San Francisco is well known for many reasons. From the famous golden gate bridge to the iconic prison Alcatraz. With a rich culture and liberal ways, San Fran has become a beloved destination for every type of traveller. From the foggy hills, the lively piers and iconic monuments there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are planning a weekend or a week in the city there is so much to see and do. I love this city. The buildings are beautiful as are the views. There is just something special about this city so below I have listed my ultimate San Francisco bucket list!
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GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Opening in 1937 once called ‘the bridge that couldn’t be built’ the golden gate bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world. The bridge was once taller than any building in San Francisco.
The Bridge its self is just stunning We drove over it and took a boat ride under it when we were in San Fran. Such an iconic drive while you are in the city. We drove across to the Golden gate look over for a fantastic view of the bridge. This is not a sight to be missed when in San Francisco. Not only is it iconic but there is something so special about seeing the bridge in person and even more so driving across it, making it number one on the San Francisco bucket list!
Home to a little bit of everything. Pier 39 has shopping and attractions! From quaint little seaside shops to the famous sea lions, there is so much to see do and eat here. 7d experience, bay voyages, caricatures, amusements and “the flyer” are just a tip of the iceberg of things to do here. Probably my personal favourite on the bucket list.
We visited Pier 39 not knowing what to expect and were very pleasantly surprised. We visited the pier numerous times during our time in San Fran. Enjoy a spot of shopping picking up unique souvenirs, Visited the sealife centre and enjoyed watching the sea lions. They were my personal favourite part as they were such characters, Seeing them bobbing about on the docks. whether its daytime or night there is plenty to see at pier 39 so don’t miss this San Francisco bucket list experience!
Famous for its eight hairpin bends, Lombard street is a sight to see! Claiming to be the most crooked street in the world and seeing a staggering 2 million visitors a year, it’s certainly iconic! You may have seen this road before as it has been in several films including the famous Steve Mcqueen “Bullitt”. We were lucky enough to view it and drive down it too!
Walking up the 250 steps to the top was a killer, but so worth it! ( I realised how unfit I am haha ) The houses that surround the road are beautiful and its bursting with flowers and colours. Driving around this iconic road was so much fun too, as everything is enjoying the views and breathing in as you take the super-tight turns! Whichever way you experience this bucket list experience it sure will be exciting!
THE PAINTED LADIES
The painted ladies are a group of Edwardian and victorian bouses painted in three or more colours, they are extremely embellished and beautifully detailed homes which based near Alamo square. These represented newfound wealth during the gold rush in San Fran and are a beautiful site to see! Not to mention a great instagramable spot! Enjoy a stroll around the stunning streets and capture their beauty in the golden hour for some stunning images.
WHALE WATCHING TOUR
Who wouldn’t love to see a whale!? Everything from Humpbacks to orcas, San Fran has it all! There are so many different types of whale tours throughout the bay. The best time of year to catch a glimpse of them generally is between December and May. We were lucky enough to spot a humpback whale in July. This was an incredible sight to see and something I could do time and time again. It is the most incredible experience. We were lucky enough to spot a few different types of animals while out to sea. Check it out the photo below to see what animals we saw! This is a dreamy experience and fun for all the family! Tours start from around $45 depending on the type of tour.
This 210-foot tower is situated in the telegraph neighbourhood. Since its construction in 1933, it has become an iconic part of the San Fran skyline. The tower was built as a memorial to the firemen who died in the major fires in the city. The design is also meant to replicate that of a firehose end. The observation deck offers a 360-degree view of the city, including a stunning view of the Golden gate bridge. What better way to see the city! Tours of the tower and surrounding murals are $9
Alcatraz Island is located just 1.25 miles away from the bay. Known as “The Rock” with High water currents surrounding the island Alcatraz was said to be the most secure federal prison in America. Originally home a lighthouse, the military prison slowly took over the island and Alcatraz prison was born. Alcatraz became a household name as it held some of the most notable gangsters including Al Capone and machine gun kelly. During the lifetime of the prison despite numerous attempts, no one managed to escape and survive to anyone’s knowledge.
The prison is now flooded every year with tourists as tours of the prison are highly popular. Take a wander around in the daytime or take a guided tour at night time. This is a trip you won’t want to miss out on. Remember to book in advance as tickets sell out months in advance. Ticket prices start from $39.99, Check out some of the combo tours below!
This half-mile long beach lies at the foot of the cliffs below the Golden gate bridge. The popular “nude beach” is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike. You can often catch harbour porpoise here so be sure to keep an eye out for them! This beach can be very foggy, as can most of San Fran so check the weather before you visit. There is a car park and picnic facilities so is a perfect spot for a picnic and taking in the views!
SAN FRANCISCO CABLE CAR
San Francisco has the worlds last manually operated cable cars. Out of the 23 original lines, there are only three remaining. Now if you have ever visited San Francisco or even seen a photo of the city, You will know how hilly the city is. The cable cars were the perfect solution to this! Many of the lines were damaged by natural disasters over the years but the city decided that they were still a necessity and pulls together so the likes of me and you can still enjoy them today!
The cable cars have now become almost as iconic as the Golden gate bridge and are often depicted on postcards and paintings of the city. The cable cars are so quaint and add a dreamy feel to the city. You can pick up a day ticket for $13 and save your feet from the hills while enjoying the ride.
16TH AVENUE STEPS
Probably the most popular steps in the city, and the oldest. The 16ths avenue stairs have become a major tourist attraction. With each flight of stairs having individual imagery to create a stunning scene. Take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful gardens and neighbourhoods that surround. This is a great free experience and a fantastic photo opportunity!
One for the sports fans! Oracle parks is home to the baseball team The San Francisco Giants! The stadium is situated right on the edge of the bay so if you are sitting hight enough up you can see the harbour. Enjoy the views and watch the game? sounds good to me! Now, I’m not particularly a massive sports fan and won’t pretend to know a lot about baseball but the atmosphere was something else.
This was such a fun day and we got so swept up in the moment, enjoying the jingles and clapping along while enjoying dippin’ dots! This is an experience for the whole family which is why It couldn’t be missed from the San Francisco bucket list!
Last but not least on the bucket list. Named after the 220-foot peaks and sitting 1000 feet above the city, what better place to get an amazing view! Flooded with tourists every day, This is a very popular sight in San Francisco. This for me was my favourite viewing point in the city. We actually stumbled upon this by accident as we were driving around. We ended up at Christmas tree point which gives you an amazing view of the city from one side then drive round to twin peak viewing point for a stunning view of the other side of the city.
There are viewing platforms with standing binoculars so you can zoom in and find your favourite part of the city! This view can be very foggy (typical San Fran) So remember to check the weather before you head out!
Well, there we have it! The San Francisco bucket list! How many of these places will you visit next time you are in the city? Or have you visited some already? Let me know in the comments below. I hope you have enjoyed this list, If so don’t forget to check out my ” Top things to do in Vegas guide! “
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