San Francisco: Top 20 Things To Do

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

San Francisco has close to endless opportunities to offer. One of the my favorite cities in the world and I'm about to give you 20 reasons why San Francisco should be on top of your bucket list.

#20 - Ms. Doubtfire House
Mrs. Doubtfire House in San Francisco, California, USA
We're kicking this list off with a movie location turned tribute. If you remember the 90's you'll surely remember when actor Robin Williams dressed up as housekeeper Mrs. Doubtfire to be with his kids after a divorce. Since Williams' late passing, the Mrs. Doubtfire House on 2640 Steiner St. in San Francisco has become a tourist magnet. Fans from all over, visits the house to pay a last tribute to the beloved actor. On the pavement in front of the main door, small messages has been left in memory of Robin Williams.

#19 - City Hall
City Hall
On a solid 19th place, a solid building. Most cities has them, some are more prominent than others. The City Hall of San Francisco draws flashbacks to Budapest and leaves you gazing towards the towering spear. A night the building lights up in color!

#18 - Ferry Building Marketplace
Ferry Building in San Francisco, California, USA
Alright, another building makes 18th - the Ferry Building Marketplace. But what's most interesting about this particular one is behind the doors. A lively marketplace unfolds offering high-end quality food products from cheese to ice cream. Have a look and a taste.

#17 - Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, USA
Golden Gate Park is a favorite spot to activate yourself. Bicyle and running paths, tennis courts, football yards, recreational spaces, museums, Dutch windmills and much much more. Step into another world as you "leave" the city and enjoy some time off.

#16 - Sutro Baths/Cliff House
Sutro Baths in San Francisco, California, USA
When Sutro Baths opened in 1896 it was as the largest indoor swimming pool establishment in the world. The baths were built on the coast of San Francisco by Adolph Sutro. Along with the baths he also had a Cliff House built next to it. The Cliff house has been modified and changed several times over the years and today functions as a restaurant. Unfortunately the Sutro Baths burned down in 1966.

BONUS: While you're at the Cliff House have a look down Ocean Beach, a popular spot for surfers and locals looking for fresh air and wind in their hair.

#15 - Fort Funston/Battery Davis
Paraglider at Fort Funston in San Francisco, California, USA
Fort Funston is a former harbor defense installation. The fort included Battery Davis, a hidden anti-missile cannon, which would prevent attacks from Japan during WWII. Today the cannon is gone, but the area is still accessible. It's a very popular spot for dog owners and paragliders due to the large grassy areas and brisk winds.

#14 - Painted Ladies
Painted Ladies in San Francisco, California, USA
"Painted Ladies" is a term in American architecture covering repainted Victorian and Edwardian houses. The houses will be painted in three or more colors to enhance their architectural details. The term first surfaced in San Francisco in the 1960's. One of the best examples of these "Painted Ladies" is located on Steiner St., near Alamo Square.

#13 - Pulgas Water Temple
Pulgas Water Temple in San Francisco, California, USA
Built in Corinthian style and erected in 1938, the Pulgas Water Temple is a commemoration to the completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct (which leads melting water from the mountains to the city of San Francisco). The temple has columns arranged in a circle with a large stone masonry ring on top. The ring has the inscription: "I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people", from Isaiah 43:20.

#12 - Ghirardelli Square
Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory in San Francisco, California, USA
Ghirardelli Square. A perfect place for chocolate lovers visiting from near and far. Check out their chocolate machinery at the chocolate factory. Have a free sample in their store and try not to get too fat.

#11 - Union Square
Union Square by night in San Francisco, California, USA
The public plaza of Union Square in downtown San Francisco is also the central shopping, hotel and theater district. The name comes from the American Civil War, where the it was used for rallies and support for the Union Army. At the centre of the plaza stands the Dewey Monument (dedicated to Admiral George Dewey), a statue of the ancient Greek Goddess of Victory; Nike, placed on an 85-foot column.

