A visit to the world renowned Golden Gate Bridge will surely be an exceptional experience for people of all ages. There are many fun ways to explore the beauty and grandeur of this iconic structure – you can walk, hike, kayak, take a boat tour around the bay or simply walk on the beach, ride a bike, take a guided private tour in San Francisco, or just sit back and let yourself feast in its magnificence.
You’ll best enjoy the view on a sunny day when the bridge seems to radiate an orangey to reddish glow, especially when the sky is bright and azure! It’s the perfect time to snap a shot! Although a clear weather is not always guaranteed, the mere fact of taking a glimpse at this stunning structure is definitely an awesome, memorable experience anytime of the day. You can get a nice view of this 78-year old beauty from many hilltops in San Francisco’s northern neighborhoods.
The Golden Gate Bridge is also a popular backdrop for prenup and wedding photos! It's no wonder, with all its grandeur and romantic feel!
But there is more to the bridge than its physical beauty. It also has a rich history. You can learn about the science and engineering of its construction, as well as interesting facts and trivia from the interactive and stationery outdoor exhibits that can be found in the Bridge Pavilion and our expert private tour guides. The Bridge Pavilion is located adjacent to the bridge and offers souvenir items, historical information, and of course a great view for picture taking.
Your visit to the Golden Gate Bridge won’t be complete if you don’t walk on it, well at least part of it as it spans 8,981 feet, making it the longest extension bridge in the world!
There are different ways to walk across the bridge based on the time you have, how sunny or cold the weather is, and how much exercise you want to get. You can take a 30-minute walk to the Bridge towers or walk to the middle of the bridge then walk back to your parking space.
If you would like to discover the Golden Gate Bridge in its finest, it’s best to take a private tour. Contact Private Tours San Francisco to get the best, most memorable, and fun tour of this magnificent bridge.
The Alcatraz Island, the legendary penitentiary also known as the “Rock” was once home to despicable, notorious criminals, and is now famous for the desperate escape plots and other shocking, mysterious tales. Stories were told that prisoners who tried to escape drowned or were devoured by sharks “lurking” in the water. And don’t be surprised if you hear ghost tales and stories of ghost sightings in the prison walls. So if you’re up for a unique, memorable, mysterious guided tour in San Francisco, don’t forget the Alcatraz Island in your short list of places to visit!
The island which was named Isla de los Alcatraces or the Island of the Pelicans in 1775 is situated just 15 minutes away from San Francisco. It is so close but seems very far. It was also been a beautiful bird sanctuary, a place of a civil war fortress, the first lighthouse on the American West Coast, and the scene for many films. A visit to the Alcatraz Island is not just a “prison tour” as what many people think. Its latest renovation includes a sanctuary for water and sea birds.
The island can only be accessed by tour which starts when you arrive at the Alcatraz dock and are welcomed by a representative of the National Park for a short orientation of the site. After this, you can choose to stay as long as you wish with boat services leaving every 30 minutes. You can explore the historic cell houses as well as the remarkable gardens. You can see how close the outside world was to convicted inmates and why escaping from prison was such an enticing plan.
If you're a thrill-seeker, you can try a night tour of the island and the old prison. You can get an all-inclusive pass which includes the return ride and a 45-minute cellhouse audio tour. It’s best to book well in advance because tickets do sell out fast! Also, it’s suggested to allot a two- to three-hour tour of the place so you’ll have enough time discover this mysterious place, unravel it’s secrets and history.
So plan well and contact an expert tour guide in San Francisco for a comprehensive, memorable, and enjoyable visit. Contact Private Tour San Francisco for more information.
Experience many acres of green lawns, tranquil lakes, beautiful paths, and stunning flowers amid thousands of towering trees, and 7,000 different kinds of plants nestled in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Enjoy many exciting attractions from gorgeous gardens to amazing events like the Outside Lands. Sunday is probably the best time to visit the park, as cars are prohibited on certain roads within the park on this day. Some of the great ways to discover this site is with a bike, strolling, or with a guided tour in San Francisco.
Founded in 1871, this 1,017-acre park attracts around 13 million visitors every year, making it the 5th most visited park in USA! The park in general is open to public every day, but opening hours for certain attractions vary. The cost for visiting the Golden Gate Park is free, though some attractions may charge a certain fee.
The park’s top attractions include: The de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
The de Young Museum showcases an astonishing collection of American art from the 17th century to the 21st century. It also features modern art; global costumes and textiles; photography; as well as African, American, and Oceania art. In the 9th floor of the Hamon Tower, you’ll get to experience astounding 360-degree views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and also the city of San Francisco.
