San Francisco Bucket List: 60 Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

When you think of the most fun city in California, where do you think of? Los Angeles? Santa Barbara? For me it is always San Francisco. It’s the city of Dungeness crab, sourdough bread and, of course, the breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge. Some people have even left their hearts here. San Francisco is on most travelers “Things to do” list and for very good reason. Whether your a first-time visitor or a local, the City has something to offer for everyone and here’s just a little taste of the best attractions.

San Francisco Bucket List: 60 Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

1. ✦ Shop at Union Square

2. ✦ Drink an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista 

Famous bartender Larry Nolan serves up thousands of Irish coffees a day at The Buena Vista, using a recipe that was perfected in 1952. It’s not just the quantity that’s impressive, but the technique too. On a busy night a couple dozen stemmed glasses will be lined up in a row and strategically filled in a low-tech assembly line fashion. Also, if you sit at the bar with Larry, he might possibly blow your mind with fun magic tricks while you drink your Irish coffee. Don’t get worried if you become a little addicted to this  drink because you can learn to make Irish Coffee the Buena Vista way at home.

3. ✦ Eat Chinese Food in Chinatown

4. ✦ Ogle the Architecture at the Palace of Fine Arts

This gorgeous building was built in 1919, and was inspired by ancient Greek and Roman architecture. It is an attraction that needs to be seen from all angles! It stands at the foot of a lagoon that reflects the palace by daylight, so start with a walk of the perimeter. Then head inside to stand amongst of gigantic pillars. There are so many tiny details, statues, and cravings to take in, that you really need to take some time to see appreciate them all. Don’t forget to make your way back to the Palace of Fine Arts at night to get a view of it all lit up.

Palace of Fine Arts: San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

5. ✦ Get Chocolate at Ghirardelli Square

Located on the fisherman wharf, Ghirardelli Square, is home to some of the world’s best chocolate. Ghirardelli Chocolate, the squares namesake, has been manufacturing at the heart of the square for ages. There is a legendary story to be heard on site, about how the Italian founder, back in the 1800’s, made his way to San Francisco by way of Peru. And although Ghirardelli moved their main plant away ages ago, they still produce on the small-scale here and the storefront remains an iconic symbol of the area.

Get an chocolate sundae or just a simple bar. It doesn’t’ matter, they’re all good. Neighboring alongside the chocolate company is an eccentric mix of shops, and restaurants that will appeal to all palates, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

6. ✦ Climb the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps are a neighborhood project to create beautiful mosaic artwork on a set of 163 stairs. The steps are a colorful display featuring waves of turquoise, bright birds and vibrant sea animals of all kinds. Make your way to the top, stopping to marvel at the fascinating artwork along the way and to catch your breath because the stairs are pretty steep! 

This flashy Things to do in San Francisco attraction is situated in a quiet residential area, with limited tourists and plenty of parking. There were only six other people when we went for a visit!

16th Avenue Tiled Steps | San Francisco Bucket List: 60 Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

7. ✦ Eat an It’s It

8. ✧ Eat a Molecular Gastronomy Meal

What is molecular gastronomy? It is a study of scientific principles where chefs explore the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients. Think powdered food, deconstructed dishes and delectable foams. Atelier Crenn restaurant in San Francisco is a master at creating a bucket list worthy “cutting-edge” tasting menu. It will be pricy, $335 for the multi-course tasting menu, but it will also be one meal that your taste buds and eyes will never forget. A meal fit for your Couple’s Bucket List

Bonus: If “eating at a Michelin starred restaurant” is on your bucket list, this one has two.

Learn more: Watch Atelier Crenn’s Tasting Menu in Only 60 Seconds

9. ✦ Take in the View from Twin Peaks

The best view of San Francisco is from Twin Peaks, which is geographically located at the center of the city. It’s hard to believe that the first time I went here was just a few months ago and now I am in love taking in the 360-degree view from the hilltop. Here you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Mission District, the famous Haight Ashbury suburb and the gorgeous modern houses surrounding the hill.

If you are lucky you may also get a glimpse of the endangered mission butterfly while you are there, or one of the cheeky raccoons or opossums that call the hill their home.

