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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.

People have been drawn to waters of Black Point Cove just west of today’s Fisherman’s Wharf since President Fillmore annexed it in 1850. The Works Progress Administration built an aquatic park bathhouse here, which today houses a museum dedicated to the maritime history of the city.

Along with the usual grosgrain leashes and architect-worthy cat bowls carried in any urban pet boutique, this store, set just off the prime shopping strip of Fillmore Street, markets its own line of treats (dried Japanese sardines and Good Dog chicken snaps among them), plus catnip-infused toys i

A spa with a view, Spa Vitale is located on the penthouse level of Hotel Vitale with views over the Bay and access to a rooftop bamboo garden outfitted with 14-foot-deep private tubs for bathing al fresco.

Tucked away on the leafy South Park square, Jeremy's is a Bay Area staple. Local department stores quietly ship overruns, returns, and out-of-season goodies to the piled-high store. Spotted in the past: clothing from Bergdorf Goodman's private label and preppy pieces by Ralph Lauren.

Previously named one of the world’s greatest tour guides by Travel + Leisure, Rick Evans leads two signature walking tours: an architectural tour and a Chinatown tour.

Gallery space and lounge. This sprawling, gallery-like space features work by emerging artists, graffiti on the brick wall and at least one DJ every night.

The Museum, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, extends green, sustainable architecture in unprecedented ways.

Established in 1979, Three Bags Full is one of the most renowned knitwear stores in the nation. Behind a black tile and glass storefront, the interior is lined with handmade sweaters from the United States, England, France, Australia, and Italy.

After sustaining injuries in a car accident, Dave Spencer began a personal quest for wellness, which led him to create SenSpa—a holistic healing center located in the Presidio. The spa offers cross-cultural treatments in a 13,000-square-foot renovated World War I army barrack.

Located in the center of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park sits the park's largest body of water, Stow Lake. Complete with an electrically pumped, 110-foot waterfall, the lake surrounds Strawberry Hill Island, from which much of the western portion of San Francisco can be seen.

Even if you miss the famed farmers’ market held here every Saturday, there are plenty of other reasons to swing by the beautifully refurbished 1898 Ferry Building. The waterfront complex contains more than 40 gourmet shops and snack counters.

“Ruby King Bakery” are the only English characters featured on the broad red awning of this Chinatown storefront (the rest of the signage is written in Chinese characters).

Serious dairy lovers flock to the Mission's Bi-Rite Creamery for each day's soft-serve special (Monday, for instance, is coffee and salted caramel day), as well as hand-scooped ice creams showcasing local ingredients like Sonoma-sourced lavender and honey.