The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA at sunset

Updated: 03/24/20 March 24th, 2020

I loved visiting Bay Area from the beginning. It&#8217s a town the place to find hippies, techies, artists, immigrants, students, and everybody among. There&#8217s incredible music, wold-class food for those budgets, the best Asian food in the united states, parks in abundance, and amazing bohemian vibe into it.

Because of so many diverse influences, it&#8217s no real surprise that Bay Area has changed right into a world-class city which has a lot of wonderful things to do and see.

Personally, I really like visiting Bay Area for that food. It&#8217s the place to find the best Asian and Mexican food in the united states (plus some incredible cafes).

But there’s also a lot more to determine here too. And merely since it&#8217s an costly home doesn&#8217t mean a trip needs to break your budget either.

That will help you plan your vacation, here are the most useful 28 items to do and see in Bay Area


1. Have a Free Walking Tour

The very first factor I actually do whenever I get to a brand new destination would be to have a walking tour. It&#8217s the easiest method to obtain the lay from the land, begin to see the highlights, and get the questions you have for an expert local guide. Free Tours By Feet includes a couple of different FREE possibilities covering different regions of the town. (Just make certain to tip your best guide)

If you would like some thing in-depth, there’s also lots of compensated tours you are able to take. Take Walks is my go-to walking tour company plus they offer some interesting tours round the city. If you wish to really become familiar with a lot (while getting fun), book an excursion together!


2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge

The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA in the summer

There’s no doubt the legendary Golden Gate Bridge is among San Francisco’s most well-known landmarks. Opened up in 1937, it&#8217s perhaps probably the most-photographed bridge on the planet. At its beginning, it had been both longest and also the tallest suspension bridge on the planet, spanning 4,200 ft (1,280m) lengthy and standing 746 ft (227m) tall.

You are able to walk over the bridge (that we suggested) or simply stare in internet marketing of all the position and snap your personal legendary photos. For those who have time, go towards the Golden Gate National Entertainment Area. It features a waterfront promenade, sweeping views from the bridge, along with a couple of easy trails.


3. Visit Crissy Field

This park can be found near the bridge and creates a pleasant follow-up. It features a beach, some restaurants, piers where one can see locals fishing, and lots of eco-friendly space to unwind. It provides some sweeping views from the harbor, which makes it a laid-back spot to are available in the summer time to possess a picnic, lounge under the sun, watching existence pass.


4. Begin To See The Palace of proper Arts

The Palace of proper Arts is really a Roman-style remnant from the 1915 Panama-Off-shore Worldwide Exposition (a global&#8217s fair locked in Bay Area). The outside rotunda and it is lagoon are another among the city’s most photographed sights. It&#8217s additionally a fun social destination where one can bring buddies to experience giant Jenga, cornhole, table tennis, along with other games. The town frequently has occasions here.

601 Lyon Street, +1 415-608-2220, Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is free of charge (some occasions charge admission).


5. Wander Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39

The wharf was initially covered with Italian immigrants who helped popularize the town&#8217s fish market. Even today, you can view fishermen at the office in Fish Alley (the primary street in which the fishermen work). If you wish to try a few of the mouthwatering sea food that Bay Area is known for, I sugged Waterbar and also the Anchor Oyster Bar.

Pier 39 is touristy however it&#8217s additionally a fun way of spending an hour or so approximately. You will find buskers, tacky souvenir shops, arcades, a fish tank, and a lot of overpriced restaurants (so do not eat here).


6. Explore Alcatraz

The infamous Alcatraz prison on an island off of San Francisco, USA

Alcatraz is most likely the favourite (or infamous) prison in the usa. From 1934-1963, it housed the nation&#8217s most well known crooks (crooks like Al Capone). In the 29 year history, not really a single prisoner effectively steered clear of (approximately they are saying). After its closure, it grew to become a nationwide landmark. Visitors can explore the area, find out about the prison and just what existence was like being an inmate, and tour the inside. It will get snappy within the summer time so make sure to book ahead.

+1 415-981-7625, Tours run daily year-round and price $39.90 USD including a sound tour.


7. Take an excursion to Berkeley

Located just twenty minutes over the bay by vehicle, Berkeley hosts music, hippies, students, and also the College of California – Berkeley (30% from the city&#8217s population visit school here). You are able to have a tour from the campus (self-led or led), hike in the Berkeley Hillsides, or shop on 4th Street (the primary thoroughfare). You&#8217ll also find plenty of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, street performers, and eclectic shops to browse.


