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San Francisco

182 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 →

Prepare to spend several hours here; rotating exhibits like “Making Sense of Sound,” where visitors don headphones to hear how deer, snakes, and other creatures process sound. — Travel + Leisure

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

Experimental hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception. — Not For Tourists

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

This educational center offers an array of interactive scientific exhibits and hands-on displays that stimulate the senses and minds of the young and old alike. — Where

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

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

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

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

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

Currently under construction until 2016... the museum's collection is on display in galleries and museums throughout the Bay Area. — Condé Nast Traveler

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

Golden Gate Bridge

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

One of the most iconic landmarks in the world, let alone San Francisco, the magnificent international orange Golden Gate Bridge defines the city — Where

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

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

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

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

Oakland Museum of California

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

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

The OMCA brings together collections of art, history and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. — Where

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

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

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

Coit Tower

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

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

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

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

Take the elevator to the top for the view... if you don't fancy the climb up Telegraph Hill. — Condé Nast Traveler

Admire the WPA murals decorating the first floor and take the elevator to the top for the view. — Concierge

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

Visible from Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island (also known as the Rock) has seen a checkered history. — Frommer's

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

The island itself has remained more or less the same since the Park Service first opened it to visitors in 1973, but the tours of the world-famous prison have been getting better and better. — Travel + Leisure

Ferry Building Marketplace

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

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

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

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

A hugely successful renovation, completed in 2003, has brought this long-neglected landmark back into the spotlight as an airy gourmet retail and restaurant complex. — Michelin Guide

There's no better way to enjoy a San Francisco morning than strolling this gourmet marketplace in the Ferry Building and snacking your way through breakfast or lunch. — Frommer's

Asian Art Museum

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

You don't have to be a connoisseur of Asian art to appreciate a visit to this splendid museum, whose monumental exterior conceals a light, open, and welcoming space. — Fodor'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

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

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

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

de Young Museum

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

Follow sculptor Andy Goldsworthy's artificial fault line in the sidewalk into Herzog & de Meuron's sleek, copper-clad building that's oxidizing green to blend into the park. — Lonely Planet

A total of 950,000 pounds of copper was used to sheath the building and over the course of the next decade it will fade from bright copper to cinammon. — Michelin Guide

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

The de Young Museum is San Francisco’s encyclopedic public cultural offering—with a significant collection of Asian Art and celebrated holdings in sculpture, painting, and works on paper. — goop

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 →

A gift to San Francisco from Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, the spirited wife of sugar magnate Adolph Spreckels, this museum houses Alma's collection of great sculptures by Auguste Rodin. — Michelin Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eight hairpin switchbacks and the downward pitch of the so-called “crookedest street in the world” have made this block a must-drive for visitors — Where

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

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

California Academy of Sciences

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

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

The academy is an international center for scientific education and research and the only museum in the world to house an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum under one (living) roof — Where

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 only institution in the world to combine an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and scientific research program under one roof. — Frommer's

The Museum, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, extends green, sustainable architecture in unprecedented ways. — Travel + Leisure

Mission Dolores Park

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

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

Dolores Park has something for everyone. — Lonely Planet

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

The sunniest spot in the city (and great tennis courts!). — Not For Tourists

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

Palace of Fine Arts

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

A mock-classical ruin erected for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in 1915, the Palace of Fine Arts was originally fashioned from wood, plaster, and burlap. — Concierge

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

A mock-classical ruin erected for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition... was eventually recast in concrete in the '60s. — Condé Nast Traveler

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

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

Musee Mecanique

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

Less of a traditional museum and more a source of interactive amusement, this old-fashioned penny arcade (with some modern video games thrown in for good measure) has been one of my... — Frommer's

A collection of 20th-century automata, penny arcade games, and musical contraptions.  — Atlas Obscura

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

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

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

Cable Car Museum

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

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

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

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

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

Grips, engines, braking mechanisms… if these warm your gearhead heart, you'll be besotted by the Cable Car Museum, inside the city's still-functioning cable-car barn. — Lonely Planet

Conservatory of Flowers

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

Whatever you do, be sure to at least drive by the Conservatory of Flowers—it's too darn pretty to miss. — Fodor's

This recently restored 1878 Victorian greenhouse is home to outer-space orchids, contemplative floating lilies and creepy carnivorous plants that reek of insect belches. — Lonely Planet

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

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

Golden Gate Park

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

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

San Francisco's very own urban bison herd have persisted in the face of extinction, development and disease.  — Atlas Obscura

Bigger than New York's Central Park and encompassing over 75,000 trees, this horticulturally diverse urban oasis is home to countless attractions, including the de Young Museum. — Where

Over 13 million people visit the array of gardens, lakes, trails, museums, and monuments each year. — Afar Magazine

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

Fisherman's Wharf

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Peaceful place to ponder. — Not For Tourists

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

Relics of the 1894 Midwinter Exposition continue to delight visitors today.  — Atlas Obscura

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

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

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