One of the most recognizable cities in the world, San Francisco is a vibrant, diverse metropolis nestled on the California coast. Known for its iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a popular spot for tourists of all ages. If you’re planning to visit this enigmatic city, this handy guide will help you plan your itinerary.

Seeing the Sights

If you take a moment to search for things to do in San Francisco, you’ll be greeted with a raft of suggestions and links to websites to book tickets. There are several attractions that feature in every San Fran guidebook. The Golden Gate Bridge is a must for every visitor. Although it dominates the skyline and can be seen from miles away, nothing prepares you for the sight of this feat of engineering close-up. Aim to visit at dawn or dusk to beat the crowds, or enjoy the views from the water with San Francisco yacht rental. You can also explore options like hiring a tandem bike to add a touch of romance or taking a guided walking tour if you’re keen to learn about the history of the landmark. Another popular attraction to add to your list is Alcatraz. One of the most famous prisons in the world, there are options to explore during the day or take a night tour complete with eerie, spine-tingling tales. As well as providing an opportunity to discover this iconic site, visiting Alcatraz also affords incredible views of the bay from the ferry. 

Additional highlights you may want to include in your schedule include visiting the house featured in Mrs Doubtfire, marveling at the stunning architecture on display at the Painted Ladies of San Francisco and joining the resident sea lions to watch the sunset at Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Getting Around

Walking is the best way to get a sense of what San Francisco is really about and soak up the atmosphere but there are alternative options if you need to save time or rest your legs. The old-school trams are a fun way to get around and they also link the center to some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the meandering, hydrangea-lined Lombard Street. You can also flag down cabs and hire bikes. Cycling is incredibly popular, and there are plenty of places to rent bikes and tandems. 

Where to Stay

San Francisco

San Francisco offers an array of options when it comes to accommodation. There is a cluster of hotels in the city center close to Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf but there are also plenty of hotels and apartments to rent in other parts of the city. North Beach is a popular haunt for travelers. Affectionately known as Little Italy, this is a lively spot that is packed with friendly, atmospheric restaurants and hotels and guesthouses. Chinatown is a bustling area close to the action while Pacific Heights is an affluent hilltop neighborhood that boasts stunning views of the city. When choosing accommodation in San Francisco, it’s always best to filter options according to your budget and to consider how much time you want to spend walking or taking trams, cabs and buses. Central accommodation tends to be more expensive but you will save time and money on getting around. 

San Francisco is a truly unique city, which captures the hearts of visitors of all ages. Whether you’re planning a girls trip, a romantic weekend away or a family vacation, it’s a great idea to plan ahead.