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Things To Do in San Francisco - Attractions

Overview | Attractions | Events | Lodging | Restaurants | History

California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences - Immerse yourself in the world's oceans and fresh water environments displayed in Steinhart Aquarium, including a two-story coral reef tank. Discover the wonders of the natural world through changing natural history exhibits. The Academy is open to the public at 875 Howard Street in downtown San Francisco during its rebuilding project in Golden Park, which is scheduled to be completed in 2008.

de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco - The City's largest public arts institution. Comprised of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, FAMSF is also the City's most successful public/private partnership.


Exploratorium - Housed within the walls of San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium is a collage of over 650 science, art, and human perception exhibits. The Exploratorium is a leader in the movement to promote the museum as an educational center.

PIER 39 - San Francisco's Number One Attraction provides visitors with postcard views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, the San Francisco Bay and the City skyline. Visitors can enjoy shopping, entertainment, dining, and more!

Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco's most popular destination is known for its historic waterfront, delicious seafood, spectacular sights and unique shopping, Fisherman's Wharf offers a wide array of things to do for everyone.

Golden Gate Bridge - The Golden Gate Bridge is the internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco. Completed in 1937, this bridge spans the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. Visitors are invited to walk, drive or bike across the bridge. There is also a gift center located on the southeast side of the bridge.

Lombard Street - Considered "the crookedest street in the world," Lombard Street is best known for the one-way section on Russian Hill which has eight sharp switchbacks. An amazing site to see, the street is paved with bricks and passes many beautiful Victorian mansions

Alcatraz Cruises - One of the world's most legendary prisons, Alcatraz, is now a historic site open for tours. The island is located 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco. Visitors reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf. Visitors have the option of taking a guided tour or an audio tour. Alcatraz also gardens for guests to enjoy.

San Francisco Cable Cars - Interactive demos on how cable cars work, cable car route maps with popular destinations, cable car fares and etiquette, and the location and hours for the San Francisco Cable Car Powerhouse.

Oakland Museum of California - Provides unique collections, exhibitions and educational opportunities designed to generate a broader and deeper understanding of and interest in California's environment, history, art and people.

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology - Explore the diversity of human cultures from the state of California and around the world, visit The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles - The Museum's exhibits and programs promote the appreciation of quilts and textiles as art and provide an understanding of their role in the lives of their makers, in cultural traditions, and as historical documents.

Old Faithful Geyser of Napa Valley California - Visit the show of California's Old Faithful Geyser, a spectacular, nature-directed performance. Old Faithful Geyser of California throws a tower of thousands of gallons of water skyward. The water, 350 degrees hot, shoots approximately 60 feet into the air and dances on the breezes for about three or four minutes, then recedes. Repeat performances play about every 30 minutes.

Sharpsteen Museum - Permanent exhibits are designed to present the history of the upper Napa Valley from its pre-history to post World War I with an emphasis on people and changes brought by the period of U.S. emigration and development.

Mexican Heritage Plaza - Located in the heart of San Jose's oldest and largest Mexican-American community. The Plaza features a theater, thematic gardens, a pavilion, plaza, festivals and events for the entire family.

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose - The striking 52,000 square foot purple building was designed to serve the needs of children, families and schools as a center for learning and discovery. Encompassing the broad themes of community, connections and creativity, exhibits invite self-directed, open-ended explorations, while programs provide facilitated, focused, and sustained interactions.

Waterworld California - An exciting water park featuring pools, slides, thrilling rides and more located in Concord.

Asian Art Museum - One of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. Its holdings include nearly 15,000 treasures spanning 6,000 years of history, representing cultures throughout Asia.

The Tech Museum - A hands-on technology museum devoted to inspiring the innovator in everyone. Explore over 250 interactive high-tech exhibits in a 132,000-sq.-ft. museum and Northern California's only IMAX Dome theater.

Hakone Japanese Gardens - Saratoga's beautiful Japanese gardens are located just 1/10th of a mile above the Village of Saratoga. In this city park you will find one of the most beautiful and authentic Japanese gardens in the United States.

Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive - Located at the University of California and is particularly noted for its collection of late twentieth-century art.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - Located on a mile-long beach between Monterey and San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is your admission-free hot spot for beach vibes and classic rides!

Museum of Craft & Folk Art - The only museum of its kind in northern California. Its unique exhibition program is dedicated to contemporary craft, American folk art, and traditional ethnic art.

Hiller Aviation Museum - A collection dedicated to man's concept of flight. The Museum's exhibits highlight the many historic advancements native to Northern California, and show how technologies resident here today will shape the future of air transportation.

