San Francisco, California Things To DoExperience the magic and excitement of San Francisco - Fisherman's Wharf, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, Little Italy, Chinatown, Cable Cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
From the grandeur of the Palace of Fine Arts to the vibrant streets of Union Square, San Francisco is an intoxicating city and among the world's most popular vacation destinations.
Explore funky neighborhoods - from the beautiful Mission District to the legendary Haight-Ashbury with its 60’s bohemian flair. Surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and diverse urban areas in the world- a place where your soul will be enchanted and entertained.
Historic Cable Cars.Since 1873, the historic San Francisco Cable Cars have shuttled locals and tourists throughout the city- from Nob Hill to the Financial District and Fisherman’s Wharf. Ride to your favorite neighborhoods and attractions on one of the most famous landmarks of the City on the Bay. You can hop on the Historic Cable Car near the hotel and see all the sights, sounds and attractions all around us. Purchase a one-day ($9), three-day ($15), or seven-day ($20) passport so that you can ride on the streetcars, buses, and cable cars everywhere you need to explore.
Union Square.Downtown San Francisco’s landmark park and shopping destination, Union Square features fashionable shopping, a vibrant theater district, wonderful dining and luxury hotels. The hub of shopping in San Francisco, Union Square is home to the finest shopping malls, department stores, specialty shops and restaurants in the country, sporting just about every major haute couture, jewelry and department store you can imagine. Surrounding the famous park square, you’ll find major department stores like Nordstrom, Macy's, Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Emporium, as well as trendy boutiques and popular superstores. Walk the streets and enjoy fine art galleries, see a show at one of the many theatres or dine at the top restaurants in the city. Union Square is also a beautiful piazza with a monument of the goddess Victory, granite plazas, a terraced stage, light sculptures designed by artist R.M. Fischer, cafés, and four grand entrances bordered by palms that punctuate the history and beauty of San Francisco. The plaza presents many events, art and fashion shows, and parties. Hop on the cable cars that take off from Union Square or join the city’s walking tours.,/
Aquarium of the Bay.Located at Pier 39, Aquarium of the Bay is a unique educational and entertainment facility that let’s you discover, see, touch and learn about the diverse aquatic life and ecosystems of San Francisco Bay. A window to the Bay, the Aquarium entertains, educates and inspires preservation of this natural resource. Meet 20,000 amazing marine animals as you walk through 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels. Encounter seven gill sharks, the Bay’s largest predator, touch leopard sharks, skates, rays, and sea stars. The four parts to your exciting journey - Discover the Bay, Under the Bay, Touch the Bay and Save the Bay, create experiences that inspire the conservation of San Francisco Bay and marine environments. Visit www.aquariumofthebay.org. [Top]
Fisherman's Wharf.San Francisco’s historic waterfront attraction, Fisherman’s Wharf is a lively marketplace filled with fun activities and breathtaking Bay views. This popular San Francisco destination is a long coastal row that offers unique shopping, souvenir stores, seafood restaurants, vendors, Bay cruises, street performers, live music and a fishing pier. Waterfront marketplaces include, The Anchorage, The Cannery, Ghirardelli Square and the world-famous PIER 39, a festival marketplace with 110 shops, restaurants, performers, cruises, Aquarium of the Bay, and the loveable sea lions. Take the ferry from the Wharf or charter a sailboat to scenic Marin County. Visit www.fishermanswharf.org.
Pier 39.Experience a wonderful day of shopping and dining at Pier 39 - a festival marketplace on San Francisco Bay. After an up-close look at the playful sea lions, enjoy a variety of family attractions, fun street performers, live music and more than 110 shop and stores. Enjoy a bite to eat at the Pier’s 14 Bay view restaurants and stick around for the daily entertainment. There’s something for everyone at this world-famous San Francisco attraction. Visit www.pier39.com.
Golden Gate Bridge.San Francisco’s grandest landmark and one of the most breathtaking structures in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is the gateway where the Bay meets the Pacific Ocean and connects San Francisco to the Marin Headlands. Crossing under the iconic orange towers of the 4,200-foot Golden Gate Bridge offers magical views of the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Driving or biking across is a thrill, but a half-hour walk lets you absorb inspiring views. Unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge are found at the beach at Crissy Field - a beautiful green space with birds, joggers, and roller bladders. Walk along the beach and tide pool for one mile, past volleyball fields and windsurfers until you are right under the Golden Gate Bridge. Crissy Field is one of the world's best beach locations for windsurfing and offers unparalleled views of the waterfront. [Top]
Golden Gate National Recreation Area.One of the world's largest urban national parks, Golden Gate National Recreation Area hugs the California coastline for about 60 miles in San Francisco. Right in the backyard of the city, the park is a loved destination for locals and tourists to windsurf, walk the dog, go for a run, explore nature and get a taste of history. With unparalleled recreational opportunities, stunning natural beauty, and riveting stories, the national park attracts millions of joggers, polo players, roller-skaters, cyclists and strollers, and offers many tranquil spots with incredible ocean vistas. Explore popular park sites, such as Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Marin Headlands, and the Presidio. Experience a "working" Nike Missile Site, a maximum security federal prison, the conversion of an abandoned airfield into hundreds of acres of productive coastal wetlands, and some of the most beautiful beaches and hiking trails in the nation.
