25 Best Things To Do In San Francisco, California - Updated 2023

| 5 min read

Located in sunny California, the most populous state in the US, the city of San Franciso is known for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge. A city built on a hill, it is also known for Alcatraz Island, which is right across the bay, and Fisherman’s Wharf, one the city’s busiest tourist areas. Other iconic tourist attractions include Union Square, Lombard Street, as well as Chinatown, which is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the U.S. and a majorly popular tourist attraction. San Francisco is one of the more popular cities in the state, along with Los Angeles and San Diego. With so much to see and do in this amazing and picturesque city, we’ve narrowed it down for you, to the top ten must-do things in the city. So read on to find out the best things to do in San Francisco, California!

1. Try silent disco beach yoga with friends (from USD 28.0)

Gather here at Baker Beach where you can enjoy yoga with your friends and even make some new ones! Sessions here are held all year round, and the venue offers a great view of the waves and the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. You will do yoga with headphones and some Zen beats so you can clear your mind of all noise and distractions. People of all ages and experience levels are welcome here, so don’t worry if you’ve never done yoga before. Just don’t forget to bring water and comfy shoes for this hour-long activity.

Silent Disco Beach Yoga at Baker Beach

Duration: 1 hour

889 reviews

2. Go on an exciting water bike ride (from USD 140.0)

While biking around the city is fun, just imagine the thrill of biking over the water! You can ride one of these unique bicycles, which instead of two wheels, have floats to keep you from capsizing and getting wet. There will be a half-hour orientation first about bikes and safety drills, followed by a trip to Pier 40 for your first voyage. Travel at your own pace while taking in stunning views of the bay and the city skyline, along with the massive Bay Bridge that connects San Francisco with Oakland. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures to share with your friends and family.

SpinOut WaterBike Ride on San Francisco Bay

Duration: 1.5 hours

285 reviews

3. See the city's vibrant street art (from USD 45.0)

With more wall murals than in any other neighborhood in the country, the colorful and creative Mission District is a street-level art gallery anyone can appreciate. On this tour, you get to ride around on a three-wheeled Indonesian rickshaw so you can visit more places. The alleys here are filled with large and complex murals, some even taking entire building fronts. With themes such as family, history, and society, these works express the whole range of human emotions and thoughts. You will also pass by some of the popular hangout spots and end your trip at a Mexican restaurant where you can enjoy a taco and some drinks.

Rickshaw Street Art Tour

Duration: 1.5 hours

123 reviews

4. Explore San Francisco's hidden stairways (from USD 28.0)

This two-hour tour around some of San Francisco’s stairways is a hidden gem that many visitors often miss. Passing through Inner Sunset and Golden Gate heights neighborhoods, the stairs are painted with beautiful murals and colors similar to the alleys of the popular Mission District. Be surrounded by beautiful flowers as you walk through the gardens. At the top of the hill, you will be treated to a commanding view of the city, including the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Just make sure you and your companions are in good shape as the walk is 2 mi (3 km) long and involves many flights of stairs.

Hidden Stairways of San Francisco

Duration: 2 hours

1598 reviews

5. Enjoy a day at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (from USD 120.0)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest of its kind in the world, with over 33,000 works exhibited in over 16000 sq m (172222 sq ft) of gallery space. During the tour, you will be guided by a professional artist. This activity focuses on getting inspiration from the works here, sharing your thoughts and views with others, and having some time to reflect on what you have learned here. These are important as you will be making your own modern art masterpiece after the visit. A canvas and some paint will be provided, and you can paint in the park or the nearby restaurant.

Visit SF MoMa and paint a canvas

Duration: 3 hours

32 reviews

6. Have fun taking photos of yourself reflected in Mylar mirrors (from USD 100.0)

Welcome to the room of crystal mirrors, where you can view your reflections in different shapes and sizes. You can capture pictures of your distorted reflections in these Mylar mirrors. After enjoying the mirrors, you can sit on the sparkling sofa, put on some nice earphones, and let the musicians serenade you for the rest of the time. These mini-concerts are personalized so you can have your choice of beats. A recording of the session will be given to you which is a great memento for an unforgettable experience.