Twin Peaks | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

10. ✦ Shop Oddities at Paxton Gate

11. ✦ Bicycle (or Walk) Across the Golden Gate

Even though it happens often for me, driving over the Golden Gate bridge still is impressive. But, what is even more thrilling is taking a bike or walk across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. You can bring your own bike or easily rent one nearby. Blazing Saddles is a reputable company that will take you on an 8-mile guided bike tour that includes a ride across the bridge or choose to do a self-guided trip (booking information here). Just be sure to abide by the laws of the bridge for bikes and pedestrians. 

Book a Tour: Cycle The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Ticket

Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

12. ✦ Hike Sutro Baths

The eerie ruins at Sutro Baths are a reminder of yesteryear. They were created by the former mayor of San Francisco, as part of an entertainment complex but unfortunately the building mysteriously burnt down shortly after the center was closed in the 60’s. The Sutro Baths were famous for their tide-fed, salt water pools. At the time, the millionaire was dedicated to providing low-cost entertainment to the city’s residents. Today, the ruins sit upon a stony hill overlooking the beautiful Pacific Coast.

There are several trails leading in and around the ruins, and there is even one that will lead you to a brilliant view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

 Sutro Baths San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

13. ✧ Drink at a Tiki Bar

14. ✦ Attempt to Escape From a Trapped Room

One of the most mind challenging thing to do in San Francisco—the Real Escape Game is a live puzzle where the idea is to solve puzzles and riddles in order to find your way out of a locked room in a limited amount of time. This challenging game was brought to San Francisco from Japan, which is not at all surprising since the Japanese are experts at creating quirky experiences, like Tokyo’s Cat Cafe or the Alcatraz ER themed restaurant. 

Read More: Play the Real Escape Logic Game. San Francisco.

Play the Real Escape Game | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

15. ✧ Visit the Antique Vibrator Museum

16. ✧ Play Trampoline Dodge Ball

With over 8,000 square feet of trampoline space, House of Air provides the perfect space for a jumpy game of dodgeball. You can join one of their weekly leagues or hop into the hourly dodgeball sessions during Open Jump.

Play Trampoline Dodgeball: San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

17. ✧ Pose with the Haight Ashbury Sign

San Francisco is as much about technology these days as it once was about the Summer of Love and the Haight Ashbury neighborhood was at the epi-center of it all. Today, the suburb still embodies the vibrancy and color of its hay-days. There are a number of great walking tours, to hear stories of the stars, leaders of movements, and runaways that once occupied the area. Otherwise, don a pair of circle sunglasses, and throw up a peace sign for an iconic photo at the intersection of these two classic streets that became synonymous with the counter-culture movement.

18. ✦ See a Beautiful Bride at the City Hall

 San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

19. ✧ Have Afternoon Tea at the Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel is nothing short of grand! You will feel like royalty sipping on tea, and snacking the afternoon away here. Their Grand Court Tearoom is set in an admirable glass atrium, and decorated with rich furniture, chandeliers, and greenery. Tea is served on China, and the menu consists of English classics such as scones with Devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, and an assortment of pastries. A pianist is usually tinkling away on the grand piano that sits in the center of the Court. The hotel itself has a rich history, and has been serving San Francisco since the early 1900’s.

20. ✦ Eat a Green Goddess Salad

Green Goddess is a mayonnaise-based salad dressing that originated at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1923. Luckily, Wayfare Tavern has revived the original recipe of this creamy dressing seasoned with anchovy and tarragon. Plus, if you sit at the chef’s counter you may catch them constructing the dish right before your eyes.

Read More: The Palace’s Original Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Green Goddess Salad at Wayfare Tavern | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

21. ✦ Stroll Through the Japanese Tea Garden

I feel as if I have been transported back to my favorite tiny Asian country whenever I explore the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco. This sprawling complex is part of the Golden Gate Park, and has everything you could expect from a Tea Garden. Pagodas, ponds of koi, stone bridges, exotic plants, and of course an authentic tea house. The peaceful atmosphere is also reflective of some of Japans most popular religions, Buddhism and Shino. So there are various carvings, and sculptures dotted throughout the garden to reflect this.

San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

22. ✦ Visit the Pet Cemetery

23. ✦ Drive (& Walk) Down The “Crookedest Street”

Lombard Street has eight hairpin turns that has made it famously known as the “Crookedest Street in San Francisco”, though there is some debate that it isn’t actually the most ziggedy-zaggedy. But, with up to 350 cars an hour driving down, it’s definitely the most well-known and iconic thing to do. Traditionally, tourists will slowly drive down the short switchbacks, but what is even better is walking down this steep 600 foot long road. On foot you are able to fully see not only the red bricked road, but also the beautiful homes that line it.

