10 San Francisco Attractions to Visit Before You Die


The City by the Bay is bursting with awe-inspiring San Francisco attractions that are guaranteed to inspire. From world-renowned museums and landmarks to amusement parks and zoos – there’s plenty to see!

Are you planning a trip to San Francisco, but find yourself at a loss when it comes to deciding which sights should be on your itinerary? Don’t fret! Here are ten of the city’s most noteworthy attractions that must not be missed.

Golden Gate Bridge

If you’re in San Francisco, you must venture out to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. A 1.7-mile-long suspension span spanning the strait between Marin County and San Mateo County is an essential sightseeing stop for both locals and visitors alike!

Elegant design details such as sculpted waves on the bridge’s deck lend an aesthetic allure to this spectacular structure, which connects with more than 57 million vehicles per year; yet its graceful silhouette remains visible from far off even when shrouded in misty weather.

Don’t miss sunset! It’s truly magnificent: dazzling rays of orange light caress the horizon over Alcatraz Island just as pedestrians move across its surface.


In January 2013, San Francisco-based entrepreneur John Hurley struck upon an inspired idea: revitalizing this national landmark. He brought forth a proposal which envisioned turning the island penal facility into a vibrant public space open for all to enjoy; as well as transforming it into a gated community for tourists eager for an authentic experience at the site.

In March of that year, Alcatraz became an official National Park when its status was officially approved by President Barack Obama and Congress. As such, it has been preserved just as it was during its heyday – with no changes whatsoever intended!

Nowadays, the island’s population hovers around 20 individuals. Its many inhabitants provide vital services such as safeguarding the facility and protecting visitors against any incursions or vandalism; thus ensuring that Alcatraz continues to thrive just like when it first opened back in 1934!

Painted Ladies

Nestled amid the bustling streets of Fisherman’s Wharf, this quintessential San Francisco icon is a sight that cannot be overlooked. Over 500 homes, built over 100 years ago in a seafaring theme are dotted throughout this district, creating an unforgettable picture of 19th-century life!

Painted ladies have become synonymous with San Francisco and its reputation for beauty burst onto the scene in the 1870s when renowned architect Gustavus Franklin itching Candy designed and constructed these pioneering structures as part of his plan to transform Nob Hill into an exclusive residential precinct.

The ladylike name belies their striking design; they featured wraparound porches and bay windows adorned with ornate wrought ironwork – unrivaled in my eyes! This particular neighborhood boasts several distinctive examples of painted ladies along historic crooked alleys and stairwalls leading up to quaint cottages – a refreshing break from the bustle of the city.

Coit Tower

If you’re seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, then it is imperative that you make time to venture out into Golden Gate Park!

Designated in 1868, this expansive 543-acre haven is the ideal destination for an invigorating stroll. This spacious green space – which encompasses approximately 200 acres of land strewn across three distinct areas – provides ample room for exploration within its expansive expanse!

Stop by Coit Tower on your San Francisco itinerary if you’re seeking both a luscious escape from the city yet also a captivating outlook towards its breathtaking scenery.

Standing majestically as a known landmark in San Francisco since 1933, this structure has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in the entire city. Donning an iconic red tile roof atop its octagonal base, it remains one of the most notable structures remembered for its illustrious past – one that can be experienced firsthand!

Marina Green

You may initially anticipate that San Francisco’s most popular recreational spot is its Golden Gate Bridge, but it is actually the Marina Green that has become a go-to destination for locals.

This 18-acre oasis provides visitors with a picturesque setting on which to embark on walks or cycle rides; joggers favor its easily accessible routes while those driving along its perimeter often opt for circling laps in their automobiles.

Despite its alluring appeal, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area mandates that one must obtain a Discover Pass before 15 June (adults $10) or 14 December (seniors 60+) in order to gain access into this area. In addition, parking attendants oversee operations here during certain hours of the day so be sure not to block any indicated areas!

Powell-Mason Gardens

Nestled within the Western Addition district of San Francisco, Powell-Mason Gardens is a veritable oasis of tranquility. This lush park was constructed by the city in 1936 and comes adorned with carob trees and magnolias – an array of flora that represents both California’s climate alongside some of its native species.

The tranquil park is dotted with plantings designed by renowned horticulturalist John L’Heureux. Among these are numerous varieties of roses, plumerias and comellias; along with several hundred exotic palms and other tough plants from around the world. To create this serene haven, he also used more than 4 million pounds of soil – which required excavating over 5 acres!

Union Square

While Union Square may not be the most glamorous part of California’s premier city, there are a number of outstanding attractions in San Francisco that should not be ignored if you find yourself here.

At Union Square lies one of the most popular destinations in all of San Francisco – the statue of Lincoln. Gazing up at Abraham Lincoln is an unforgettable experience! Small children often clamor to pose with it as well; adults can take this opportunity to reminisce about their own childhoods or even reflect upon how far we’ve come since America’s 16th president was inaugurated in 1865.

If you’re interested in visiting Union Square, I recommend arriving early to secure a place at its central plaza. After all, this is where you’ll find such renowned sights as the famed statue and numerous other attractions within this idyllic space!

Japanese Tea Garden and Japanese Tea Garden Conservatory

Located within the Japanese Tea Garden is this whimsical little Japanese-style tea house, complete with a tranquil garden and bubbling brooks. The facility offers an array of teas from around the world; ranging from black to green with subtle flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

Adjacent to the vast expanse of this verdant paradise is a glistening conservatory containing over 8,000 different species of violets representing more than 150 years of cultivation history. In addition to this succulent display boasting thousands upon thousands of flowers in bloom – one cannot help but marvel at its captivating design!

A formal maiko ceremony was held here in which young girls, clad in kimonos adorned with wisteria blossoms performed dances dedicated to their ancestors while singing traditional songs.

Cable Car Museum

Artfully repurposed by cable car enthusiast and philanthropist John George, the elegant Cable Car Museum showcases a collection of gleaming vintage cars from San Francisco’s illustrious past.

The museum is composed of five galleries, each displaying its own distinct subculture. These include: California electric streetcars; historic cable cars; electric trolley buses – some dating back to 1948!; and lastly, those belonging to the Ocean Beach Street Railway company – which operated during the latter part of the 19th century!

Visitors can take a journey through time with their visit, exploring how San Francisco has evolved into the city it is today.

Menlo Park Historical Museum

The Menlo Park Historical Museum reveals the area’s colorful past through artifacts and other memorabilia. Founded in 1982, this facility is a must-see stop while exploring this city – it boasts an array of eye-catching exhibits that provide insight into San Francisco’s past as well as its place in history.

The Menlo Park Historical Museum is home to a fascinating collection of intriguing items representing pivotal moments in local history. Among them are insightful tales of when the site served as headquarters for pioneering entrepreneurs such as Sergey Brin, David Packard and William Shockley – all Silicon Valley luminaries!

Visitors can explore over 500 years of San Francisco’s past, from the Gold Rush days to America’s involvement in World War II – all found within one museum!


The Golden Gate Bridge is arguably the most iconic structure in all of San Francisco, and it is certainly one of the most recognizable landmarks on this planet. The iconic structure has become a symbol not only for the City by the Bay but also for an entire nation as well as an international icon!

Though it is possible to traverse its entirety in a single day, visiting all 10 San Francisco attractions could take months or even years. There are so many wonderful sites and attractions within the city; we could devote an entire book just on these sights alone!

If you’re looking for travel tips for your next trip, be sure to browse our resources! We’ve compiled an array of articles that will help you plan your itinerary and make it more enjoyable.



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