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San Francisco Points of Interest

San Francisco Points of Interest

San Francisco

San Francisco attractions are as simple as a popular beach with picturesque views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Others include Union Square, Alcatraz Island, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, a Nike Missile site, decommissioned aircraft carrier and lighthouses. From the wineries of Napa Valley to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, here you'll find unique San Francisco points of interest and other fun things to do in San Francisco.

Wine Country Points of Interest

Point Reyes Lighthouse is located at the tip of Drakes Bay between Bodega Bay and the San Francisco Bay. A Visitor Center offers exhibits on the lighthouse and Point Reyes plant & wildlife. Being in an already prominent location 250 feet above the water, The Point Reyes Lighthouse is only 37 feet tall. An adjacent building houses the foghorns, compressors and backup generator. The Point Reyes Lighthouse first went into operation in 1870 and served a pivotal role at one of the foggiest and windiest locations on the California coast. Getting to the lighthouse requires a long journey from Highway 1 along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The 2-hour drive is picturesque with many points of interest as it passes through the Point Reyes National Seashore. Accessing the lighthouse requires a descent down a 300-step staircase from the Visitor Center. Consider making an appointment for one of their evening events when the lighthouse is lit. During busy whale watching season, a shuttle bus from Drakes Beach may be required to access the lighthouse. Lighthouses are some of the most historic San Francisco attractions.

NOTE: The stairs leading to the lighthouse are prone to closure during high winds.

Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center
27000 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
Inverness, CA 94937
(415) 669-1534

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McClures Beach is found at the end of Pierce Point Road in the northern portion of Tomales Bay. Situated just past Pierce Point Ranch, park in the parking lot and follow the McClures Beach trailhead less than a half mile to the beach. McClures features a large sand beach, tide pools and a small sea cave on the unprotected Pacific side of Tomales Bay. The sea cave is only accessible during low tides. The historic Pierce Point Ranch is nearby which was a successful dairy ranch established in 1858. Restrooms available at the parking lot.

Map


Real Secret Beach is situated off Highway 1 from Point Reyes Station. From Highway 1, head west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, make first left on Bear Valley Road and right on Limantour Road. Follow Limantour Road for approximately 3 miles and park in parking lot on left for the Sky Trail trailhead. Follow the Sky Trail for approximately 4 miles to the Coast Trail, make a right and follow for a short distance to Kelham Beach. From Kelham Beach head north and through the tunnel cave to Real Secret Beach. Real Secret Beach is a tiny sand beach with picturesque rock formations backed by coastal bluffs. No facilities. Real Secret Beach is one of the unique San Francisco attractions.

WARNING: Real Secret Beach can be completely consumed and cut off by high tides. Be very aware of the tides when visiting this beach... it could be a life threatening situation.

Map


Napa Valley is found north of San Francisco off Interstate 80. The Napa Valley is the heart of California wine country and produces some of the best wines in the world. Its rolling hillsides and cool ocean breezes make it ideal for viticulture and tourists alike. Dozens of wineries welcome visitors for wine tasting all along the St. Helena Highway. The Napa Valley includes the small towns of Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga. Wind down and relax at local spa. Soar over corduroy vineyards in a hot air balloon. Safely hop from one winery to another on the Napa Wine Shuttle. Find hotels, restaurants, the Napa River Walk and the Napa Valley Opera House at the Napa Mill in Downtown Napa. Visit Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga that erupts every 20-30 minutes. Also in Calistoga is the Petrified Forest of 3-million year old redwoods that are so old they've turned into rock. Take flight with Crazy Creek Air Adventures in a glider plane or classic bi-plane over wineries, mountains and lakes. The nearby Lake Hennessey and Lake Berryessa offer fishing, boating, houseboating, water sports, camping, picnicking and more. Practice your game at one of dozens of local golf courses. Several local State Parks offer camping, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and picnicking. Ride a bike past vineyards and wineries along the less traveled Silverado Trail that parallels Highway 29. Visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Silverado Museum in St. Helena to see artifacts related to the world-renowned author. Napa Valley is among the top San Francisco attractions.

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Robert Ferguson Observatory is located in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, north of Sonoma. The observatory is available for public use. Docents from the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association are on hand to assist with the use of several large telescopes. See the rings around Saturn, the dark spot on Jupiter, a distant colorful nebula and much more.

