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San Francisco

183 expert recommended attractions

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The Exploratorium

San Francisco 96 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Designed... to teach you about science and perception through play. — Condé Nast Traveler

Adults as well as kids will enjoy blowing giant bubbles or entering a tiny room that scrambles one's sense of perspective. — Concierge

This is not, however, a museum simply for kids—though curious kids will definitely be entertained while learning. Instead, its exhibits aim to raise the scientific literacy of visitors of all ages. — Afar Magazine

Scientific American magazine rated the Exploratorium "the best science museum in the world" -- and I couldn't agree more. — Frommer's

Find answers to questions you wished you'd learned in school, at San Francisco's thrilling hands-on science museum. — Lonely Planet

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

SoMa 96 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The museum will draw from its collection to create joint exhibtions with the Asian Art Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and other institutions. — Fodor's

San Francisco's premier showcase for modern art is housed in a delightful building. — Michelin Guide

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) was destined from its start in 1935 to become an eclectic, unconventional museum. — Lonely Planet

In addition to the main exhibition, the museum always displays supplementary art and photography exhibitions, which are almost always amazing. — Afar Magazine

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been the premier West Coast spot for modern art since 1935, with over 27,000 works from Modernists and contemporary artists. — Travel + Leisure

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco 95 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The bridge looks more like a work of abstract art than one of the 20th century's greatest practical engineering feats. — Frommer's

Perhaps the world's most beautiful bridge. — Condé Nast Traveler

San Franciscans have passionate perspectives on every subject, but especially their signature landmark. — Lonely Planet

This elegant Art Deco suspension bridge remains one of San Francisco's most beloved symbols. — Michelin Guide

Do yourself a favor and see the Golden Gate Bridge the way it was meant to be seen: from below. — Travel + Leisure

Oakland Museum of California

San Francisco 92 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The Oakland Museum of California incorporates just about everything you'd want to know about the state and its people, history, culture, geology, art, environment, and ecology. — Frommer's

A city showpiece, this 7.7-acre cultural complex celebrates California's natural and human history and its art. — Michelin Guide

The Oakland Museum hosts collections and programs that combine art, history and the natural sciences to explore Oakland’s and California’s identities. — On the Grid

History, art, and natural sciences of California. — Not For Tourists

This collection of galleries, terraces, and gardens (collaboratively created in 1969 by architect Kevin Roche and landscape artist Dan Kiley) explores California art, social and natural history. — Travel + Leisure

Coit Tower

North Beach / Telegraph Hill 92 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Art deco memorial on Telegraph Hill, built in 1933 and funded by Lilie Hitchcock-Coit. Stellar WPA murals and great views. — Not For Tourists

Up the Filbert Street steps at Coit Tower , you'll find 360-degree views of downtown and wrap-around 1930s murals glorifying SF workers – once denounced as Communist, but now a landmark. — Lonely Planet

Perched atop Telegraph Hill, this 1930s Art Moderne landmark is a dashingly romantic spot at sunset. — Travel + Leisure

Completed in 1933, the fluted column provides bird’s-eye views from an observation deck near the top. — Where

Whether or not you agree that it resembles a fire-hose nozzle, this 210-foot tower is among San Francisco's most distinctive skyline sights. — Fodor's

Alcatraz Island

San Francisco 91 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Once a prison for the most dangerous of criminals, Alcatraz Island now sits sleepily in the San Francisco Bay like a pearl inside an oyster, waiting to share its stories. — Where

Enjoy a chilling tour of the jail, closed in 1963, and while strolling the exercise yard, imagine how the dazzling view of San Francisco must have tantalized inmates. — Condé Nast Traveler

The federal maximum-security penitentiary known as the Rock... in 1972, Alcatraz was designated part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. — Michelin Guide

Thousands of visitors come every day to walk in the footsteps of Alcatraz's notorious criminals. — Fodor's

Enjoy a chilling tour of the jail, closed in 1963, and while strolling the exercise yard, imagine how the dazzling view of San Francisco must have tantalized inmates. — Concierge

Ferry Building Marketplace

The Embarcadero 91 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Come to the iconic Ferry Building Farmers Market every Saturday to try produce and some of the city's most delicious prepared foods. — Afar Magazine

The jewel of the Embarcadero, erected in 1896, is topped by a 230-foot clock tower modeled after the campanile of the cathedral in Seville, Spain. — Fodor's

Hedonism is alive and well at this transit hub turned gourmet emporium, where foodies happily miss their ferries slurping local oysters and bubbly. — Lonely Planet

The historic, renovated ferry terminal at the foot of Market Street is now a world-class food market with more than 40 shops and restaurants featuring some of the area’s most prized artisanal treats. — Where