Annette White on Lombard Street | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

Crookedest Street | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

24. ✦ Go Inside Coit Tower

Go into Coit Tower for the fantastic artwork, and then take an elevator to the top for an utterly impressive 360 degree views of the city below. This attraction was built on Lillian Hitchhook Coit’s request, the towers namesake. She was a wealthy woman and eccentric socialite who left a large sum of her fortune to the City of San Francisco with a parting note. She requested the money be used “for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved.” How beautiful.

25. ✧ Eat Your Way Through the Ferry Building Marketplace

26. ✦ See the Balmy Alley Murals 

Balmy Alley is located in the Mission district of San Francisco and has the most concentrated selection of murals in the city. The artwork on this block long alley began in the mid-80’s to voice outrage over political injustices and human rights issues in Central America. Today, it is a colorful collection of murals that depicts the artists’ interpretation of world issues.

Balmy Street Murals | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

Balmy Street Murals | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

27. ✧ Go to the Exploratorium After Dark

The Exploratorium After Dark 18+ event is so fun for a night out! It’s almost like a circus funhouse, with drinks! The exhibit is based on science, art, and perception. It features over 600 interactive exhibits consisting of dazzling kaleidoscopes, distorting mirrors, and pitch black rooms. There is great music, guest speakers, and unique films and clips that keep me coming back time and time again.

28. ✦ Find Your Favorite View of the Golden Gate

Annette White | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

29. ✦ Take a Cable Car Ride

Would a Things to Do in San Francisco list be complete without having take a cable car ride on it? The cable car is a San Francisco icon, carrying countless tourists up and down the steep hills. Though it is one of the cities most popular attractions, it is also a handy form of transportation taking folks to many sites around town. You can even follow up your ride with with a visit to the Cable Car Museum.

Ride a Cable Car | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

Ride a Cable Car | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

30. ✧ See What’s in Bloom at the Conservatory of Flowers

This green house and botanical garden is a must thing to do for all ages. I love, as they say, smelling the roses… when they’re in bloom. Flowers blossom year-round here and the onsite greenhouse beautifully compliments the flowers it protects with its glass paneling, and Victorian architecture. Both exotic, and domestic flowers reside within the conservatory. It is part of the grand Golden Gate Park.

31. ✧ Do a Tea Tasting

32. ✦ Eat the California State Bird

Eating the California State bird? Isn’t that illegal? You’re not even allowed to pick the state’s poppy flower, are you? Technically, neither action is against the law, but there is something so wrong about consuming your home state bird. Yet, at San Francisco’s State Bird Provisions, there is also something so deliciously right.

State Bird Provisions is a dim sum style restaurant that each evening serves 12-15 creative plates that servers peddle on push carts and trays. Though the menu may rotate, the CA State Bird (the quail) with Provisions is a permanent fixture on their list. As well as it should be.

Read More: Eat the California State Bird in San Francisco

State Bird Provisions | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

33. ✦ Giggle at the Sea Lions at Pier 39

This massive group of sea lions moved onto Pier 39 some years ago, outnumbering the boaters who once docked there. After some discussion with the Marine Mammal Centre, they collectively decided to let them stay and move the boaters to another pier. And they have now become quite an attraction! Apparently, they love this dock so much for the quantity of food in the area, the distance from open water predators, and comfortability of the docks themselves. When I look out onto the hundreds of sea lions that call Pier 39 home, it is not hard to see why they are often likened to water dogs for their playful nature. When they are not lazing around, they are dipping, diving, and barking at each other simply for the fun of it.

34. ✧ Drink at a Rooftop Bar

35. ✦ Take a Selfie With the Painted Ladies

The Painted Ladies are the set of Victorian row houses that are located across from Alamo Park. Also known as “Postcard Row”, they frequently appear in the media and are most well-known for being a part of the sitcom “Full House”.  

Annette & Peter White at the Painted Ladies in San Francisco

Painted Ladies | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

36. ✧ Take a Ride on the Seward Street Slides

This adult playground is not a well-known attraction in the City of San Francisco but it is one of the best things to do! Bring your own toboggan of cardboard for a faster ride and some durable pants. The pair of slides the park is famous for, are side by side and very steep! Perfect for racing. Surprisingly, the Seward Street slides were designed by a 14-year girl in the 70’s when she won a Parks and Rec competition.

