Things to Do in San Francisco

Amanda Marsalis

Located in the Mission district, this pirate supply shop was established in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and teacher Nínive Calegari to fund... Read More

Veer from the crowded city sidewalks and take a carefree charter on a boat for a different perspective of San Francisco. A fleet of first-rate... Read More

From the Big Sur coast to the Anza-Borrego Desert, this outdoor adventure school provides access to some of California’s most scenic and remote... Read More

Siblings Danielle and Luke Teller helm the well-edited Afterlife Boutique, which carries reconstructed antique jewelry by the shop's Adoura Demode line... Read More

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... Read More

There may be a bit of stair climbing involved, but the views from the hilltop park are some of the best in the city. To the South: a bowl of... Read More

Amoeba Music on Haight Street is a must for music lovers: 24,000 square feet packed with 2.5 million new and used CDs, DVDs, video games, and vinyls.... Read More

Inside an Art Deco building on Potrero Hill, Anchor Brewing Company is one of the oldest independent breweries in the nation, dating back to 1896. Every... Read More

Home to the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park provides views of San Francisco's skyline, Bay Bridge and McCovey Cove (named in honor of legendary... Read More

Located in a Bernal Heights building that housed various neighborhood markets for most of the 1900’s, Avedano’s is an old-fashioned butcher... Read More

Influenced by modernist architecture and graphic design, Babette clothing is known for its sophisticated colors, geometric shapes, and functionality.... Read More

Located in the lobby of the 1928 iconic Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Bar Drake is known as the patriarch of Union Square bars. Bar-goers are surrounded by... Read More

Working out might not be at the top of your list while on vacation, but consider this: Few people know the city’s hills, parks, and secret verdant... Read More

At this family-owned bike shop in Fisherman’s Wharf, a variety of 24-hour rental options are available, including comfort, performance, and... Read More

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),... Read More

Named after owner Ceri Smith’s great-grandfather, the Biondivino wine boutique is located on Green Street, squarely between the upscale Nob Hill... Read More

Offal-worshipping celebrity chef Chris Cosentino is the cofounder of Boccalone, a salumeria that proudly celebrates its slogan, "Tasty Salted Pig Parts.... Read More

When new owners took over this beloved independent bookstore in 2007, they added over 100 new events annually, launched a Berkeley-based lecture series,... Read More

You’ll have to jump through plenty of hoops to drink at this nouveau speakeasy. After reserving a table online, you’re emailed a secret... Read More

Whether you’re an Angliophile or just like trying new things, British American Imports brings a wide selection of goods over the Pond to its... Read More

Browser’s cozy carpet-lined interior, collection of antique typewriters, and solid selection of local authors has made the independent bookstore a... Read More

The heavily wooded, 36-acre hill makes for a quick quiet place just off the bustle of Haight Street. The interior paths of San Francisco’s first... Read More

So what if riding a cable car brands you a tourist? The snub-nosed icons are terrific fun to ride, with their bay views from the north side of Nob Hill.... Read More

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... Read More

An espresso pioneer, Trieste has been roasting beans and caffeinating the city since 1956. On Saturday afternoons, the owners and other local musicians... Read More

The California Academy of Sciences covers a broad reach, blending innovative and interactive exhibits that make this a local favorite. Part natural... Read More

The Museum, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, extends green, sustainable architecture in unprecedented ways. Pritzker laureate Renzo Piano's airy,... Read More

Situated in Russian Hill’s trendy retail corridor, this old-fashioned sweet shop contains white walls, wood-trimmed shelves, and rows of... Read More

Those who have a ReadyMade sensibility—but lack the skills—gravitate toward this little store’s indie, locally designed clothing,... Read More

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... Read More

Located in Jackson Square, this high-end clothing boutique is owned by sisters Melissa and Catie Grimm, whose family runs Grimmway Farms, the world... Read More

