San Francisco is a huge city with a real presence. It’s full of culture, entertainment, creativity and iconic scenery. If you want to get the best out of your time here, this is what you need to do.
Catch a bus tour from Union Square to get a great overview of the city. They are relatively inexpensive and they criss cross the city, go across the Golden Gate Bridge and pass all the usual tourist highlights. As a first glimpse of the city, this is a great way to catch it.
You can’t visit San Francisco without taking one of the historic cable cars. They are another way of exploring the highlights of the city. You can take in the hills, Union Square, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and plenty more besides.
A trip to Alcatraz island and a tour of the prison is also a must. Even if you aren’t into the history of the place, it has been a film set multiple times, which just adds to the allure. Take a guided tour or an audio one to hear the stories of what went on here. It’s a fascinating trip into the history of the island.
Chinatown in San Francisco is supposedly the largest outside of Asia and once you see it, it’s easy to believe that. The district is huge, with hundreds of stores, restaurants, cultural centers, the fortune cookie factory and so much more. It’s loud, colorful, busy and a little chaotic, but that’s the charm of the place.
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most famous landmark in San Francisco and the most famous bridge in the world. It simply must be climbed, walked across, cycled across or seen from a bus tour. We suggest walking or cycling as it gives plenty of opportunities to take it all in. You can get a bus back if you walk.
The San Francisco Magic Show at the San Francisco Aquarium is funny, fascinating, clever and not to be missed. It’s a great family-friendly venue with some good magic, funny gags and good all-round entertainment. It is currently regarded as the top thing to do in SF right now.
Visiting Lombard Street is as much a rite of passage as seeing the Bridge. The famous twisted street that Steve McQueen drove down at speed is now a tourist mecca and should be seen by everyone in the world.
Beach Blanket Babylon is a musical, the longest running musical in history. It’s clever, witty, poignant and a great evening’s entertainment. Even though it has been running for ever, it still gets sold out regularly. It’s a must see to get a flavor of what this city is all about.