8. Spend time within the Mission

To have an amazing look at the town, mind to Dolores Park within the Mission District. Should you&#8217re a brief history buff, don&#8217t miss the Misión Bay Area de Asís (Mission Dolores). Founded in 1776, it&#8217s the earliest surviving structure within the city and residential towards the only graveyard within city limits. It&#8217s the dwelling that provides this a part of town its name.

The Mission District is another fun spot to spend an evening out. The district has a lot of great Mexican restaurants in addition to lively bars and clubs. Grab a burrito at Taqueria Cancún or Papolete, or visit among the cocktail bars on 16th (Dalva is nice).


9. See Lombard Street

This is actually the world&#8217s windiest street. Encircled by gardens and flowers, it&#8217s comprised of eight hairpin turns because, throughout the 1920s, individuals Bay Area were starting to drive around in automobiles. However, most of the city&#8217s famous hillsides were too steep to navigate. The thought of utilizing a curved street to assist vehicles move downhill was accepted and also the hill&#8217s slope went from 27% to 16%. You can now watch the cars and bikers navigate the sharp turns as vacationers gawk their way.


10. Visit Coit Tower

Perched atop Telegraph Hill, this art deco tower was built-in 1933. Standing 180-ft tall (55m), it&#8217s the place to find over 25 murals while offering a breathtaking look at the town. The murals here were colored in 1934 by local artists and illustrate existence in Bay Area throughout the Depression. The tower grew to become a Bay Area Designated Landmark back in 1984 and it was put into the nation’s Register of Historic Places in 2008.

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, +1 315-249-0995, Open daily from 10am-5pm (6pm within the summer time). Admission is $6 USD for city residents and $9 USD for visitors.


11. Eat in Chinatown

This is actually the greatest Chinatown within the U . s . States (also it&#8217s the 2nd most well-known, after New You are able to City. Chinese immigrants first found free airline Coast within the 1850s and hang up shop in Bay Area. Because of racial segregation, this neighborhood grew to become predominantly Chinese and continued to be so despite segregation ended.

It&#8217s among the best places within the city to consume and you may have some incredible dim sum here. There’s also a whole lot teahouses, bars, souvenir stalls, and fortune cookie makers.

To actually find out about the area, its history, and it is people, have a walking tour with Take Walks. They&#8217re my go-to walking tour company simply because they use expert local guides as well as their tours will always be educational and fun.


12. Ride the Cable Cars

The famous streetcars of San Francisco, USA

No trip to Bay Area is finished without riding on the cable vehicle. The cable vehicle system in Bay Area may be the last by hand-operated system in the whole world. From the 22 lines which were initially produced within the 1800s, only three continue to be functioning. Since there’s limited seating (and also, since they are among the greatest attractions within the city) waits could be lengthy. Make certain you intend ahead (attempt to go throughout a week day when you will find less visitors). Tickets are $7 USD.


13. Use a Harbor Tour

For any different consider the city, take an mid-day cruise of San Francisco Bay. You&#8217ll see some wildlife, snap some good photos, and find out about the bay and it is devote Bay Area&#8217s history. Around 40% of California, drains in to the bay and also the area hosts all sorts of snakes, sun rays, otters, sharks, whales, ocean lions, and much more. A financial budget-friendly method to begin to see the bay is to accept public ferries for $7.30 USD.

You’ll find prices and routes at


14. Spend time within the Castro

San Fransico continues to be the de facto gay capital of america because the 60s and 70s. The gay hub within the city may be the Castro, San Francisco’s famous gay neighborhood (Harvey Milk, the very first freely gay elected official in California, had his office here). The area has numerous ethnic and modern restaurants in addition to a bunch that provide in your area-sourced organic food. On the top of this, there’s a variety of wild and fun clubs that focus on both gay and straight crowds. Should you&#8217re searching for any fun nightlife, this is actually the neighborhood for you personally.


15. Explore Haight-Ashbury

The birthplace of the usa&#8217s counterculture, the Haight was ground zero throughout the summer time of 1967, a.k.a. The Summer time of affection. Hippies accustomed to live here but, eventually, all of the colorful Victorian homes were bought up by more well-off residents because the area gentrified. It&#8217s now the place to find high-finish boutiques, hip cages, and trendy restaurants. That stated, you may still have some record stores, dive bars, and vintage clothes shops here.

In case you really want to understand more about the region&#8217s hippy past, go ahead and take Flower Power Walking Tour. It&#8217s just $20 USD and can take you step-by-step through the area&#8217s vibrant and eclectic past.


