty to do. But a simple drive though will bring you back to peace in the center of this large metropolis.

For more information: sfrecpark.org

How to explore San Francisco

In order to see all of these amazing San Franciscan landmarks, I highly suggest renting a car. Or book a sightseeing bus tour with Big Bus.

If you are looking to buy tickets for any tours or attractions in San Francisco I highly recommend checking out Trustedtours.com who often offer discounts and special deals.

While there is plenty more to do and see in the city, you gotta make sure to check these 15 out! Safe travels on your San Franciscan vacation!

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15 Must See Places in San Francisco, USA - An Insider's Guide

Featured image source: Getty Photography
With special thanks for letting me use this incredible picture of San Francisco!

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Get married at historic San Francisco City Hall
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Author: Nicole Travels
Nicole is a travel blogger from San Francisco who enjoys exploring America on a 3-day weekend. Her passion is photography, studying wildlife behavior, and promoting conservation initiatives. Her blog: www.nicoletravels.com

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