Robert Ferguson Observatory
2605 Adobe Canyon Road
Kenwood, CA 95452
(707) 833-6979

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Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is Situated in Santa Rosa off Highways 128 & 29 between Calistoga and St. Helena. Activities at Bothe include camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking and horseback riding. Hiking trails head through a California redwood forest. A Visitor Center, early pioneer cemetery and picturesque creek are popular destinations for visitors. A swimming pool is available during the summer months.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 942-4575

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Mt. Tamalpais is found north of San Francisco off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway). Thick forest meets the ocean. Also known as 'Mt. Tam', Tamalpais is the tallest mountain in the San Francisco region. Vistas of the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, the San Francisco Bay and on rare occasions, the Sierra Nevada mountains can be seen 150 miles away. Activities include State Park camping, hiking, fishing, biking and horseback riding. Mt. Tamalpais offers plenty of fun things to do in San Francisco for outdoor enthusiasts.

Mt. Tamalpais State Park
801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, California 94941
(415) 388-2070

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Sausalito, California

Sausalito is located north of the Golden Gate Bridge off Highways 1 & 101. Access Sausalito by going over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco or by Blue & Gold Fleet ferry boat from Pier 41 in San Francisco. This upscale harbor town offers great shopping, restaurants, sightseeing and activities. Visitors enjoy dining, walking, kayaking, fishing and boating. Several charters are available in Sausalito Harbor for sailing, yachting, fishing and sightseeing. Board a seaplane for an aerial view of San Francisco Bay attractions. Catch a ferry over to Angel Island, which was once an immigration processing point for immigrants arriving from Asia. Window shop the unique stores and galleries in this predominantly artist community. The Bay Area Discovery Museum promotes imagination and creative thinking in children. Board a whale watching boat for a trip out to see and a glimpse of these gentle giants. Sausalito offers a variety of fun things to do in San Francisco.

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Tiburon is found north of the Golden Gate Bridge off Highways 1 & 101. Access Tiburon by going over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco or by Blue & Gold Fleet ferry boat from Pier 41 in San Francisco. Situated on a peninsula to the northeast of Sausalito, Tiburon offers an intimate relaxed pace with only a handful of hotels, restaurants and shops. Hiking and mountain biking are two of the more popular activities with trails traversing the lush hillsides offering expansive views in all directions. Catch a ferry over to Angel Island, which was once an immigration processing point for immigrants arriving from Asia. Learn about Tiburon's interesting connection with trains at the Tiburon Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum. Enjoy dining seaside while watching experienced sailors master the winds of San Francisco Bay.

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Stinson Beach is situated off Highway 1 approximately 20 miles north of San Francisco. Watch for the Stinson Beach entrance off Highway 1. Stinson Beach is a small portion of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Stinson Beach features a long stretch of sand beach, picnic tables, barbecues, snack bar, restrooms and showers. Known as a great surfing beach, Stinson is a popular locals hangout. Activities include hang gliding, kayaking, surfing, picnicking and sun bathing. Stinson is one of the most popular San Francisco beaches.

WARNING: Several shark attacks have occurred at Stinson Beach over the years. Swim and surf at your own risk.

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Rodeo Beach is located off Highway 1 from Alexander Avenue. Connect with Conzelman Road on the west side of the highway and follow to McCullough Road. Head north on McCullough Road at the circle and make left on Bunker Road. Follow Bunker Road for approximately 2 miles and veer left on Mitchell Road to Rodeo Beach. Rodeo Beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Rodeo Beach features a large sand beach backed by Rodeo Lagoon and the Marin Headlands. Rodeo Beach is unique for its green and red pebble sand. The Coastal Trail is a massive trail system that follows the coast connecting Rodeo Beach with Mt. Tamalpais and the Golden Gate Bridge. Plenty of parking is available along Mitchell Road and in parking lots across the road. Restrooms and showers available in the parking lot. Situated at Fort Cronkite, Rodeo Beach is surrounded by historic military buildings, bunkers, batteries and missile sites. Cronkite Beach is a popular surf beach that commonly produces overhead rights at the north end of the beach.

Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Rodeo Beach
Mitchell Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-1540

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Nike Missile Sites are decommissioned anti-aircraft missile command centers from the Cold War Era that are located throughout the Bay Area. For two decades following WWII, the Nike missiles protected our nation's borders from enemy aircraft until finally taken out of service in 1979. Site SF-88L at Fort Barry has been restored and offers tours to the public of a museum, launch pads and command center. Some disabled Nike missiles remain and can be viewed on the tour. Nike Missile Sites are the most unique San Francisco attractions.