Even if you miss the famed farmers’ market held here every Saturday, there are plenty of other reasons to swing by the beautifully refurbished 1898 Ferry Building. — Travel + Leisure

Asian Art Museum

Civic Center 91 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The finest collection of Asian art in the nation. — Michelin Guide

Home to more than 18,000 exquisite art objects spanning 6,000 years of history and culture throughout Asia, this museum is one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere devoted exclusively to Asian art — Where

Imaginations race from ancient Persian miniatures to cutting-edge Japanese fashion through three floors spanning 6000 years of Asian arts. — Lonely Planet

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is one of the Western world's largest museums devoted to Asian art. — Frommer's

Extensive Asian art collection in the old Beaux Arts style library building--a little claustrophobic in the galleries, but well worth your time. — Not For Tourists

de Young Museum

San Francisco 91 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The aggressively 21st-century recycled-copper-clad building looms in the park like an avant-garde aircraft carrier with a crazily torqued tower. — Travel + Leisure

The permanent collection comprises American, African, Oceanic, American Indian, New Guinea, Maori, and Filipino art and includes some notable works by Frida Kahlo. — Concierge

The de Young Museum, with its perforated copper facade and spiraling tower in the center of Golden Gate Park, is as dramatic outside as it is inside — Afar Magazine

Founded in 1895, the impressively varied museum is currently housed in an architectural masterpiece designed by the Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron — Where

Its vast holdings include one of the finest collections of American paintings in the United States from Colonial times through the 20th century. — Frommer's

Legion of Honor

San Francisco 89 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

You can't beat the site of this museum of European art atop cliffs overlooking the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands. — Fodor's

A museum as eccentric and illuminating as San Francisco itself, the Legion showcases a wildly eclectic collection ranging from Monet water lilies to John Cage soundscapes. — Lonely Planet

Designed as a memorial to California's World War I casualties, this neoclassical structure is an exact replica of the Legion of Honor Palace in Paris. — Frommer's

This magnificent Beaux Arts building commands dramatic views of Golden Gate Bridge. — Concierge

This museum displays more than just a fabulous collection of European and American art from antiquity to the 1900s. — Travel + Leisure

Lombard Street

Russian Hill 88 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Known as "the world's crookedest street," it is packed with tourist cars on weekends, but fun to ride down on a bike! — Not For Tourists

You’ve seen its eight switchbacks in a thousand photographs. — Lonely Planet

Known (erroneously) as the "crookedest street in the world," this whimsically winding block of Lombard Street draws thousands of visitors each year. — Frommer's

The block-long "Crookedest Street in the World" makes eight switchbacks down the east face of Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth streets. — Fodor's

Among San Francisco's most photographed tourist attractions, the 1000 block of Lombard Street boasts eight switchbacks in its one-block descent. — Michelin Guide

California Academy of Sciences

Golden Gate Park 88 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The California Academy of Sciences is as renowned for its collection—over 26 million specimens gathered over the past 150 years—as it is for the building that houses them. — Concierge

The California Academy of Sciences is an unfortunately stuffy name for an institution that is anything but staid — Afar Magazine

The Cal Academy is one of the city's most spectacular treasures. — Fodor's

Architect Renzo Piano's 2008 landmark LEED-certified green building houses 38,000 weird and wonderful animals in a four-story rainforest and split-level aquarium. — Lonely Planet

Renowned for its collection—over 26 million specimens gathered over the past 150 years—as it is for the building that houses them. — Condé Nast Traveler

Mission Dolores Park

Mission District 87 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

A two-square-block microcosm of life in the Mission, Dolores Park is one of San Francisco's liveliest green spaces:. — Fodor's

Head to the Mission and visit the Mission Dolores, the oldest intact original mission in California, and the oldest building in San Francisco. — Afar Magazine

Dolores Park has something for everyone. — Lonely Planet

The scene of modern bohemia and it’s a fantastic place to relax and take in good San Francisco vibes. — Frommer's

This generous square of grass on the Mission District’s west side is a great place to soak up some sun on most days and an even better place to get a glimpse of real San Francisco culture — Where

Palace of Fine Arts

Marina District 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Featuring a lagoon with swans, today this is a popular spot to stroll and take photos. — Where

Ranking among San Francisco's best-known landmarks, this grand rotunda and peristyle were replicated from structures designed by renowned architect Bernard Maybeck. — Michelin Guide

Like a fossilized party favor, this romantic, ersatz Greco-Roman ruin is the memento San Francisco kept from the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition. — Lonely Planet

Designed for the 1915 World's Fair by Bernard Maybeck, the Roman ruin's grandeur is strikingly beautiful. — Not For Tourists

The last remaining relic of San Francisco's glittering 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition.  — Atlas Obscura

