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.

The Scene: This two-year-old culinary experiment in communal dining brings hungry like-minded diners together, leaving a feel-good glow in each dinner’s wake.

Strange Factor: Calling Erin Brockovich. This isn’t your traditional upbeat trolley tour of northern California.

Running down the east slope of Telegraph Hill on the old trail of dock workers, the Filbert Steps is the same seemingly endless staircase Humphrey Bogart stumbles up in the noir classic Dark Passage. The stairs rise in three sections from Sansome Street to Coit Tower, past art deco build

Located down an unmarked alleyway in Union Square, Otis is a tiny lounge known for its talented DJ’s, who spin mostly 90’s hip hop and reggae. The bar is downstairs, along with leather sofas, a stuffed peacock, and bright red walls hung with coral and ceramic antlers.

Pepto-bismol-colored lounge

Le Club's silk curtains and onyx-topped tables keep an old-school style that's not out of touch (check out the pool table with purple felt). Shoot billiards or play backgammon. Loser shells out for the $125 caviar.

If a club promoter opened up shop in a decommissioned Ivy League dining hall—and then transplanted it to the Castro—this is what it would feel like.

Even the storefront window of Lang Antiques in Union Square will make you pause in wonder at the glitter of gold and gems. Inside, the cases are overflowing with more than 7,000 pieces of heirloom jewels, from Victorian and Edwardian jewelry to Art Deco, mid-century, and contemporary styles.

Known for:Rubin is the China expert other agents call for recommendations (among those who outsource to him is members-only travel club Nota Bene).

An homage to the classic cantina and the influence of Latin American culture in San Francisco, Cantina is a local bar serving classic cocktails, as well as inventive “culinary cocktails,” locally brewed beer, and wine.

Named after owner Ceri Smith’s great-grandfather, the Biondivino wine boutique is located on Green Street, squarely between the upscale Nob Hill and Russian Hill neighborhoods of San Francisco. Its dark marble façade is topped by a scalloped orange awning.

Siblings Danielle and Luke Teller helm the well-edited Afterlife Boutique, which carries reconstructed antique jewelry by the shop's Adoura Demode line and collectible rock-concert T-shirts priced from $45 to $1,000.

What draws so many customers to K&L Wine Merchants in the SOMA district is more often the merchants than the wine.

Pink curtains and tasseled light fixtures make Sweetdish, in the Marina District, feel girlie in a good way. Licorice lace and large swirled lollipops look like edible artwork. Top treats?Rock-candy dots and hard candies in apothecary jars.