Top Activities in San Francisco
There are only a handful of bridges in the world that capture the imagination of artists and tourists, and the Golden Gate Bridge is one of them. A visit to San Francisco just isn’t complete without a view of this splendid 1.7-mile suspension bridge, which, of course, is not gold at all, but a reddish orange color called “international orange”.
Destined from its opening in 1935 to be an unconventional museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was the first museum on the West Coast dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The museum has championed the most innovative and challenging art of its time, and continues to exhibit and collect work by both modern masters and younger, less-established artists.
You can’t really experience San Francisco history without a visit to Alcatraz. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock and the City across the Bay.
Shoppers wind along sparkly sidewalks, well-dressed worker bees take breathers on tiered concrete, and tourists snap pictures of century-old architecture as cable cars ding-a-ling through it all, transporting riders in and out of this bustling city center.
San Francisco’s steep inclines are nature’s original roller coasters. Riding these peaks and valleys on one of the world’s last manually operated cable cars is a thrill that will leave you grinning.
Central Park’s got nothing on the Grande Dame of San Francisco, iconic Golden Gate Park. Although similar in shape to New York’s famous oasis, Golden Gate Park is 20% bigger at over 1,000 acres, making it one of the largest man-made parks in the world.
For arguably the best view in San Francisco, head to Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill. Built in 1933, the tower pays tribute to Lillie Coit, an eccentric socialite fond of gambling and cigars who became a volunteer firefighter.
The largest Chinese community outside of Asia, and the oldest in North America, San Francisco’s Chinatown packs a double punch of history and culture. Officially within the boundaries of downtown, Chinatown retains its own local government, traditions, places of worship, and social clubs.
You can’t miss this street-level marketplace, topped by a 230-foot clock tower, modeled after the campanile of the cathedral in Seville, Spain. After a stroll through the many artisan food vendors and restaurants here, it willl be easy to see why this is a must-do for locals and visitors alike.
AT&T Park, one of the finest examples of modern ballparks, was the first privately financed ballpark in Major League Baseball since 1962. The Giants' home has many incredible features, such as breathtaking views and classic design. Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily, as part of the inaugural Sports Business Awards Program, chose the park as the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year.
Ever since the Gold Rush, plucky dreamers have headed west to the City By The Bay. And there is something in the air here – aside from the patchy morning fog – that continues to make San Francisco feel like a dream. Home of the Beat Generation and Haight-Ashbury’s Summer of Love, San Francisco nurtures progressive social and political movements that often rally the nation. Balanced on a peninsula near the San Andreas and Hayward faults with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Bay to the east, the ground can sometimes feel shaky, but the beauty of the city endures. Glimpse the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as you stroll along the waterfront in the Marina district. Huff it up to Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill for a stunning 360 view of the city skyline. Nibble your way through the Ferry Building for a taste of San Francisco’s famed and fresh local cuisine. Sip hot chocolate in Ghiradelli square as the fog rolls in. Pack your sweater, prepare for “microclimates” and have your breath taken away. Just be careful, you might leave your heart behind.
Facts & Figures
Residents Per Square Mile
San Francisco ("Saint Francis") was founded on June 29, 1776 when colonists from Spain established a fort at the Golden Gate.
Three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the earthquake and fire.
Among the major U.S cities, SF has the largest percentage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual residents, at 15.4%.
San Francisco is 12th place in the top twenty global financial centers.
Misattributed to Mark Twain
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," author unknown.
Winter in Summer
Among major U.S. cities, SF has the coldest daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures for June, July, and August.