As a visitor destination, there’s a lot to love about San Francisco.
History, art and food are plentiful and if you love baseball, you can’t beat catching a Giants game as the sun sets over the Bay.
Sure, like any tourist city, there’s the kitsch, but that’s also part of San Francisco’s charm.
Compact and simple to navigate, visiting a variety of standout attractions is easy; better yet, if you like walking, and don’t mind hills, exploring also provides a great workout!
It would easy to spend a week or more in this City By the Bay, but if you only have a few days, here are a few ideas to guide your planning … and whet your appetite for your next visit:
Start with a walkabout: The best way to get the lay of the land in any new city is simply going for a walk, and many of San Francisco’s hotels are within a comfortable walking distance of some of the most engaging sights and attractions. Indeed, with the architecture alone a highlight, simply strolling local streets delivers some picture-perfect views.
Play Ball: While COVID-19 put a damper on the 2020 baseball season, fans planning future getaways will want to put a San Francisco Giants game on their itinerary. Not only do fans get a great game experience from the World Series champs, they’re also treated to amazing views over San Francisco Bay from the waterfront Oracle Park, (at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, of course).
Head to the water: The San Francisco shoreline not only boasts many of the city’s famous landmarks, but some pretty nice views, too, even if cable cars and chowder aren’t your thing.
With the fog lifted, soak in views of Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz; turn toward town to take in the city skyline, or venture through the busy Fisherman’s Wharf to see the sea lions lazing on the docks at Pier 39.
From Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf, an Alcatraz Cruises ferry will take you to Alcatraz – allow at least three hours to take in the island and historic exhibits and do book well in advance for your visit.
Tucked away at the end of Pier 45 is Musée Mécanique, offering free admission and lots of fun for history buffs and arcade game fans alike. Discover vintage, coin-operated arcade games from various eras, antique slot machines and other amusements.
Chocolate fans will want to stop in at the historic Ghiradelli Square, where you’ll still find the famous sweet, although production itself has now moved across the Bay.
Hop on a cable car: A quintessential San Francisco experience, cable cars are operated by Muni, the city’s public transportation system. A fun way to explore the city, tackle those hills and snap the requisite selfie, this National Historic Landmark will connect you to various popular spots, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square for shopping and Lombard Street, including the so-called “Crookedest Street in the World.”
Park it! Head to 1,017-acre Golden Gate Park to burn off a little energy, learn something new or embrace the world’s botanical treasures. The California Academy of Sciences is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, with innovative programs in scientific research and education, all under one living roof.
For garden enthusiasts, the nearby San Francisco Botanical Garden is a must, with its 55 acres of landscaped gardens and open spaces, showcasing more than 9,000 different kinds of plants from around the world.
Whew! And that’s just a sampling of this sensational City by the Bay.
Dream now, travel later. To plan for future adventures here and throughout the West Coast, visit westcoasttraveller.com.
Please note that many communities and organizations experienced restrictions due to COVID-19. Be sure to check directly for any directives or closures before visiting.