37. ✧ Get a Sushi Burrito at Sushirrito

38. ✧ Explore Alcatraz at Night

Alcatraz is a former military prison located on an island one and a half miles from the mainland. With approximately 1.5 million visitors a year, a visit to “The Rock” is a must for your San Francisco bucket list. But, add more excitement to your adventure by taking an evening tour of Alcatraz. If visiting this jail isn’t spooky enough during the day, by night it will send a chill down your spine. Make sure to book a couple months early, spots fill up fast.

You can make an entire day of it with the Alcatraz Night Tour + Napa & Sonoma Tour from San Francisco.

Alcatraz | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

39. ✧ Find a Gold Painted Fire Hydrant

Somewhere hidden within the historic Mission Distinct of San Francisco is this little hero that saved much of the city. Most of the main water mains were broken or dry following the devastating 1906 earthquake, and fires were breaking out all over the city. They threatened to eat up the Mission District too until someone discovered this “little giant”, the fire hydrant who after two-days managed to put out the riotous fires plaguing the area. A plaque on the sidewalk beside the hydrant honors the firefighters who fought the fires, and each year the hydrant is re-painted in gold to commemorate the event.

40. ✦ Drink Cocktails at a Secret Speakeasy

When you make an ‘appointment’ (not a reservation) at Wilson & Wilson, you are given a password with your confirmation. This password gets you into the secret speakeasy, located behind a nondescript door of the 1920s style bar Bourbon & Branch. Once inside the dimly lit drinking establishment, you can do a 3 cocktail coursing that includes an apertif, main and digestif. An expert mixologist will guide you with the perfect selections for your palate.

Wilson & Wilson Speakeasy | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

41. ✧ Get Happy at the Walt Disney Museum

This remarkable museum walks you through the life of Walt Disney himself, the creator of the iconic brand, onto the early workings of Mickey Mouse as an animated character. The Walt Disney Museum has lots of interactive exhibits, and year-round exhibits. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger kids, but adults and teens will be absorbed in reading about the inspiration behind each character and the cultural implications of them. But beware, you might feel like bingeing on Disney films after your visit, or up and driving to Disneyland itself!

42. ✧ Take a Free Swing Dance Lesson in the Park

Swing dancing is a lively group of dances that originated in the “swing era”, from the 1920s-1950s. This couples dance often features dancers spinning, flipping and lifting their partners through the air. Every Sunday at noon in Golden Gate Park you can be a part of the action by learning basic swing dance moves at the appropriately named event “Lindy in the Park“.

Lindy in the Park Swing Dancing | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SFphoto by Euan

43. ✧ Attend the Folsom Street Fair

Try not to be intimidated by this event, it is nothing but fun and a true testimony to San Francisco’s inclusiveness and laid back attitude. The Folsom Street Fair is dubbed “the world’s largest leather and fetish event”, and “leather pride week”. The scandalous X-rated parade, is what the fair has become famous for, and it is coupled with some great music, and tasty food. It is a San Francisco rite of passage!

44. ✧ Eat at a Food Truck

San Francisco has a growing food truck scene which is very evident by the bustle of people who go Off the Grid every Friday night at Fort Mason. This trendy thing to do is a weekly Northern California food party, that draws 6-9,000 eaters, has over 32 vendors featuring food and drink from around the world. Not only can you get a sensory overload of smells, but also partake in fun games like tabletop shuffleboard and Whack-a-Mole.

Food Trucks | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF Kārlis Dambrāns

45. ✦ See the Jellyfish at the Aquarium of the Bay

It is so fun getting up close and personal with the jellyfish at Aquarium of the Bay. They have great Japanese Sea-nettle, and moon jellyfish exhibits. If you didn’t know, these underwater creatures are made up of 95% water. So they don’t have any organs, bones, a brain or a heart. This makes them look otherworldly as they float just few inches away from eye level! Thousands of other marine life also call the aquarium home including a number of sharks, star fish, eels, rays, and colorful fish.

San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

46. ✧ Sail Under the Golden Gate Bridge

47. ✦ See the Dutch Windmill

This is a great place to spend the afternoon with family, friends, or a lover. Surrounding the windmill are fields of green, and the lovely Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden. Although the pretty Dutch windmill, and its sibling the Murphy Windmill only exist for aesthetic these days. They were once an important mechanism to irrigate the sandy park by pumping water from wells deep below. By the 50’s the windmills were in a state of extreme disrepair, but the state has since taken efforts to preserve the history of these stunning Golden Gate Park landmarks.