Crystal Mirror Space Experience

Duration: 2 hours

61 reviews

7. Go on a seaplane flight with a glass of champagne (from USD 379.0)

go on a seaplane flight with a glass of champagne

Looking for something to sweep your partner off their feet on your next romantic vacation? What could be more romantic than taking them on this 40-minute flight over San Francisco! You and your partner will aboard a seaplane and fly right over the city with breathtaking views like no other. Iconic spots such as the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge seem right within reach. You’ll fly over places such as Alcatraz and Angel Island before returning to Mill Valley, just north of the city. During your flight, you can even pop a bottle of champagne and toast to this unforgettable experience together.

San Francisco: Seaplane Flight with Champagne

Duration: 40.0 minute

19 reviews

8. Indulge in Chinatown's mouthwatering food (from USD 89.0)

indulge in chinatown's mouthwatering food

Treat yourself to some of the best Chinese food the city can offer, which is a mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, and Szechuan cuisines. This trip takes up to three hours so be sure to bring your comfy shoes and appetite. You will visit five different restaurants and try some delectable dishes such as an egg tart, dim sum, and baked buns. Watch how fortune cookies are made at Chinese Fortune Cookie Factory. You can also buy some fresh produce at a nearby Chinese market, and pass by the oldest Buddhist temple in town along the way.

San Francisco: Chinatown Walking Food Tour

Duration: 3.0 hour

41 reviews

9. Try your hand at pottery making (from USD 89.0)

Prepare to get your hands dirty in this cool two-hour pottery class, where you can make your own ceramic masterpiece. Watch in awe as a cylinder of earth and water is turned into a cup, a pot, or even a vase. You will learn how to operate the potter’s wheel, and you are provided with your own clay cylinder. The master potter will guide you every step of the way in this class. To be able to take your finished work home, your pottery will have to be processed, baked, and glazed. You can claim your pot after three to six weeks.

Pottery Class-Take a Claycation

Duration: 2 hours

394 reviews

10. Embark on a biking adventure (from USD 100.0)

Are you ready for a great biking adventure here in the City? This 25-mi (40 km) trip takes you through the streets and hills of San Francisco, which require four hours to cover that distance. Visit popular tourist spots such as Pan Handle, Golden Gate Park, Presidio, and of course, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. You will have stopovers for drinks and some snacks, along with great photo opportunities for you to remember. Don’t worry about the bike and safety gear as those are provided by the host.

San Francisco Bike Expedition

Duration: 4 hours

51 reviews

11. Learn about fashion and style from experts (from USD 75.0)

learn about fashion and style from experts
Source: www.airbnb.com

Want to find the best clothes and style for yourself? Why not go on this fashion tour, where you will learn more about fashion and style from a knowledgeable guide. You get to visit thrift shops and bargain stores to find the style that’s right for you! Dresses, shirts, jackets, bags, hats in all styles and colors are available in these shops. The walk takes around two-and-a-half hours, more than enough to get yourself looking more fashionable. To wrap up this tour around the neighborhood, you will get a nice meal at the host’s bed and breakfast.

Fashonista Tour

Duration: 2.5 hours

6 reviews

12. Catch crabs under the Golden Gate Bridge (from USD 55.0)

The area under the Golden Gate Bridge is a natural habitat for multiple species of crabs, including rock crabs, red crabs, and Dungeness crabs. The latter is a protected species, which means you have to release them after catching. Your guide will orient you on the proper catching technique that involves the use of rods, traps, and bait. You will also learn how crabbing is different from fishing here. This activity will take around three hours, and you can take home a few crabs (except for the Dungeness variety).

