Top San Francisco attractions for your Instagram feed

Discover the best of San Francisco with these can’t-miss attractions and activities.

Rise on a classic cable car up the rolling San Francisco hills, walk in the footsteps of infamous prisoners in Alcatraz and sip on fine wines in Napa Valley. San Francisco is an endless experience of art and history, packaged into one beautiful city.

We don’t need to tell you twice that San Fran will keep you busy from day one to the very last minute. But if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, CityPass is a great way to experience as much of the city as possible, and all with one simple ticket.

Read on for all the San Francisco inspiration that you’ll ever need.

Top San Francisco attractions


Golden Gate Bridge

A must-see while in San Francisco and an icon of the city is the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

Stop by for views and photo opps of the bridge and admire what was once the longest suspension bridge in the world.

You can even take a walk or bike across the bridge or enjoy a cruise under it.



Alcatraz is a small island located in San Francisco Bay that is home to a famous prison, lighthouse and military fortification.

As a federal prison from 1934 to 1963, Alcatraz is renowned for housing prisoners such as Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Alvin Karpis, the first Public Enemy #1.

You can now visit the prison on tours and see where these bad guys lived. They’re a great way to ensure you get inside as during peak periods tickets can sell out if you don’t book in advance.


Cable cars

A trip to San Francisco is not complete without riding one of the classic cable cars up and down the rolling hills of the city.

Tickets can be purchased on-board or as part of hop-on hop-off tours.

What makes these cable cars so iconic is that they belong to the last manually operated cable car system in the world.


Baseball games

Watch San Francisco’s baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, play teams from across the country in the MLB league.

Home games are played at the AT&T Park, which overlooks South Beach Harbor and are a spectacle to witness.


San Francisco Zoo

Whether you’re an animal lover or have brought the brood along for the ride, the San Francisco Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Within its walls are over 250 different animal species and over 20 exhibits including the African Savanna and Penguin Island displays.

Our hot tip? Purchase an admission ticket in advance and avoid long lines, especially in peak season.


The Bay Area

San Francisco is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding Bay Area. This is a region renowned for its gourmet delicacies and wineries and spans the San Francisco area as well as neighbouring counties.

Suggestions for what to do in the area include spending a day wine tasting in Napa Valley, visiting California’s Great America theme park in Santa Clara and taking a day-tour to San Jose.


San Francisco outlets

Shop designer brands at bargain prices at the top outlets in the city: the San Francisco Premium Outlets.

For a full day out, opt to join a shopping and wine tasting tour which departs from San Francisco.


Museum of Modern Art

SFMOMA stands for San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is exactly what the name suggests. Inside you’ll discover a wonderful collection of modern and contemporary art from all around the world.

Some of the most famous pieces you’ll see include Fountain by Marcel Duchamp and Woman with a Hat by Henri Matisse.



Don’t think that San Francisco’s Chinatown is just like every other city’s, because it isn’t. Outside of China, this is the largest Chinatown in the world. Yes, WORLD.

For the hungry, it comes packed with delicious treats from the Asian continent which you can savour while you learn about its diverse history on a food tour.


Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a stunning waterfront neighbourhood in San Francisco.

The area can be explored by foot or on a segway tour for a more immersive and knowledge-filled experience.

Some attractions in the area include Aquarium of the Bay, Hyde Street Pier, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and more.


The ballet

No, really. The San Francisco Ballet Company is steeped in history and performs in one of the most exquisite opera houses in the world. When it opened its doors in 1932 it was renowned for boasting some of the best acoustics in the world.

Performances abound throughout the year and range from classics such as The Nutcracker to modern performances.

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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