Mamma Mia sing alongs, double features, and hard to find films aren’t the only things that make this theatre one of the city’s most special.... Read More

In 2011, the onetime Zeum morphed into a more inclusive children’s museum, now geared for kids age three to twelve. The expansion added updated... Read More

Two stone lions practically purr for a photo op, flanking this pagoda-style arch. Read More

In a space flanked by unfinished wood panels and a hanging rope ceiling, patrons enjoy mason jars filled with Churchill’s custom cocktails. The... Read More

Located on Columbus Avenue, City Lights Bookstore is an independent bookstore and publisher, best known for publishing the Pocket Poets... Read More

The Clay is a sweet single stream theatre, distinguished for being one of San Francisco’s oldest. It’s a mix of classic and contemporary... Read More

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... Read More

Housed in the lobby of The Westin St. Francis in Union Square, this Michael Mina-created lounge evokes a mid-century, masculine aesthetic, with its hon... Read More

Perched atop Telegraph Hill, this 1930s Art Moderne landmark is a dashingly romantic spot at sunset. It’s all fluted, ivory glamour on the outside... Read More

The Conservatory of Flowers in the Golden Gate Park is beautiful in itself: The manicured lawns and gardens surround this wooden Victorian conservatory... Read More

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... Read More

Situated on a 130-acre salt marsh, this former military airfield is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The waterfront extends from... Read More

Given its location steps from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, it's fitting that Culinaire maintains its narrow focus on farm-to-table antiques. Wooden... Read More

The de Young is one of the most renowned museums in San Francisco, and it attracts big names in historic and modern art for its ongoing exhibitions.... Read More

Doc Ricketts is the neighborhood’s go-to spot for subterranean entertainment: every night features a different act, be it music, comedy, or racy, light... Read More

The Holy Grail of parkland in San Francisco—it’s by far the most popular and most iconic, known for turning into a daytime party every weekend. It... Read More

Spirited bar popular with locals Read More

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

Leading down from Inspiration Point in the Presidio National Park is the 1.4-mile Ecology Trail. Used as a refugee camp after the 1906 earthquake, the... Read More

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... Read More

Since relocating to a brand new space on San Francisco’s scenic Embarcadero promenade in 2013, this science and art museum has drawn people in droves... Read More

Interactivity is key at this well-named museum, where the exhibits are meant to be touched, messed around with, and even—in the case of the... Read More

Cable cars have competition for Most Endearing Public Transit. These early-20th-century streetcars trundle along the Embarcadero. You might glimpse an... Read More

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... Read More

Even if you miss the famed farmers’ market held here every Saturday, there are plenty of other reasons to swing by the beautifully refurbished... Read More

The Spread: Some 85 vendors and growers spread out around the waterfront Ferry Building on Saturdays in San Francisco, the No. 7–ranked city for... Read More

Despite its location in Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar, the Fifth Floor lounge fails to look like a hotel bar (thankfully). Subtle lighting sets the... Read More

When Fiona Frie moved to the United States from Scotland, she didn’t anticipate a problem finding sweets—at least to her taste. Leaving... Read More

No beige money belts or quick-drying underwear here. Flight 001 approaches travel with a future-forward style. Their selection of brightly colored... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

This trailblazer explores the remote corners of every continent using guides with extensive on-the-ground networks, such as San Francisco–based... Read More

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... Read More

From one of the "best known pulpits in California," Reverend Cecil Williams leads the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church through an uplifting and... Read More

Do yourself a favor and see the Golden Gate Bridge the way it was meant to be seen: from below. Start at the Marina end of Crissy Field, an airfield... Read More

A whiff of vanilla leads you to this cramped shotgun space. Workers deftly pull warm, golden discs off the spinning machines, then flip and fold them... Read More

This 1,017-acre landmark might be world famous, but it’s still full of hidden gems. Visit the bison paddocks on the park’s west end, where urban buffalo... Read More

