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.
The Cable Car Museum is a free museum in the Nob Hill neighborhood Located at 1201 Mason Street, the San Francisco Cable Car Museum is the perfect place to learn how San Francisco's favorite means of transportation works. The museum has been operating since 1974, contains historical and explanatory exhibits on the San Francisco cable car system, which can itself be regarded as a working museum. The museum's main exhibition explains the history and operation of the Cable Car. On learning how it functions you will understand the great expense that is involved in maintaining the system alive.
In the ground floor you will see the enormous machinery on which the cables that make the trolleys circulate throughout San Francisco rotate.
In the Cable Car Museum you will also be able to see some old trolley cars and some photographs of its evolution over the years as well as learning how it was affected by the great earthquake which destroyed a large part of the system.
The museum contains several examples of old cable cars, together with smaller exhibits and a shop. The cable cars displayed include:
Sutter Street Railway - grip car 46 and trailer 54 dating from the 1870s
Clay Street Hill Railroad - grip car 8, the only surviving car from the first cable car company
Exterior of the Ferries and Cliff House Railway Co. Building Constructed in 1887. Houses both the cable car winding station, engines, and museum. The smoke stack in the rear was damaged in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, restored then soon decommissioned when steam power was replaced with electrical power at the winding station.
The museum is part of the complex that also houses the cable car power house, which drives the cables, and the car depot ("barn"). The car depot is not accessible, but two overlook galleries allow the visitor to view the power house, and to descend below the junction of Washington and Mason streets in order to view the large cavern where the haulage cables are routed via large sheaves out to the street.
The cable car is part of the charm of San Francisco; everyone wants to travel in it and to photograph it climbing the steep hills. The best way to get to know it is in its own museum and, better yet, its free admission.
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 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 Legion of Honor Museum offer unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history. Holdings include European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and one of the nation’s largest repositories of works of art on paper.
It houses European art and houses the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in a neoclassical building overlooking Lincoln Park and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The museum contains a representative collection of European art, the largest portion of which is French. Its most distinguished collection is of sculpture by Auguste Rodin. Casts of some of his most famous works are on display, including one of The Thinker in the Court of Honor. However, there are individual works by many other artists, including François Boucher, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, David, El Greco, Giambattista Pittoni, Rubens, and many of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists—Degas, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Seurat, Cézanne and others. There are also representative works by key 20th century figures such as Braque and Picasso, and works of contemporary artists like Gottfried Helnwein and Robert Crumb.
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!