San Francisco

Things to do in San Francisco

Visitors to the city by the bay will be hard pressed to run out of things to do in San Francisco. From the lively nightlife scene, to the multitude of delicious dining options, to the cultural wonders and outdoor attractions, it’s a hard vacation destination to top.

Beer-lovers wondering what to do in San Francisco will be delighted to learn that the metropolis boasts more microbreweries than New York City. Anchor Brewing Company is located in the city, and tours are available by appointment every Friday afternoon. Most bars serve a rotating list of craft beers from nearby breweries.

Because there are so many things to do in San Francisco, it’s wise for visitors to start their trip by taking a walking tour of the city. These tours, which are led by local volunteers well versed in the city’s history, are free and cover a wide swathe of the metropolis, from well-known landmarks to more out-of-the-way hidden gems. If you are still overwhelmed after the tour, these knowledgeable guides can help you craft a list of options for what to do in San Francisco before you leave the foggy city by the bay.

Think the Brooklyn Academy of Music meets Mass MoCA, all under one roof.

The Conservatory of Flowers in the Golden Gate Park is beautiful in itself: The manicured lawns and gardens surround this wooden Victorian conservatory that is one of the oldest in the world. It's divided into four sections: aquatic plants, highland tropics, lowland tropics, and potted plants.

Throughout its history, the San Francisco Opera has presented world premieres, innovative productions, and renowned singers. The company's home, War Memorial Opera House, is a 3,146-seat venue that hosts 10 operas each season.

Frog Hollow Farm, a certified-organic fruit farm on the delta of the Sacramento River, sells much of its produce in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace.

Elixir is a 148-year-old Mission neighborhood bar, restored by mixologist H. Joseph Ehrmann in 2005. He renovated the building into a Victorian-era style saloon while transforming it to San Francisco’s first Green certified bar.

The newly relocated plant store is run by Flora Grubb, well-known for her selection of palm trees. She also stocks a fascinating collection of plants called Echeveria, desert succulents that look like undersea creatures.

Located in the Mission district, this pirate supply shop was established in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and teacher Nínive Calegari to fund the adjacent nonprofit writing and tutoring center for young students.

This Nob Hill bar channels a relaxed, dive-y vibe, thanks to its modest, pub-like exterior, and location smack-dab next to the Stockton Street Tunnel.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been the premier West Coast spot for modern art since 1935, with over 27,000 works from Modernists and contemporary artists. Mario Botta's iconic building is a work of art in itself, with an oculus skylight, banded turret, and soaring atrium.

Although it’s located in the financial district, the woodsy, vaguely Wild West Rickhouse attracts a relaxed crowd of both hipsters and business suits. Bartenders wear caps, thick neckties and suspenders in a riff on speakeasies. Charming or gimmicky? You decide.

When Fiona Frie moved to the United States from Scotland, she didn’t anticipate a problem finding sweets—at least to her taste. Leaving behind the medical profession, she opened an old timey sweet “shoppe” in Union Square.

The island itself has remained more or less the same since the Park Service first opened it to visitors in 1973, but the tours of the world-famous prison have been getting better and better over the years.

Y Fray, who spent 20 years as a limousine driver and then chauffeur of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Prius, utilized his relationships to create this sustainable company.

Under the wide-arched doorway with 18th-century-style gold lettering and detail of shop #34 in San Francisco’s the Ferry Building Marketplace, Far West Fungi showcases the organic mushrooms the Garrone family has produced for 25 years at Moss Landing on Monterey Bay, where the ocean breeze and fo

Harry Denton's Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel is a rooftop bar, where patrons come to see and be seen.