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.
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.
The San Francisco Twin Peaks at 922 feet in elevation, is second only to Mt. Davidson in height, offers spectacular views of the Bay Area, and is a world-famous tourist attraction. Originally called “Los Pechos de la Choca” (Breasts of the Maiden) by early Spanish settlers, these two adjacent peaks provide postcard views and a treasure trove of animal and plant diversity. Most visitors to Twin Peaks drive (or take a tourist bus) to the north peak parking lot to enjoy 180-degree views of the Bay Area.
Many miss an opportunity to experience the coastal scrub and grassland communities of this 64-acre park. Similar to the Marin Headlands, Twin Peaks gives us an idea of how San Francisco’s hills and peaks looked before grazing and then development changed them forever. The vegetation is primarily a mix of grassland and coastal scrub. Expect strong winds as you hike among plants such as coyote brush, lizard tail, pearly everlasting and lupine. The endangered Mission Blue Butterfly has adapted to the strong winds and flies low to the ground from lupine to lupine. Native plants provide habitat for brush-nesting birds like the white-crowned sparrow and animals such as brush rabbits and coyotes.
Twin Peaks is a must-see stop on your tour of San Francisco. Why? The view, the view, the view. This set of high peaks is located near the geographical center of the city, offering stunning 360-degree panoramic views of this beautiful city and the bay and ocean beyond. And you might be surprised to find that it offers a few other things to you as well.
The two peaks actually also have their own names: the North Peak is Eureka Peak and the South Peak is Noe Peak. This makes it an obvious choice for a scenic viewpoint. But it actually makes it an obvious choice for some more practical things as well, which is why you will find a handful of transmission towers up there. After all, it’s tough to get transmission signals in the lower hills of the area but those signals are nice and clear up there on the tall peak. You do notice them as you’re heading up to the peaks and you’ll see them up close while you’re up there but you’re honestly so distracted by the stunning views that they don’t take anything away from the aesthetics of the experience.
Christmas Tree Point lies some 70 ft (21 m) below the North Peak and offers vistas of San Francisco and San Francisco Bay. The view to the north extends no farther than Cobb Mountain 120 km away, but looking southeast down the Santa Clara Valley on a clear day, Santa Ana is just visible 143 km away.
To the north is one of the city's many reservoirs. It is owned by the San Francisco Fire Department, and supplies water to the Fire Department's independent HPFS water system for fighting fires, established after the 1906 earthquake and fire.
The top of Twin Peaks is undeveloped. It is part of the 31 acres (13 ha) Twin Peaks Natural Area, is managed and owned by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. These preserved areas are home to many natural resources and wildlife. As part of the Mission blue butterfly habitat conservation, Twin Peaks is one of the few remaining habitats for this endangered species. Many bird species, insects and vegetation thrive in these areas.
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 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 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.
Things to do in SF!