SF-88 Nike Missile Site
Fort Barry
Sausalito, California 94965
(415) 331-1453

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Point Bonita Lighthouse photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Point Bonita Lighthouse is found at the northern tip of the San Francisco Bay. The Point Bonita Lighthouse went into operation at its current location in 1877 and remains active today. Two other lighthouses preceded it from 1855 but the locations were a failure. Access to the lighthouse requires passing through a tunnel and crossing a suspension foot-bridge 100 feet above the treacherous waters below. The lighthouse and keeper's home are precariously perched atop a jagged peak. Get there by exiting Highway 1 at Alexander Avenue and heading west from Sausalito. Lighthouses are some of the most historic San Francisco attractions.

Point Bonita Lighthouse
Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Barry, Building 948
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-1540

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Napa Mill is situated in downtown Napa at Main and 5th Streets. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque riverfront trail that's shadowed by multiple shops, restaurants, hotels and entertainment choices. Join a tour to local wineries or rent a bike and head out on your own. Catch a concert at the Napa Valley Opera House.

Napa Mill
Main and 5th Streets
Napa, CA 94559

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San Francisco Mission is located off Highway 12 in the Sonoma State Historic Park in Sonoma. Founded by Padre Jose Altimira on July 4, 1823 without the knowledge of his superiors, he intended to replace the Dolores Mission in San Francisco. It never did replace the Dolores Mission. Padre Altimira's cruelty to the native Indians created a revolt and eventually drove him back to Spain. San Francisco Solano is the 21st and last mission that was built in California. It is no longer an active church. Spanish Missions were built all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823. The Spanish built the Missions in their conquest to convert the indigenous people of California to Christianity and as strongholds for their newly claimed territories. Twenty-one missions were built along the 'King's Highway' in California, which is now Highway 101 in the central state and Interstate 5 in the south. These Missions remain the oldest structures in California. Spanish missions are the most historic San Francisco attractions.

Mission San Francisco Solano
114 East Spain Street
Sonoma, CA 95476

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Sonoma Raceway is found off Highway 121 (Arnold Drive) south of Sonoma. This world-renowned race track features everything from motorcycle racing to Indy car racing, NASCAR and NHRA drag racing. Formerly known as Sears Point, Sonoma Raceway offers a challenging course in the foothills of a former dairy farm. Racers must navigate a 12-turn road course with a quarter-mile straight. Many notable racers have made their name at Sonoma Raceway including Dan Gurney, Al Unser, Joe Amato, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.

Sonoma Raceway
29355 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, California 95476
(800) 870-7223

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Western Railway Museum is found off Rio Vista Road (Hwy 12). The museum features over 50 historic electric streetcars and electric trains from all over California and other western states. The museum grounds includes railway exhibits, a museum store, gift shop and picnic grounds. Train rides are offered over the restored main line of the old Sacramento Northern Railway. The Western Railway Museum is one of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids.

Western Railway Museum
5848 California 12
Suisun City, CA 94585
(707) 374-2978

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China Camp State Park is located 4 miles east of San Rafael off North San Pedro Road. Situated along the shores of San Pablo Bay, China Camp State Park has remnants of an old Chinese shrimp-fishing village dating back to the late 1800's. China Camp features a large grassy picnic area and long narrow beach with an historic pier and buildings. Activities include biking, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing and windsurfing. Restrooms available at the picnic area.

China Camp State Park
101 Peacock Gap Trail
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 456-0766

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San Francisco Points of Interest

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf is situated in north San Francisco between Grant Avenue and Polk Street. There's something for everyone and plenty to do in this 10 block stretch of San Francisco harbor. Pier 39 is the focal point of the wharf with two stories of more than 100 stores and attractions. Main attractions at San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf include an arcade, a big-screen simulator ride, Wax Museum and Aquarium by the Bay. Blue & Gold Fleet and Red and White Fleet take visitors to many other Bay Area destinations from piers 41 & 43½. Two cable car turnarounds offer memorable transportation to and from many other areas of the city. Professional street performers provide entertainment as you meander the length of the wharf. Fish restaurants are abundant offering Italian-style dishes and many types of clam chowder. At the western end of San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf is the San Francisco Maritime Museum offering a large picnic park, beach, museum and several historic ships including a submarine. Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most popular San Francisco attractions.

Fisherman's Wharf
Jefferson Street
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 956-3493

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Boudin's Bakery

Boudin Sourdough Bakery is a world-famous Sourdough Bakery. This is the only place in San Francisco where the crab is secondary to the bread. Watch the Bakers as they kneed and roll the dough. Relish the aroma of fresh-baked sourdough as it leaves the oven. Head upstairs for the restaurant & bar and don't leave without a mouthwatering clam chowder in their sourdough bread bowl. Boudin's also has bakery/cafés located at multiple sites throughout the city. Most of the restaurants in the region serve Boudin's sourdough bread with their meals. Situated at the base of Pier 45.

