Dynamic San Francisco is a melting pot of iconic architecture, music nostalgia and energetic social scenes. Visit the famous Golden Gate Bridge, head Downtown to marvel at the unbelievable steep hills and cable cars, and be sure to sample the world-renowned seafood at the popular Fisherman’s Wharf on your San Francisco holiday.
Things to do in San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s best loved icon, spanning the San Francisco Bay on the edge of the Pacific. The idea for the distinctive orange colour came from local residents who persuaded the architect, Irving Morrow, to break from the traditional grey. Around 9 million people each year visit the Golden Gate Bridge; the sidewalk that runs for the entire length of the bridge means that it is accessible to pedestrians and cyclists as well as the extensive traffic that flows across it every day.
Wander through the pristine gardens of the Golden Gate Park; a giant city park filled with art, botanical gardens and picturesque views of rolling grasslands. At over 1,017 acres in size, the third most visited park in the whole of the US welcomes 13 million visitors a year and offers a host of attractions, including the Conservatory of Flowers and the de Young Museum of Art.
One of the biggest attractions in San Francisco Bay is Pier 39, also known as Fisherman’s Wharf. Since it opened in 1978, the pier has been one of San Francisco’s top tourist spots, home to a massive shopping centre as well as countless entertainment opportunities. There are 110 specialist shops that sell everything from local souvenirs to hand-crafted, designer jewellery. Additionally, there are numerous restaurants and stalls dotted around the pier that lay on freshly-caught San Francisco seafood.
Immerse yourself in the amazing community of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest Chinese community outside of Asia and the oldest of its kind in the whole of the US. It was established as a community in 1840 for Chinese immigrants and has risen to become one of the most popular tourist destinations San Francisco has to offer. Be sure to see the Bank of America, with its distinctive oriental design, adorned with golden dragons and medallions.
Hidden down a tiny alley in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown district, the Golden Gate Cookie Factory has been supplying fortune cookies to the world for over 40 years. Fortune cookies were invented in the US and so this is chance to trace them to their origins. Taste the fresh and tasty samples during your fascinating glance into the workings of a busy factory. No San Francisco visit is complete without a trip.
San Francisco’s Union Square best known for its shopping opportunities as the third largest shopping area in the US. The Square takes its name from its historical origins when it served as a meeting point for the Union army during America’s Civil War. It was in the 1900s however that the square began to take the commercially orientated direction that has led to its modern day success.
At Haight Ashbury, haven for the hippie generation in the ‘60s, walk in the footsteps of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Grateful Dead and learn about the impact of the alternative rock culture on San Francisco and the world. The neighbourhood has retained its bohemian, flower-power character and today you’ll find a fun mix of eclectic stores, hip restaurants, boutiques and colourful architecture.
You won’t be disappointed on a visit to San Francisco’s Alamo Square, a residential neighbourhood where it’s said that, on a clear day, you can see down to the Golden Gate Bridge. Alamo Square also houses some of the most beautifully preserved examples of Victorian architecture in America. Most notable of these are the square’s ‘Painted Ladies,’ a row of colourful Victorian houses, completed in 1896, from which the term for this polychrome style originated. This iconic row along Steiner Street is one of the most photographed in the whole of San Francisco. Their colours range from blues to greens, from browns to yellows as they have since done the colourist movement swept through this neighbourhood in the 1970, giving them their distinctive style.