Yerba Buena Garden
Yerba Buena Gardens is the name for two blocks of public parks located between Third and Fourth, Mission and Folsom Streets in downtown San Francisco, California. The first block bordered by Mission and Howard Streets was opened on 1993. The second block, between Howard and Folsom Streets, was opened in 1998, with a dedication to Martin Luther King, Jr. A pedestrian bridge over Howard Street connects the two blocks, sitting on top of part of the Moscone Center convention center.
The original block contains several public art installations. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located behind a waterfall, which is the largest fountain on the West Coast. The King memorial consists of large, etched glass excerpts of King's speeches in the languages of San Francisco's sister cities, and also includes a large green space where performance arts events are held throughout the year.
Located in the Gardens proper are the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a contemporary arts center in the North block, and the Children's Creativity Museum, a children's media and technology museum in geared to children ages 3–12. Kids can make Claymation videos, work in a computer lab, check out new games and apps, and perform and record music videos. The museum is open year-round 10–4 from Wednesday through Sunday, and on Tuesday during the summer. An ice skating rink, a bowling alley, and a restored 1905. The historic Looff carousel twirls daily 10–5 originally located at Playland-at-the-Beach can also be found in the South block. Eateries within the gardens include the B Restaurant and Grill and the Samovar Tea Lounge on the North block's terrace, Mo's Grill on the South block's upper walkway, and a snack shop by the carousel.
The gardens are liveliest during the week and especially during the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, from May through October with free performances of everything from Latin music to Balinese dance.
Atop the Moscone Convention Center perch a few lures for kids. Just outside, kids adore the excellent slides, including a 25-foot tube slide, at the play circle. Also part of the rooftop complex are gardens, an ice-skating rink, and a bowling alley.
Nearby museums include: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, and Cartoon Art Museum.
The Muir Woods national monument is the last surviving primordial redwood forest. Located in Marin County, California. It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It protects 554 acres (224 ha), of which 240 acres (97 ha) are old growth coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area. Only a few miles north of San Francisco, in an isolated canyon, The park offers solitude, interpretive displays and programs, and numerous hiking trails. Come stroll through 1,000 year old giant trees towering 260 feet high and find out why famed naturalist John Muir called this… “…the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
The main attraction of Muir Woods are the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) trees. They are known for their height, and are related to the giant sequoia of the Sierra Nevada. While redwoods can grow to nearly 380 feet (115 m), the tallest tree in the Muir Woods is 258 feet (79 m). The trees come from a seed no bigger than that of a tomato. Most of the redwoods in the monument are between 500 and 800 years old. The oldest is at least 1,200 years old.
Redwood Creek provides a critical spawning and rearing habitat for coho or silver salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Steelhead are listed as threatened species (2011) in the Central California Coast distinct population segment. Coho salmon are listed as endangered in their evolutionary significant unit (2011). The creek is near the southernmost limit of coho habitat and the fish have never been stocked, so they have a distinctive DNA. The Redwood Creek salmon are Central Coast coho salmon which have been listed as federally threatened species since October 2006 and as federally endangered species in June 2005. Coho migrate from the ocean back to freshwater for a single chance at reproduction, generally after two years in the ocean. The spawning migrations begin after heavy late fall or winter rains breach the sandbar at Muir Beach allowing the fish to move upstream
The monument is managed by the National Park Service and is open year round from 8:00am to sunset. An entrance fee is charged.
The Ferry Building Marketplace is a 65,000 square foot Marketplace is organized along a central nave and provides a distinctive marketplace for bringing together the Bay Area's agriculture wealth and renowned specialty food purveyors under one roof. Open seven days a week.