16. Rollerskate in Church

The Church of 8 Wheels is really a former church that’s been transformed into a classic school rollerskating arena. They’ve DJs and live music therefore it&#8217s basically a celebration on wheels. Admission is $10 USD and you may rent skates for $5 USD. It&#8217s an inexpensive (and different) method to have some fun and meet people. You will find occasions for children and grown ups too plus they even organize training for those who have never roller-skated before.

554 Fillmore St., +1 415-752-1967, Open Friday-Sunday. Look into the website for occasions because there are both all-ages and adult-only occasions.


17. See Muir Forest

The massive trees in the serene Muir Woods in San Francisco, USA

Named after famous naturalist John Muir, it&#8217s located just 16 miles from downtown so its a simple spot to visit. The area hosts over 240 acres of towering old-growth redwood trees. As the trees listed here are not as large as the sequoia trees in nearby Sequoia Park, it&#8217s nonetheless a calming spot to visit. There are many walking trails also it&#8217s family/kid-friendly too.


18. Go to the Beat Museum

Focused on the Beat Generation (the 1950s counter-culture), here you&#8217ll find original manuscripts, rare books, letters, and much more from authors like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Founded in 2003, the museums has over 1,000 bits of memorabilia including Ginsber&#8217s typewriter along with a first edition copy of Kerouac&#8217s novel The City and also the City. Additionally they hold regular occasions check the web site to find out if anything is going on on your visit.

540 Broadway, +1 800-537-6822, Open daily from 10am-7pm. Admission is $8 USD.


19. Learn in the Exploratorium

This interactive science museum has all sorts of exhibitions covering biology, gravity, light, animation, plus much more. It&#8217s very hands-on therefore it&#8217s the right stop for anybody going with kids (though there’s also adult-specific exhibitions too).

Pier 15, +1 415-528-4444, Open Tuesday–Sunday from 10am-5pm. Admission is $29.95 USD.


20. Spend Time in Golden Gate Park

This massive park covers over 1,000 acres, which makes it 20% larger than Central Park in New york city. Inside, you&#8217ll look for a Japanese garden, an arboretum, a museum, and a lot of hiking and walking trails. Walking from finish to finish takes the greater a day. Within the summer time, it&#8217s a well known place to picnic, choose a stroll, and take in the sun’s rays. Though it sees over 24 million visitors every year, it&#8217s never too difficult to find a secluded place on your own.


21. Catch a game title

Oracle Arena in San Francisco at night full of fans

Bay Area locals love their teams, particularly the Giants (their baseball team). If you are around throughout a game, make sure to mind to Oracle Arena and eat the spectacle — it doesn&#8217t have more American than this! They is among the longest-established and many effective within the league and you may get tickets for less than $10 USD.


22. Go to the Cable Vehicle Museum

Once the cable cars launched in 1873, these were hugely popular plus they altered the face area from the city. To find out more and find out all sorts of photos and relics from the bygone era, including a few of the original cars, mind for this museum. It&#8217s not huge however it&#8217s fun and insightful.

1201 Mason Street, +1 415-474-1887, Open daily from 10am-5pm (6pm within the summer time). Admission is free of charge.


23. Tour Wine Country

A glass of wine being poured on a table outside in Napa Valley, USA

If you value wine and also have time for you to leave the town, go to the world-famous Napa and Sonoma wine regions. Napa is among the world&#8217s leading wine-producing area and each year over 3 million people arrived at taste their way round the region. Located approximately an hour or so in the city by vehicle, there are many firms that organize day journeys to Even Caribbean Cruises (usually for between $99-150 USD per person). However, day tours are generally a bit rushed. If you possess the time, rent a vehicle and remain overnight.


24. Benefit from the View from Twin Peaks

For an additional breathtaking look at the town, drive or hike to the surface of Twin Peaks. Standing 925 ft high, you&#8217ll obtain a sweeping 360-degree look at the town. Come for sunset and relish the view. There’s also plenty of trails weaving round the mountain tops so that you can hike for a few hrs here should you wanted.


25. Have a Food Tour

This city is renowned for its food. If you wish to cast a large culinary internet and check out lots of different foods, consider going for a food tour. Listed here are a couple of companies worth looking at should you&#8217re thinking about:

  • Wild SF Tours &#8211 A tasty food crawl of Chinatown and Little Italia where one can try dim sum, pizza, craft cocktail-inspired boba milk tea, and cannoli. Tickets from $69.
  • Secret Food Tours &#8211 Sample the very best of the Mission District, including burritos, oysters, frozen treats, and much more! Tickets from $79 USD.
  • TasteBud Tours &#8211 A culinary search for Little Italia that forestalls off at 7 different local restaurants. Tickets from $68.50.