The Presidio.The Presidio is a national park that preserves a complex cultural and natural heritage within its 1,480 acres south of the Golden Gate. Once a U.S. Army post and site of the World’s Fair, The Presidio is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and recreational paradise with spectacular vistas, meandering trails, and historic and architectural treasures. Enjoy scenic hikes, fun walking tours, picnics, view an exhibit or take a stroll back in time. Enjoy the history and beauty of 500 historic buildings, coastal defense fortifications, a national cemetery, an historic airfield, a saltwater marsh, forests, beaches, plant habitats, coastal bluffs, and miles of hiking and biking trails with spectacular views. The park is open year-round. Visit www.presidio.gov.
San Francisco Zoo.Northern California's largest zoological park and conservation center, the historic San Francisco Zoo, features more than 1,000 exotic and endangered wildlife set against the Pacific Ocean. An urban oasis, this naturalistic habitat houses over 250 animal species, and offers many entertaining exhibits, activities and events. Visit the Grizzy Gulch, home to two grizzly bears, or stroll through the exciting African Savanna habitat. Experience the wonders of the Children's Zoo and the New Zoo, a conservation zoo dedicated to the preservation of wild places and wildlife. The entire family will enjoy thrilling exhibits such as Gorilla Preserve, Penguin Island, Koala Crossing, Lemur Forest and the Australian WalkAbout. Ride the historical Dentzel Carousel and Little Puffer miniature steam train. Open daily 10am-5pm. Check out www.sfzoo.org. [Top]
Metreon.An innovative entertainment and technology marketplace, the Metreon is the first-of-its-kind entertainment venue. Located at Fourth and Mission streets in downtown San Francisco, this 350,000 square-foot complex features an eclectic mix of the Bay Area's most incredible restaurants, world-class shopping venues, 15 theatres, interactive attractions, family events and entertainment destinations, including the West Coast's largest IMAX theater. The 15-screen Loews Metreon is San Francisco’s largest movie complex with a panoramic view of Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade and the downtown skyline. Visit www.metreon.com.
Yerba Buena Gardens/Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.An award-winning mixed-use venue, Yerba Buena Gardens is an urban oasis in the heart of downtown San Francisco that features many cultural attractions, including museums, public art, formal gardens, shops, restaurants, outdoor concerts, a lovely children’s garden, an ice-skating rink, a bowling alley and a colorful, historic carousel. The magnificent gardens at Yerba Buena are a peaceful retreat in the middle of the city, including a butterfly garden and a children’s garden. One highlight of the many public art displays is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, a granite and water structure with the largest waterfall on the West Coast as well as King's speeches etched in stone. An entertainment and arts complex on Mission Street, Yerba Buena Center presents visual art exhibitions, performing arts, film/video screenings, and community engagement programs that showcase San Francisco's artistic diversity and offers world perspectives on art. The Yerba Buena complex includes the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartoon Museum. Visit www.ybca.org.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, SFMOMA houses an extensive collection of more than 25,000 works of modern and contemporary 20th Century art, including artistic developments in painting, sculpture, photography, architecture and design, and media arts that span the globe. Several art galleries display selections from the permanent collection of art, sculpture, furniture, and photographs along with changing exhibits. Experience the masterpieces of Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Ansel Adams, and Frank Lloyd Wright. SFMOMA also features a beautiful atrium lobby, a 299-seat theater, an interactive Education Center, the museum shop, Café Museo and the new 14,400-square-foot Rooftop Garden. Visit www.sfmoma.org. [Top]
Asian Art Museum.One of the largest museums in the world, the Asian Art Museum celebrates Asian art with a collection of 17,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years of history and seven major regions. Located at the Civic Center facility, the technologically advanced museum showcases the material, aesthetic, and intellectual achievements of Asian art and culture. The Asian Art Museum holds one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world with many rare and exceptional objects. The collection includes thousands of objects ranging from tiny jades to monumental sculptures, paintings, porcelains and ceramics, lacquers, textiles, furniture, arms and armor, puppets, and basketry. One of museum’s most celebrated object, the gilt bronze Buddha dated from 338 A.D. is the oldest known dated Chinese Buddha in the world and often cited as a textbook example of Chinese Buddhist art. Check out the children’s discovery center, and special rooms on African-American, Chinese, Filipino-American, and gay/lesbian works that surround the light-filled atrium. Visit www.asainart.org.