The Ferry Building is an historic site in San Francisco where Market Street meets the bay. The building is now a shopping destination but it has a long history starting in 1898 when it replaced an earlier wooden Ferry House. Travelers and merchants arriving from the East would all arrive here through the Gold Rush and up until the 1930s. Ferry transportation was the only way for those coming from anywhere other than the peninsula to access the city. A 73.15 meter tall clock tower in the center of the building, facing the sea welcomed the ferry travelers. At its peak an estimated 50,000 people passed through the Ferry Building each day. With the construction of the Bay Bridge (1936) and the Golden Gate Bridge (1937) the ferry service became less essential and the redundant.
This delectable attraction needs to be at the top of your San Francisco to-do list. The Ferry Building Marketplace is a public food market that features a variety of food stalls that act as small restaurants, snack stops and grocery stores. Here you can find everything from staples, such as seafood, burgers, Mexican food and plenty of coffee, to a Japanese delicatessen, empanada stand, nut shop and a cheese and dairy bar.
Many travelers who stopped by the Ferry Building Marketplace visited multiple times during their San Francisco trip. Visitors were impressed with the amount, variety and overall quality of food available on-site. Though there are formal restaurants available, some visitors say the best strategy is to pick up a to-go meal and enjoy it along the scenic waterfront. And if you're not one for lines, don't come on the weekends.
Among the specialty stores you can find chocolate-makers, bakeries, pickle stores, meat, poultry, wine, cheese, handmade pasta stores, coffee and more. The venue has several eateries overlooking the bay with outdoor seating and brilliant vistas. Also outside on the city side of the building are two open area arcades used for the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. On the bayside is a wide esplanade where the public can walk and the Ferry Plaza Farmers market is held. There are free guided tours of the Ferry Building.
The Presidio of San Francisco (originally, El Presidio Real de San Francisco or The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis) is a park and former U.S. Army military fort on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a California Historical Landmark in 1933 and as a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
The National Park Service at the Presidio offers a variety of scheduled ranger and docent led programs. Groups visiting the park may also arrange ranger-led programs by appointment in advance. Availability subject to staffing levels. Please allow at least 3-weeks advance notice.
The Presidio offers many opportunities for recreational activities, including picnic areas along Crissy Field at East Beach and West Bluff, and at El Polin Spring.
Enjoy nature, vistas and historic landscapes through a variety of outdoor activities. There are also many indoor recreational opportunities, particularly in the old airfield buildings along the west end of Crissy Field.
The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens. The Academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, It is one of the most prestigious institutions in the US, and one of the few institutes of natural sciences in which public experience and scientific research occur at the same location.
Completely rebuilt in 2008, the building covers 400,000 square feet and is among the newest natural history museums in the United States. The primary building in Golden Gate Park reopened on September 27, 2008
Combining exhibition space, education, conservation and research beneath one roof, the Academy also comprises natural history museum, aquarium and planetarium. The varied shapes of these different elements are expressed in the building’s roofline, which follows the form of its components.
With its native plant–covered living roof, retractable ceiling, three-story rain forest, gigantic planetarium, living coral reef, and frolicking penguins, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the city's most spectacular treasures. It's an eco-friendly, energy-efficient adventure in biodiversity and green architecture. The roof's large mounds and hills mirror the local topography, and Piano's audacious design completes the dramatic transformation of the park's Music Concourse. Moving away from a restrictive role as a museum that catalogued natural history, the academy these days is all about sustainability and the future. The locally beloved dioramas in African Hall have survived the transition, however.
By the time you arrive, hopefully you've decided which shows and programs to attend, looked at the academy's floor plan, and designed a plan to cover it all in the time you have. And if not, here's the quick version: Head left from the entrance to the wooden walkway over otherworldly rays in the Philippine Coral Reef, then continue to the Swamp to see Claude, the famous albino alligator. Swing through African Hall and gander at the penguins, take the elevator up to the living roof, then return to the main floor and get in line to explore the Rainforests of the World, ducking free-flying butterflies and watching for other live surprises. You'll end up below ground in the Amazonian Flooded Rainforest, where you can explore the academy's other aquarium exhibits.