Musee Mecanique

Fisherman’s Wharf 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Once located at the Cliff House, this mechanical-minded warehouse of around 300 antique coin-operated penny arcade diversions is guaranteed fun. — Frommer's

Before television and video games, there were arcade machines and coin-operated musical instruments — Where

Bring quarters (or dollars for the change machine) so that you can fully enjoy this bizarre collection of historic arcade games housed at this wacky museum on Fisherman's Wharf. — Concierge

Where else can you guillotine a man for a quarter? Creepy 19th-century arcade games like the macabre French Execution compete for your spare change with the diabolical Ms.Pac-Man. — Lonely Planet

A time-warped arcade with antique mechanical contrivances, including peep shows and nickelodeons, Musée Mécanique is one of the most worthwhile attractions at the Wharf. — Fodor's

Cable Car Museum

Nob Hill 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

This weathered brick building on the steep north slope of Nob Hill offers an up-close look at the nerve center of San Francisco's renowned cable-car system, the only one of its kind in the world. — Michelin Guide

If you've ever wondered how cable cars work, this nifty museum explains (and demonstrates) it all. — Frommer's

Not merely a museum – but a whirring powerhouse that offers a subterranean peek into the heart and soul of cable car operations.  — Atlas Obscura

Unravel the mystery of exactly how the cable car, one of San Francisco’s greatest attractions since 1873, actually works — Where

One of the city's best free offerings, this museum is an absolute must for kids. You can even ride a cable car here—all three lines stop between Russian Hill and Nob Hill. — Fodor's

Conservatory of Flowers

Golden Gate Park 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

This ornate Victorian glass palace shelters more than 20,000 rare and exotic plants under an octagonal central dome and two flanking wings. — Michelin Guide

The Conservatory of Flowers in the Golden Gate Park is beautiful in itself: The manicured lawns and gardens surround this wooden Victorian conservatory that is one of the oldest in the world. — Travel + Leisure

Outside, manicured lawns and rose gardens surround the stately white-and-glass building, while inside all that glass helps to preserve a multitude of climate zones. — Condé Nast Traveler

The botanical wonderland in Golden Gate Park is the oldest wood and glass conservatory in North America — Where

Carnivorous plants, medieval aphrodisiacs, and the largest original wood structure glass conservatory in the western hemisphere.  — Atlas Obscura

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf 85 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Fisherman's Wharf – the Embarcadero and Jefferson St waterfront running from Pier 29 to Van Ness Ave – includes the following sights: Pier 39, the Musée Mécanique, the San Francisco... — Lonely Planet

Tacky tourist trap, but the sea lions love it. Historic boats, fresh crabs, the ferry to Alcatraz, etc. — Not For Tourists

Few cities in America are as adept at wholesaling their historical sites as San Francisco, which has converted Fisherman's Wharf into one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. — Frommer's

San Francisco's vibrant and colorful maritime legacy survives in this bustling and extremely popular district on the northeastern tip of the peninsula — Michelin Guide

You’ll find crab stands along the sidewalks, seafood restaurants and a bevy of souvenir shops in the historic heart of the city’s fishing industry — Where

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Japanese Tea Garden

San Francisco 85 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Take a slow stroll among bonsai trees and koi fish in the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States — Where

Since 1894, this picturesque 5-acre garden and bonsai grove has blushed with cherry blossoms in spring, turned flaming red with maple leaves in fall, and lost all track of time in the meditative Zen Garden. — Lonely Planet

The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States... located in Golden Gate Park, is a wonderful spot to relax while exploring the park. — Condé Nast Traveler

A quiet, albeit crowded, place with cherry trees, shrubs, and bonsai crisscrossed by winding paths and high-arched bridges over pools of water. — Frommer's

As you amble through the manicured landscape, past Japanese sculptures and perfect miniature pagodas, and over ponds of carp, you may feel transported to a more peaceful plane. — Fodor's

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park 85 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Stretching more than three miles... Golden Gate is lush with woodlands, flowers, meadows, and lakes. There’s also plenty to do. — Condé Nast Traveler

The 1,000-acre park, which straddles the line between the Richmond and Sunset districts west of downtown, is the heart and soul of the city. — Travel + Leisure

This lovely park, created by Scotsman John McLaren toward the end of the 19th century, is so lush and blossom-filled that it's hard to believe it was built on barren dunes. — Concierge

Golden Gate Park includes the following sights: MH de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers and Stow Lake. — Lonely Planet

Encompassing more than 1,017 acres of meadows, gardens and public buildings, verdant Golden Gate Park is the largest cultivated urban park in the US. — Michelin Guide

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  • Outdoors
    37 parks, gardens and outdoor attractions
  • Museums
    29 museums and galleries
  • Historical
    21 places of historical interest

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