Top 10 Attractions In San Francisco, California - Updated 2023

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The vibrant Californian city of San Francisco, surrounded by the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, is synonymous with the orange-hued Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and steep rolling hills. The city is home to several popular landmarks, such as the Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, and more that draw travelers from all over the world. Tourists will also enjoy a visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum. Take a trip to Pier 39 shopping center or Japantown and indulge in some yummy food. You can unwind at Baker Beach and go swimming. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is perfect for checking out some contemporary artworks. Check out the top 10 attractions in San Francisco, California, to help you plan your holiday.

1. California Academy of Sciences (from USD 40.0)

California Academy of Sciences holds the distinction of being one of the world’s largest museums of natural history, boasting over 26 million specimens. From the African Penguin colony and Morrison Planetarium to the Steinhart Aquarium and the rainforest trail featuring reptiles, spiders and amphibians, this museum has it all! Book a skip-the-line pass to explore the aquarium, planetarium and the four-story rainforest inside the museum. Children can watch the penguin feeding, marvel at the albino alligator and listen to scarlet macaws quarrel loudly.

California Academy of Sciences General Admission Ticket

Duration: 3 to 5 hours

520 reviews

2. Madame Tussauds (from USD 27.0)

Madame Tussauds is in Fisherman’s Wharf and the wax museum boasts wax figurines of music legends, political figures, movie and sports icons, etc. Click Instagram-worthy pictures with the likes of Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe as you marvel at how real they appear. Enjoy a walk in the museum to discover the history of Marie Tussaud and learn about how wax figurines are made. It’s open every day!

Madame Tussauds General Admission

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

32 reviews

3. Muir Woods (from USD 89.0)

Situated on Mount Tamalpais close to the Pacific coast, the famous groves of the Northern California redwoods are a famous tourist attraction. Explore redwood alleyways as you come across 1000-year-old trees standing 260-feet (79.2 meters) tall, surrounded by mist. Take a stroll down the woods to feel the cool and moist air, as you enjoy the tranquility while discovering the isolated canyon filled with ancient coastal redwood trees. Plan a picnic with family, enjoy camping or take a break in the cafe. You can also go hiking and biking in the Muir Woods along the Redwood Creek.

Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods (Entrance fee included)

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

477 reviews

4. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (from USD 30.0)

This museum houses both contemporary and modern art. Being one of the largest in the world, it showcases nearly 33,000 works of architecture, sculpture, media arts, painting, photography and design. Important works of world-famous artists, such as Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Francis Bacon and others are displayed here. Download the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) app before you visit to avail the 60 to 90 second audio responses to the artworks by playwrights, composers, comedians and artists.

SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art General Admission

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

118 reviews

5. The Walt Disney Family Museum (from USD 25.0)

The Walt Disney Family Museum is in the historic Presidio District, and showcases the life and legacy of Walt Disney. Formerly owned by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, this museum is home to early drawings and animation, music and movie galleries, listening stations, as well as a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland. Explore the museum to discover the history of Walt Disney and do check out the Lilly Belle locomotive displayed in one of its galleries. Admire the works while going through the videos and narrations explained by Disney himself. Don’t leave without watching the Disney classic movie at the Fantasia-themed theater.

San Francisco The Walt Disney Family Museum Admission Ticket

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

141 reviews

6. San Francisco’s Exploratorium (from USD 39.0)

Interested in exploring the world through art, science and human perception? Then visit the Exploratorium, the science museum in San Francisco. It has several galleries, such as the Human Behavior, Tinkering, the Bay Observatory Gallery, Living Systems, the physics of seeing and light, and the Outdoor Gallery. With 650 interactive exhibits, get hands-on with the Earth’s ecosystems, the human anatomy, physics and emotions.

San Francisco Exploratorium General Admission Ticket

Duration: 3 to 5 hours

114 reviews

7. Golden Gate Bridge (from USD 75.0)

This popular landmark is built across the Golden Gate, which connects the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. Counted among the Wonders of the Modern World, it is one of the most photographed and notable bridges in the world. Ideal for pedestrians and bicyclists, take a tour of the bridge, where you will come across bobcats and sea lions. Admire the splendid skyline from the Golden Gate Bridge with mesmerizing views of the Bay, the Pacific Ocean and the Alcatraz Island.

San Francisco to Sausalito Golden Gate Bridge Guided Bike Tour

Duration: 3 hours

361 reviews

8. Fisherman's Wharf (from USD 20.0)

fisherman's wharf

A popular neighbourhood in San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf features exciting places, including the Cannery Shopping Center, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and more. Get a ticket to the USS Pampanito Museum to explore the engine room, mess hall and the torpedoes, or hop aboard the World War II Balao-class submarine. Alternatively, you can observe the sea lion colony. Dine at one of the many restaurants serving fresh seafood. Tourists visiting during July can also be a part of the Fleet Week air show that features The Blue Angels, or can watch the world-class fireworks display.

Skip the Line: USS Pampanito General Admission Ticket

Duration: 2 hours

2 reviews

9. Alcatraz Island (from USD 170.0)

Located in the San Francisco Bay, this island features a military ramparts, a lighthouse, as well as federal and military prisons. Shown in many films like “Escape from Alcatraz,” “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “Catch Me If You Can,” Alcatraz Island is a popular tourist destination. Travelers can take a ferry ride from the Pier 33 to reach this beautiful island, which is maintained by the National Park Service. Opt for the award-winning audio guide to explore the Alcatraz Island’s penitentiary and learn about prison life from commentaries by former guards and inmates. The life history of the ill-famed criminal Al Capone is also shared.

Alcatraz Early Access and Cable Car Sightseeing Tour

Duration: 7 hours

1039 reviews

10. San Francisco Zoo (from USD 25.0)

Nestled amidst the Pacific Ocean and Lake Merced along the Great Highway, this 100-acre zoo is home to the oldest black rhinoceros Elly and over 250 other species. Popularly known as the birthplace of Koko the gorilla, tourists can spot giraffes, kudus and zebras in the Leanne B. Roberts African Savanna exhibit. Watch the adorable Magellanic penguins in the Penguin Island, explore the Koala Crossing Exhibit, observe the creepy crawlies in the Insect Zoo, or stop by the Eagle Island or Bear Country. Kids can also hit the playground or hop on a train after a tour of the entire zoo.

San Francisco Zoo General Admission

Duration: 6 hours

162 reviews

San Francisco: A traveler's delight

Travelers will enjoy a trip to San Francisco and immersing themselves in its vibrancy. You can take a cable car ride as you soak in the city’s sights and sounds. Take a stroll to Fisherman’s Wharf and watch the world go by as you unwind in this wonderful city.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Anupama Passary has written for several online publications and loves all things tech and travel related. She is a self-confessed chocoholic, stargazer and dreamer who loves to pen down poems.

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