Sometimes San Francisco cracks me up. Not in a bad way, just well, just in the sort of way that makes me say, “Of course that exists in San Francisco.” For example, I was doing some tour searches earlier and encountered my first-ever listing for an mp3 city tour. Of course, I found it in San Francisco.
Back in college, I had a girlfriend from Texas who came to visit my family over Christmas. We took a day trip to San Francisco and booked one of those Grayline bus tours. I found it interesting; apart from Giants games and field trips to the Exploratorium, I really knew very little about the city. It’s been awhile since I’ve been back, so a refresher course is probably in order.
There are plenty of things to do in San Francisco, and you could easily spend a week getting to know it, finding your favorite burrito place in the Mission, finding your favorite Pier 39 mime, etc. But you might want to see what else the Bay Area has to offer. From wine to roller coasters, a short drive down the freeway can make for a memorable trip.
San Francisco is famous for a number of famous landmarks and streets, but its attractions are no less remarkable. Fisherman’s Wharf, like Coit Tower, is a must-see. If you’re a gourmand, a bowl of chowder on the wharf should be on your list of things to eat before you die. The Wharf is also home to Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, The Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, the Musee Mecanique (a collection of nickelodeons and other antique arcade machines) and the USS Pampanito, a decommissioned WWII submarine. During Fleet Week, Fisherman’s Wharf is a prime spot to watch the airshows, as well as Fourth of July fireworks.
If you’ve got kids with you on your trip, head to the Palace of Fine Arts. A relic of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expedition, this classically-influenced park houses the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum geared to pique the curiosity of the young and young at heart. Kids will also appreciate Pier 39, as it is part shopping center, part family-fun extravaganza.
Looking for San Francisco sightseeing ideas? One fun thing to do is to get one of those cartoony posters of San Francisco and then hit the spots that the artist found important enough to include as a landmark. If you do this, you’ll probably find yourself driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Presidio.
If you’ve never visited San Francisco before and don’t have a friend who’s a local to take you to all the cool spots, you’ll want to take a tour. Shoot, even if you do know a local who will take you around, I’d still recommend taking a tour. As San Francisco is one of the most fascinating and storied places in the country, there’s a lot of cool stuff you might miss if you’re at the mercy of a friend who only likes things in the Mission.