Attractions in San Francisco

San Francisco attractions listed by popularity

This world famous marvel of architecture – the world’s tallest and highest bridge when it was completed in 1937 – is now the most famous symbol of San Francisco.

Built out of necessity since standard tramways couldn’t cope with the steep hills in the city, the cable cars are now a symbol of San Francisco especially popular with tourists.

Billed as the world’s most crooked street, this is one of San Francisco’s most photographed sights. Many tourists drive down the Lombard Street to experience its succession of sharp turns.

Once the commercial center of the city’s fishing industry; today tourists flock to this waterfront area and the nearby Pier 39 attracted by the many restaurants and shops.

San Francisco’s City Hall, a magnificent Beaux-Arts building completed in 1915, was made seismic-proof after the 1989 earthquake damaged the historic structure.

The unconventional shape of this skyscraper made the Transamerica Pyramid one of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks. The 260m tall tower (850+ft) was built in 1972 by William Pereira.

The 210ft (64m) tall Coit tower on top of the Telegraph Hill is a monument dedicated to the San Francisco Firemen. It has an observation platform with a great 360° view.

This strikingly modern church was built in 1971 as San Francisco’s Roman Catholic cathedral. The 190ft (58m) tall building is topped with a 55ft (17m) tall cross. Inside is a modern kinetic sculpture by Richard Lippold.

When the San Francisco – Oakland Bay bridge opened in 1936 it was the world’s longest and most expensive bridge. The bridge consists of two separate sections, each 3 km / 10,000 ft long.

San Francisco is home to North America’s largest chinatown, a 24 block neighbourhood adjacent to the Financial district. The area contains some nice oriental style houses and temples.

San Francisco’s largest park was developed in the late 19th century. The beautiful park – one of the best in the country – features several gardens, museums and other attractions.

This island – dubbed ‘The Rock’ – is known as the site of a former heavily guarded federal prison whose inmates included notorious names such as Al Capone and “Birdman” Robert Stroud.

San Francisco’s 19th century Alamo square is famous for the row of Victorian houses lining the square. The panoramic view over the city from Alamo Square is fabulous.

The city’s tallest building when it opened as the Bank of America World Headquarters in 1969, the skyscraper is still an imposing figure on the city skyline.

After a cable car line was opened here affluent people started to build mansions on top of this hill. Today it is still an upper class area with several luxury hotels.

One of the few remnants of the city’s Spanish colonial past, this 18th century missionary post is the oldest building in San Francisco.

Originally a cargo pier but later renovated into some sort of picturesque fishing village with shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, Pier 39 is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions.

Union Square marks the center of the city’s shopping district. Many of the hotels and theaters in San Francisco are located in the area around this historic square.

This large Japanese garden, created in 1894 for the California Midwinter Fair, is one of the main attractions in San Francisco’s expansive Golden Gate Park.

Japantown is home to a large part of San Francisco’s still sizeable Japanese community. Many Japanese restaurants and shops can be found here.

Since the late 1960s, when it became world-famous as the heart of the ‘Summer of Love’, this neighborhood has been associated with the Hippie culture.

The only building that remains of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition is this magnificent neo-classical edifice, now home to a science museum.

Now docked at Pier 45, this historic submarine saw a lot of action in the Second World War. Visitors can get on board the ship and walk through its cramped spaces.

As part of the Maritime National Historic Park, several historic ships from around the turn of the 20th century can be visited at this pier near Fisherman’s Wharf.

The construction of the Moscone Convention Center was the start of the Yerba Buena project, which lead to a revived area, known as Yerba Buena Gardens.

The Embarcadero Center is a large mixed-use complex of five distinctive skyscrapers built between 1968 and 1983, later expanded with several more buildings.

Built in 1898 as a terminal for ferry passengers, the Ferry Building was a hub of activity until the construction of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges in the 1930s.

Washington Square is the green heart of San Francisco’s North Beach district thanks to the park that occupies most of the square. It is overlooked by the Italianesque Sts Peter and Paul Church.

Plans for this governmental and cultural center of San Francisco were created shortly after the 1906 earthquake and fire had destroyed most of the city’s buildings.

The Haas-Lilienthal House is a beautiful example of the magnificent Victorian houses that were common in San Francisco. The wooden villa was built in 1886 for William Haas, a German immigrant.

Part of the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s Botanical Garden features more than 7500 plants from regions around the world spread out over 55 acres / 22ha.

This small 19th century house is a nice example of a once popular building type. Its octagonal shape was said to lead the inhabitants to a longer, healthier life.

The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in San Francisco was the first museum on the west coast dedicated to modern art. The museum’s collection is housed in an iconic building at the Yerba Buena Gardens.

This beautiful bayside area is named after Adolf Sutro, a rich entrepreneur who built his estate on a hill overlooking the ocean. The estate was later converted into a public park.

From this military base, about 1.6 million soldiers left for the Pacific during the Second World War. In 1972 it was converted into a center for arts, education and events.

