San Francisco consistently dominates top travel lists, including those for best U.S. city, best dining city, best walking town, most creative, happiest, and … well, the accolades go on and on.
That’s no small feat, considering how many great cities there are in the USA. But, then again, no other city’s personality quite compares to San Francisco’s fun-loving, freewheeling, dance-to-its-own-beat spirit. The best way to get into the San Francisco groove is to hop aboard one of the city’s famous cable cars. These historic, picture-perfect cars are a fun way to explore different neighborhoods, including Chinatown, Nob Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf.
San Francisco’s iconic hills are perfect for photos but can slow down even the most energetic explorer. Make your way around San Francisco with ease on the world-famous Cable Cars, historic streetcars and diesel and electric trolley buses operated by the Muni system. The Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport provides a way to get around, and CityPASS ticket holders also get those benefits along with deep discounts at other attractions. With unlimited rides, you can get off and on as many times as you need. Turn transportation into an opportunity to see the city a different way.
If you really want to get an intimate picture of San Francisco, Bay City Bike & Parkwide Bike Rentals might be for you. Enjoy the beauty of San Francisco up close and personal. Friendly and knowledgeable staff provide detailed route directions for a self-guided journey that takes you where you want to go.
San Francisco wouldn’t be the city it is without the bay. See some of the city’s most famous sites on the water with a tour by Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure. This fully narrated, one-hour tour sails past Pier 39’s resident sea lions, under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island, an island home to the infamous historic prison.
A Blue and Gold cruise ship out on the bay
In San Francisco, you’re likely to see art all around you, but for an experience you can only get here, head to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Explore seven floors of extraordinary modern and contemporary art, the largest living wall in the USA and breathtaking views from multiple outdoor terraces.
Find more artistic inspiration at the de young Museum showcasing American art from the 17th century through today, as well as indigenous works from the Americas, Oceania and Africa. Then visit the Legion of Honor, home to a collection of European art spanning the Renaissance through 19th century Impressionism and featuring renowned artists such as Rembrandt, El Greco, Monet and Van Gogh.
In true San Francisco style, you’ll wonder if you’ve walked into a zoo rather than a museum at the California Academy of Sciences. Explore the world’s only aquarium, planetarium, rainforest and living museum, all in one. See penguins and piranhas, climb into the canopy of a four-story rainforest, and stop and smell the wildflowers on a one-hectare living roof.
The green living roof on top of the California Academy of Sciences
Science experiences are hands-on at the Exploratorium, an interactive museum is dedicated to the excitement of experimentation and the power of play. You can explore more than 600 hands-on exhibits and enjoy breathtaking views from the spectacular Bay Observatory.
See more water-wonders at the Aquarium of the Bay. Watch sharks prowl, explore giant transparent tunnels in tanks filled with 20,000 marine animals, and relax while watching mesmerizing jelly-fish float through deep blue water.
Walt Disney fans young and old can’t miss the Walt Disney Family Museum. Learn about animation, innovation and inspiration through interactive galleries featuring films, music, artifacts and a spectacular model of Disneyland. Explore Walt’s remarkable life story told through his own voice, family photographs and personal collections.
Outside the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39
More experiences nearby