Crabbing under the Golden Gate Bridge

Duration: 3 hours

128 reviews

13. Enjoy a lovely dinner with live music (from USD 49.0)

Peña Pachamama is located on the site of one of the original speakeasies in San Francisco, which were popular during the Prohibition period of the 1920s. Organic South American cuisine is served in this restaurant, and you can order dishes such as vegan pizza, corn tacos, and Bolivian empanadas. Desserts are also plentiful, with cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and Rawcaroons highlighting the list. The Saturday shows here last for 90 minutes featuring different Latin American bands and performers. Come in your best clothes and enjoy the music of the evening.

Dinner and music in a former speakeasy

Duration: 1.5 hours

81 reviews

14. Take a stroll in Golden Gate Park (from USD 238.0)

Golden Gate Park is a beautiful and refreshing green space in the bustling city and often compared to the iconic Central Park of New York City. There are many beautiful sights to visit, such as the California Academy of Sciences, the Conservatory of Flowers, and Strawberry Hill. To truly enjoy the park in its entirety, join a tour to make sure you don’t miss out on the best sights of the park. This private tour lets you explore the park, as well as the rest of the city on Segway! You can cover so much more of this beautiful city on Segway, with your guide showing you the best and most hidden secrets of the park and city.

San Francisco Golden Gate Park Private Sightseeing Segway Tour

Duration: 3 hours

24 reviews

15. Catch a baseball game at Oracle Park

Posted by Oracle Park on Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Then known as AT&T Park, the newly-christened Oracle Park is the best place in the city to catch a good old baseball game. It has been the home ground for the city’s San Francisco Giants since 2000 but also hosts the occasional professional and collegiate football games. Baseball season typically starts in March and ends in September, with players training throughout spring, so be sure to catch a game if you’re in the city. Even during the off-season, when they are no baseball games, the park is still open for tours, where you can get a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark.

Major League Baseball Game

Address: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

Website: Major League Baseball Game

Price: 13 - 160 USD

16. Visit the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf

USA, California, San Francisco, Pier 39
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lucas·G used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The playful and noisy sea lions residing at Pier 39 have become icons of Fisherman’s Wharf and extremely popular amongst visitors to the city. Camping out by the K-dock of Pier 39, these ‘sea lebrities’ have been staying at the pier since 1990. There is even a Sea Lion Centre dedicated to these icons of the pier, where you can learn about all the sea lions donning the dock. Besides the sea lions, there is also much to do around Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the busiest tourist areas in the city. You can walk about and look at the attractions, or get yourself some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.


Address: The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

Website: PIER 39

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm

17. Enjoy breathtaking views from the Twin Peaks (from USD 160.0)

enjoy breathtaking views from the twin peaks

The Twin Peaks are the two prominent hills that overlook and provide amazing 360-degree views of the entire city. Located right in the middle of the city, you’ll be able to see all of San Francisco’s landmarks from the top, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, Transamerica Building, and the entire downtown area. This tour not only includes a visit to see the amazing picturesque views of the Twin Peaks, but also a bus tour of the city and an audio tour of Alcatraz Island.

San Francisco: City Tour and Alcatraz Entrance Ticket Combo

Duration: 6.5 hour

183 reviews

18. Hang out with the wax figures at Madame Tussauds (from USD 85.0)

The Madame Tussauds wax figures are known around the world, get a chance to get up close and personal at the Madame Tussauds San Francisco. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, the attraction houses wax figures of famous singers, actors, athletes, politicians, and other celebrities. The wax museum also has an escape room game, Alcatraz: The Breakout Escape, modelled after the famous prison in the city. This tour gives you access not only to the museum but also to two other attractions, Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco Dungeon.

Alcatraz and Madame Tussauds Attraction Pass

Duration: 5 hours

128 reviews

19. Enjoy the local food (from USD 94.0)

enjoy the local food
Source: www.viator.com

What’s a visit to a place without trying the food there? Mission District in San Francisco is best known for its famous restaurants and colourful murals adorning the walls around the neighbourhood. The tour brings you around some of the best and most-loved restaurants by the locals, on this walking food-and-drink tour. Listen to the stories of this historic neighbourhood and its Latino roots, while enjoying the delicious and mouthwatering selections.