Boudin Sourdough Bakery
160 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, Calfornia 94133
(415) 351-5561

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The Cannery is found along Fisherman's Wharf. Previously Del Monte Plant #1, this massive red brick structure is now home to specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, the Argonaut Hotel and live entertainment. Its arch corridors and multi levels and angles make it a popular spot for photographers. The Cannery is among many historic San Francisco attractions.

The Cannery at Del Monte Square
2801 Leavenworth Street
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 771-2424

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Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square is found west of Fisherman's Wharf. Nearly 30 shops and restaurants located in the old Ghirardelli Chocolate factory. Ghirardelli is no longer made here but a chocolate, ice cream and souvenir shop remains. The Ghirardelli Plaza hosts many annual events and live entertainment daily. The clock tower and Ghirardelli sign that spans the entire building are popular with photographers. Ghirardelli Square is among many historic San Francisco attractions.

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point Street
San Francisco, California 94109
(415) 775-5500

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Alcatraz Prison photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Alcatraz Prison is situated on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. Once the home of notorious criminals like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly, Alcatraz Prison is now closed except to tourists for Alcatraz tours. Ferry trips can be caught from Fisherman's Wharf several times per day. Alcatraz tours are self-guided with headsets. Also known as 'The Rock', there were no successful escape attempts from Alcatraz Prison during its 30 years of service between 1934 to 1963. Advance reservation for Alcatraz tours are recommended through Blue & Gold Fleet. Alcatraz Prison is one of the most popular San Francisco attractions.

Alcatraz Tours via Fisherman's Wharf
Pier 41
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 705-5555

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Coit Tower

Coit Tower is located in Pioneer Park near Columbus Avenue and Lombard Street. Standing 210 feet high atop Telegraph Hill on San Francisco's east side, Coit Tower offers visitors a chance to view the city in a full 360-degree unobstructed view. The tower was built in 1933 as a tribute to San Francisco firefighters, specifically those that fought the flames after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.. Construction was funded by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy San Francisco resident with an affinity for her city and the S.F. Fire Department. Today it is a major tourist attraction with visitors often backing up traffic in search of parking. Within the tower is a gift shop and murals that were painted on the interior walls during the depression era. An elevator carries visitors to the top for a small fee. Parking is available at the top of the hill but the wait can sometimes hover around an hour. Consider parking at Washington Square Park and taking the #39 bus to the top of Telegraph Hill. Even though there is an elevator, wheelchair access is limited.

Coit Tower
1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 362-0808

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Transamerica Building

Transamerica Building is found in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District. Completed in 1972, the pyramid-shaped structure has become a landmark of San Francisco's skyline. Although no longer open to the public, it makes for a terrific focal point in photographs.

Transamerica Building
600 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California

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Chinatown San Francisco consists of several blocks between the Financial District and Nob Hill. Situated along Grant Avenue, this is the largest Chinese community on the west coast. The Chinese originally settled here after escaping oppression in their own country during the mid-1800's. They became an integral part of the gold rush era where they worked hard and for low wages. Visit Chinatown San Francisco for souvenirs and authentic Chinese food. The picturesque Chinatown Gate (Dragon's Gate) can be found at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Bush Street. Chinatown is one of many historic San Francisco attractions.

Chinatown San Francisco
Grant Avenue & Jackson Street
San Francisco, California 94133

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Union Square San Francisco is found off Interstate 80 from the 4th Street exit. Union Square Park was originally where demonstrators would support and commemorate the Union soldiers during the Civil War. Today Union Square San Francisco is surrounded by upscale shopping and hotels. Street entertainers are often found delighting visitors with their talents. High-end restaurants and local theatres making it a great region for a night of dinner and theatre. Top the night off at one of several trendy bars and nightclubs. A cable car turnaround is located at Powell and Market Streets for entertainment or easy connection to other parts of the city including Chinatown San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf. Union Square is one of the top San Francisco attractions.

Union Square San Francisco
Corner of Powell & Geary
San Francisco, California 94102

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Nob Hill is a San Francisco neighborhood surrounding California and Taylor Streets and encompassing Huntington Park. It's one of the highest hills in San Francisco and was once the home of wealthy bankers who mostly made their fortunes from the 1849 Gold Rush. They built huge palaces and mansions that peered down over the rest of San Francisco and today have become luxurious hotels like the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins InterContinental. Other popular attractions are the Grace Cathedral, Fountain of Tortoises and Cable Car Museum.