#10 - Lucas Film
Yoda Fountain at Lucas Film in San Francisco, California, USA
Do they have a Yoda Fountain? Oh yeah. Can you go inside the lobby and greet Darth Vader and R2D2 among other familiar faces? I bet ya! What are you waiting for? Head over to Lucas Film and make your friends jealous with a Yoda-selfie.

#9 - The Castro
Rainbow flags at The Castro in San Francisco, California, USA
The Castro is the gay district of San Francisco. It was one of the first gay districts in the United States having transformed from a working-class neighborhood through the 1960's and 70's. Today the Castro remains a prominent symbol of LGBT activism, while still hosting some of the largest LGBT events in the world.

#8 - Devil's Slide
Beginning of Devil's Slide in San Francisco, California, USA
Part of the famous old Pacific Highway 1 used to run here. Named Devil's Slide after several deaths occurred due to mudslides on this stretch of asphalt. Today the Pacific Highway 1 runs through tunnels to avoid Devil's Slide, which as been closed off to traffic. Pedestrians are allowed to walked here - at their own risk. As you head around the mountains corners the pacific coast opens up, quite stunning and worth an 8th place on my list.

#7 - Twin Peaks
Night view from Twin Peaks in San Francisco, California, USA
Twin Peaks is located very central in San Francisco. The high grounds are reachable by car and provides a stunning night picture of the city, with nothing blocking your view. Absolutely one of the better night views within a large scale city like San Francisco.

#6 - Pier 39
Sunbathing seals at Pier 39 in San Francisco, California, USA
Pier 39 is so much more than just a pier. Street performers, unique shops selling everything from crystals to NFL merchandise, delicious dining and let's not forget the large seal colony, which attracts a huge crowd (especially during the weekends).

#5 - Cable Car/Railway Museum
Cable car in San Francisco, California, USA
It's one of the most important landmarks, because it helped making San Francisco what it is today. The Cable Cars are still very much alive and running. You're still allowed to hang on the outside of the wagon, while enjoying the city air on your face as the cable car rumbles up and down the steep streets.
In downtown there's a Railway Museum which is worth a visit for more insight into how important the cable cars were for San Francisco's development. The museum has free admission.

#4 - Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, California, USA
Fisherman's Wharf is a very busy area especially during weekends. Outstanding seafood sold from street vendors, an old arcade with functioning machines dating back more than a hundred years, a submarine open to the public and just to mention a few of the awesome things this waterfront community has to offer.

#3 - Golden Gate Bridge
Mandatory photo at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, USA
Yes, it might be the #1 landmark of San Francisco, but the golden bridge has to resign with third place for this list. The iconic suspension bridge spanning over San Francisco Bay make for picture perfect moments. One of the most popular places to take photos is at Fort Point right by the foot of Golden Gate Bridge.

#2 - Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island "The Rock" in San Francisco Bay, California, USA
The infamous Alcatraz Island or more commonly spoken of as "The Rock". Some of the most notorious criminals in history, like Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Robert Franklin Stroud have spent time in this isolated military prison.

Meeting former Alcatraz prisioner William G. Baker in San Francisco, California, USA
Today, Alcatraz is a museum and national heritage site. The audio guided tour is one of the best I've ever been on. There are hourly events around the island about the different parts of Alcatraz from the island flora to the horror stories of the infamous daily life on "The Rock". I was even lucky enough to meet former inmate William G. Baker. He was a very humorous gentleman and shaking hands with with a person who experienced Alcatraz at its peak, on Alcatraz, was quite a special moment.

#1 - Haight & Ashbury
Haight & Ashbury in San Francisco, California, USA
I know what you're thinking. A road sign tops this list? Of course not. The district of Haight & Ashbury is one of the most famous districts in San Francisco. Culturized and inspired by the peace generation of 1968, this area still has a unique atmosphere. It's like stepping back into time, the shops, the people ,the street art. Everything screams 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's, like decades fighting to be on top. It's an absolute must for any trip to San Francisco, don't miss out!

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