Children's Fairyland - An historic 10 acre outdoor park in which children's literature is 'brought to life' through fairy tale exhibits, animals, and Talking Storybooks which children activate by turning a 'Magic Key.'

Chinese Culture Center - The Center is a major community-based, non-profit organization established in 1965 to foster the understanding and appreciation of Chinese and Chinese American art, history, and culture in the United States. The Center offers a variety of educational and cultural programs. These programs include lectures, workshops, classes, art exhibitions, dance and musical performances and more.

Filoli Center - Filoli is a wondrous 650 acre estate. Magnificent gardens are seemingly untouched by the passage of time. A grand Georgian mansion sits amongst these gardens where hundreds of rare flowers, plants and trees flourish. Wander trough the estate on the brick paths that invite visitors from all over the world to explore the grace an beauty of Filoli.

NASA-Ames Research Center - The Center is an exhibit hall where the public is invited to come see and experience first-hand NASA's historic accomplishments and ongoing research. There are many artifacts on display including wind tunnel models, a Mercury spacecraft, a Moon Rock, a space suit, and several research aircraft. Ongoing research programs are highlighted with displays, models and more.

Lick Observatory - Researchers conduct leading-edge research to answer the most profound questions in observational astronomy. Lick Observatory is open to daytime visitors nearly every day of the year. Visitors can enjoy a brief guided tour of the Great Lick Refractor in the main Observatory building.

Cable Car Museum - The Cable Car Museum is home to a collection of historic cable cars. Visitors will also learn about the inventor, technologies, and builders of the San Francisco cable cars. The famous cable cars of San Francisco first ran in 1873 and still run today.

City Segway Tours - Take a three hour tour of San Francisco while riding a Segway scooter. Cruise through beautiful parks and along the waterfront. Learn information and hear fascinating stories from your guide.

Ferry Building Marketplace - The historic San Francisco Ferry Building was built in 1898. In 2003 it was renovated and is now one of the city's premiere stops for boutique food shops, restaurants, and the weekly farmers market.

Musee Mecanique - The Mechanical Museum is one of the world's largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. Located at Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf.

San Francisco Movie Tours - Enjoy the sites of San Francisco in a new way- take a movie tour. On the tour you will watch movie clips as well as pass by locations made famous in different movies. Your guide will provide behind-the-scenes information and trivia about San Francisco and your favorite movies.

Union Square - The central shopping, hotel and theater district of San Francisco. This one-block plaza and nearby area is one of the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, tourist trinket shops, art galleries, restaurants and salons in the Western United States.

USS Pampanito - The USS Pampanito is a World War II Balao class Fleet submarine museum and memorial open to the public. Situated at Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf.

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers - A unique living museum that is bursting with life just waiting to be discovered. Its intimate setting gives visitors an up-close look at rare, exotic plants and beautiful tropical flowers.

Children's Creativity Museum - A hands-on, multimedia arts and technology experience for kids. Explore animation, digital arts, special effects, music videos, and more. Embrace, explore, and share your creativity with family and friends.

Beat Museum - Preserving the Beat Generation with artifacts and displays of various photographs, letters, magazines, books, album covers, and newspaper clippings tied to the Beats' rebellion and the effect it had in the '50s and '60s.

USS Hornet Museum - A national treasure, having participated in two of the greatest events of the 20th century -- World War II and the Apollo 11 manned space mission. Visit this historic ship and learn about its role in these events.

Chinese Historical Society of America - The Museum introduces the rich history of the Chinese American experience through exhibits, events, and a large collection. Located in the Heart of Chinatown.

S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien - One of two remaining fully functional Liberty Ships of the 2,710 built and launched during WWII. A living museum, and historic landmark, climb aboard and experience the ship.

Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay - A unique educational and entertainment facility dedicated to the rich and diverse aquatic life of the San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters. The Aquarium provides a window to the Bay that focuses on its distinctive ecosystems and seeks to entertain, educate and inspire preservation of this wonderful natural resource.

Blue & Gold Fleet

Blue & Gold Fleet - The Bay Area's largest provider of ferry and water excursion services. Blue & Gold Fleet is the exclusive provider of tours to Alcatraz under concession to the National Park Service. Additionally, they offer a range of cruises including spectacular Bay Cruises, ferries to Sausalito, Tiburon, Alameda/Oakland, Vallejo and Angel Island.