48. ✦ Visit a Fortune Cookie Factory

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is a tiny hidden treasure located in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The small shop barely fits a handful of people, but it’s worth cramming your body inside just to get a whiff of the enticing aroma and a free sample of a hot off the press fortune cookie. Photos of the production facility will cost you a mere 50 cents, which seems beyond reasonable when you see these ladies working so hard.

This will probably be the quickest stop on this Things to Do in San Francisco list (tens minutes max), but it is a tasty experience.

Fortune Cookie Factory | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

49. ✦ Root for the SF Giants at AT&T Park

Take me out to the ballgame! Like most cities in America, we are deeply dedicated to our baseball team. And there is no better way to see our beloved San Francisco Giants kick butt then at home at AT&T Park. Located downtown, the atmosphere is absolutely buzzing come game day! There are loads of restaurants, and bars just outside the park for a bite or drink, before or after the game, if you don’t want to pay stadium prices.

50. ✦ Eat the Famous San Francisco Sourdough

Sourdough bread has been a part of the San Francisco culture since the California Gold Rush when French bakers brought over expert baking techniques. There are plenty of places around the city to buy a loaf of this sour-style bread; Try the Pain au Levain at Acme, Sourdough Long Loaf at Boudin or  the Organic Sourdough Batard at Noe Valley Bakery. But, if eating a plain loaf of bread isn’t on your carb agenda head over to Tartine to indulge in one of their delicious sandwiches made with their housemade Sourdough Country Levain. 

Read More: Taste Test: The Best Sourdough Bread in San Francisco

Sourdough | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

51. ✧ Soak in an Onsen

This off-beat activity is one of the top ways to relax in busy San Francisco. Onsen is a restaurant, bath house and spa. They offer great health-conscious bites, and authentic Japanese bathing experiences. As they state on their website, “The bathing ritual in Japan is deeply ingrained in their society, with the idea that a daily soak with cleanse and restore body a soul.” So take some time for yourself, or bring and friend and have a fun day with this unique bucket list experience.

52. ✦ Play an Antique Arcade Game

Musee Mecanique is a private collection of coin-operated, antique arcade games and mechanical musical instruments. Walking through will take you on a trip down memory lane, before home video and smart phone app games became so popular. Bring a roll of quarters to take a pony ride, battle with an arm wrestler or hear the Barbershop Quartet belt out a tune.

Musee Mecanique | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

53. ✧ See an Opera at the Opera House

I think everyone should go to the Opera at least once in their lives. So, look no further than the San Francisco Opera House. They feature both innovative and classical operas for a total of nine different operas annually. The building itself is rich in heritage, and has been dedicated to American war heroes, as the War Memorial Opera House. For decades legendary figures in the world of Opera have donned the stage here. Come and see why opera has never gone out of style!

54. ✦ Marvel at the Outrageously Huge Beach Blanket Babylon Hats

Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest running musical revue and has rightfully been called “the real San Francisco treat”. It has been seen by over 6 million people, with more than 15,000 performances. Why? Because its spoofs on pop culture are hilarious, the headdresses are outrageously huge and the costume colorfully elaborate. I’ve seen it twice!

55. ✧ Take a Brewery Tour

Get a taste of San Francisco history with a peak into America’s first and oldest craft brewery, Anchor Brewing. Though their Steam beer is what they seem to be most known for, you will also get a glimpse into their other tasty selections and their centuries-old craft brewing techniques. Of course the best part of the tour is the samples at the end.

Anchor Steam Brewery Tour | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

Photo by Jennifer Pickens

56. ✧ Get Fresh Crab at a Fisherman’s Wharf Sidewalk Stand

57. ✦ Spot the Wild Parrots

There is no specific address where you can spot a flock of wild cherry-headed conure parrots roaming around San Francisco. But, your best bet would be to start at Coit Tower and then walk down the 400 Telegraph Hill steps scoping out the trees along the way. This area is where I had my first sighting and was also the inspiration for the documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

The Parrots of Telegraph Hill | San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF

Photo by Dan_H

58. ✧ Play Frisbee Golf at Golden Gate Park

59. ✧ Navigate the Infinite Mirror Maze

60. ✦ Eat an Egg Custard Tart

An egg custard tart features a silky egg yolk custard in a crunchy pastry shell that is traditionally found in various Asian countries. The Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown is know to have one of the best recipes in the city, maybe the world. If you can act actually get one, you might agree. It is well known that the shop randomly closes. In fact, a “on vacation” sign is in their window so often that there is a website called “Is the Golden Gate Bakery Open Today?” dedicated to letting the consumers know when they can and can not get their beloved tart. Even if they are open, you will most likely have a long line to contend with. This all adds to the bucket list challenge.

