Full of iconic monuments, historical sites and myriad ways to have fun, you’ll find something exciting to do in San Francisco 24/7.
From the monumental Golden Gate Bridge, to the infamous island of Alcatraz and across the Bay and into the sunny vineyards of California, elite travelers will find plenty of activities to enjoy.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Easily San Francisco’s most iconic monument and one of the most recognizable bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge should be the first stop for any visitor to the city.
Designed by Joseph Strauss, the bridge was completed in 1937 at a cost of $35 million, a staggering sum at the time. The Golden Gate Bridge was one of the most astounding engineering feats of the 21st century, and many experts back then doubted it could ever be built. Once completed, the bridge provided a much-needed link from San Francisco to Marin County, which increased the prosperity of both areas. Facts and stats aside, the simple fact remains the Golden Gate Bridge is outstandingly beautiful. The bright orange spires seen rising from the frequent fog, the sun’s fading rays kissing the giant steel structure, the shimmering waters of the Golden Gate beneath; all sights that millions of tourists come to see every year. The best way to experience the bridge is to walk across; but remember to wrap up warm – that fog can get pretty cold!
+1 415 921 5858
San Francisco, 94129
For many, Alcatraz will forever be remembered for its short spell as a United States Federal Prison and the notoriety of some of the prisoners: Al Capone, Robert Stroud ‘The Birdman of Alcatraz’, Machine Gun Kelly and Alvin Karpis to name a few.
There is much more to the island, however, since it was originally a lighthouse then a military post until 1933 (when it became a federal prison) and Native Americans occupied the island between 1969 and 1971. The island then became a Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the wildlife that had abandoned the island began to return, along with millions of visitors. Guided tours are the best way to see the island, just remember to wear comfortable walking shoes and take extra layers as Alcatraz can be cold and is quite hilly. Alcatraz Cruises provide the transport to the island and it’s worth booking some way in advance, as spaces are limited.
+1 415 981 7625
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Bldg. 201, Fort Mason San Francisco, 94123
GOLDEN GATE PARK
The Golden Gate Park provides the perfect sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco city.
The park, which consists of some 1,017 acres, is much larger than Central Park in New York City and attracts more than 13 million visitors a year. A wonderful recreation space for all ages, the park remains one of the best places for families to visit. The Conservatory of Flowers houses over 1,700 different plant species, including very rare carnivorous plants and a prized centuryold philodendron. The Japanese Tea Gardens, one of the most popular areas in the park, are the perfect place for a romantic stroll, while the buffalo paddocks provide entertainment for younger visitors. The park is one of the best places to visit in the city if you’re looking to experience the spirit of San Francisco.
+1 415 831 5520
San Francisco, 94102
HORSE CARRIAGE TRIPS
If your idea of a romantic day out involves journeying through the beautiful Californian countryside in an elegant horse and carriage, then Hackney Horse and Carriage will be the perfect choice for you and your partner.
The company, who specialize in providing top-class transport for corporate and private events, will completely customize your trip and take you wherever you want to go, whether it’s a scenic ride through Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach and Financial District, a trip through the enchanting Golden Gate Park or even out into the surrounding countryside. Hackney Horse and Carriage have a variety of different carriages to choose from, ranging from comfortable Victorian coaches to romantic wedding vehicles.
+1 408 535 0277
1230 Market St #745, San Francisco, 94102
For many visitors to San Francisco, the cable cars are not merely a way of getting to the sights; they are one of the sights.
First commissioned back in 1873, the cable cars were initially ridiculed, and even dubbed ‘Hallidie’s Folly’ after the engineer who designed them. However, the cable cars slowly began to gain a following and when the city council proposed closing them in the 1950s, San Franciscans unanimously voted to keep them, and have even protected them through a city charter. Today, the cable cars are a major tourist icon, and although this means long queues, the cars are still worth a ride. There are three main cable car routes: Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde and the California Street. An interactive route map can be found on the company’s website.
SAILING AROUND THE BAY WITH HORNBLOWER CRUISES
San Francisco isn’t called the City by the Bay for nothing, and sailing around this beautiful inlet is likely to be one of the highlights of your trip to the city.
Whether it’s visiting the gorgeous city of Sausalito for a spot of lunch or the chance to watch the sun set under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay is full of delightful activities. Hornblower Cruises are one of the premier yacht charter companies in the area and offer a wide range of tours. In addition to classic, scenic, city and wildlife tours, guests can hire out private yachts and host functions, enjoy dinner cruises and even take part in the special July 4th celebrations.
+1 415 438 8300
Pier 3 on The Embarcadero, San Francisco, 94111
Mount Veeder Magic Vineyards
Your Boutique Wine Create a barrel’s worth (24 cases) of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the exclusive Mount Veeder Appellation with your own private label.
We take you from grape to bottle, using our highly sought after grapes and the end result is bottled wine with your name on it – a privilege impossible to get as a consumer. Each year we produce less than 25 barrels of boutique Cab, masterfully crafted by one of Napa Valley’s hottest winemakers, Jeff Fontanella. Our low yield and highly concentrated fruit is estate grown, hand farmed, handpicked, and hand crafted. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is on every wine lover’s bucket list. What will your label look like?
+1 866 750 2091
3379 Solano Avenue, Suite 220, Napa CA 94558
BLUE HERON TOURS
With the sheer number of tourist venues and other destinations to see in the city, its sometimes best to leave the planning to the experts.
Blue Heron Tours is a luxury tour company specializing in various packages, including half day and full day tours, all of which are fully customizable. Whether it’s a trip to the main tourist highlights of the Golden Gate Bridge and the ‘Crookedest Street in The World’ (Lombard Street) or the more out of the way places such as the Marin Headlands, Blue Heron Tours will organize everything for you. There’s even a chance to visit the magnificent Muir Wood Redwoods.
+1 415 337 1874
275 Staples Avenue, San Francisco, 94112
In a city with as many different cultures as San Francisco, it’s the Chinese influence that really stands out.
Boasting the oldest Chinatown in America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia, San Francisco’s Chinatown is a major tourist destination, attracting more annual visitors than the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s plenty to see in this micro-China and the best way to experience the atmosphere is by simply walking around and breathing in the sights and smells of this eclectic neighborhood. The Chinatown Gate at Bush Street is the best place to start, and presents a great photo opportunity, although this tourist-heavy spot is likely to be very busy. San Francisco is reputedly the birthplace of the fortune cookie, and The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is well worth a visit to see these doughy treats lovingly crafted.