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.
AT&T Park, home of the legendary team San Francisco Giants is the best baseball park there is! Some people may contest this statement, but for most tourists who have seen and been to the place, they would most likely say the same!
After winning the 2010 and 2012 World Series, the Giants Giants have become one of the most famous and hottest baseball teams! Not only are their games a must-watch; you just can’t beat the one-of-a kind enjoyment and thrill the stadium has to offer!
With its classic design and amazing views of the stunning San Francisco Bay, the AT&T Park was picked as the Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Daily and the Sports Business Journal in year 2008. This privately financed baseball park in Major League Baseball accommodates over 42,000 fans and offers many great features!
The most outstanding feature of this park is the 24-foot right field wall, built in honor of former San Francisco Giant player Willie Mays, who wore the number 24. Beyond the right field is the McCovey Cove, a part of the Bay named after the Giants’ first baseman Willie McCovey. “The Cove” as dubbed by Giant fans is where a number of home runs (famously referred to as “splash hits”) have been hit.
If you’re up for a unique adventure, you can rent a kayak and hang out in the McCovey Cove with other thrill seekers hoping for that rare, exciting chance of getting a waterlogged home run ball to keep as a souvenir!
The stadium also features an 80-foot long Coca-Cola bottle with superslides every child and adult will enjoy. It lights up and blows bubbles every time a Giant hits a homerun. The stadium’s miniature version sitting next to the soda slide is also a fun place to play and pretend you’re one of the great Giants! A giant baseball glove made of fiberglass and steel positioned at the right side of the soda bottle is another monumental symbol of the park’s stalwart character.
When talking about food, garlic fries is a must! Look for those huge green booths that read “GARLIC FRIES.” But note that there is typically a long line because this one’s a sure winner! If you’re looking for the best hot dogs, look for the Bratwurst cart located near the Third Street Gate. You will definitely enjoy the freshly grilled sausage topped with some perfectly grilled onions and peppers.
The AT&T Park does not only offer great games, breathtaking scenic views, awesome park features and activities, splendid food and beverages, but also exciting behind-the-scene tour, where you’ll get to places only the Giants and staff go. You can even celebrate a birthday with the Park’s Birthday Party Tours for all ages!
Before the game, you can engage in simple but fun recreational activities. On a nice, sunny day, take advantage of a relaxing walk along the beautiful Bay; visit a museum or watch a film at a movie theater located just a stone's throw away from the stadium; or go ice skating, bowling, or take a merry-go-round ride for the kids to enjoy before the ball game!
Contact our expert tour guides here at Private Tours San Francisco to get the most out of your visit to the spectacular AT&T Park!
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.
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 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.
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!
Things to do in SF!