In the California Academy of Sciences, you’ll get to explore a natural history museum, planetarium, and an aquarium all in one roof! The four-story rainforest, breathtaking coral reef, as well as the planetarium will definitely amaze you! Daily exciting programs in the Academy include coral reef dives and penguin feedings.
The Conservatory of Flowers boasts its rare, beautiful tropical plants and flowers from around the globe! It’s an architectural treasure with five awesome galleries. The Japanese Tea Garden is adorned with fabulous pagodas, gates, a stunning moon bridge, and grand 1.5-ton Buddha!
Strolling through the San Francisco Botanical Garden is like taking a tour through the Central American, Mediterranean, or New Zealand rain forests! It’s a gorgeous, tranquil refuge.
The top places to visit in the Golden Gate Park which you shouldn’t miss include: the Stow Lake, National Aids Memorial Grove, Buffalo Paddock, Beach Chalet, Dutch and Murphy Windmills, Spreckels Lake, Speedway and Lindley Meadows, Rainbow Falls, Strawberry Hill, Music Concourse, and the Hippie Hill!
There are countless things to do in the Golden Gate Park! You can bike, jog, skate, play tennis, disc golf, soccer, or archery! There are also so many great things to see, from beautiful fauna and flora, arts and culture, to architecture! You can even see a real buffalo roaming in the park! So if you’re looking for a unique adventure in one place, contact Private Tours San Francisco to inquire about guided tours in San Francisco!
The Coastal Trail at Lands End San Francisco is a gorgeous spot for walking, but most visitors to the city don't know it's there. Lands End is easy to get to, easy to park, and much less crowded than the more well-known parks and beaches.
The northwest corner of San Francisco is a rugged stretch of Cypress forest, bordered by cliffs plunging 200 feet to the sea below. Lands End guards the narrow ocean channel leading to the Golden Gate Bridge and the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The approach to the bay is treacherous and many ships have been dashed on the rocks off Lands End, trying to navigate the channel.
The most-traveled trail in Lands End is the Coastal Trail, a section of the California Coastal Trail that follows the railbed of the old Cliff House Railway. This trail is handicap-accessible until the Mile Rock Overlook, and bike accessible until the Eagles Point steps. A spur trail takes users to Mile Rock Point and Mile Rock Beach, which offer views of the Golden Gate.
Additionally, Lands End contains the ruins of the Sutro Baths. Other historic sites include numerous shipwrecks, which are visible at low tides from the Coastal Trail and Mile Rock.
There is also a Labyrinth hidden in one of the trails in Land’s end, it’s not that hard to find but it is very hard to navigate once you are inside the Labyrinth. A lot of people enjoyed their time trying to solve the puzzle.
Lands End Trail is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near San Francisco, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield, is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, historically part of the Presidio of San Francisco, Crissy Field closed as an airfield after 1974, in 2001 the Crissy Field Center opened to the public. While most buildings have been preserved as they were in the 1920s, some have been transformed into offices, retail space, and residences.
Crissy Field is now part of an urban national park, which, due to its location and scenic views, is popular with both locals and tourists.
West Bluff — the westernmost part of Crissy Field, which includes a picnic area, the Warming Hut cafe, and connector paths and trails to the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point.
Beach and dunes — the shoreline along Crissy Field has been restored, including the creation of sand dunes which provide habitat for several native species.
Promenade and trails — The Golden Gate Promenade runs from the Crissy Field Center adjacent to the beach to the Warming Hut. This is also a section of the San Francisco Bay Trail, which runs along the coast of the San Francisco Bay.
Newly restored tidal wetlands — the restored tidal marsh now hosts 17 fish species and 135 species of birds have been seen there. Around the tidal marsh, native vegetation has been planted and a boardwalk across the marsh has been constructed, providing views of the wildlife.
Crissy Field Center — An environmental education center for youth that provides school-year and summer programs.
The San Francisco Zoo is a 100-acre (40 ha) zoo located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, between Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean along the Great Highway. The zoo's main entrance, once located on the north side across Sloat Boulevard and one block south of the Muni Metro L Taraval line, is now to the west on the ocean side of the zoo off of the Great Highway.
This zoo is the birthplace of Koko the gorilla, and since 1974, It houses more than 1000 individual animals representing over 250 species, as of 2016.
The Insect Zoo opened in 1979 and features terrariums containing live arthropods, including millipedes, centipedes, hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, scorpions, velvet ants, termites, walkingsticks and bees. Visitors can examine specimens under microscopes, and there are insect-themed books, videos, puppets and games.