26. Excursion to Oakland

Just over the Bay Bridge from Bay Area is Oakland. It&#8217s considered the &#8220Brooklyn&#8221 to San Francisco’s &#8220Manhattan.&#8221 Recently, Oakland is promoting a distinct segment for and craft beer and niche restaurants. You will find loads of bars and breweries, plus they even their very own &#8220Ale Trail&#8221 if you wish to wander the town and sample its best drinks.

You may also visit Oakland Redwood Regional Park, Lake Merritt, or catch a baseball game at Oakland Coliseum. There is a lot that you can do in Oakland and you may easily spend each day or even more here!


27. Go to the Asian Art Museum

This is among the very indepth collections of Asian art on the planet. The museum houses almost 20,000 products in the collection and you can aquire a free led tour to take you step-by-step through all of the highlights and special exhibits the museum provides. You will find both modern art exhibitions in addition to historic artifacts and artwork. Look into the web site to see what temporary exhibitions can be found on your visit.

200 Larkin St., +1 415-581-3500, Open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm (9pm on Thursdays). Admission is $15 USD.


28. Have a Cool Tour or Go to a Weird Museum

Bay Area is definitely an eclectic city as you would expect therefore it shojuld not be a surprise that there are plenty of unique tours and museums here. A few of the more enjoyable and fascinating tours choices are:

  • Bay Area Love Tours &#8211 Explore the town inside a hands colored VW bus and discover about Bay Area&#8217s counter-culture icons while hearing hippie music in the Summer time of affection. Tours from $45 USD.
  • GoCar Tours &#8211 Whip round the city inside a go-kart and find out the sights while you explosive device lower hillsides (such as the winding Lombard Street). Tours from $120 USD.

And, for weird / offbeat museums, visit:

  • The Antique Vibrator Museum &#8211 See what adult sex toys in the 1800s appears like!
  • The Gregangelo Museum &#8211 This &#8220museum&#8221 is full of all sorts of weird adornments, themed rooms, secret passageways, hidden rooms, and many types of weird art and interior planning.
  • The Peephole Cinema &#8211 Watch short silent films via a small public peephole within the Mission District.
  • Musée Mécanique &#8211 An accumulation of over 300 old arcade games in the twentieth century.


While Bay Area might be noted for its very high cost living, you will find loads of fun items to do and see within the city that won&#8217t break your budget. After some planning and creativeness, you may enjoy your time and effort in Bay Area without groing through budget.

And regardless of whether you&#8217re searching for museums, nature, food, or nightlife, this city won’t dissatisfy.

Book Your Vacation to Bay Area: Logistical Tips and Methods

Book Your Flight

Look for a cheap flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favorite search engines like google simply because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know nothing remains unturned.

Book The Resort

You are able to book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to stay elsewhere, use because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and economical hotels. I personally use them constantly. My recommended place may be the The Eco-friendly Turtle. It&#8217s the very best hostel within the city. It’s free breakfast, pub crawls, and dinners three occasions per week.

Don&#8217t Forget Travel Cover

Travel cover will safeguard you from illness, injuries, thievery, and cancellations. It&#8217s comprehensive protection in situation anything goes completely wrong. Irrrve never use a trip without them when i&#8217ve had for doing things many occasions previously. I&#8217ve used World Nomads for 10 years. My personal favorite firms that provide the best service and cost are:

  • World Nomads (for everybody below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for individuals over 70)

Searching to find the best Companies to save cash With?

Take a look at my resource page to find the best companies to make use of whenever you travel! I list all of the ones I personally use to save cash after i travel &#8211 and i believe can help you too!

Require a Guide?

Bay Area has some excellent tours available. To have an in-depth walking tour, take a look at Take Walks. They will use expert local guides and also have a super insightful (and fun) tour through Chinatown.

For some thing hands-on just like a segway tour, use Fat Tire Tours. There is a couple of different tours round the city and are a good option to a typical walking tour.

Searching for additional info on Visiting Bay Area?

Take a look at my in-depth destination help guide to Bay Area with increased tips about things to do and see, costs, methods to save, and far, a lot more!

The publish 28 Items to Do and see in Bay Area made an appearance first on Nomadic Matt&#039s Travel Site.

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