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List of the “must see” in San Francisco

Here is enough to experience and explore in San Francisco to fill a hundred itineraries but most visitors want to see the more famous sites right away. Here is a basic list of the “must see” attractions and areas of San Francisco, separated into weekend-length groups. For more information on any of these attractions and activities, visit

Items marked with a star (*) are included in the San Francisco CityPass,

The First Visit

  • Ride the Cable Cars* – There are three lines for this famous transportation system, Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason and the California Street Line. For more information contact the San Francisco Municipal Railway at 415-673-MUNI (6864) or visit
  • Cross the Golden Gate Bridge – Explore on foot or by car, bicycle, tour bus or fire engine tour. Travel under the bridge on a bay cruise or soar over it by helicopter or seaplane. For more information about the bridge call 415-921-5858 or visit
  • Visit Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf – Fisherman’s Wharf is the most visited section of San Francisco. Enjoy street performers, fresh seafood , unique shops and visit the Boudin Museum & Bakery Tour* to see loaf after loaf of San Francisco’s famous sourdough French bread baked. Take in the fresh sea air as you watch fishermen coming and going from their daily journeys. Visit the sea lion colony on the west side of Pier 39 home of the Blue & Gold Fleet* and Aquarium by the Bay*. Alcatraz, the former federal prison, once housed some of the most notorious criminals. Today it’s a national park, reachable by a brief boat ride. For more information call 415-981-ROCK (7625) or visit
  • Visit Chinatown – The entrance to Chinatown at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is called the “Dragon’s Gate.” Inside are 24 blocks of hustle and bustle, most of it taking place along Grant Avenue, the oldest street in San Francisco. This city within a city is best explored on foot; exotic shops, renowned restaurants, food markets, temples and small museums comprise its boundaries. Visitors can buy ancient potions from herb shops, relax and enjoy a “dim sum” lunch or witness the making of fortune cookies. For a more “local” scene, walk one block over to Stockton St.
  • Visit Union Square – The landmark park is the heart of the city and is known for fantastic shopping. Sporting new granite plazas, a new terraced stage on Post Street, light sculptures designed by artist R.M. Fischer, a café, the TIX half-price ticket center, and four grand entrance corner plazas bordered by the park’s signature palms, the remodeled square pays tribute to the Square’s distinctive history and captures the unique flavor and beauty of San Francisco. For more information visit