Chinatown.Experience the culture of the Orient at the many unique restaurants, shops, markets, and bakeries of historic Chinatown - the largest Chinese community on the West Coast. Walk through the dragon-crested gate - a gift from China in 1969 - and explore Chinatown’s 24-square blocks of culturally-unique stores, open markets and facades resembling shopping in Hong Kong. Stroll colorful streets and see attractions such as the elegant Chinese Presbyterian Church, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, and Pacific Renaissance Plaza, which houses shops and restaurants. Check out the restored Bank of Canton Building, Sing Chong Building, one of the first places rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Bank Of America, decorated with gold dragons, the Herbal Shop, and Old St. Mary’s, California's first cathedral. Enjoy walking tours through Chinatown’s back alleys to authentic food markets and ethnic eateries. See artisans hand make crafts and fortune cookies using ancient techniques. Enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine that will enliven your senses, and taste Dim Sum, a traditional Chinese brunch, at one of the oldest bakeries. Uncover authentic crafts and pottery, antiques, musical instruments, Chinese cookware, and exotic Asian herbs and teas in secret alcoves. Delve into Chinese mysticism and culture, as you explore the neighborhood’s beautiful sculpture and architecture.
Transamerica Building.The 98th tallest building in the world, the Transamerica Pyramid has become a San Francisco landmark of innovation and strength. Transamerica's new headquarters, an unconventional pyramid shape, creates an open, light-filled space in the heart of the Montgomery Financial District. An international symbol of pride, the Transamerica Pyramid is part of Transamerica Center - a complex that includes Two Transamerica Center and Transamerica Redwood Park that encompasses a city block. [Top]
Ghirardelli Square.A historic San Francisco shopping and dining destination, Ghirardelli Square features over 70 stores specializing in eclectic art, gifts, clothes, souvenirs and chocolate, as well as wonderful waterfront restaurants, breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay, beautiful landscaped gardens, and historic walking tours. While its oldest building, Woolen Mill, dates back to 1864, this colorful festive marketplace is famous for its years as a chocolate factory, until 1964 when it was renovated into the Bay Area’s exciting historic landmark. Visit www.ghirardellisquare.com.
AT&T Baseball Park.Home to the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Baseball Park is a San Francisco landmark featuring breathtaking views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. Bordered by downtown San Francisco and the Bay, this classic brick baseball park is an incredible venue for sporting events, concerts and the 2007 All-Star game. AT&T Park features an inspiring nine-foot statue of America's greatest living ballplayer, Willie Mays. Portuguese water dogs fetch home runs that splash into McCovey Cove (named after Hall of Fame Willie), along side an 80-foot Coca-Cola bottle with playground slides and a miniature AT&T Park behind left field. Be sure to avoid traffic by taking public transit that rivals any sports complex on the planet. The San Francisco Giants are a smash hit in the city's sparkling new jewel by the bay. Visit http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/ballpark/index.jsp.
Moscone Convention Center.Three buildings in the urban heart of San Francisco's downtown district, Moscone Center (Moscone North, South and West) is San Francisco’s preeminent meeting, event, convention and exhibition venue. The Moscone Center features 700,000 square feet of exhibit space, six primary exhibit halls, 106 meeting rooms, 123,000 square feet of stylish pre-function lobbies, and houses a diverse collection of San Francisco's public art. Moscone also offers catering services, state-of the art audio/visual technology and a total digital network. Covering one city block, and towering 110 feet above the street, the freestanding Moscone West anchors the 87-acre Yerba Buena Center district in a vibrant downtown neighborhood of theaters, restaurants, museums, galleries, and parks. The Moscone Center, one of the busiest convention, trade and meetings facilities in the nation, now offers ‘green’ meetings with zero waste to lead the industry in environmentally friendly practices. The San Francisco convention center is easily accessed by mass transit and is within close proximity to The Orchard Garden Hotel. Visit www.moscone.com. [Top]
Twin Peaks.Drive up to Twin Peaks and gaze at the sweeping panoramic vistas of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. Named for its two virtually identical summits that stand 922 feet above the city, Twin Peaks offers the best vantage point to see the city at 360 degrees. Enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco, Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Pacific Ocean, and the hilltops of Yerba Buena Island. At the most-traveled point, there is a direct view down Market Street into downtown. Visit on a clear night and watch San Francisco illuminate the night sky. The lower portion of Twin Peaks is a residential community with colorful houses built into the hillside.