This busy commercial strip teems with souvenir shops, antiques dealers, herbalists, and gawkers. You’ll find several treasures among the tat, like... Read More

The light-filled store is a treasure hunter's dream, filled with everything from Japanese paper goods to wool blankets made on Prince Edward Island. Read More

One of the Bay Area’s most beloved book stores has a new outpost next to Golden Gate Park. Green Apple on the Park boasts a highly curated selection of... Read More

Since 1861, a visit to San Francisco wasn’t complete without a wander through Gump’s, the exotic emporium crammed full of jade figurines,... Read More

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

The biggest and oldest (opened in 1978) of three linked Haight Street vintage shops, Held Over carries garments, hats, and shoes from the 40’s... Read More

A line of hanging Hot Cookie-emblazoned underwear hangs above the store’s the famous penis and Venus-shaped macaroons. The store, which has been... Read More

Located in the Presidio National Park, Inspiration Point is a spacious sandstone plaza featuring panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and... Read More

A few blocks inland from the Embarcadero, this historic district was once the rowdy Gold Rush–era waterfront. Now the mid-19th-century buildings... Read More

“Nothing is worth more than this day,” a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is one of many poetic phrases hand-engraved on Jeanine Payer... Read More

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... Read More

What draws so many customers to K&L Wine Merchants in the SOMA district is more often the merchants than the wine. By traveling to Europe several... Read More

A Japanese-style teahouse and cat adoption lounge. A sleek trendy cafe that seamlessly blends into swanky Hayes Valley, with a well-appointed lounge... Read More

Since undergoing a recent $10 million renovation, Lafayette Park has become the go-to oasis for young families and couples with off-leash dogs to chill... Read More

Learn about the history of San Francisco’s lesser-visited west side at the new LEED Platinum Lands End Lookout center. The thoroughly modern building... Read More

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... Read More

The go-to store for cool, brainy fashions from Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, and Zucca, M.A.C. is also a shop that champions local designers.... Read More

Although its collection is a tad out of balance (strong on New Guinea art, historical American paintings, and Anatolian kilims; light on anything... Read More

From rock to rococo, Madrone is art gallery, lounge, and dance club all-in-one. Patrons can browse ever-changing exhibits of artwork on the walls, which... Read More

On this narrow street branching east from Union Square, chic boutiques close ranks. The highlight, though, is the Xanadu Gallery’s Frank Lloyd... Read More

Behind a glass storefront in Lower Pacific Heights, Sam Hamilton’s MARCH sells kitchen, pantry, and tabletop items in the spirit of Ralph Lauren.... Read More

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... Read More

Certified-organic olive oils and 80 Acres body products are among the items featured at McEvoy Ranch’s shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace in... Read More

Miette translates to “crumb” in French, and is a small, boutique-style pastry shop with four California locations. At this Hayes Valley... Read More

A diverse local crowd, ranging from young hipsters to multi-generational families, packs the homey, mismatched tables at this bustling corner-café... Read More

For over a century, locals have flocked to Molinari for Italian specialties: olive oil, fresh pasta, and the plump, house-made salami dangling over the... Read More

A naturalist and Sierra Club guide, Tom Martell gives informative tours of Muir Woods—a 1908 national monument that preserves old-growth redwoods.... Read More

This collection celebrates the cultures and histories of people of African descent scattered around the world, from the Caribbean to South America. It... Read More

Nest is a kooky but cultivated mix of precious objects. Little shoes are on display next to dragonfly plates, locally made note cards and lotions... Read More

Opened by VIZ Media founder Seiji Horibuchi in 2009, this four-story funhouse offers art, edification, and commerce for newbies and devotees of Japanese... Read More

The only US outlet of a Japanese confection chain offers boxed goodies like the best selling Harajuku Mochi Chocolate (mini sweet rice cakes with a... Read More

A stunning view of the San Francisco skyline can be seen from the indoor pool at the thoughtfully designed Nob Hill Spa. But if that’s not reason enough... Read More

