Top 10 San Francisco Attractions
There's always plenty to do in San Francisco, and some of the most fun things - like watching the fog roll in through the Golden Gate Bridge - are less "attractions" than just simple pleasures. Nevertheless, visitors always like to know what attractions other folks enjoy, so we've compiled a list of the top 10 San Francisco attractions for you to visit.
Alcatraz Island: Located in the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island is home to one of the world’s most famous prisons. You can take an Alcatraz cruise to learn about all about this historic San Francisco attraction and enjoy some great views of the city, too.
Bay Cruises: Bay cruises are so popular that two companies stay in business just taking visitors for boat rides: Red and White Fleet, a family-owned sightseeing provider located at Pier 43 ½ at Fisherman’s Wharf, and Blue and Gold Fleet, which also offers regular ferry services and departs from Pier 41. Both companies offer sailings every day, with the most-common route going under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz.
Cable Cars: One of San Francisco's most popular tourist attractions can't seem to stay still. The world-renowned cable cars travel along two lines from downtown near Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf and along a third route on California Street that passes through Chinatown and Nob Hill. A visit to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum (on the Powell-Mason line at 1201 Mason Street ) will help you figure out how this historic transportation system works, and you can see the machines that keep everything moving.
Chinatown: The dragon archway welcomes you to the oldest and largest Chinatown outside of Asia. Truly a world of its own, this unique neighborhood is full of herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs, winding alleyways, and if you're lucky, you might encounter a lion dance or a Chinese holiday celebration.
Exploratorium: A popular San Francisco attraction, the Exploratorium is a fun, hands-on science museum that appeals to people of all ages and is fun whether you think you like things scientific or not. It's currently in the process of moving to its new home on Pier 15, reopening on April 17, 2013.
Fisherman's Wharf: This popular tourist attraction is located on San Francisco’s waterfront surrounding what was once the center of San Francisco's fishing industry. Nearby you'll find Pier 39, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, The Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square, Musée Mécanique, and the Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf.
Golden Gate Bridge: Regarded as one of the most beautiful landmarks in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge marks where the San Francisco Bay meets the Pacific Ocean, and connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County. Walk or bike north across this 2-mile suspension bridge to the Sausalito/Marin County side for beautiful views of Alcatraz, San Francisco, the East Bay and Angel Island.
Golden Gate Park: Spanning over 1,000 acres, Golden Gate Park is the city's premiere park, home to the Conservatory of Flowers, the de Young Fine Arts Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, AIDS Memorial Grove, beautiful Stow Lake, and much more.
Union Square: A public area since the city was founded, Union Square has come to refer to the city's shopping hub, with scores of shops, boutiques and art galleries in the surrounding blocks. The theater district is nearby, and some of the city's finest hotels and department stores ring the square.
The Waterfront: From the AT&T Park where the San Francisco Giants play baseball to the renovated Ferry Building and beyond, San Francisco's waterfront is vital, ever-changing and always nicer than it was before. It's a great place for a long walk, with plenty to do along the way.
There you have it, 10 must-see attractions to jumpstart your tour through San Francisco.