San Francisco has easily established itself as the perfect venue for opportunity and acceptance. With an excess of culinary exploits, creative endeavors and technological pursuits, San Fran is the product of the locals’ ingenuity and dedication to storytelling. We’ve compiled a list of our own City Essentials, but you’ll surely discover your personal highlights if you stray away from the path well travelled!
The beautiful San Francisco skyline.
Golden Gate Bridge
What would the Bay Area be without the iconic Golden Gate Bridge? The bridge has become the city’s focal point and is captured from hundreds of angles - see it with its towers caught in a coat of fog or with the sun setting beautifully behind it. If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend renting a bike to cycle across the bridge, you can move at your own pace with your sights set on the ocean backdrop! If you’d rather see the bridge at a distance, you could stroll down Marshall beach or walk up to Battery Spencer to take a classic picture. One thing is for sure, there is no bad way to see the Golden Gate Bridge!
The Golden Gate Bridge is synonymous with San Francisco, you won’t want to miss it!
If you travel to San Francisco, you must visit the most famous prison in the world. Board your cruise at Pier 33 and motor across the treacherous waters that once imprisoned America’s most dangerous convicts. We recommend a guided or audio guided tour for the most insightful experience. While the federal prison closed in 1963, much of the original structure has been restored for the brave tourist. A trip to Alcatraz is a day spent like some of their most famous inmates, among them is Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelley who at one time called the island home. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it.
Journey to the island that once imprisoned the world's most dangerous convicts.
Golden Gate Park
Discover a green sanctuary in the middle of bustling San Francisco during a visit to Golden Gate Park. Stretching over a thousand acres, Golden Gate Park is even bigger than New York City’s Central Park. Like most urban green spaces, Golden Gate Park has a string of walking trails, bike paths, and tennis courts for you to utilize. Interestingly, it is also home to a herd of bison that originally found themselves on the land in the San Francisco Zoo in the 1930s. The park is filled with many of the city’s top cultural finds including the Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the de Young Museum. We recommend starting at 9th Avenue entrance to gain access to as many sights as possible!
Local stories will come to life in front of your eyes as you stroll through the famed Mission Murals. Artists first began to paint the alley walls in the 70s as pieces on Balmy Street began to emerge; they historically delved into the themes of injustice and the Chicano experience. Activism has remained a prevalent motif throughout the years, you will be captured by the thought-provoking art as you wander through the alleyways. Clarion explores different forms of inclusivity, the Women’s Building is home to MaestraPeace which illustrates diversity and feminism, and the massive Golden Dreams of Mission celebrates the city’s first Carnaval. Once you’ve finished exploring, you can relax in Dolores Park for the perfect view of San Francisco!
Spend a day by the ocean with a stop at Pier 39. This seaside market is sure to have a shop, restaurant, or attraction that appeals to you. Found at the edge of Fisherman Warf, Pier 39 offers picturesque views of the San Francisco skyline, both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and Alcatraz Island. Finish your day at one of Pier 39’s taquerias, Japanese grills, pizzeria, or seafood restaurants. While you’re at the pier do not forget to join a whale sighting tour or see the lea lions lazily resting on the docks!
Watch as the sea lions catch some rays at Pier 39.