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Things to do in San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf is one of the city's most visited spots. Also popular are tours of Alcatraz Island and rides on Cable Cars to Union Square. Art lovers head for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the SoMa District or the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Children love the Exploratorium in the Marina District, but make sure they wrap up for a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Most museums are open daily from 10am to 6pm.

Romantic San Francisco

Walk the highs and lows of this city of hills

Show themed tour
de Young Museum, San Francisco. Photo by Fred Hong
1

de Young Museum

A copper showstopper

This state-of-the-art facility in Golden Gate Park holds one of the finest collections of American paintings in the nation. The de Young Museum's striking facade consists of 430,913kg of textured copper and a spiralling 44m tower with an observation floor.



Cost

US$10; under-13s free

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 9.30am-5.15pm (until 8.45pm Fri)

Address

50, Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco CA 94118

Telephone

+1 415 750 3600

Transport

Bus 5, 16X, 21, 44 or 71 to Golden Gate Park or N-Judah metro to 9th and Irving

Website

de Young Museum Website

Zeum, San Francisco. Courtesy of Zeum
2

Zeum

High-tech kids' museum

Located within SoMa District's Yerba Buena Gardens, Zeum is an innovative multimedia, arts and technology museum designed for kids. Highlights include an animation studio, music lab and digital workshop, as well as a 1906 carousel, bowling alley and ice-skating rink.



Cost

US$10; 3-18s US$8; under-2s free

Opening Hours

Wed-Fri 1pm-5pm; Sat & Sun 11am-5pm

Address

221, Fourth Street, San Francisco CA 94103

Telephone

+1 415 820 3320

Transport

Bus: 30 or 45 to Howard Street and 4th Street, or BART to Powell Street station

Website

Zeum Website

Cable Car Museum, San Francisco. Photo by Judith (Yud) Zer-Aviv
3

Cable Car Museum

History and hardware

Along with historic displays, the Cable Car Museum in Russian Hill also houses the massive engines and repair facility for the entire cable car system. The lower-level viewing room displays the huge pulleys and gears that move the underground cables.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5pm (until 6pm Apr-Sep)

Address

1201, Mason Street, San Francisco CA 94123

Telephone

+1 415 474 1887

Transport

Cable car: both Powell Street lines to Russian Hill

Website

Cable Car Museum Website

Exploratorium, San Francisco. Photo by Amy Snyder,  © The Exploratorium
4

Exploratorium

Interactive science museum

The Exploratorium houses over 600 interactive exhibits exploring the science of light, colour, sound and more. Founded in 1969 by physicist Dr Frank Oppenheimer, this museum in the Marina District is widely considered the finest science museum in the world.



Cost

US$14; children free-US$9 (US$17 including Tactile dome entry)

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 10am-5pm

Address

3601, Lyon Street, San Francisco CA 94123

Telephone

+1 451 561 0360

Transport

Bus 22, 28, 30, 41, 43, or 45 to Marina District/Exploratorium

Website

Exploratorium Website

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Photo by Richard Barnes, © San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
5

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Modern art marvel

The Mario Botta-designed US$65-million San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a landmark in the SoMa District, houses the West Coast's most comprehensive collection of 20th-century painting, sculpture and photography. Be sure to visit the MuseumStore for fine gifts and souvenirs.



Cost

US$15; under 12s accompanied by an adult free

Opening Hours

Thu-Tue 11am-5.45pm (until 8.45pm Thu); summer from 10am

Address

151, 3rd Street (between Mission and Howard Streets), San Francisco CA 94103

Telephone

+1 415 357 4000

Transport

Bus 15, 30 or 45 to SoMa District/SFMOMA or metro/BART to Montgomery Street or Powell Street Stations

Website

SFMOMA Website

Coit Tower, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Convention Visitors Board
6

Coit Tower

Best city views

Located atop Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower offers the best panoramic views of the city. Inside the 64m tower is a rotunda with several murals of California. Take the elevator to the top floor observation area for even better views.



Cost

US$4.50; 6-12s US$2

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-6pm

Address

1, Telegraph Hill, San Francisco CA 94109

Telephone

+1 415 362 0808

Transport

Bus 39 to Coit Tower

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Convention Visitors Board
7

Fisherman's Wharf

Famous waterfront attraction

Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Highlights include the Pier 39 amusement park, submarine tours, seafood street vendors, a two-story aquarium, and hundreds of sea lions basking and barking on the docks.



