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10 Fascinating Must-See Attractions in San Francisco

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Although most people assume that San Francisco is a vast city, it is quite small, geographically. Covering only 49 square miles, you will be amazed by the fact that there are tons of things to see and do in this small city in the United States. So, if what you look for is excitement, cultural experience, shopping and just something out of the ordinary, then make sure you include this list of attractions to visit in your itinerary.

1. Golden Gate Bridge

The breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge is what San Francisco is known for. It is a bridge that extends to the strait located between the city and Marin County. This magnificent masterpiece was 7 years in the making and it is considered as the longest suspension bridge in the world. In fact, it is so famous that it has become San Francisco’s and California’s international symbol. It has a distinct red-orange color, which makes it even more visible despite the thick fog that shrouds this impressive bridge.


Golden Gate Bridge

2. Golden Gate Park

Although it was once nothing but a pile of sand dunes, this enchanting park is not a must-see attraction with museums, carousels, windmills and bison. With an area of 1,017 acres, the Golden Gate Park is 20 percent larger than the infamous Central Park in New York. So, if you are planning to check out the entirety of the park, make sure you bring a bike because walking makes it challenging to tour the place. One of the most-loved attractions in the park is the Japanese Tea Garden, which boasts of lovely plants, flowers, ponds and tea house.

Golden Gate Park

3. Cable cars

For those who yearn for a great view of the city’s busy streets, then a ride in San Francisco’s cable cars are just what you need. These fun rides run on three lines in San Francisco’s steep streets, particularly between Fisherman’s Wharf and Market Street. However, if you prefer to check out this attraction on weekends, you may have to wait in line for hours because of its popularity among both locals and tourists.

Cable Car

4. Alcatraz

Alcatraz is also coined as “The Rock” and it is a small island that serves as a military fort, prison and lighthouse. Back then, it served as a home to some of history’s notorious crooks such as Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone. The fort was believed to be truly inescapable because it is surrounded by San Francisco’s freezing water. Now, it is a famous attraction in the city, which is operated by the San Francisco National Park Service.


5. Fisherman’s Wharf

Another must-see attraction in the city is the Fisherman’s Wharf that runs from Pier 39 and through the Municipal Pier, which is located at the end point of Aquatic Park. For more than a hundred years, it has become a historic waterfront and it served as the hub of fishing fleet in the city. However, it is still known for its superb seafood restaurants that serve the finest dishes in San Francisco. Several other attractions you can find in Fisherman’s Wharf include souvenir stores, scenic vistas, historical buildings and museums. At Pier 39, you can also find the infamous sea lions that perform entertaining tricks.

Fisherman's Wharf

6. Transamerica Pyramid

Set at San Francisco’s financial district, another renowned icon of the city stands proudly for everyone to see. The Transamerica Pyramid was designed by William L. Pereira and the shape is said to be ideal for skyscrapers as it lets in more light and air from the streets found below this structure. The construction of this pyramid was completed in 1972 and it stands 260 meters, which makes it San Francisco’s tallest building in the skyline.

Transamerica Pyramid

7. North Beach

The name can be quite deceiving because it is not exactly a beach, but an Italian quarter. In fact, this is a cozy neighborhood that boasts of European-style restaurants, shops and pavement cafes, which are situated near Washington Square. It is also here in North Beach where you can find the stunning church of Saints Peter and Paul, as well as the infamous Coit Tower set above Telegraph Hill. Here, you can have the best location to shoot for photos of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco bay.

North Beach

8. Coit Tower

This is one of the popular skylines from the peak of Telegraph Hill, which offers you a remarkable birds-eye-view of San Francisco. It was first built in 1933, as requested by Lillie Hitchcock Coit. Some people think that this tower looks a bit like a fire hose nozzle, which is assumed to serve as a tribute to all firefighters. Upon entering the lobby, you can have a glimpse of the finest murals that depict classic scenes from 1930s and you can ride an elevator to reach the top portion of this 210-foot tower. If you want some kind of exercise, though, then you may want to take about 400 steps going up and down the tower and check out lovely green parrots flying by.

Coit Tower

9. Alamo Square

What’s distinct about Alamo Square is its row of elegant Victorian houses situated on the east portion along Steiner Street. This lovely neighborhood also serves as the subject of most postcards that feature San Francisco’s famous symbols. If you want to tour the square, you can find a vibrant park with tennis court and playground, which is frequented by tourists, residents and dog owners. If you happen to visit the square on a clear and fine day, you may be lucky enough to have a remarkable view of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid building from the center of the park.

Alamo Square

10. The Intersection of Haight-Ashbury

It was during the revolutionary 60’s, or Woodstock, when this intersection has become very famous. Even to this very day, Haight has maintained its laid-back and relaxed hippie culture that interests free-spirited locals and foreigners. If you want to have a sense of psychedelic history, then you should check out the homes of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. The Flower Power tour, on the other hand, is available every Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The Intersection of Haight-Ashbury

San Francisco is packed with spectacular places to see and things to do for people of all ages. Whether you are in the mood for adventure, relaxation, or simply to learn more about the city’s culture, then these top attractions can offer you just what you need for an unforgettable trip to San Francisco.


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