Coit Tower.Built in 1933, Coit Tower is one of San Francisco’s most recognizable landmarks. The 210-foot high, Art Deco tower of unpainted concrete sits majestically atop Telegraph Hill in the North Beach neighborhood and offers amazing views of San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge and many San Francisco attractions such as Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz Island. The interior of Coit Tower is covered with 19 beautiful al fresco murals, painted by 26 artists, many of whom studied under Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, each piece depicting a different aspect of the Great Depression. The themes focus on "leftist" and socialist topics, popular in the 1930s. The murals in the spiral staircase are open on Saturdays at 11am as part of a free guided mural tour.
Palace of Fine Arts.Magnificent home of the Exploratorium, the Palace of Fine Arts was created as part of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The Palace, designed as a "valentine for San Francisco" by renowned architect Bernard Maybeck, is an imposing structure featuring a classical Roman rotunda with curved colonnades in an idyllic park setting. The Palace holds art exhibitions, theater performances, events and has been the backdrop for many movies, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. Enjoy a stroll by the lake, a romantic picnic, experience the ethereal beauty of the park and waterways, and visit the Exploratorium. [Top]
Alcatraz Island.Cruise through the cruel waters of San Francisco Bay to the rocky Island of Alcatraz, one of San Francisco’s most popular historic attractions. Formerly America's most infamous maximum-security prison, sitting in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz once held the country’s most notorious criminals including Al Capone. The best way to see “the rock” is on the day or evening Alcatraz Tours. Departing from Pier 41 by ferry, you will experience a 1-hour, self-guided tour of the mysterious abandoned prison and its cell blocks with interesting audio commentary. You’ll even get to experience a minute locked in a darkened cell. Explore the remnants of the prison, and learn about the Native American occupation of 1969 - 1971, early military fortifications and the West Coast's first and oldest operating lighthouse. These structures and the island's natural features - gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views - are incredible and preserved by the National Park Service.
Castro District.San Francisco’s “gay village” is home of the annual San Francisco Gay Pride Parade and many of the city's gay nightclubs, gay-owned or gay-friendly restaurants, retailers, and theaters. Bounded by the Haight Ashbury, Noe Valley, Mission, and Twin Peaks, this funky neighborhood features unique shops, restaurants, cafés, clubs, book/music stores, novelty stores, annual events and landmarks like the Castro Theater and Harvey Milk Plaza. Don’t miss the Halloween Street Party and Castro Street Fair - the city's longest-running street fair- which rocks with music from four stages, arts and crafts, drag shows, comedy, food, drink and crowds of festive folk. Enjoy the walking tour - Castro: Tales of the Village - which explores the Castro’s unique architecture and historic byways.
Lombard Street.San Francisco’s most twisted attraction, Lombard Street is America’s “crookedest street” because of its 8 sharp turns on a treacherous 40-degree slope. The very steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions. Lombard Street goes all the way up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower and continues west down through the Marina to the Golden Gate Bridge. Paved with bricks, the street is an amazing sight to see. Enjoy a winding walk through the Russian Hill neighborhood past stately mansions. In the spring, Lombard St. is colorful with blooming chrysanthemums. [Top]
Grace Cathedral.Located atop Nob Hill, Grace Cathedral is the daughter of historic Grace Church. Designed in French Gothic style and completed in 1964, Grace is the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation. With its Ghiberti doors -"The Gates of Paradise" - labyrinths, beautiful stained glass, medieval and contemporary furnishings, carillon, organs, and choir, Grace Cathedral is an international pilgrimage center and a place of spiritual exploration. You can walk the two labyrinths- the outside terrazzo stone labyrinth - and the new inside limestone layout - based on the famous medieval labyrinth of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. Visit www.gracecathedral.org.
Wine lovers will discover a sip of heaven in Napa Valley, one of the world’s most beloved wine growing regions. Lined with beautiful sun-kissed vineyards and over 250 award-winning wineries, Napa Valley is a captivating vacation destination with charming estate wineries, diverse vine varieties, wine-tasting tours and salons, annual wine and food festivals, and breathtaking landscapes- just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. With many of California's top wine estates, such as Domaine Chandon and Robert Mondavi, the beauty of the land is enhanced by the rich flavors of Napa’s distinctive wines. Savor wonderful wines and walk through old vines on the Silverado Wine Trail or take a 33-mile epicurean journey through the Napa countryside on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In Napa, the views will amaze and the wines will soothe your soul. Looking for a luxury hotel in Napa? Stay at our beautiful sister property, the Harvest Inn, located in St. Helena, CA.Visit the Harvest Inn website at www.harvestinn.com.
Looking for a place with rich history nearby our San Francisco Hotel? Visit Japantown! Come discover a deep history of culture and struggle. There are many famous landmarks in Japantown where you can eat, take pictures and enjoy the day with the whole family..