San Francisco

Most people know a few of the things to see and do when traveling to San Francisco. Some of the more obvious are the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, The Presidio, cable cars, and Chinatown. But what else is in the San Francisco area to see and do?

Parks and Museums

Aside from Alcatraz and The Presidio, there are plenty of other parks and museums to visit in San Francisco and the surrounding area. One good place to start is at the California Academy of Sciences, which has a natural history museum, an aquarium and a planetarium all in the same place. Part of the museum is underground and has a grass roof with portholes to see the Golden Gate District from an entirely new perspective. A 50-foot tall rainforest and a coral reef are just a couple more attractions at the Academy.

The Asian Art Museum examines art relics from the Pacific Rim cultures, which are a large part of San Francisco culture. Exhibits have included Ming Dynasty royal accouterments, Japanese Kamikaze culture, and the terra cotta army of the first Chinese Emperor.

The War Memorial and Performing Arts Center is home to the San Francisco Opera, Ballet and Symphony. The Fillmore Theater in the Western Addition has hosted the biggest names in rock music.

Day Trips

If you are planning to visit between March and October, a great way to get into San Francisco’s neighborhoods is Sunday Streets, a monthly block party held in a different neighborhood each month. These are full community days, with music, food, dancing, games, attractions and historical tours.

You can cross the Golden Gate Bridge to the North Bay for a day of touring vineyards and ghost towns in Napa wine country.

Water sports and other outdoor opportunities abound in San Francisco, including surfing at North Beach and Mission Beach. San Francisco has over 200 miles of bike trails in the city, allowing a leisurely, wandering trip through the city to view historic architecture and experience its neighborhoods.

The islands in the San Francisco Bay also offer lots of outdoor activities, from boating and sailing to hiking and biking. The largest of these is Angel Island State Park, featuring photo opportunities galore of the Marin County shoreline as well as San Francisco itself. There are also camping, hiking, biking, historic sites and state parks activities.

The Land?s End Trail is a great way to walk along the shore of the San Francisco Bay on the hillsides for fantastic views of the city, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. The trail takes in the Sutro Baths, a city museum featuring the ruins of a large private swimming pool complex from the early 20th Century. Also found along the three mile hike are the USS San Francisco Memorial and the Legion of Honor, a fine arts museum featuring over 4000 years? worth of ancient and European art. The Cliff House has an installation of a camera obscura in jumbo size and several dining rooms. Further along the trail is a 100-foot staircase leading down to the beach. Back at the top of the trail, above the Sutro Baths, sits Louis’ Restaurant featuring traditional American food.

There’s enough to see and do in San Francisco to keep anyone busy without needing to stick to the tried and true favorites, though they do have their charms. Just remember, it drives the locals crazy if you don’t use the city’s proper name. Don’t call it “Frisco”. Remember that one rule and you’ll have all the friendly help you need to find those out of the way treasures.

This guest post was written by author Kevin Caldwell.? Kevin is a writer at San Francisco Hotel Guides. Kevin enjoys writing about travel and helping other plan their trips. Connect with Kevin on Googe+ to learn more about him.