The 10 best places to visit in San Francisco


In downtown San Francisco, Union Square is a one block plaza surrounded by the central shopping, hotel and theatre district. One of the largest collections of department stores, boutiques, art galleries and gift shops, this pleasing open space is a fantastic location to sit between the high rises on all sides. Union Square has been designated a California Historical Landmark.

10. Union Square


Created in the 1870's, covering more than 4 square kilometres (2.5 square miles) is Golden Gate Park, a large rectangular urban park larger in size than Central Park in New York. A National Historic District of the United States, dotted with statues, a Japanese tea garden, a carousel, a conservatory of flowers and two enormous windmills, it is one of the most visited public parks in the country.

9. Golden Gate Park


South of San Francisco's Mission District, featuring an open park atop a large rocky hill is the Bernal Heights Summit. Though just a hill, it offers one of the finest views of the San Francisco skyline.

8. Bernal Heights Park


In American architecture, painted ladies are Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings, repainted in three or more colours to enhance the architectural details. One of the best known groups of painted ladies is a row of beautifully maintained Victorian houses near Alamo Square Park, sometimes referred to as Postcard Row. A tourist attraction in their own right having starred in countless movies and TV shows, they are back dropped by a fantastic view of San Francisco's skyscrapers.

7. The Painted Ladies


Located in the almost geographic centre of San Francisco are two prominent hills known as Twin Peaks, each standing at an elevation of around 282 metres (925 ft) above sea level. From Christmas Tree Point visitors have amazing vistas of San Francisco city and San Francisco Bay.

6. Twin Peaks


In the north east of the city, Pier 39 is a shopping centre and tourist attraction built around a marina. As well as the shops, restaurants, aquarium, street performances and a two story carousel, the biggest attraction is the large number of sea lions that haul themselves out onto the docks. The sea lions are usually found in large numbers and are there all through the year.

5. Pier 39


Built in 1933 atop Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park is the 64 metre (210 ft) high Coit Tower, dedicated to the volunteer firemen who died in San Francisco's five major fires. From its lofty position, the sight from the top of the tower is considered the best panoramic view in the city.

4. Coit Tower


On Russian Hill is the famous Lombard Street, known for its steep one block section of road with eight hairpin turns. A major tourist attraction of the city, it is known as the Crookedest Street In The World.

3. Lombard Street


Located in San Francisco Bay, around 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the mainland is Alcatraz Island, home to one of the most famous prisons in the world, Alcatraz. First used as a federal prison in 1934, over its 29 years in use it held some of the most notorious criminals in American history, earning a reputation as one of the most secure penitentiaries ever made. A National Historic Landmark of the United States, the abandoned prison is today one of the most visited and famous landmarks in San Francisco.

2. Alcatraz


Completed in 1937, spanning the 1.6 kilometre (1 mile) Golden Gate Strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean is the world famous Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. A California Historical Landmark, one of the most famous bridges on Earth, it is best viewed from Bakers Beach and the Marin Headlands.


Pictured from Bakers Beach.

1. Golden Gate Bridge

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