San Francisco Attractions

When you're visiting San Francisco, it seems that there are "must-see" attractions at every turn. From iconic structures to well-known districts to world-famous museums, this gem of the California Coast seems to offer a little bit of everything. Remember that when you venture out to any of these excellent San Francisco attractions, there's a good chance that another of the city's "must-see" places is in close proximity.

Chinatown
Chinatown is literally a city within a city. And Chinatown isn't merely a tourist trap, run-of-the-mill attraction, but a genuine celebration of Chinese culture. Sure, there are signs of the exotic as evidenced by the several wares for sale like spices, silks and jade; but events like the Chinese New Year celebration dramatically demonstrate the pride and tradition that is still very much alive at the Grand Avenue and Bush Street entrance and beyond.

Address: Grant Avenue and Washington Street, San Francisco, CA - MAP
Web: www.sanfranciscochinatown.com

Fisherman's Wharf
No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Fisherman's Wharf. This highly popular attraction is truly a requisite stop as it seamlessly combines the area's unmistakable natural beauty, commercial prowess, and maritime heritage all in one place. You'll want to save a whole afternoon to take it all in, as you will be struck by the impressive selection of one-of-a-kind shops, unforgettable lookout points and excellent restaurants. And speaking of restaurants, you can't visit Fisherman's Wharf without sampling such tasty delicacies as Dungeness crab and clam chowder.

Address: Ghiradelli Square to Pier 39, San Francisco, CA - MAP
Phone: (415) 674-7503
Web: www.fishermanswharf.org

San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo benefits from its natural surroundings that allow it to create some impressive natural habitats for more than 5,000 animals and 250 species. Among the smartly designed enclosures and attractions, you will see such memorable creatures as penguins, lions, koalas, giraffes, bears, and elephants, among many others. The zoo also features one of the country's largest gorilla habitats as well as a highly entertaining kangaroo exhibits. In addition to the animals, the zoo also features a classic carousel, a petting zoo, a nature trail, and a wildlife theater.

Address: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, CA 94132 - MAP
Phone: (415) 753-7080
Web: www.sfzoo.org

Golden Gate Bridge
Perhaps the one structure that is most synonymous with San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world's most famous bridges. This incredible landmark is visible from many points around the Bay as it spans an impressive 6,450-feet and connects San Francisco to Marin County. If you're traveling by automobile, you can gain access through US-101 or Lincoln Boulevard. If you're taking in the sights on foot, use the east sidewalk that's open from 5am to 9pm daily. This is one of those "must-see" attractions when you're visiting the City by the Bay, so make sure to also stop by the gift shop on the San Francisco side to pick up some souvenirs.

Address: San Francisco, CA - MAP
Phone: (415) 921-5858
Web: www.goldengatebridge.org

cable cars
There are many traditions to be celebrated in San Francisco. One of the most iconic is taking a ride on the city's cable cars. They were first put into use in 1873 as a means of offering transportation for citizens who needed a respite from walking up the steep hills in the city. The fact that the cable cars operate in exactly the same way (they grip underground loops of steel to move forward) says quite a lot about this mode of transportation that has survived over one hundred years and is now almost always associated with the city of San Francisco.

Address: Market and Powell Streets, San Francisco, CA - MAP
Web: www.sfcablecar.com

Lombard Street
Obviously, there are several photo-opportunities in San Francisco. In addition to the usual attractions, don't forget to check out Lombard Street, a thoroughfare that many consider to be "the crookedest street in the world." This section of the city is actually one of the most photographed, and for good reason. It is from this unique vantage point that you can see extraordinary views of Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Angel Tower, and the Bay Bridge. This amazingly landscaped street is augmented by a one block descent to Levenworth Street and also offers access to a cable car route which only adds to this area's uniqueness.

Address: Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth,
San Francisco, CA 94111 - MAP
Web: www.sftravel.com

Coit Tower
San Francisco's Coit Tower stands at an impressive 210-feet as a tribute to the city's firefighters. This monument attraction was dedicated in 1933 and has become an historic site and significant addition to the city's distinctive skyline. The tower is a sight both from the outside and on the inside, as it is designed in classic Art Deco style and features several impressive murals on its inside walls. But perhaps the most stunning aspect of the Coit Tower is the amazing views that it offers; the tower allows you to experience a 360-degree view of the city and the Bay.

Address: 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133 - MAP
Phone: (415) 362-0808
Web: www.sftravel.com

Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is one of San Francisco's most historic and stunning attractions. Originally built in 1915 for the Panama Pacific Exposition, this famous landmark began to show signs of wear and was recreated in cast concrete in the 1960s to preserve its classic style and essence. The inviting rotunda was preserved in its reconstruction, and the structure is now a popular site for concerts and various other types of performances that still echo with the Palace's regal history.

Address: 3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 - MAP
Phone: (415) 563-6504
Web: www.palaceoffinearts.org