Located on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, this northern Californian city is one of the popular destinations for people all around the world. Better known for its foggy cool weather, steep hills, world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, and infamous Alcatraz, San Francisco is also the headquarters of some major companies including Twitter and Pinterest.
My friend was going to San Francisco on a one-day business trip. Eager to finally explore the City by the Bay, I quickly invited myself to accompany him. I wish we had more time. Nevertheless, we did the best with the time we had. Here is the list of the places that you don’t want to miss in San Francisco.
- Golden Gate Bridge.
The most internationally recognized landmark of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is named one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The suspension bridge with its bright orange color, the Art Deco styling, and towers extending 700 feet above and 100 feet beneath the water attracts people from all around the world. You can literally spend hours here. You can walk or bike on the sidewalks of the bridge during daylight hours. On the both sides of the bridge there are vista points where you can enjoy breathtaking view and take pictures.
You can’t come to San Francisco and not visit Chinatown, the largest Chinatown outside Asian. Asian unique cultures, customs, languages, temples and other places of worship attract more visitors annually than the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. In order to explore this area, you can take walking tours or just let yourself get lost on the alleys and streets of Chinatown and discover cute souvenir shops, Asian restaurants and eateries with foods that make you want to come back, herbal shops, antique stores that look like real museums. And don’t forget to take pictures of Dragon Gate, the most photographed structure in Chinatown.
- Lombard Street.
San Francisco is notable for the steepest streets in the United States. Lombard Street, however, will blow your mind. Besides being as steep as many other streets of the city, this scenic street surrounded by beautiful flowerbeds is also known as the crookedest streets in the world.
- Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is another popular tourist attraction that features Pier 39, the Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square, Wax Museum, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, fishing boats, plenty of seafood restaurants and charming souvenir shops. Do not leave the Fisherman’s Wharf without taking an Alcatraz tour or Bay Cruise, but make sure to buy your tickets in advance since the tours are often sold out months ahead of time.
- Union Square
Union Square, which is one-block plaza and its surrounding area, is better known as the central shopping, hotel, and theater district. Here you will find the largest collection of department stores, gift and souvenir shops, boutiques, beauty salons, and art galleries in the country. There is a beautiful park in the center of Union Square where you can grab a bite or just sit on a bench. Union Square is also a permanent residence of one of the Hearts in San Francisco, inspired by Tony Bennett song “I left My Heart in San Francisco”.
- San Francisco Cable Car
When in San Francisco, you absolutely must take a ride on a cable car, the last manually operated cable car system in the world. These rides, equally popular among tourists and locals, will give you plenty of opportunities to see and take pictures of the classic views of the city including Lombard Street, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf. If you want to know more about the cable cars and their history, make sure to visit the Cable Car Museum, where you can see historic cable cars and buy some gifts.
- Painted Ladies
The row of Victorian houses at 710-720 Steiner Street across from Alamo Square park, better known as “Painted Ladies” or Postcard Row, represent stunning and colorful architecture of San Francisco. These houses are among the most photographed places in the city. Fans of the popular TV show “Full House” will recognize this place as the home of the Tanners.
- Twin Peaks
Is it even possible to leave San Francisco without admiring it from above? Twin Peaks is that place where you can enjoy breathtaking view of this gorgeous city. The Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Market Street, Alcatraz, downtown with its skyscrapers that were featured in a good amount of movies… You need to see it yourself, pictures don’t do it justice.