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.
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 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 de Young, a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, is one of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco along with the Legion of Honor.
The de Young showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international contemporary art, textiles, and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa.
The American art collection consists of over 1,000 paintings, 800 sculptures, and 3,000 decorative arts objects, with works ranging from 1670 to the present day, this collection represents the most comprehensive museum survey of American art in the American West and is among the top ten collections nationally that encompass the entire history of non-indigenous American art. Since its inception in the Fine Arts Building at the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 in Golden Gate Park, its subsequent institutionalization in the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1924, and its reinstallation in the new de Young in 2005, the permanent collection has evolved exponentially.
Adore its striking copper facade, while others just hope that the green patina of age will mellow the effect. Most maligned is the 144-foot tower, but the view from its ninth-story observation room, ringed by floor-to-ceiling windows and free to the public, is worth a trip here by itself. The building almost overshadows the de Young's respected collection of American, African, and Oceanic art. The museum also plays host to major international exhibits, such as 100 works from Paris's Musée National Picasso and a collection of the work of Jean Paul Gaultier from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; there's often an extra admission charge for these. The annual Bouquet des Art is a fanciful tribute to the museum's collection by notable Bay Area floral designers. On many Friday evenings, the museum hosts fun, free, family-centered events, with live music, art projects for children, and a wine and beer bar (the café stays open late, too).
Bring your kids to the museum. We suggest approaching your visit as an expedition and letting your child or children take the lead. Children often have the ability to see things in artworks that adults may miss. When your children express wonder about a particular object, ask them to take a moment and look carefully at the work. Ask what they think is happening in the work of art and have them identify details that support their ideas. Any answer they provide is correct, as long as they can provide visual evidence!
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!
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!