Egg Custard Tart San Francisco Bucket List: Best Things to Do in the Fun City of SF
Photo by Joey

Start ticking these activities off your San Francisco Bucket List, and you will soon see why San Francisco is the funnest city in California, and one of the best cities in the world.

Essential Tips for Visiting San Francisco

Getting There: SFO is a major hub and most airlines will fly into it, with United being the leading carrier. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner. You can also use choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination.

Where to Stay in San Francisco: It’s almost always best to stay near the city center or at least public transportation. In the shopping district of Union Square Staypineapple at The Alise or choose the centrally located Omni Hotel on California Street. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to Airbnb that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.

Getting Around: Driving in San Francisco can be a bit of a challenge and parking fees can be expensive, but if you choose to rent a car, has great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of options. Both Lyft and Uber are available all over the city, plus most of the major attractions can be accessed with the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. Or do a GoCar 3-Hour Tour of San Francisco’s Parks and Beaches.

Special Note: With the purchase of a Go San Francisco Card of the San Francisco City Pass you can pay one nominal fee and get entry to dozens of the Bay Area’s best attractions and tours!

Top San Francisco Tours:

For even more bucket list ideas see the fun San Francisco Things to Do at A Passion and a Passport.

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  1. Andi May 21, 2015 at 7:26 am - Reply

    This post makes me miss SF sooo much! Great shots!!!

    • Annette White May 21, 2015 at 7:29 am - Reply

      Thanks Andi! I am truly fortunate to live so close to this spectacular city!

  2. Johannes May 25, 2015 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Yes have to agree tho i have never been to SF it surly makes me wana go reading this post and seeing all the lovely pics. great post !

  3. Shelly May 25, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Geez, we felt like we covered San Francisco pretty well when we were there for several days a few months ago, but we have definitely added a few more things to do when we get back there. Thanks for the good ideas!

    • Annette White May 25, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      I don’t know if you can ever be done exploring San Francisco, there’s so much to see!

  4. maxi May 27, 2015 at 4:55 am - Reply

    Best bucket list that I ever came across. Interesting things to do in San Francisco as well involving Crookedest Street and others. Tremendous views of Golden Gate as well. Keep it up!

    • Annette White June 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Maxi! I know that every list includes the Crookedest Street on it, but it is bucket list worthy!

  5. Maxi June 1, 2015 at 5:33 am - Reply

    Very informative post. I travel frequently to San Francisco and I really liked the atmosphere there. Thank

    you a lot for sharing.

  6. JB & Renee June 7, 2015 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    Good list. Those Irish coffees at Buena Vista are classic. I lived in San Francisco for 4 years and we used to ride the cable car at night all the way to Buena Vista. Good times. Did you eat at House of Nanking or Thanh Long/Crustacean as well? I miss food tripping in San Francisco, especially for dungeness crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. So so good. 🙂

    • Annette White June 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      I have not eaten at either of those restaurants, but I’ll put them on my list! San Francisco has so many great places to choose from.

  7. Gabriel June 11, 2015 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Thank you for this great list. I moved to Northern California about 5 years ago and have been exploring ever since. Just added a few of these to my list, as I’ve already done a few. I love the Fortune Cookie factory. That will be the first one I check out. I’ve found some pretty cool hidden places in SF, that a handful of people know about it. So it’s always cool to find new and different things from others. Keep up the great travel

    • Annette White June 11, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      There is so much exploring to do in Northern California, you are bound to discover some incredible things! If you have any other suggestions for this list, please leave them in the comments as I am sure that the readers would appreciate knowing about cool hidden places. Unless, you are trying to keep them a secret 😉

      • Gabriel June 12, 2015 at 2:38 am - Reply

        I definitely don’t mind sharing the ones I can. A few of the secret places I’ve discovered are mostly hidden beaches. They don’t have names or any signs near by. Stumbled across them while hiking in SF and being nosey. One of them has black granite marble stone, instead of grainy sand. With beautiful large granite colorful rocks all over the beach. It’s a hidden paradise. Below are some other cool places in SF that are my favorite.