Nob Hill
California & Taylor Streets
San Francisco, California 94108

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San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall is an exquisite example of American Renaissance architecture with its columns and dome lavishly adorned with gold leaf and intricate carvings and grand staircase on the interior. It's worth visiting and very picturesque. Weddings and receptions are commonly held at City Hall. The current San Francisco City Hall was completed in 1915 and replaced the old structure after it was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that leveled much of the city. It has been featured in many blockbuster films including The Enforcer starring Clint Eastwood and Milk starring Sean Penn. Tour on your own or make a reservation for a docent-led tour.

San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 554-6139

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Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco's most recognizable landmark. It was built in the 1930's as part of a post depression-era work program. Its golden color only enhances the beauty of its construction and makes for great pictures. There are many tours that whisk visitors across the bridge and back, or you can choose to walk or bike the 1.7-mile long expanse. A visitor center is located at the start of the bridge where souvenirs, restrooms and viewpoints can be found. Follow the bike path under the bridge for access to the west side pedestrian walk or the coastal trail that leads to the very picturesque Baker Beach and China Beach. Immensely picturesque points include Fort Point, Baker Beach and the viewpoint turnout on the north end of the bridge off Conzelman Road. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge
Highway 1 and Lincoln Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 921-5858

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Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point

Fort Point is situated at the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Fort Point was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1853 and 1861 to defend against a hostile fleet entering into San Francisco Bay. This large brick structure was built to hold 126 cannons, which are no longer present. It has served as lookout point for the submarine net strung across the bay during WWII and the headquarters for the Golden Gate Bridge's construction. Candlelight tours are popular and reservations must be made far in advance. Fort Point is among many historic San Francisco attractions.

Fort Point National Historic Site
Marine Drive
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 556-1693

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The San Francisco Embarcadero is located on the east side of the city, the Embarcadero spans the entire San Francisco waterfront from Fisherman's Wharf to the Giants baseball stadium. The heart of the Embarcadero is at the end of Market Street where there are terminals for cruise ships, ferry boats, sightseeing charters and more. Backed by the Financial District, the San Francisco Embarcadero is comprised of great restaurants, shopping, beautiful fountains, modern sculptures and high rise backdrops. The clock tower on the ferry building is a favorite photo-op with tourists.

San Francisco Embarcadero
Market Street and The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California 94121

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Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is found on the western side of the city and stretches over 1000 acres inland. This historic park is the Central Park of the west coast, but larger. A plethora of sites and activities are available within the park's boundaries including museums, lakes, recreational areas, an historic lodge & carousel, horseback riding, a microbrewery restaurant, gardens and much, much more. Free concerts and events are common. You can find bike rentals and even Segway rentals for touring around the park at a faster pace. Golden Gate Park offers a variety of things to do in San Francisco with kids.

TIP: For great panoramic views, climb to the top of the tower at the deYoung Museum in the east end of the park.

Golden Gate Park
Stanyan Street to Great Highway
San Francisco, California 94121

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Legion of Honor is located off Highway 1 from Geary Boulevard. Situated in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor is a fine art museum with a collection of European paintings, European decorative art & sculpture, graphic arts, photographs, multimedia and more.

Legion of Honor
100 34th Avenue
San Francisco, California 94121
(415) 750-3547

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Castro Theatre is found off Market Street. Visit the theatre after which the Castro District was named. The Castro features new movie releases and cinematic classics like The Godfather, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and many more. Voted the Best Movie Theater in San Francisco by Bay Area Reporter and its readers. The Castro Theatre is among many iconic San Francisco attractions.

Castro Theatre
429 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-6120

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Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts is situated at the intersection of Highway 101 and Marina Boulevard. The Palace was built 1915 and is the only remaining structure from the Panama-America International Exposition. Photography of the Romanesque portico, colonnades and reflecting pool is best in the morning hours. The Palace of Fine Arts features a theatre for sophisticated events. The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the most photographed San Francisco attractions.

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
3301 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 563-6504

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Lombard Street

Lombard Street is located at the intersection of Hyde and Lombard at the top of the hill. This one block stretch is proclaimed as the crookedest street in San Francisco. It was originally built to help early vehicles make the steep descent. Lombard is one-way only. Traffic can sometimes back up a block or two with tourists waiting to go down. Try entering Lombard a block or two west of Hyde at Polk or even Larkin Streets. It's worth the wait to go down this street and it's guaranteed to bring a smile to all your passengers. Watching from below is also entertaining as you see so many tourists having fun with such a simple attraction. Driving down Lombard Street is one of the most popular things to do in San Francisco.

