There’s no denying that San Francisco has that certain something that makes it stand out among other US cities, and its uniqueness is a strong selling point for those seeking to enjoy the city as part of an exciting vacation.
It has plenty to offer young travelers and even more for families who have a wealth of options to consider that will make every day in the Golden City. So, what should be on your to-do list?
Let’s take a closer look at the key locations that are part and parcel of every tourist’s trip to San Francisco, as well as take time to focus on those lesser-known delights that the city has to offer.
First off, it’s worth noting that in general terms, San Francisco isn’t the biggest city in terms of its size; it is, however, jam-packed with glorious vistas, places of interest, and plenty more to offer for those keen to make the most of their time in the bay area.
Ride The Cable Cars
Yes, it’s very much a tourist experience, but it’s one you’ll never forget. The iconic cable car network is perhaps the aspect most synonymous with the city of San Francisco, and it’s a great, inexpensive way to get around the city and is very much a symbol at the heart of the city, which acts as a beacon for your daily, and nightly, wanderings around the place.
Rides cost around $8 one-way each, and kids will love it, be sure to hold on tight and make sure they do too and get ready for a bumpy but exhilarating ride.
Take A Trip To The Rock
No, we’re not talking about Dwayne Johnson; we mean an altogether bigger rock, Alcatraz prison. This notorious location can be accessed via ferry from Pier 33 and is a fascinating, if slightly dark, experience and one that is highly educational.
An alternative to tracking around and visiting the cells and cell blocks, which may be inappropriate for younger children, is to take a ferry trip around the island, which is also a very scenic option to take.
Enjoy Seafood At The Fisherman’s Wharf
This is a must-see and taste aspect to your trip to San Francisco and one for the romantic foodies among us. Consider Abaca as an option; it’s a great Filipino seafood restaurant that sits on the ground floor of the Fisherman’s Wharf hotel and offers an interesting take on modern Californian cuisine and is a friendly establishment with comfortable restaurant furniture and is great for a tasty brunch and candlelit dinners.
Visit the Pacific Heights
See how the other half live by visiting the charming Pacific Heights neighborhood. There are many things to do here, including shopping, sitting down for a coffee and enjoying the views, and checking out the opulent architecture.
From here, you can see amazing views of the bay, take a visit to Alta Plaza Park, and if you fancy a bit of TV and film history, you can also take a wander around famous houses that have been featured in famous shows and movies, including Vertigo, Mrs. Doubtfire and Full House.
Go On a Walking Tour
As you are no doubt aware, the topography of San Francisco is a treat for those who like to take a trek. It’s very much an up-and-down type of place in terms of its geography, and there are many tours to join that will show you specific parts of the city. Think of maybe taking a walking tour of the Castro area or perhaps a nighttime haunted ghost tour, which is also good fun.
The Sea Lions at Pier 39
This is a great one for the kids. At Pier 39, you’ll come across a large community of California sea lions who have made the area their home. Be prepared for the smell and the noise, and watch as these boisterous animals put on an impromptu show.
Luckily for you, the area around where the sea lions call home is full of other incredible sights and attractions, including museums and food vendors.
Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
Now obviously, this is a must for any visitors to San Fran. The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, is as iconic as it gets.
You can combine crossing the 1.7-mile bridge with a trip to delightful Sausalito, which is on the other side and can be crossed by foot, bike, car, or boat. Take your pick. Consider making this trip either in the early morning, as the mist clears, or near sunset when Instagram-worthy shots come thick and fast.
Relax in the Japanese Tea Garden
Golden Gate Park is a great place to unwind, and if you want to hit your spiritual peak or doze off in its majesty, visit the Japanese tea garden, which sits among the more than 1000 acres in which the park resides.
Expect to see many wedding photographers making good use of the park as a whole and consider taking the kids to the California Academy of Sciences, which is also situated here.
Amble Down Lombard Street
This zig-zag street, immortalized in many movies from Steve McQueen’s classic Bullit to The Love Bug, is a location you’ll know very well long before you set foot on it.
One option is to drive down it, but it might be more enjoyable to amble down as opposed to trying to negotiate a car trip through its famous eight hairpin turns. One big plus is that the street is now a one-way-only road.