San Francisco is a city rife with culture. The city has a little of everything to offer people of any age. There are so many things to do in San Francisco; you’ll have a hard time deciding. The city is home to one-of-a-kind events, welcoming people, and rich diversity. The beautiful way it takes the familiar and merges it with the unknown has kept people coming back for decades. Below is a list of things to do in San Francisco that will give you the perfect experience of a perfectly unique city.
1. Alcatraz Island
This infamous federal penitentiary is one of the must-see things to do in San Francisco. The island is located off the coast and the ferry is located at Pier 33 near Bay Street. Tickets are $31 and include round-trip ferry ride to and from the island. This island has a rich-history, including the well-known 18 month occupation by Indians of All Tribes. Aside from its obvious prison-history, Alcatraz has beautiful gardens, bird colonies, tide pools, and bay views that are unrivaled in the area.
Because it takes a ferry to get there, Alcatraz Island can only be accessed under certain weather conditions. The weather can be unpredictable, so openings and closings can come and go. Also because it is an island, it is best to wear a sweater or coat; it can get quite breezy. The experience can be had by people of all ages and is even handicap accessible. Large groups are always welcome.
2. Golden Gate Bridge
One of the most recognized sites in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. It connects the city to the northern counties of California and its towers stand at an amazing 746-feet. Visitors can gather at the south east end of the bridge at the Bridge Plaza. There are free walking tours offered to allow you to take some amazing pictures of the beautiful scenery. There are also outdoor exhibits to teach visitors about the history, science, and engineering of this iconic bridge.
You can best experience this bridge in warmer, sunnier weather. Because of the water, it is always best to bring a sweater, just in case the air is chilly. The bridge can be enjoyed by people of any age, although the walking tour may not be best for those who have any issues getting around. Even if you’re not an avid walker, the visitor center still allows you to park and have a terrific view of the bridge to take some incredible pictures without walking too far.
3. Golden Gate Park
One of the most relaxing, yet awarding things to do in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Park is both beautiful and popular. The park itself is free to visit, but some of the numerous attractions there cost a slight fee. The fees vary depending on the attraction. Go walk through their many gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers or museums. Enjoy the park’s art, birds, lakes, trees, and wildlife. The park also features the California Academy of Sciences, a Japanese Tea Garden and the De Young Museum. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to witness some of the roaming buffalo on the grounds.
All of the attractions at the Golden Gate Park are for people of all ages. It is meant to be walked, so those in wheelchairs or have a hard time getting around may not find this experience that enjoyable. Even if you do have a hard time getting around, you may still enjoy some of the attractions like Conservatory of Flowers or the De Young Museum. Outdoor activities are meant to be enjoyed in warmer months, while the indoor activities can be enjoyed throughout the year.
4. Walt Disney Family Museum
Located on Montgomery Street in the Presidio, The Walt Disney Family Museum was once army barracks on an army base until 1994. Tickets can be purchased for either the museum galleries or the featured exhibit, or both. Museum tickets are $20 for adults and an additional fee for the exhibit. The entry is free for children under the age of 5. Founded by Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, this museum tells the story of Walt Disney’s life and features special exhibits throughout the year.
If you’re a Disney fan, this is necessary as one of the things to do in San Francisco. If you’re not a Disney fan, you’ll enjoy sneaking behind the scenes on the life of one of the greatest minds in our country’s history. The museum is open year-round, except for holidays and as it is indoors, visitors are welcome rain or shine. Children and adults alike will enjoy the wonderful exhibits at the incredibly unique museum.
5. Anchor Brewing Company
The country’s first and oldest Craft Brewery, this company is located on Mariposa Street, in the heart of San Francisco. Started in 1896, all of Anchor’s beers are handmade in their traditional copper brew house. In order to taste their beer at the brewery, you must take a tour. Tours can cost $20-$25, depending on the day you choose to go. Visitors get a walking tour, Anchor Brewery education, and a tasting in their classy taproom.
For beer and/or history fans, this brewery is on the top of the list for things to do in San Francisco. This experience is only meant for adults of legal drinking age. They are open year-round, almost every day, although tours are more expensive on the weekends. Tours are made on a reservation basis, so remember to call ahead. The Anchor Brewery is the perfect place to have some adult fun and learn some rich history along the way.
6. AT&T Park
Home to the San Francisco Giants, this field is beautifully designed with breathtaking views. With its 9-foot statue of the greatest baseball player, Willie Mays, AT&T Park is the perfect place for any sports fan to visit. Ticket prices vary for those looking to catch a game, but amazing, informational park tours are given throughout the year for $22 for adults and $12 for children. Active military and children 2 and under are given free tickets.
There is a lot of walking involved in this tour, so sneakers would be best. People of all ages can enjoy this experience, as long as they’re willing to walk. Tours are given throughout the year, but certain dates are taken into consideration for varying reasons. There are even variations of the tour which include educational tours, school tours, private tours, “batting practice” tours, and tours with lunch included. Please note, some of these special tours are an additional cost.
7. Ferry Plaza Marketplace
This beautiful marketplace is operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture and features high quality, diverse foods. Known around the country as one of the best farmers markets, the Ferry Plaza Marketplace sees almost 40,000 visitors every week. From farm fresh produce to artisan street food, they have something for everyone. It’s free to walk around of course, but with so many great food options, it would be easy to spend a little.
The farmers market is open three days a week, year round. Products will vary throughout the year as seasons and produce selections change. It’s perfect for people of all ages, as everyone enjoys food. They even give educational programs to visitors that are interested in learning about sustainability. These programs include farm tours, cooking classes, and in-market talks.
This list of things to do in San Francisco will set you on the right path for interesting and memorable experiences in a beautiful city. The city’s attraction is not just one thing, but a multitude of them; from outdoor activities, to indoor fun; from museums, to parks and famous landmarks. San Francisco is one of the most compelling destinations in California because of its beautiful, and diverse qualities. “The City by the Bay” will have you coming back year after year.