San Francisco attractions

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Top 5 things to do in San Francisco

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California Academy of Sciences
California Academy of Sciences
The amazing, family-friendly California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco features the world’s only aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum, all under one living roof. It's conveniently located on Music Concourse Drive in Golden Gate Park. Other attractions, like the de Young Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and 412 hectares of urban park are right outside its doors.
Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay is located at San Francisco's popular PIER 39. Its focus, as the name suggests, is local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay (and nearby waterways). There are three main exhibit areas, each with a specific point of focus. The most thrilling is the underwater tunnel, though the touch pools and naturalist talks also help make this an exciting and interactive way to get to know the bay.
Filoli Historic House & Garden
Filoli Historic House & Garden
Filoli House & Garden is a historic estate just 30 miles outside San Francisco. The perfect option for a day trip out of the city, the estate is home to English Renaissance gardens, orchards, and rewarding hiking trails across hundreds of acres.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
The Snøhetta expansion (completed in 2016) doubled the amount of exhibition space at the SFMOMA. The seven-story structure also expanded the gallery areas and outdoor public spaces, giving a big injection of destination architecture to San Francisco's South of Market area. The SFMOMA's permanent collection is a whopping 33,000 works, and there are always temporary exhibitions as well. When in San Francisco's SoMa make time for the SFMOMA.
The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum is an adventure into the world of 'Uncle Walt' and all that brought the man himself so much success on a global scale! Visitors can interact with special exhibitions, listening stations and more! The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in San Francisco's Presidio, a park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Dollar ($)

Dialing code

+ 1

Time zone

Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Getting around

Uber and Lyft are both great ways to get around this hilly city, especially outside of peak hours. Buses, street cars, the subway and cable cars run regularly, while cycling is also popular. If you're flying into SFO, take the BART towards Pittsburg/Baypoint and then call a car to your destination. It's cheaper and faster than driving from the airport.


September to November is a great time to visit San Francisco. It's less crowded and often warmer than July and August, which can be cold and windy (yes, this is California, but San Fran is surrounded on three sides by water and wind). Hotels are cheaper in winter, but take plenty of clothes to layer up. You never know when the fog will set in.

Movie set city

San Francisco is just up the California coast from Hollywood, but with a character of its own. The rolling hills, the dense fog and, of course, Golden Gate Bridge have all inspired filmmakers over the years. San Francisco has appeared as a backdrop in The Maltese Falcon (1941), Harold and Maude (1971), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), The Social Network (2010), and many more.

What to do in San Francisco for 3 days

Take a hike

Walking is free and a great way to see the city and beyond. Panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown SF can be yours from Tank Hill. This 650-foot-high mini-park offers a host of endangered butterflies, rare birds and native plant species. Likewise, Kite Hill, a small park in the middle of the city has some equally good views. Take a picnic.

Shop where it's hot

Don't just shop on the tourist trail. You’ll have more fun if you head to Union Square in downtown and let the additional street performers and flower sellers put a smile on your face. The DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse has low cost footwear that the locals love, while the Mission is the place to go for the grunge that used to be found on Haight in the 60s.

Ride the free buses

On weekends and city holidays from 9am-6pm, Rec and Park runs a free shuttle along Golden Gate Park. Stops include Conservatory of Flowers, McLaren Lodge and Stow Lake. Drinkers take note - the San Francisco Brewers Guild shuttles beer fans to local breweries for free, (third Wednesday of every month). Drink in Union Square, the Mission, Haight/Sunset and more.

Wine time

Some of America's very best vineyards surround San Francisco and, while you can take a tour to some of them, you can also drive, then rent a bike. Several companies rent bikes for under $50 per day. Alternatively, Uber and Lyft both operate in the area. To taste wines on a budget, download the Winery Finder app to find out where the latest discounts are.

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