Lombard Street
corner of Hyde and Lombard Streets
San Francisco, California 94109

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Pacific Heights is an area of San Francisco with the most beautiful collection of Victorian homes in the entire city. Turrets, gables and gingerbread adorn these colorful mansions that are owned by San Francisco's elite and offer outstanding views of the San Francisco Bay. They were originally built and owned by bankers, mine owners and others that reaped the rewards of the 1849 Gold Rush.

Pacific Heights
Steiner Street between Broadway and California
San Francisco, California 94121
(415) 252-9485

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Painted Ladies - Postcard Row

Painted Ladies are a row of six, similar and brightly colored Victorian homes. Situated across from Alamo Square, these are the most photographed Victorians in San Francisco with Downtown serving as a backdrop. The Painted Ladies are also sometimes referred to as, "Postcard Row". Many of the original Victorian homes in San Francisco were destroyed by fire following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Most of the originals were saved west of Hyde Street.

Painted Ladies
Steiner Street between Hayes and Grove
San Francisco, California 94121
(415) 252-9485

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Haas-Lilienthal House is found off Highway 101 (Van Ness Avenue) between Jackson and Washington. Haas-Lilienthal is an exquisite example of a Queen Anne-style Victorian that is open to the public for exploration. The home is furnished with period furniture and artifacts. Open daily with tours every 30 minutes. Admission is minimal.

Haas-Lilienthal House
2007 Franklin Street
San Francisco, California 94109
(415) 441-3000

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Haight-Ashbury is located near the east side of Golden Gate Park at the intersections of Haight and Ashbury Streets. Referred to locally as 'The Haight', this was the heart of the 1960's hippy movement. Many famous musicians had homes here in the 60's including the Grateful Dead at 710 Ashbury, Janis Joplin at 122 Lyon Street and Jefferson Airplane at 2400 Fulton. Now it is an eclectic assortment of head shops, drag boutiques, aroma therapy salons and free spirited people. This would be the place to get an authentic tie-dye shirt. Don't forget to put a flower in your hair. The Haight is one of the most unique San Francisco attractions.

The Haight
Haight & Ashbury Streets
San Francisco, California 94117

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Twin Peaks San Francisco is a park at higher elevation on the south side of the city that offers panoramic views of the entire Bay Area. A short windy road leads to the top where you'll find parking, quarter telescopes and plenty of ocean breezes. This is considered a 'must see' by many Bay Area tour operators.

Twin Peaks San Francisco
Twin Peaks Boulevard
San Francisco, California 94114

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Tiled Steps are situated below Grandview Park. This long, 163-step staircase is covered in a colorful display of mosaic tiles. Completed in 2004, this is one of the newest points-of-interest in San Francisco and was conceived when locals sought to beautify an unsightly stretch of concrete stairs in their neighborhood. Local artists designed the pattern and from there, over 300 residents and businesses worked for over two years to create this work of art for public use. The staircase leads from the community below to Grand View Park where spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean can be found.

Tiled Steps
Moraga Street & 16th Avenue
San Francisco, California 94114

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Letterman Digital Arts Center photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The Presidio is a large area of San Francisco at the southern base of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was formerly a military post for Spain, then Mexico and finally the United States. Evidence of its past history include military bunkers, army barracks, a National Cemetery and more. The Presidio is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area which include Muir Woods, Alcatraz, Fort Mason and Fort Point and today is a mix of private businesses & schools and government operations. Places of interest to tourists within the Presidio include the Walt Disney Family Museum, Lucas Film campus and the Presidio Golf Course.

Presidio
Veterans Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94129

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Mission Dolores is also known as 'San Francisco de Asís'. The Mission Dolores is found off Highway 101 in the heart of San Francisco. Founded on June 26, 1776 by Padre Francisco Palóu, it is the sixth California mission. This San Francisco Mission is one of 21 Missions that the Spanish built along Highway 101 (The King's Highway) during their conquest to convert indigenous people to Christianity. The mission barely survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and stands today as the oldest building in San Francisco. Refer to our Missions page for details on other missions in the region. Spanish missions are the most historic San Francisco attractions.

