San Francisco Tourist Attractions

There are many fun San Francisco tourist attractions to see on an inexpensive vacation.

• Visit the incredible Golden Gate Bridge.

• Take an amazing site seeing trip to Alcatraz Island.

• Enjoy the sites at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.

• Take a ride on one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars.

• For something a bit different take a walk around Haight Ashbury.

Note: To find inexpensive vacation ideas for Cities in the United States see: Best US Cities.

Cable Car San Francisco

Cable Car in San Francisco

Cable Car Rides
Cable cars are synonymous with San Francisco. I recommend taking one of them at least once.

On a recent trip there I walked 2-3 miles along the piers to Fisherman’s Wharf (it is much longer than it looks on a map!). Instead of walking back I took a cable car.

It was great fun riding up and down the hills of San Francisco hanging off the side of the cable car and taking in the sites with the wind blowing lightly on your face.

Fisherman’s Wharf
The Fisherman’s Wharf gets it’s name for the Gold Rush days. Italian immigrants fished for the Dungeness Crab. It is still home to San Francisco’s fishing fleet. It was developed into a major tourist attraction in the 1970’s and 1980s.

Pier 39 is located at the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf close to North Beach Chinatown. There is a shopping center, video arcade, street performers, Aquarium of the Bay, Marine Mammal Center and more.

The sea lions lay around on one of the wooden platforms and people enjoy watching them. From Pier 39 you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

Pier 39 San Francisco

Sea Lions at Pier 39

The Golden Gate Bridge
This internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. It was completed in 1937.

At the time it was built it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is now ninth in the world. Seeing this magnificent structure in person is quite a site.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco

More fun San Francisco Tourist Attractions

Alcatraz Island
Located in San Francisco bay this famous landmark is known to many as: “The Rock.” This federal penitentiary ran from 1934 to 1963. Alcatraz was once home to many notorious criminals. Some of the infamous people who put Alcatraz on the map were Al “Scarface” Capone, and Robert Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz).

Today Alcatraz has diverse marine and bird wildlife as well as rare plant and flowers. The mysterious history and the current beauty are fascinating, unsettling and educational.

Alcatraz San Francisco

Alcatraz Island

City Tours
Since there is so much to see in San Francisco, you might want to consider a city tour. A couple of the good ones are: Urban Trek USA , or Mr Toad’s Tours.

San Francisco’s China Town is the oldest in North America. Established in the 1840s it is one of the largest Chinese e communities outside of Asia. There is much history and culture here with many attractions, shops and restaurants.

Fun San Francisco Tourist Attractions – Off the Beaten Path.

A Drive up Hwy 1A drive up Hwy 1 along the California Coast is beautiful and there are a lot of fun things to see and do. You can have a meal, visit Muir Beach, and enjoy the ocean.

When we took this drive recently it was great fun. We stopped by Muir Beach walked along the beach, enjoyed the weather and took some great pictures.

Muir Beach California

Muir Beach California

During our drive we hiked to the top of a big hill (~500 ft elevation) and overlooked the beautiful California landscape. We stopped by one of the local stores on our trip and saw the stranded boat pictured below. Overall it is a great day trip.

Ship Wreck California Coast

Ship Wreck California Coast

For something a bit different consider Haight-Ashbury. This neighborhood became the center of the San Francisco 1960’s hippie counter culture revolution. Some of the famous groups who lived there were the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company (think Janis Joplin), and more.

Haight Ashbury

Haight Ashbury - San Francisco Tourist Attractions

The area still has some of the old bohemian atmosphere (musical, artistic or literary pursuits). There are many restored Victorian houses here.

We enjoyed browsing the stores, and people watching on a recent trip to San Francisco. Haight-Ashbury looks like it hasn’t changed much in the past 40 plus years. It is definitely a counter culture district. Prices in many of the stores are outrageous! Be careful if you want to purchase souvenirs here.

Haight Ashbury Housing

Haight Ashbury Housing - San Francisco Tourist Attractions

Return from San Francisco Tourist Attractions to Things to do in California

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