They say "only in San Francisco" for a reason. Known for its culture, music, diversity, and picturesque views throughout the city, San Francisco is an eclectic city to visit. There are a lot of alternative lifestyles, and tons of college students. Throw in a very liberal bend, you are going to get one of the funkiest and coolest cities in America. It’s also one of the most expensive cities to live in the US, so use the tips here to see the sights without depleting your budget!
1. TOUR ALCATRAZ ISLAND
This once notorious prison (home to Al Capone), is now a museum with audio tour. You’ll take a quick ferry over to the island, which is situated in the San Francisco Bay just over a mile from the mainland. We’d suggest taking a tour during your visit so the rangers can provide you with some historical context of the island. Be sure to book the ferry to the island early as it gets very full! A day-tour ticket is $36, a night-tour ticket is $43, and a behind-the-scenes tour is $88.
2. WALK THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the San Francisco’s most famous landmarks as well as a piece of engineering art. You can walk across the bridge, visit the visitor’s center to be briefed on the history of the park, or just stare at it from every angle and take a great amount of pictures.
3. VISIT GOLDEN GATE PARK
This gigantic park features a Japanese garden, a museum, an arboretum, and tons of hiking and walking trails. At three miles long and stretching about 30 blocks to the sea, it’s 20 percent bigger than New York’s Central Park. Walking from end to end will take half a day. If that’s too much for you, spend at least a few hours here exploring the park.
4. VISIT WINE COUNTRY
Near the city are the world famous Napa and Sonoma wine regions. If you love wine and have time to leave the city, you obviously need to visit the Wine country. Some companies run day trips to Napa valley since it is closer but you’re a bit rushed. It’s far better to spend at least a night.
5. THE PLACE OF FINE ARTS: THE PERFECT PLACE FOR THE ARTIST INSIDE YOU
The Palace of Fine Arts is a Roman-style remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The outdoor rotunda (and its lagoon) is one of the city’s most photographed sights. Take a leisurely stroll around the lagoon, relax under the rotunda, or enjoy a picnic on the grass.
6. RIDE THE CABLE CARS
Riding the cable cars is an excellent way to tour the city and experience various neighborhoods in San Francisco. Catch the cable cars from Market Street. They are fun to ride and will save you lots of time instead of walking up and down those hills. A one-way fare on a cable car is $7 or a 1-day pass is $20.