If you are looking for a place to shop, dine, or stay in San Francisco, Union Square is a perfect choice! This 2.6-acre public plaza located in the middle of Post, Geary, Stockton, and Powell Streets is surrounded by the best shopping stores, restaurants, cafes, and hotels in the city, and perhaps the world!
The term “Union Square” was derived from the rallies and support shown for the Union Army on the eve of the American Civil War. The beautiful monument that stands tall in the heart of this place is a tribute to the United States Navy sailors.
Built and dedicated in 1850, the Square is now considered as a historical landmark and famous for its surrounding area with the biggest collection of beauty salons, gift shops, boutiques, department stores, art galleries in the US making this one-block public plaza a leading tourist spot, a significant and sophisticated rendezvous in San Francisco.
It is considered San Francisco’s ceremonial “heart,” also serving as the site of impromptu protest, winter ice rink, private parties, and the yearly Christmas tree lighting. Luxurious hotels and inns, as well as cultural events and celebrations, nightclubs, theatres, live concerts, and movies in park contribute to the Square’s lively, 24-hour spirit.
It’s a fabulous place to indulge in a sumptuous meal, enjoy shopping, watch a show, get a boost of caffeine, grab a drink, or just sit back, relax, and watch people go by.
Visit the world’s best place to live, visit, work, and play! But if you are wondering what’s the best thing to do, where to get the best food and drinks, where’s the best place to stay, where and when the top celebrations and shows are, and where to shop the latest fashion, our expert tour guides can help you!
Contact Private Tours San Francisco to inquire about our private guided tour in San Francisco and experience the best of the famous Union Square!
Cable cars in San Francisco are a unique historic symbol and offer exciting way to travel around and up and down the steep hills of the city. Getting on one of these fancy, colorful cable cars may be the most unique and fun ride you’ll have as you visit the city in a private tour in San Francisco, especially if it’s your first time.
The cable cars operate from 6:00 am to past midnight; and you can expect them to run every 10 minutes. The single-fare rate for riding these cable cars is $7.00. Discounted fares are available for senior citizens but only during non-peak riding times. If you would like to explore San Francisco via these fascinating rides, it’s best to get a day pass or ticket at $17.00. This is an excellent option if you anticipate transfers from one cable car to another or to a mini bus, since these rides are all one way.
You can buy a one-way ticket or an all-day pass directly from the person operating the cable car. Be sure to bring smaller bills because the operator can only give change for $20 and below. You also have the option to get cable car passports at the ticket booths that can be found at San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, Powell or Market cable car turnaround, or at the Hyde & Beach cable car turnaround.
These cable cars can take you to a number of popular tourist destinations in San Francisco: Chinatown, Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, and the Ghirardelli Square.
But how can you get the most out of your cable car ride and how can you best enjoy every moment of this one-of-a-kind experience? Well, we have some great tips for you!
Aim to be seated on the side that faces the bay, so you can get the best views as well as the most stunning photographs! This position is the right hand side for vehicles coming from downtown and the left hand side for those coming from the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 area.
It’s best to bring your jacket or sweatshirt with you even on a sunny day, as it can get cold and/or windy on cable cars when they move up and down the hills. And even if you’re riding cable cars to experience the thrill and fun that comes with it, keep in mind that safety still comes first always, especially when you’re riding with children.
If you’re feeling brave, you can choose to ride on the outside, standing on the running board while holding tight on a pole outside the cable car. It’s a fun, exciting feeling, but it can be hazardous especially if you get too excited. It pays to be careful and watchful at all times while enjoying the whole experience. This iconic vehicle is also a classic, romantic site for a prenup or wedding photo shot! Why not?!
Some people think that cable cars are a cheesy tourist attraction, but for those who appreciate beauty in all things even the small ones, this experience is more than just going from one point to another. It’s fun, thrilling, fascinating, and romantic in many ways.
Experience the iconic cable cars of San Francisco with the help of our expert tour guides from Private Tours San Francisco.
Things to do in SF!