San Francisco Food Tour: Mission Food and Drink

20. Visit the animals at the San Francisco Zoo (from USD 113.0)

The San Francisco Zoo is another great tourist attraction; the 100-acre (40.5 hectares) zoo houses almost a thousand different animals from 250 different species. It is also known for being the home to many famous animals, such as Koko the gorilla who knew sign language and Elly, the oldest black rhinoceros in North America. This tour includes tickets to the zoo, but the main attraction is the tour of the Muir Woods National Monument and scenic drive through Sausalito.

Muir Woods Tour with San Francisco Zoo Admission

Duration: 2 days

21. Explore the city's haunted past (from USD 29.0)

Great for those interested in spooky tales or history, this tour brings you around the Pacific Heights district while exploring the tales of San Francisco’s darker and spookier past. The local tourist is professional, funny, and sure to give you an entertaining night sharing the tales of ghosts, supernatural hauntings and unsolvable crime cases, as you walk around and pass the supposed haunted places of the city. Despite the spooky nature of the stories, this walking tour is perfectly safe, stroll along the Victorian designed residential area and enjoy the view while you listen to the stories.

San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour

Duration: 90 to 120 minutes

130 reviews

22. Strike a pose at some non-touristy photoshoot spots (from USD 179.0)

Show off your style in this tour around town, posing for professional-level photos with the city’s most famous landmarks in the background! The first stop in this 90-minute trip is Ina Coolbrith Park and then followed by a drive to the Palace of Fine Arts, which is a testament to the creative soul of San Francisco. The last stop of this trip is a visit to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, where your host will take your most stunning photos. Be sure to put on your best outfit and smile. You can then share all your photos on Instagram or any of your social media sites.

Non-touristy Instagramable portraits

Duration: 1.5 hours

122 reviews

23. Go on a craft beer tour (from USD 109.0)

Beer is an American favorite, so it’s only fitting that a tour around San Francisco involves beer and their breweries. On this four-hour walk, you will visit three breweries that offer some of the best drinks in town. You also learn all about what goes into these drinks, and the history of crafting. You get to taste some of their finest craft, with four samples at each stop. If you want to, you can purchase some of the beers here to take home with you! The tour is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) long so be sure to wear comfy shirts and sneakers.

Walking Craft Beer Tour in Downtown SF

Duration: 4 hours

13 reviews

24. Check out the city on a cable car (from USD 170.0)

An icon of the city, the San Francisco cable cars are the last manually operated cable cars, which operate from downtown San Francisco, near Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, and along California Street. It is definitely a must-do for visitors, an exciting and memorable way to get around downtown. This tour lets you view the city aboard your own personal cable-car bus, letting you see more of the city than just the three cable-car routes. It also includes the chance to be amongst the first people of the day to reach Alcatraz Island and learn about the attraction from an award-winning audio tour.

Alcatraz Early Access and Cable Car Sightseeing Tour

Duration: 7 hours

1039 reviews

25. Check out the ariel view of the city (from USD 255.0)

Get a breathtaking aerial view of the city, one that most won’t have a chance to get. This tour brings you on a 20-minute helicopter ride above the city of San Francisco and gives you amazing views as you’ve never seen before. You can get a bird’s eye view of San Francisco’s icons: Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Bay Bridge, Ferry Building and the Transamerica Pyramid. The tour also includes a visit and an audio tour of Alcatraz Island.

San Francisco Helicopter and Alcatraz Walking Tour

Duration: 5 hours

10 reviews

Enjoy your time in the city

San Francisco is a beautiful city, with many fun and exciting things to do. You’re sure to have a whale of a time in this bayside city.

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

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I'm Nicole, a current university student and lover of big cities as well as quaint hidden gems. For me, half the fun of travelling is getting to write about and share this new perspective with...Read more

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