San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. The architecture of the city is unique and draws people in from all over the country. In recent years the city has become home to a growing foodie trend, with a number of interesting markets and restaurants opening their doors. Those that love the outdoors will find plenty to do in lovely San Francisco, including hiking in the surrounding mountains and cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco has one of the best foodie scenes in the country, and there are many awesome spots for Mexican cuisine. La Taqueria is not a fancy dining place, but its rice-free Mission burritos are James Beard winners and queue-worthy. Try ordering your burrito Dorado-style for a crispy golden exterior, and get a strawberry agua fresca to wash the goodness down. Don't be put off by the line—it moves fairly quickly, and even though this is a cash-only establishment, there's an ATM in the restaurant for your convenience.
This bustling pedestrian and bike-friendly street in Mission District has great vibes all day. The shops cater to everyone from those looking for high street brands like lululemon to those with a more hipster bent who are more likely to enter Nooworks or the quirky thrift stores. Browse the secondhand book and record places, and stick around for live music performances on Fridays and Saturdays. Of course, there's an array of eateries to keep everyone full and happy on the Valencia Corridor, and you could opt for Lebanese, Guatemalan, or a good ol' burger.
Zeitgeist gets full, so if you like your Bloody Marys and lagers with a healthy dose of ambiance, you'll love this dive bar and beer garden on Valencia Street. They make a solid burger and breakfast too, so your calories won't just come from the alcohol. With a pool table, pinball machines, and punk rock to set the tone, this is where you want to go for a lively meetup.
The warm months in SF are ideal for outdoor entertainment, and ever since 1938, the wooded amphitheater at Sigmund Stern Grove has thrilled locals with live music. It's become a legendary festival that's only ever stopped during the Second World War and COVID. Stern Grove draws big-name artists and the cherry on top of the cake? It's gratis. That's right—you won't have to pay a cent to attend, but you must make an online reservation.
This historical landmark used to be the world's largest indoor swimming pool. It burned down in 1966, 70 years after it was built, while it was being demolished for a planned high-rise building. You can hike from the Lands End, Lookout to the ruins to see what's left of the structure, and explore the caves. The sunsets here are breathtaking, so come armed with a camera or smartphone.
Frisco's oldest park is a peaceful respite in The Haight. Mansions border this slice of forest in the middle of the city, so you can spend time looking at the Victorians before or after walking the park's trails. Formerly known as Hill Park, Buena Vista Park got its new name in 1894—many feet have tread its pathways over the years, including Janis Joplin's, when she lived a block away during the counterculture movement.
A core feature of San Francisco's skyline, Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park. The ground floor is worth a visit alone for the fresco murals, but if you go up to the top of the tower, you'll be rewarded with phenomenal views. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the parrots fed by a local musician.
The Painted Ladies, the Victorian homes that were decorated with pastel colors, are an iconic part of San Francisco's aesthetic. You'll find them next to the eastern side of Alamo Park on Steiner Street. The tall buildings of Downtown backdrop the Ladies, and the contrast between old and new is rather captivating.
North Beach's Italian influence is obvious once you arrive in this neck of the woods. Once you're done at Coit Tower, you can grab a coffee or order Italian cuisine from one of the local trattorias. Little Italy is also home to Washington Square Park, and Beat writers made this area particularly famous.
The Golden Gate bridge is famous across the world and is the iconic image that represents the city of San Francisco. The bridge's name refers to the body of water that it spans, the Golden Gate Strait. Try walking or cycling across the bridge to get a real feel of the size and beauty of the bridge. The views while crossing the bridge are stunning and provide plenty of photo opportunities.
This is the top attraction for foodies in the city. The building acts as a public food market that is home to a number of small food stores, restaurants, and snack stops. You will find food from all around the world in this market, and if you can't find it here, you won't find it anywhere in the USA.
This recreation park looks out over the Golden Gate bridge. The park is a popular spot with locals, and you will find people out enjoying a picnic, jogging, walking, and cycling. The park is similar to Central Park in New York in that it serves as a backyard for many residents who don't have any outdoor area at home.
This is unlike any museum you have ever seen. Referred to by the staff as a hands-on learning laboratory, children and adults alike will learn something at the Exploratorium. The museum has over 600 interactive exhibits across a wide range of subjects, from ancient history to science and the universe. Plan to spend at least a full day here to get the most out of the exhibits.
San Francisco is famous for their cable cars, and they are a feature of the city as they go up and down the steep hills. The majority of people will have seen them in movies or postcards. Visitors love using this mode of transport, but you will see plenty of locals on cable cars on their way to work or school.
This was originally a Mexican district of San Francisco, but in recent years it has attracted a Bohemian crowd. Try any of the local restaurants for a taste of something authentic. There are plenty of interesting coffee shops in the area, and it is known for its liberal vibe. Head to one of the parks for the gorgeous views of the city.
This infamous prison has been featured in movies and legends since it was opened. In 1972 it was taken over by the National Park Service, and it is now a popular tourist attraction. The prison housed some of society's worst offenders, including the mob boss, Al Capone. Set in the middle of San Francisco Bay, it was almost impossible to escape from and was considered the highest security prison in the USA.
Fishermans Wharf is a place that was popular with tourists and locals alike. However, in recent years the area has become so full of tourists that many locals avoid the area. If you do want to try Fisherman's Wharf, you will find stunning views of the bay and a variety of restaurants and small markets.
New York City may have the most famous Chinatown in the USA, but many people find that the one in San Francisco is more authentic. This is the place that invented the Fortune Cookie that has become a part of Chinese meals across the world. Walk through the streets and local markets before trying some of the best Chinese food in the world. The area is very well known for Peking Duck and a variety of dumplings. Try the egg tarts at the Golden Gate Bakery for a unique San Francisco experience.
Home to the San Francisco Giants since 2000, this is one of the most scenic ballparks in the USA, thanks to its views across the bay. The stadium has played host to a number of World Series games and finals. Tours are available throughout the year except on game days. Take a look at the display of trophies and other baseball memorabilia.