Mission Dolores
3321 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

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Seward Mini Park is located off Market Street in the Castro District of San Francisco. The highlight of this small city park are two long cement slides that cascade down through a community garden surrounded by residential buildings. These are steep slides that aren't recommended for younger children. Be sure to wear tough pants or bring something to slide on. Seward Mini Park is among the fun things to do in San Francisco with kids.

Seward Mini Park
30 Seward Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

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Anchor Steam Brewery is situated between the 80 and 280 Highways on Mariposa Street. The brewery was named for the steam effect that occurs after fermentation caused by their unique brewing method. Call ahead for a tour of this award winning brewery and then stop by the tasting room for some great handcrafted beer.

Anchor Brewing Company
1705 Mariposa Street
San Francisco, California 94107
(415) 863-8350

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Marshall's Beach photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Baker Beach is found in the Presidio west of the Golden Gate Bridge. Baker & Marshall's Beaches are without a doubt, San Francisco's most scenic beach with its unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge and across the bay to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is a favorite of the locals and offers a huge sand beach backed by coastal dunes and bluffs with historic military batteries. This is not a great beach for swimming due to its strong currents and surf but hiking and sunbathing are common activities. The north end of the beach is popular with photographers looking for the perfect shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.

NOTE: The north end of Baker Beach is a clothing optional nude beach.

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China Beach is situated in the Seacliff region of San Francisco. Named for its use by the Chinese during the gold rush days as a camp for fishermen, this is a popular family beach. China Beach features a tiny sand beach and is one of San Francisco's most popular beaches for swimming. China Beach offers conveniences such as restrooms, picnic areas, barbecue pits and sun protected areas. China Beach is accessible by descending a steep ramp from the parking lot.

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East Bay Points of Interest

Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum is found off Interstate 80 from Air Base Parkway. Situated near the Travis Air Force Base, the Jimmy Doolittle Center has one of the largest collections of military aircraft on the west coast. The museum features warbird exhibits, a gift shop and picnic grounds. Planes include the F-4 Phantom, F-86 Sabre, B-29 Superfortress, B-52 Stratofortress, a space capsule and many more. The museum topics include Jimmy Doolittle, the Wright Brothers, Tuskegee Airmen, WASP, Berlin Airlift and Project Gemini to name a few. The Jimmy Doolittle Museum is a perfect choice for fun things to do in San Francisco with kids.

Jimmy Doolittle Center
300 County Airport Road
Suite C4
Vacaville, CA 95688
(415) 847-1423

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U.S.S. Hornet Aircraft Carrier is located off Interstate 880 from the Posey and Webster Street tubes. This military history museum is situated on a retired Aircraft Carrier. The U.S.S. Hornet is best known for its participation in WWII and retrieving astronauts during the Apollo space missions. Visitors are given full access to the carrier including the primary flight control room, Captain's bridge, weapons room, engine room, torpedo shop and more. Over a dozen warbirds include the F-14 Tomcat, F-8 Crusader, T-28 Trojan, HUP-1 Retriever and SH-3H Sikorsky Sea King to name a few. Also included are Apollo space mission artifacts, aircraft carrier memorials, a photo gallery, special exhibits and flight simulators. The U.S.S. Hornet Museum is a great choice for fun things to do in San Francisco with kids.

U.S.S. Hornet Museum
707 West Hornet Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-8448

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San Rafael Mission is found off Highway 101 in San Rafael. Founded on December 14, 1817 by Padre Vincente de Sarria, it is the twentieth California mission. Originally founded as an asistencia to Mission Dolores, it was raised to Mission status in 1822 due to its thriving community. Spanish missions are the most historic San Francisco attractions.

Mission San Rafael
Mission San Rafael, Arcangel
1104 Fifth Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901

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Niles Canyon Railway offers a train ride that follows Highway 84 between the towns of Fremont and Sunol. Enjoy 30-minute rides aboard historic, restored trains between the original Sunol station and Fremont station. Route navigates the edge of Niles Canyon and crosses several bridges. Choose to return on the same train or depart to see the many historic trains at the Sunol station and return on a later train. A donation of $5-$10 is suggested for a round trip excursion. The Niles Canyon Railway is one of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids.

Niles Canyon Railway - Sunol Depot
6 Kilkare Road
Sunol, California 94586
(925) 862-9063

Niles Canyon Railway - Niles Station
37001 Mission Boulevard
Fremont, California 94536
(925) 862-9063

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Almaden Quicksilver Mine is located off Highway 85 from the Almaden Expressway. Situated in Almaden County Park, the museum showcases the history of this cinnabar mine that began mining in 1845 under Mexican ownership. Mercury is extracted from cinnabar and is necessary in the processing of gold and silver. The museum exhibits include a diorama of the mine shaft, history of mining communities, artifacts from immigrant miners and more. The 'Casa Grande' estate was once a resident for mine superintendents and is now open to visitors.

Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
21350 Almaden Road
San Jose, CA 95120
(408) 323-1107

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South Bay Points of Interest

Point Montara Lighthouse is found off Highway 1 approximately 25 miles south of San Francisco. The Point Montara Lighthouse was established in 1875 as a foghorn and later underwent many additions including a lantern, makeshift structure with a Fresnel lens and in 1928 the lighthouse tower was built. The grounds include the lighthouse, keeper's home, fog signal building and hostel. Consider staying the night at this unique and historic lighthouse hostel. Lighthouses are some of the most historic San Francisco attractions.

Point Montara Lighthouse
16th Street
Montara, CA 94037
(650) 728-7177

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Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House is a large Victorian mansion constructed by the heiress of the notorious Winchester Rifle founder. Sarah Winchester believed she was haunted by the people that Winchester rifles had killed over the years and she needed to continue building on the home in order to avoid being harmed by these ghosts. Thirty-eight years later, the result is a 160 room Victorian mansion displaying Tiffany windows, gold and silver chandeliers and exquisite carpentry. The carpentry also borders on bizarre with doors in the floor, staircases that lead to dead ends, and unfinished room additions throughout the property. Guided tours are held daily and events include Friday the 13th flashlight tours. The Winchester Mystery House is one of the most unique San Francisco attractions.

Winchester Mystery House
525 South Winchester Boulevard
San Jose, California 95128
(408) 247-2101

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San Jose Mission is situated off the 680 freeway in Mission San Juan district of Fremont. Founded on June 11, 1797 by Padre Fermin Lasuen, it is the fourteenth California mission. Spanish Missions were built all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823. The Spanish built the Missions in their conquest to convert the indigenous people of California to Christianity and as strongholds for their newly claimed territories. Twenty-one missions were built along the 'King's Highway' in California, which is now Highway 101 in the central state and Interstate 5 in the south. These Missions remain the oldest structures in California. Spanish missions a the most historic California attractions.

Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Boulevard
Fremont, CA 94539

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Santa Clara Mission is located off the 880 freeway in the heart of Santa Clara. Founded on January 12, 1777 by Padre Tomas de la Peña, it is the eighth California mission. Spanish Missions were built all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823. The Spanish built the Missions in their conquest to convert the indigenous people of California to Christianity and as strongholds for their newly claimed territories. Twenty-one missions were built along the 'King's Highway' in California, which is now Highway 101 in the central state and Interstate 5 in the south. Spanish missions a the most historic California attractions.

Mission Santa Clara
Mission Santa Clara de Asis
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

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Bean Hollow State Beach is found off Highway 1 just north of Bean Hollow Road. Bean Hollow features a small sand beach tucked into a cove. Bean Hollow is surrounded by rocky cliffs with tide pools. Situated at the mouth of Arroyo De Los Frijoles Creek, Bean Hollow is an extremely picturesque beach. The Arroyo De Los Frijoles Trail follows the coast nearly a mile to Pebble Beach. Restrooms and picnic tables are available at the parking lot.

Bean Hollow State Beach
Pescadero, CA 94060
(650) 726-8819

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  • Pebble Beach is located off Highway 1 north of Bean Hollow State Beach. Pebble Beach is part of Bean Hollow State Beach and features a small sand beach with tide pools tucked into a secluded cove. Restrooms and picnic tables are available at the parking lot.
    Map


Pigeon Point Lighthouse is found off Highway 1 between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. The Pigeon Point Lighthouse was lit for the first time in 1872. Being 115-feet tall, it shares the title of California's tallest lighthouse with the Point Arena Lighthouse on the north coast. The grounds include the lighthouse, foghorn building and keeper's home that today serves as a hostel. Consider staying the night at this unique and historic lighthouse hostel. Pigeon Point is named after an infamous shipwreck that occurred there previous to the lighthouse. Lighthouses are some of the most historic San Francisco attractions.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
210 Pigeon Point Road
Pescadero, CA 94060
(650) 879-2120

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Butano State Park is found 5 miles southeast of Pescadero and Highway 101, off Cloverdale Road. Butano is situated in a Coast California Redwood-filled canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The main activities are camping and hiking along the many oceanview trails. Nearby Pescadero State Beach offers beach access. Visitor Center on-site.

Butano State Park
Pescadero, California 94060
(650) 879-2040
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