Cost

Free (individual attractions subject to entry fee)

Opening Hours

Daily all day (individual attractions subject to opening hours)

Address

Pier 39, San Francisco CA 94133

Telephone

+1 415 674 7503

Transport

Bus 15, 30, 32, 39, 42, or 82X to Fisherman's Wharf

Website

Fisherman's Wharf Website

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco. Courtesy of National Park Service
8

Alcatraz Island

Notorious former prison

The 2.5-hour Alcatraz Island excursion is a major attraction in San Francisco. The headphone-audio tour inside the infamous prison is exceptional, and the boat ride offers beautiful views of the bay. Purchase tickets as far in advance as possible.



Cost

Tours US$26; 5-11s US$16; under-5s free

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-4.30pm

Address

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Transport

Bus 15, 30, 32, 39, 42, or 82X to Fisherman's Wharf for tours and ferries

Website

Alcatraz Website

San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Zoo
9

San Francisco Zoo

405m² of wildlife

Located in the south-west corner of the city, San Francisco Zoo's 405m² space is home to over 250 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The Bear Grotto is mesmerising and there's a wonderful Children's Zoo as well.



Cost

US$15; 4-14s US$9; under-3s free

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5pm

Address

1, Zoo Road, San Francisco 94132-1098

Telephone

+1 415 753 7080

Transport

MUNI train L outbound to the zoo

Website

San Francisco Zoo Website

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Convention Visitors Board
10

Golden Gate Bridge

Iconic San Francisco landmark

Millions of people visit the iconic Golden Gate Bridge each year and walk along the entire 2.7km-long span to take in the beautiful views of the city and bay. Wrap up though as it can be windy and cold.



Cost

Toll US$5-US$36; on foot free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

United States Highway 101, San Francisco

Transport

Bus 28 to Golden Gate Bridge

Website

Golden Gate Bridge Website

AT&T Park, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Convention Visitors Board
11

AT&T Park

Home to SF Giants

Home of the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball team, the AT&T Park in South Beach is considered one of the finest ballparks in America. Baseball season runs April to October, but daily guided park tours are available year-round.



Cost

US$12.50; concessions US$10.50; under-12s US$7.50; under-2s free

Opening Hours

Tours daily 10.30am & 12.30pm

Address

24, Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco CA 94107

Telephone

+1 415 972 1800

Transport

Bus 10, 30, 45 or 47 to South Beach, or BART trains to Montgomery Street, then free shuttle bus, or Muni tram N to ballpark station at 2nd and King Street

Website

AT&T Park Website

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Convention Visitors Board
12

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco's main park

The enormous Golden Gate Park is San Francisco's largest urban park and a magnet for those looking for a spot of outdoor activity. Arranged in a long rectangle, the park contains a beautiful Japanese tea garden and two lakes.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

Fulton at 36th Avenue (Lincoln at 41st Avenue), San Francisco CA 94102

Transport

Bus 5, 6, 7, 16AX, 16BX, 66 or 71 to Golden Gate Park

Website

Golden Gate Park Website

Lombard Street, San Francisco. © Tobias/Paraflyer, Germany
13

Lombard Street

World's crookedest street

The winding one-block stretch of Lombard Street on Russian Hill is famously known as the "crookedest street in the world" and draws hundreds of visitors daily. Visitors can either drive down the brick-lined street or walk along the flower-lined staircases.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

Lombard Street, San Francisco

Transport

Bus 19 to Polk and Lombard Street

Cable Cars, San Francisco. Courtesy of San Francisco Convention Visitors Board
14

Cable Cars

Mobile museum

San Francisco's three cable car lines form the world's only surviving system of Cable Cars. These mobile museum pieces haul thousands of tourists across the city every day at a steady 15km per hour. The Powell-Hyde line offers the best views.



Cost

US$5 per ride

Opening Hours

Daily 6am-1.30am

Address

Aquatic Park Turntable, San Francisco 94133

Telephone

+1 415 701 2311

Transport

Bus 15, 30, 32, 39, 42 or 82X to Aquatic Park, or Powell/Hyde cable car

Website

San Francisco Cable Car Website

GoCar Tours, San Francisco. Photo by Vadim Zaliva
15

GoCar Tours

Audio tour in mini-car

GoCar Tours are trips in tiny three-wheeled convertible mini-car designed exclusively for exploring San Francisco. The satellite-guided audio tour indicates which way to turn and what famous landmarks are along the route, and the small size makes parking easy.



Cost

First hour US$49

Opening Hours

Daily 8am-5pm

Address

2715, Hyde Street, San Francisco CA 94109

Telephone

+1 415 441 5695

Transport

Bus 19, 20, 30 to Hyde Street/Bay Street area or Powell/Hyde cable car to Bay Street

Website

GoCar Tours Website

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