San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni)

San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) - Provides transportation to all points of interest within San Francisco. The Muni system operates both diesel and electric trolley buses, historic streetcars and the world famous Cable Cars.

Chinatown - The largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America. Established in the 1840's, this community offers authentic shops, restaurants and attractions.

Coit Tower - One of the city's most recognizable landmarks. This 210-foot high tower sits atop Telegraph Hill in the North Beach neighborhood. Coit Tower offers majestic views of San Francisco. The interior of the tower is covered with 19 murals, most of which are open to the public for free.

Ghirardelli Square - Ghirardelli Square delights visitors with its mix of retailers, including the famous Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop. Enjoy waterfront shopping and dining, as well as family events. This popular destination is located on the west side of Fisherman's Wharf.

Golden Gate Park - A huge park with plenty to do, including a conservatory of flowers, an art museum, and a Japanese tea garden. Visitors may also rent a paddle boat or a rowboat to use on Stow Lake. Children will enjoy the playground, which features a carousel built in 1912.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - The first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art. From the outset, the museum has championed the most innovative and challenging art of its time, and continues to exhibit and collect work by both modern masters and younger, less-established artists.

AT&T Park - Attending a Giants game at AT&T Park is a unique and exciting entertainment experience. Perfectly situated and centrally located in San Francisco, AT&T Park is one of the most unique venues. Tours available.

Walt Disney Family Museum - This museum is dedicated to featuring the life and legacy of Walt Disney. Enjoy many interactive exhibits as you learn about the many accomplishments of this American artist.

San Francisco Zoo - The largest zoological park in Northern California and one of the Bay Area's most popular cultural and recreational attractions, the San Francisco Zoo is home to over 250 species of exotic and domestic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates.

Chabot Space & Science Center - The universe is yours to experience. Set amid 13 trail-laced acres of East Bay parkland, with glorious views of San Francisco Bay and the Oakland foothills, CSSC is a hands-on celebration of sights, sounds, and sensations.

Marine Mammal Center - The Center rescues and rehabilitates more marine mammals than any other institution in the world. Education programs also aim to increase public knowledge and awareness of the marine environment as a critical link to the survival and health of all life.

San Jose Museum of Art - San Jose's premier art museum, with a focus on contemporary art in all media. The Museum also offers a unique museum store and cafe.

Preservation Park - Located near Oakland's City Center, the Park's 16 turn-of-the-century buildings are today renovated and with their facades restored, are set among manicured lawns and lush plantings, complete with Victorian park benches and street lamps.

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo - The Park is a peaceful, creative and safe place for children of all ages, with the main focus on 'little ones' between the ages of 2-10. There are creative play areas, children's rides, hand puppet and marionette shows, special events, and birthday areas.

Legion of Honor - San Francisco's most beautiful museum, displays an impressive collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art in an unforgettable setting overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

Roscicrucian Egyptian Museum & Plamentarium - This beautiful complex, established in 1927 in San Jose, houses several Egyptian-style buildings on a five-acre, park-like setting featuring broad lawns, palm trees, rose gardens, and exotic plants from around the world.

Ruth Bancroft Garden - Preserving an exceptional example of American garden design, The Ruth Bancroft Garden demonstrates the beauty and excitement possible in a water-conserving landscape and is Internationally recognized as one of the finest gardens in North America. Open to the public 7 days a week.

Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum - Two floors, 11 galleries, over 10,000 square feet of exhibits, state of the art interactive displays, illusions and much more!

Lindsay Wildlife Museum - A wildlife rehabilitation and educational center that focuses on native California wildlife and natural history. The museum exhibits live, non-releasable native wildlife. The museum operates the oldest and one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation hospitals in the United States, treating more than 6,000 injured and orphaned wild animals each year.

University of California Botanical Garden - Located in Strawberry Canyon above the Berkley campus overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The Garden features one of the most diverse plant collections in the United States. The Garden's 34 acres contain over 13,000 species and more than 21,000 plants from all over the world arranged by region.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom - Experience wildlife and wild rides at America's only combination theme park, wildlife park, and oceanarium. Come see how more than 30 exhilarating rides, 10 shows, and 35 exotic animal attractions add up to one amazing adventure.

Paramount Theatre - One of the finest remaining examples of Art Deco design in the United States. Home of both the Oakland Ballet and the Oakland East Bay Symphony and, as one of the San Francisco Bay Area's premiere performing arts facilities, hosts a year-round schedule of popular music concerts, variety shows, and movies.

Intel Museum - Here you can experience the power of computer chips first hand, and the evolution of their development.