        1. Concrete slide in the Castro. In a beautiful small residential neighborhood in Seward Mini Park. At the corner of Seward Street and Acme Alley. Cardboard is usually left behind. Will have you feeling like a kid again.

        2. The Wave Organ. This is a less popular attraction because of its hidden location. A bit of a walk to get to but very scenic. It was constructed by the Exploratorium back in 1986, and uses a series of pipes that interact with the waves to produce beautiful melodies. It’s hit or miss, on whether you will hear anything. The conditions have to be perfect and must be hide tide, with a bit of luck to hear anything. I’ve been twice and haven’t been able to hear anything but it’s lovely just to sit there and take in the views. Check out the mussels and baby crabs along the way as your walking along the beach. A bit hard to find but once you get there it’s easy to figure out. Once you see all the docked boats, you are in the right place.

        3.The rope swing in the Glen Park neighborhood, at Billy Goat Hill Park. This rope swing has incredible views of the city. Probably the best view you will ever experience from a swing. Please note the swing doesn’t meet any safety standards So swing at your own risk.

        4. My personal favorite is the waterfront labyrinth at Lands End, with a wonderful view of the Golden Gate. It’s about a 30 min walk/hike from Sutro Baths. It’s best to check out Sutro Baths first, then make your way up to Lands Ends. It’s a pretty flat trail. There are steep stairs to get down to it and intense stairs on the way back up but totally worth it. After you check out the labyrinth. I highly recommend walking the beach towards the left. That you will see from the top. Take lots of water with you and maybe a snack.

        5. The pet cemetery in the Presidio. It’s not as creepy as it sounds. It’s pretty fun to walk through reading the tombstones. I believe it is currently gated and closed for construction. They are renovating the entire area, to make it more accessible. I believe it should be done by the end of summer. It’s across from Crissy Fields. So you may have to park somewhere near Crissy Fields and walk over.

        6. If you’ve ever wanted to see a gold fire hydrant. There is one in the Mission at the corner of 20th and Church, right next to Dolores Park, and it’s a significant item in the history of SF. After the 1906 earthquake, it provided water to put out fires that destroyed much of the city. It was the only working fire hydrant in the neighborhood, and it gets repainted every year on the anniversary of the quake. On a side note, Dolores Park is a great place to lay out on a blanket and have a picnic for the day. If you have kids stay towards the bottom where the playground is. The top part of the grass area is for adults. Nothing dangerous, just a lot of adult vendors walk through with some interesting products for sale. Definitely a fun experience either way. Another great view of the city from here as well.

        Just in case you were wondering, you can do all of the places I listed in one day. If you start early in the morning around 8 or 9. With a quick lunch break in between. You will probably finish up around 5pm, depending on how long you spend at each location. My list isnt in any type of order. So if you do decide to do them all. Map them out accordingly by locatiom, cuz some are spresd out. I could go on and on with a list of things but these places are my personal favorites, in SF.

        • Annette White June 15, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

          Love these!! Definitely gonna go see the gold fire hydrant!

  8. Michele June 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    we are going to be in San Francisco in 2 weeks with our two sons I’m excited to visit some of the sites you posted. Thanks for sharing some that are not know to tourist

    • Annette White June 11, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Have a great time Michele and eat a couple fortune cookies for me!

  9. India Tour packages June 15, 2015 at 5:09 am - Reply

    Thanks for great blog information, this is most finest travels services, in making trip advisor and showing knowledge with online. It’s truly bucket listed to Travelers in exploring for lots of attractions in San Francisco.

  10. Christan P June 18, 2015 at 3:09 am - Reply

    Thanks for the wonderful to-do list. This will be helpful when I visit my friends in SF.

  11. Same Day Agra Tours June 20, 2015 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Thanks for blog posts, It is very good traveling blogger. It is famous to improve the travelers with take knowledge in Tourism.

  12. Tina kemp June 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I love reading all your adventures,, yes,, just returned from San Francisco ,, enjoyed every minute!!
    Glad you have a wonderful time also
    Love tina

    • Annette White June 22, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      I am so fortunate to call Northern California home, so San Francisco is pretty close to my city. Though, I feel like uncovering all the cool experiences in San Francisco could take a lifetime!

  13. Bev July 2, 2015 at 5:38 am - Reply

    I am visiting San Francisco in Sept thanks for the great tips

  14. Jhon Lingkon July 12, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Going to San Francisco within next 2 month with my Wife. It will be great time hope so.

