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 Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Monterey, California. The aquarium was founded in 1984 and is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. It has an annual attendance of around two million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display.
The centerpiece of the Ocean's Edge Wing, is a 28-foot-high (8.5 m), 333,000-US-gallon (1,260,000 l; 277,000 imp gal) exhibit for viewing California coastal marine life. In this exhibit, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp. The 28-foot-tall 333,000 gallon Kelp Forest was the first exhibit in the world to include a living kelp forest. In addition to the bay water provided to all tanks, a surge machine at the top of this exhibit provides the constant water motion that kelp requires. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The largest exhibit in the aquarium is a 1,200,000 gallon the Open Sea exhibit (formerly the Outer Bay), which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows. It is one of the few aquariums to successfully care for the ocean sunfish in captivity.
The top of the tank is open, and was situated to maximize its exposure to sunlight during the day, thus further mimicking the bay. Eighty species of seaweeds grow in this exhibit, some of which have also entered the aquarium through the water from the bay rather than being deliberately planted. The kelp in this exhibit grows about 4 inches (100 mm) per day, and requires divers to trim it once a week.
Sea life on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, sea horses, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of very few in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna. For displaying jellyfish, it uses a Kreisel tank, which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. The aquarium does not house mammals other than sea otters that were rescued through its Sea Otter Program.
In January 1996, the aquarium opened the Outer Bay wing to provide exhibits covering the open-water ecology of Monterey's Outer Bay. The main 1,200,000 tank in this area is the largest in the aquarium, and features one of the world's largest single-pane windows, the acrylic window is actually five panes seamlessly glued together through a proprietary process.
This area was extensively renovated starting in August 2010, and re-opened July 2, 2011, as the Open Sea galleries. Another exhibit created at this time includes a school of 3000 sardines (a fish that was once the foundation of Monterey's economy), swimming against the endless current of a toroidal tank. As part of the Open Sea renovation, the aquarium also added a puffin exhibit, juvenile sea turtle exhibit, and multimedia experiences highlighting microscopic plankton.
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.
San Francisco Dungeon is one of the most popular attractions in Fisherman's Wharf. It recreates scary historical events using 360° sets, special effects, and live actors. Visitors walk through the Dungeon, and are guided through each show by professional actors.
This sixty-minute tour through the darker corners and more demented denizens of San Francisco history plays like a more sophisticated and elaborate version of a seasonal Halloween attraction; instead of masked monsters, long corridors, and jump-scares, you get a series of nine scenes that range from a maze and a boat ride to dramatic vignettes that require you to stop, sit, and sometimes participate. The results will literally have you screaming – first with laughter, then with terror.
The San Francisco Dungeon is the first American version of an attraction that has locations in London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and other European cities; though beyond the reach of our usual radar, the reputation of these Dungeons raises some high expectations. The exterior of the San Francisco Dungeon certainly looks innocuous enough: a sign above a busy sidewalk, with a barker luring victims toward the box office. The decor inside is wooden, suggesting the old west or a mining town – aspects of local history that will soon come to life before your eyes.
Shows and rides include:
The Descent- visitors descend into the Dungeon in an old mine shaft elevator and meet businessman Colonel Jack Gamble
Gold Rush Greed- a re-enactment of the clash between the natives and the new settlers on the American frontier in 1848
Lost Mines of Sutter's Mill- visitors search the maze of mines for any remaining gold
Streets of San Francisco- visitors meet gang The Hounds and their leader Sam Roberts down Kearny Street
The Court of San Francisco- a re-enactment of an old San Francisco courtroom where visitors are interrogated by former mayor and judge "Mad Meade"
Miss Piggott's Saloon- recreation of an old drinking saloon featuring Miss Piggott and Shanghai Kelly
Shanghai Kelly's Boat Ride- boat ride through the back waterways to learn about the lives of those who were sold to work as sailors
Chinatown Plague- recreation of the streets of San Francisco during the Black Death epidemic in 1900
The Ghosts of Alcatraz- recreation of the Alcatraz military prison during the 1800s
It’s a dark comedy of attractions; dark, atmospheric and very, very funny. If it was a movie it would likely be PG13.
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!
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier. there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39's marina. The marina is also home to the floating Forbes Island restaurant. The family-oriented entertainment and presence of California Sea Lions make this a popular tourist location for families with kids.
It is famous for its seafood. Home to at least 14 full-service restaurants, Pier 39 is known for serving up some of the freshest and most-delicious local cuisine, at Fog Harbor Fish House, you get more than just classic waterfront favorites such as oysters and cioppino — all seafood on the menu is sustainable, so not only is it local, but its guaranteed fresh and sustainably farmed. Not to mention, every meal comes with a complimentary view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
It also has more than 60 specialty shops with everything from saltwater taffy to left-handed merchandise, custom-blended spices to hand-crafted jewelry. So, obviously, it's difficult to leave without that perfect gift for the folks back home. Many of the store owners work directly behind the counter, and if you end up getting carried away, stop by the California Welcome Center and they'll help you ship your San Francisco memories back home.
You can also experience the thrill of a roller coaster and the excitement of an interactive shooting gallery, all without leaving your seat in a state of the art digital theater with surround sound, 3D effects and the newest in laser technology. Compete to achieve the highest score in the theater as everyone tries to capture the gold, eliminate the bad robot cowboys and save the day! And the fun doesn't stop there: be sure to check out the other 20+ attractions on The PIER.
The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens. The Academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, It is one of the most prestigious institutions in the US, and one of the few institutes of natural sciences in which public experience and scientific research occur at the same location.
Completely rebuilt in 2008, the building covers 400,000 square feet and is among the newest natural history museums in the United States. The primary building in Golden Gate Park reopened on September 27, 2008
Combining exhibition space, education, conservation and research beneath one roof, the Academy also comprises natural history museum, aquarium and planetarium. The varied shapes of these different elements are expressed in the building’s roofline, which follows the form of its components.
With its native plant–covered living roof, retractable ceiling, three-story rain forest, gigantic planetarium, living coral reef, and frolicking penguins, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the city's most spectacular treasures. It's an eco-friendly, energy-efficient adventure in biodiversity and green architecture. The roof's large mounds and hills mirror the local topography, and Piano's audacious design completes the dramatic transformation of the park's Music Concourse. Moving away from a restrictive role as a museum that catalogued natural history, the academy these days is all about sustainability and the future. The locally beloved dioramas in African Hall have survived the transition, however.
By the time you arrive, hopefully you've decided which shows and programs to attend, looked at the academy's floor plan, and designed a plan to cover it all in the time you have. And if not, here's the quick version: Head left from the entrance to the wooden walkway over otherworldly rays in the Philippine Coral Reef, then continue to the Swamp to see Claude, the famous albino alligator. Swing through African Hall and gander at the penguins, take the elevator up to the living roof, then return to the main floor and get in line to explore the Rainforests of the World, ducking free-flying butterflies and watching for other live surprises. You'll end up below ground in the Amazonian Flooded Rainforest, where you can explore the academy's other aquarium exhibits.
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!