The San Francisco Zoo participates in Species Survival Plans, conservation programs sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The program began in 1981 for selected species in North American zoos and aquarium where the breeding of a species done to maintain healthy, self-sustaining, genetically diverse and demographically stable populations. The zoo participates in more than 30 SSP programs, working to conserve species ranging from Madagascan radiated tortoises and reticulated giraffes to black rhinos and gorillas.
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.
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!
San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city! A queue of seafood restaurants along the bay, clam chowder stands, and heaps of souvenir stores are all combined with a main fishing pier. You can reach this famous dock via a cable car from the Union Square and with a guided private tour in San Francisco.
Many ferry rides leave from the Wharf to the mysterious Alcatraz Island and to the beautiful Marin County. While famous, you may want to avoid a long visit to the place, especially if you don’t like “tourist traps” and crowds. But it is excellent for a one- to two-hour stop during the day to get fresh seafood, sourdough, and souvenirs!
Some of the popular attractions in the Fisherman’s Wharf include the Wax Museum which features sculptures of US presidents, celebrities, and other famous figures; Ripley’s Believe It or Not which showcases oddities from around the world; the Boudin Bakery where the best sourdough bread in San Francisco is sold; the Musee Mecanique which exhibits an amazing collection of antique arcade machines and vintage musical instruments; the USS Pampanito & SS Jeremiah O’Brien which boasts a grand World War II submarine and a fully-restored, operating ship of World War II - the Jeremiah O’Brien; and the actual Fisherman’s Wharf where you can watch egrets and herons steal fish from the bait shop, and if you go there early around 6 or 7 in the morning, you’ll get to see fishermen in action with their catch! And don’t forget to see the amusing sea lions at Pier 39! Sure they’re loud and noisy but they’re absolutely cute and their number is astonishing!
The clever, creative, and fun street performers are also a must-see! Experience the mime, art, music, and performance on the streets of the Fisherman’s Wharf! Normally, these performers who usually sell art, movies, and CD’s expect tips (but are not mandatory).
Even though most locals don’t really patronize the Fisherman’s Wharf, your visit to San Francisco won’t be complete without a stop at the this busy and interesting dock!
So contact our expert tour guides here at Private Tours San Francisco to best enjoy the food, view, entertainment, and souvenirs offered by the Fisherman’s Wharf!
Since the 1860s the Chinatown in San Francisco has been a popular tourist attraction; a home to one of the biggest Chinese communities beyond the borders of the Asian continent. Chinatown’s main vein is Grant Avenue and its adjacent alleys and streets are rich in culture and history.
The Chinatown Gate located at the intersection of the Grant Avenue and Bush Street is the perfect spot to start your guided tour in San Francisco. You’ll be greeted by the traditional dragons that “crawl” across the top of the gate as well as the fou dogs that guard this beautiful gate.
You’ll pass by colorful queues of shops selling memorabilia as you continue your tour to the famous Grant Avenue and to the Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral. This basilica dedicated in 1854 was San Francisco’s very first Catholic cathedral. It was made of bricks and beautiful granite rocks from China.
If you continue walking along Grant Avenue you’ll find the Chinatown Kite Shop famous for its kooky, colorful collection of fun flying creatures: dragonflies, owls, butterflies, and cartoon characters. You’ll also find Chinatown’s oldest bakery -- the Eastern Bakery built in 1924. Enjoy their freshly baked pastries and their best seller: the lotus golden yolk mooncake.
Waverly Place is another must-see. It’s also known as the “street of painted balconies” because of the colorful building facades nestled along this street. This place was once dubbed as the “15-cent street” because hair cut services here were at 15 cents! Today, haircuts start at around $6. At the mid section of Waverly Place, you’ll see the Tin How Temple, America’s oldest Chinese temple, built in 1852.
Past the Clay Street, you’ll see the Chinese Historical Society Museum founded in 1932 which showcases historic artifacts and photographs that tell the stories of Chinese migrating in the American continent.
Near Stockton Street is the heart of Chinatown’s commerce. Visit the busy shops to see barrels filled with ginseng, shelves packed with herbal medicine, and windows full of beautifully roasted ducks.
The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company sitting at the Ross Alley is famous for its freshly baked wafer. You’ll be amused by women in the shop making fortune cookies at an amazing speed and expertise.
You can end your guided private tour at the Portsmouth Square. At this very place, Captain John Montgomery of the USS Portsmouth raised the flag of the USA for the first time in San Francisco in the year 1846. This is a very special and historic spot which now serves as a beautiful rendezvous for family and friends of all ages.
Have a taste of Chinatown’s knotty food and drinks, unravel its interesting history, and experience its rich culture with the help of our expert tour guides here at Private Tours San Francisco!
Things to do in SF!