San Francisco attractions listed alphabetically

The city’s tallest building when it opened as the Bank of America World Headquarters in 1969, the skyscraper is still an imposing figure on the city skyline.

San Francisco’s 19th century Alamo square is famous for the row of Victorian houses lining the square. The panoramic view over the city from Alamo Square is fabulous.

This island – dubbed ‘The Rock’ – is known as the site of a former heavily guarded federal prison whose inmates included notorious names such as Al Capone and “Birdman” Robert Stroud.

When the San Francisco – Oakland Bay bridge opened in 1936 it was the world’s longest and most expensive bridge. The bridge consists of two separate sections, each 3 km / 10,000 ft long.

Part of the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s Botanical Garden features more than 7500 plants from regions around the world spread out over 55 acres / 22ha.

Built out of necessity since standard tramways couldn’t cope with the steep hills in the city, the cable cars are now a symbol of San Francisco especially popular with tourists.

San Francisco is home to North America’s largest chinatown, a 24 block neighbourhood adjacent to the Financial district. The area contains some nice oriental style houses and temples.

San Francisco’s City Hall, a magnificent Beaux-Arts building completed in 1915, was made seismic-proof after the 1989 earthquake damaged the historic structure.

Plans for this governmental and cultural center of San Francisco were created shortly after the 1906 earthquake and fire had destroyed most of the city’s buildings.

The 210ft (64m) tall Coit tower on top of the Telegraph Hill is a monument dedicated to the San Francisco Firemen. It has an observation platform with a great 360° view.

The Embarcadero Center is a large mixed-use complex of five distinctive skyscrapers built between 1968 and 1983, later expanded with several more buildings.

Built in 1898 as a terminal for ferry passengers, the Ferry Building was a hub of activity until the construction of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges in the 1930s.

Once the commercial center of the city’s fishing industry; today tourists flock to this waterfront area and the nearby Pier 39 attracted by the many restaurants and shops.

From this military base, about 1.6 million soldiers left for the Pacific during the Second World War. In 1972 it was converted into a center for arts, education and events.

This world famous marvel of architecture – the world’s tallest and highest bridge when it was completed in 1937 – is now the most famous symbol of San Francisco.

San Francisco’s largest park was developed in the late 19th century. The beautiful park – one of the best in the country – features several gardens, museums and other attractions.

The Haas-Lilienthal House is a beautiful example of the magnificent Victorian houses that were common in San Francisco. The wooden villa was built in 1886 for William Haas, a German immigrant.

Since the late 1960s, when it became world-famous as the heart of the ‘Summer of Love’, this neighborhood has been associated with the Hippie culture.

As part of the Maritime National Historic Park, several historic ships from around the turn of the 20th century can be visited at this pier near Fisherman’s Wharf.

This large Japanese garden, created in 1894 for the California Midwinter Fair, is one of the main attractions in San Francisco’s expansive Golden Gate Park.

Japantown is home to a large part of San Francisco’s still sizeable Japanese community. Many Japanese restaurants and shops can be found here.

Billed as the world’s most crooked street, this is one of San Francisco’s most photographed sights. Many tourists drive down the Lombard Street to experience its succession of sharp turns.

One of the few remnants of the city’s Spanish colonial past, this 18th century missionary post is the oldest building in San Francisco.

The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in San Francisco was the first museum on the west coast dedicated to modern art. The museum’s collection is housed in an iconic building at the Yerba Buena Gardens.

After a cable car line was opened here affluent people started to build mansions on top of this hill. Today it is still an upper class area with several luxury hotels.

This small 19th century house is a nice example of a once popular building type. Its octagonal shape was said to lead the inhabitants to a longer, healthier life.

The only building that remains of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition is this magnificent neo-classical edifice, now home to a science museum.

Originally a cargo pier but later renovated into some sort of picturesque fishing village with shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, Pier 39 is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions.

This strikingly modern church was built in 1971 as San Francisco’s Roman Catholic cathedral. The 190ft (58m) tall building is topped with a 55ft (17m) tall cross. Inside is a modern kinetic sculpture by Richard Lippold.

This beautiful bayside area is named after Adolf Sutro, a rich entrepreneur who built his estate on a hill overlooking the ocean. The estate was later converted into a public park.

The unconventional shape of this skyscraper made the Transamerica Pyramid one of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks. The 260m tall tower (850+ft) was built in 1972 by William Pereira.

Union Square marks the center of the city’s shopping district. Many of the hotels and theaters in San Francisco are located in the area around this historic square.

Now docked at Pier 45, this historic submarine saw a lot of action in the Second World War. Visitors can get on board the ship and walk through its cramped spaces.

Washington Square is the green heart of San Francisco’s North Beach district thanks to the park that occupies most of the square. It is overlooked by the Italianesque Sts Peter and Paul Church.

The construction of the Moscone Convention Center was the start of the Yerba Buena project, which lead to a revived area, known as Yerba Buena Gardens.

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