This vast swath of sand borders the Great Highway on the western stretch of San Francisco. Watch local surfers catch gnarly (and freezing) waves, stroll... Read More

Every Friday from 5–10 p.m., a caravan of the city’s best food trucks takes over the parking lot at Fort Mason, for its own boisterous moveable feast.... Read More

California’s first cathedral has a small but moving display of photos of turn-of-the-century Chinatown, and of the devastating aftermath of the... Read More

Floor-to-ceiling windows and a great view onto Market Street make for relaxed people-watching at this unpretentiously hip Hayes Valley bar. Previously... Read More

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... Read More

Bankers, first dates, and everyone in between find their way to the softly lit spot in this Beaux Arts hotel. The namesake Maxfield Parrish mural glows... Read More

This wonderful collection of Japanese photo booths captures customers diving out of a washing machine, covered in confetti, or popping out of a bouquet... Read More

Environmentally conscious shoppers who want meat from humanely raised animals on farms that practice responsible land stewardship, look for the red sign... Read More

This standout modern design showroom stocks gold-painted piggy banks, angular Bensen furniture, and lighting options that include a paper chandelier by... Read More

Even the sign that hangs out from the Recchiuti Confections storefront in the Ferry Building Marketplace along Embarcadero is a glossy chocolate color.... Read More

In this glossy, tranquil shop, lift the lids from dozens of canisters to sniff the teas within. The staff enthusiastically describes everything from... Read More

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

Although it’s located in the financial district, the woodsy, vaguely Wild West Rickhouse attracts a relaxed crowd of both hipsters and business... Read More

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

This casually urbane bar-lounge is located in the semi-gentrified Tenderloin district. Young professionals mingle in Rye's relaxed vibe: exposed... Read More

The twin neo-Gothic spires of Joe DiMaggio’s church loom above the picnic-friendly lawn in Washington Square Park. Read More

The dramatic new building is situated on a stubbornly bleak stretch of Mission Street. Designed by Thom Mayne, of the L.A. firm Morphosis, this is... Read More

This museum displays more than just a fabulous collection of European and American art from antiquity to the 1900s. The building itself is a draw, with... Read More

Climb aboard the historic ships docked at the Hyde Street Pier, such as the three-masted Balclutha (1886) and the schooner Alma (1891). Keep walking... Read More

Throughout its history, the San Francisco Opera has presented world premieres, innovative productions, and renowned singers. The company's home, War... Read More

After sustaining injuries in a car accident, Dave Spencer began a personal quest for wellness, which led him to create SenSpa—a holistic healing... Read More

SFJAZZ brings the intimate soulfulness of America’s best jazz singers and musicians into a glossy 35,000-square-foot venue, which opened in 2013. Well... Read More

The Masonic auditorium is the pinnacle of Nob Hill. And for good reason—not only has it been hosting musicians since Bob Dylan’s early days in the 1960s... Read More

Not only do they recycle everything from beer cans to house paint (which its workers pick up in alternatively fueled trucks, remix, and give away to... Read More

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been the premier West Coast spot for modern art since 1935, with over 33,000 works from Modernists and... Read More

Tucked in a corner of the Civic Center, the Soluna Cafe and Lounge is but a short walk to the Golden Gate Theater and venues for the San Francisco... Read More

This showcase for local, cutting-edge artists relocated in fall 2009 to a soaring 4,000-square-foot gallery. Read More

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... Read More

Locals do their shopping here, in a welter of groceries; follow your nose among the exotic fruit, dried mushrooms, mysterious spices, and buckets of... Read More

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,... Read More

In any city, bike rentals are often one of the biggest tourist traps. But Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours sources local experts to lead rides... Read More

Part of a group of Robert Redford-owned cinemas, the Kabuki location offers excellent independent and international fare. Booze is available from one of... Read More

