For decades, San Francisco has been one of the United States premiere vacation destinations. Whether it’s from one of the dozens of cruise ships or tech conferences that the city hosts every year, visitors come to San Francisco to relish in the iconic scenery, vibrant culture and great year-round weather. First time visitors can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of different activities at their disposal, which simply cannot all be fit into an average vacation. Today we are going to highlight so of the sights and sounds that a first time visitor cannot afford to miss out on.
Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is the crown jewel of San Francisco scenery, and one of the most internationally recognizable symbols in the United States. For almost 30 years it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and was also declared one of the “Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge from a tourists perspective is that you can not only admire the bridge from the city, but you can take advantage of the breathtaking views on the bridge itself. The bridge has a pedestrian walkway that you can enjoy on foot or on a bike, giving tourist a wonderful opportunity to experience the bridge in full.
Take the Ferry to Alcatraz
One of the world’s most infamous prisons, Alcatraz was known for housing some of the United States’ troublesome criminals. Al Capone, Mickey Cohen, Machine Gun Kelly, and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud all called Alcatraz home at some point in there respective criminal careers. The prison was also well known for its inescapability, what with the prison being located on an island 1.25 miles off the coast of the city. In fact only 3 men successfully broke out, in what is called one of the most intricate escapes in history (historians doubt the overall success of the escape, given the fact that the 3 men have not been seen since). Since it’s closing the property has been managed by the National Parks Service, offering daily tours of the compound. The ferry ride to and from the island also offers great views of the Bay as well.
Take the Boudin Bakery Tour and Learn About San Francisco
San Francisco is known for being the home for many drinks and dishes. Sourdough bread is its most iconic culinary invention, which was first introduced by French bakers during the Gold Rush era. The wild yeasts in the crisp San Francisco air gave the bread a unique tanginess that has endured locals for years. Today, the Boudin Bakery hosts tours at its Fisherman’s Wharf location that not only give you an inside look into how the famous bread is made, but also give you a glimpse into the history of the city and the other dishes it’s known for.
Visit the “World’s Most Crooked Street”
Although Lombard Street runs from the Presidio all down to the Embarcadero, the street is most well known for a one-block span in the Russian Hill neighborhood. With a 27% grade and eight hairpin turns, the street is known equally for its aesthetic beauty and difficult driving conditions. The street features staircases running up both sides of the street, allowing visitors to take pictures and marvel cars looking to conquer the tough drive.
Ride the Cable Car
Knocking all of these great activates off your list means finding a way to get from place to place, so why not take advantage of the world’s last manually operated cable car system? The cable cars in San Francisco have been a staple since the late 1800’s and continue to operate to this day. Out of the 3 lines still running, the cable cars can provide you access to hot spots like Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and California Street. The cars also provide a unique, open-air experience, letting visitors experience the city in unique way.