San Francisco, California Top Attractions & Things to Do
Our hotel is conveniently located in the downtown center, with easy access to all that San Francisco has to offer. Reserve your deluxe guestroom at our renovated, pet-friendly hotel and enjoy the best of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Cable Cars.America’s only moving National Historic Landmark, San Francisco’s cable cars were invented in 1873 to help people navigate the city’s steepest hills.More than a century later, the little trolley cars still climb halfway to the stars, offering a glimpse of history and a fun ride for locals and visitors alike. For more information, fares, routes, and events, visit www.sfcablecar.com.
Union Square.Serving as a public gathering place, a historical center, and the hub of San Francisco’s fashionable shopping district all rolled into one, Union Square is a must-stop for all visitors to San Francisco. The plaza was named to pay tribute to the Union army during the Civil War, and in 1903 President Roosevelt dedicated the bronze statue of Victory that stands at its center. Today, San Franciscans gather here for special events, a light lunch, or a respite from shopping at the many stores and boutiques that surround the square. For more information, go to www.unionsquareshop.com. [Top]
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & Gardens.Yerba Buena was the original name given to San Francisco by Spanish settlers in the 18th century. Today the Yerba Buena Center & Gardens reflects San Francisco’s continuing commitment to the creative spirit that was born during those early years.Carved from a dilapidated former industrial area, the Center features a museum and theater devoted to art and dance, restaurants, shops, and a magnificent park and promenade that offers free concerts and stunning vistas of San Francisco’s downtown skyline. For more information, visit www.ybca.org.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.The building alone is reason to visit San Francisco’s MOMA, a bold, modern design of brick punctuated by a striped cylindrical turret by famed Swiss architect Mario Botta.
Inside, modern and contemporary art mixes with photographs, installations, film, design, and myriad other media to create one of the most dynamic museums on the West Coast. For more information, go to www.sfmoma.org. [Top]
Golden Gate Bridge.San Francisco’s magnificent 4,200-foot Golden Gate Bridge is one of the seven engineering wonders of the world, and it never fails to thrill visitors and locals alike. You can walk across the east side from sunrise to sunset; bicyclers may ride on the west sidewalk. Note to the wise: The bridge is often foggy and cold; wear layers and bring a hat. For more information, visit www.goldengate.org.
Alcatraz Island.Alcatraz Island was America’s most feared maximum-security prison between 1934 and 1963, housing such notorious criminals as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and Robert "The Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud.
Today you can take a ferry boat and tour of the infamous penitentiary and even listen to an audio cellhouse tour narrated by former inmates and guards. For information, go to www.nps.gov/alcatraz. [Top]
Golden Gate Park.The 3-mile,1,017-acre greenbelt known as San Francisco’s backyard encompasses an arboretum and botanical gardens, the Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young art museum, the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, a buffalo paddock, windmills, lakes, and myriad gardens dedicated to roses, rhododendrons, dahlias and indigenous plants.
Best day to visit is on Sunday, when the park’s main roads are closed to auto traffic.