A chance meeting with a four-wheel, multi-passenger surrey cycle in Italy 24 years ago was Brian McInerney’s inspiration for this shop. Wheel Fun... Read More

Bay Area fashion icon Susan Foslein, owner of this namesake clothing boutique in Presidio Heights, is well-regarded by both devoted customers and the... Read More

The old world European meeting space now has a new life as a music venue with a modern lineup curated by Noise Pop (which runs the uber-popular Treasure... Read More

Straight-up, artisanal chocolate defines Embarcadero's Tcho, a simple white warehouse on Pier 17 that creates remarkably tasty sweets. Nothing ganache... Read More

Located in the SoMa district, Temple is an Asian-inspired, eco-friendly nightclub in the Zen Compound entertainment complex. Inside, the club houses a... Read More

Stemmed glasses line up along the bar, getting pre-heated for Irish coffee, the whisky-laced, cream-topped pick-me-up invented here in 1952. Read More

Want salon-grade hair without the cut? The Dry Bar specializes in blowouts only, and caters to locals and visitors alike. Its menu includes weekend... Read More

The best way to see the Bay Area’s bounty of heirloom produce and flowers and meet the farmers who grow them (and also supply the city’s top restaurants... Read More

Karaoke is more kicking with an enthusiastic audience, and the Mint certainly has one. The bonus: Lots of fans. The drawback: It often takes a long wait... Read More

With its name in bright red letters and a row of cutout buildings along the top of the sign, The Other Shop is not hard to spot in its Lower... Read More

This new $34.4 million, 283-seat auditorium is a major expansion for San Francisco celebrated repertory theater company, the American Conservatory... Read More

Located in the historic Hearst building close to Union Square, Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books rare books and manuscripts ranging in... Read More

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... Read More

Climb up to the fourth floor to the country’s oldest Chinese temple, a shrine to Tien Hau, the Goddess of Heaven and the Sea. Fringed red lanterns... Read More

Sure, you can get Timbuk2’s signature messenger bags at REI, EMS, and plenty of other outdoor-gear stores. You can even order your own customized... Read More

The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar is a tiki bar with a theatrical atmosphere in the historic Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill. Known for their festive mai... Read More

If you’re a true Sharon Stone fan, you might actually recognize this bar from Basic Instinct. And even in real life, the place is a hangout for... Read More

Strange Factor: Calling Erin Brockovich. This isn’t your traditional upbeat trolley tour of northern California. Addressing serious environmental... Read More

When True Sake opened in 2003, it was the first wholly dedicated sake shop outside of Japan. Their most popular offering is “Nama Ginjo Genshu,... Read More

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. A... Read More

People expect many things in the Mission: trendy restaurants and handmade jewelry to name two. But a miniature golf course? Such is the case at Urban... Read More

State-of-the-art LED lighting, an award-winning Funktion One sound system, and high-profile DJ’s make Vessel one of the city’s most popular... Read More

For Joe Swinney and Cheryl Cohen, the owners of the trendsetting Wasteland in Haight-Ashbury, fashion begins with the kids in the street. Wasteland... Read More

Though on the south side of Market Street, this megamall aligns with Union Square in its shopping fervor. Curving escalators wrap between department... Read More

Selling high-end clothing in Union Square since 1966, Wilkes Bashford is one of the most renowned fashion icons in the nation. He was the first to... Read More

Think the Brooklyn Academy of Music meets Mass MoCA, all under one roof. At this arts complex, you can find groundbreaking performances—from such... Read More

At Chris Tavelli’s wine bar, located in southeast San Francisco’s up-and-coming Dogpatch neighborhood, it isn’t enough just to serve... Read More

More eclectic and accessible than Design Within Reach just a few doors down, the independently owned Zinc Details has been selling contemporary... Read More

Located in Hayes Valley, this home furnishings store has a red-framed screen door and colorful mosaic entryway leading into an equally vibrant... Read More

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