    • Annette White July 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      San Francisco is a great city, I’m sure it’ll be a great time!

  15. North India Tour Packages July 18, 2015 at 5:16 am - Reply

    This is top destinations of one is the famous San Franciso for the travelers bucket listed. This is superb travel journey to enjoying for there destinations………………Thanks

  16. same day taj mahal tour by car July 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Thanks for information in bucket list in san francisco trip!

  17. Golden Triangle Tour 4 Days February 2, 2016 at 4:38 am - Reply

    Stunning Pictures!

  18. Golden Triangle Tour 3 Days February 2, 2016 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Nice travel posts, i have also planning to explore in San Francisco with include the fabulous destinations.

  19. Stef February 23, 2016 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    I’m probably going to SF in summer, so thank you very much for sharing. I will save this post for my visit!

    • Annette White February 23, 2016 at 11:44 pm - Reply

      Fun! San Francisco is in my neck of the woods, I live just 45 minutes north. It’s an incredible city!

  20. suraj January 13, 2017 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Wow Amazing pictures San Francisco is the really Awesome destination for every traveller.
    I’m planning to visit in San Francisco for 5 nights with my family I’m so excited to visit there

    And surely i’ll visit to some of the sites you’ve mentioned in this post.

  21. Noe Valley Bakery September 2, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the mention!

  22. Guillaume April 12, 2018 at 3:43 am - Reply

    Great listing, thanks! I love SF, an incredible city, will go back for sure! 🙂

  23. lakhvir singh May 28, 2018 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Thanks for enlighten me about these places

  24. Anna Makridi May 29, 2018 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Great post! The listing is amazing!

  25. Bimal May 30, 2018 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Hey it’s always a dream to travel in america. Although there are also many places to visit, San Francisco is my best city to travel. Thank you so much for sharing such amazing blog. Fun !!

  26. Pat @ Travel ETA Australia June 5, 2018 at 12:59 am - Reply

    All of this looks so awesome. Thanks for all the tips!

  27. Travelouts June 8, 2018 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Nice post. This trip looks so epic! Such a beautiful part of the world. Fantastic list of things to do which I will be adding to my list of things to do when I go there someday! You shared awesome places and pictures also.

  28. Lombok Wander June 11, 2018 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Nice story to be tell !
    San Fransisco is a nice city !

  29. Elizabeth Higgins June 27, 2018 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful list, Annette! I’ll definitely be trying to have a drink of the Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista, the pricy Molecular Gastronomy meal, and try the trampoline dodge ball. I’m actually excited for everything on this list and can’t wait for my next vacation!

    • Annette White June 29, 2018 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      Great! I hope you have a great visit to SF and drink an Irish Coffee for me!

  30. David June 28, 2018 at 4:20 am - Reply

    This is a great detailed list, Thanks. The Irish coffee looks like beer.

  31. Kurt rental July 26, 2018 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Traveling to San Francisco is something that is clearly worth thinking about if you are going to visit the States. The city is unusually beautiful and diverse. It is a place where life always rages. here as there are a lot of tourist places, here are good prices for hotels and also you can rent a car cheaply

  32. Juan Ovalle July 30, 2018 at 12:09 am - Reply

    Absolutely love the list you made! I heard Exploratorium after dark was a lot of fun! I’ve been to SF numerous times but never got to try. Will definitely have to try the next time I’m there though.

  33. Peter August 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Boring things for boring people

  34. mysterioustrip August 23, 2018 at 2:30 am - Reply

    Great post! Described all the things clearly and all the pics are awesome. it’s a very helpful article for travelers who visit SF.
    Thanks for sharing the article.

  35. Charles McCool September 8, 2018 at 9:47 am - Reply

    SF is a great city. One of the greatest. I love finding cheap eats around San Francisco. Everyone thinks it is so expensive. Try the meat cone at Ferry Building. More in the article linked to my comment!

  36. Sophia September 26, 2018 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Hope San Francisco have so many activities around keep busy.. When is the best month to visit?

    • Annette White September 29, 2018 at 4:09 am - Reply

      It’s usually really beautiful in October and November. But, May throughSeptember is great too!

  37. Farespapa November 22, 2018 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Excellent blog post, and thank you for sharing some very helpful thoughts!!! Best of luck with your travels.

  38. Travelouts December 3, 2018 at 4:59 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for these wonderful tips. This is a great post and place you visited. Lovely pictures.

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