Raging Waters - The Bay Area's largest water theme park, offers family recreation on the grounds of Lake Cunningham Regional Park in San Jose. There are water slides, thrill rides and attractions designed for every member of the family including an interactive family play structure and pint-sized attractions for the little ones.

Pixieland Amusement Park - A clean park and great fun for kids ages 1 to 10, featuring a mini train, carousel, airplanes, antique cars, frog hopper & roller coaster! The Kids Cafe boasts fresh daily hand dipped corn dogs & spun cotton candy. No cost for admission, just buy tickets for rides. Birthday Parties! Group events! BBQ picnic area & duck pond, too!

California's Great America - Considered Northern California's most thrilling park. The park offers shows, thrill rides and entertainment for the entire family.

Winchester Mystery House - Historic 160-room Victorian mansion built by rifle heiress Sarah Winchester. Beautiful details mixed in with bizarre oddities, such as doors opening onto walls and stairs going nowhere. Guided tours offered daily.

Cartoon Art Museum - The Museum is one of three museums in the United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of cartoon art in all its forms. This unique institution houses approximately 11,000 original pieces in its permanent collection. A complete volume research/library facility. In addition to seven major exhibitions a year, the museum offers a classroom and a bookstore.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - The mission of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is to present arts and entertainment reflecting the San Francisco Bay Area's diverse cultural populations to the widest possible audiences. Program areas include Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Film/Video and Education.

Oakland Aviation Museum - The Museum's facilities are located in a vintage hangar at Oakland International Airport's historic North Field. The hangar serves as the primary facility of the Museum, providing indoor and outdoor exhibition space, an education room, a History Flicks room, a research library and aircraft restoration work areas.

Oakland Zoo - Nestled in the rolling hills of 525-acre Knowland Park. Each year thousands of families and school groups from around the Bay Area come to visit over 300 native and exotic animals that live in naturalistic habitats at the Zoo.

Jack London Square - A special spot at the water's edge where places for shopping, dining, and daydreaming are all waiting for you. Jack London Square features 15 varied restaurants, specialty shops, USS Potomac, Yoshi's Jazz Club. Accessible via ferry from San Francisco.

Roaring Camp Railroads - Deep in the heart of the magnificent redwood forests of California's scenic Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San Francisco and north of the beautiful Monterey Bay, is America's last steam-powered passenger railroad with year-round passenger train service: the historic Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow-Gauge Railroad.

Montalvo Arts Center - This century-old, Mediterranean-style villa nestled among 175 acres of the beautiful Saratoga foothills, is home to Montalvo, the organization. Gallery exhibitions, concerts, literary readings, and special events take place throughout the year.

Lawrence Hall of Science - Located at the University of California, Berkley which offers a fun family center featuring hands-on exhibits, events, classes, and summer camps, workshops, labs and planetary shows.

Boudin at the Wharf - A famous bakery known for making the original San Francisco sourdough bread. Boudin's offers a self-guided tour of the museum and bakery. Vistitors may also take a break and enjoy eating in the bakery & café, or the Boudin's full-service restaurant, Bistro Boudin.

Mission Dolores - Founded in 1776, Mission Dolores is the oldest original intact Mission in California and the oldest building in San Francisco. Visitors learn about the unique historic, religious and architectual significance.

San Francisco Fire Engine Tours - Take a 75-minute tour of San Francisco in an old 1955 fire engine. Departs from The Cannery six days a week, closed Tuesdays.

The Cannery - What once used to be the fruit canning plant of Del Monte, is now home to many unique shops and restaurants. Originally built in 1907, The Cannery overlooks San Francisco Bay, offering waterfront shopping and dining.

Urban Trek USA - A unique sightseeing and walking tour of San Francisco. Enjoy the sites and learn information from your guide. Urban Trek USA offers half day and full day tours of the city.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center - Visit a working marine laboratory. Exhibit halls, aquarium, and touch tanks. Hold a sea star, marvel at the world's largest whale skeleton, and more.

Napa Valley Museum - Dedicated to promoting the cultural and environmental heritage of the Napa Valley. Exhibits represent a diverse range of subjects from fine arts to history to natural sciences.

Contemporary Jewish Museum - Embracing a range of artistic disciplines and media, the Museum’s exhibition program includes contemporary art and historical objects, film and music, conversations, lectures, literary readings, and other live performance.

Red & White Fleet - Sail under the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz aboard the 1-hr Golden Gate Bay Cruise, or enjoy sunsets, appetizers and live music aboard the relaxed 2-hr California Sunset Cruise.